The Buyer’s Perspective – What Is Title Insurance and Why Do I Need It?
When dealing in real estate, the term “title” refers to the rights of ownership and possession of a particular property. Before title to a property can be sold to someone else, it must be “marketable,” that is, free and clear of any liens or other title defects. Otherwise, the property you think you are purchasing may be subject to the claims of third parties. To ensure marketable title, you need a real estate attorney capable of conducting a thorough title search. This includes an examination of the public records relevant to the property you intend to purchase, and “mapping” the chain of title to determine if the present owner of the property received valid and marketable title from the prior owner. This search needs to be conducted all the way down the line of ownership (for a requisite number of years) to ensure title is valid and marketable. A thorough title search should uncover any identifiable problems with title.
However, not all title defects are part of the public record. For example, forged deeds, identity theft, married owners that represent themselves as being single, undisclosed heirs, and clerical errors at the public records office or courthouse can all result in “hidden” title defects that cannot be identified in a title search, no matter how thorough the title examination. That is why title insurance is so important for a buyer. Title insurance protects you in the event there is a problem with your title that you did not know about when you bought the home. If a problem occurs, your title insurer is obligated to pay the cost to defend your ownership, to fix the problem, or to cover your financial loss if the problem cannot be fixed.
At Storrings Law, a Coral Springs-based law firm, we conduct title searches on your behalf to ensure that nothing important is overlooked. Moreover, we are a member of the Attorneys Title Fund Services, LLC, and we work with top-notch insurance policy providers to underwrite a title insurance policy that protects you in the event of a title defect. When you use Storrings Law for your transaction, you can proceed to closing with confidence knowing that your investment is protected.
The Seller’s Perspective – Why Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney?
As a seller, there are documents which you will need to provide to the buyer’s attorney/title agent during a real estate transaction. For example, bills of sale, powers of attorney, non-identity affidavits, continuous marriage affidavits, etc. Moreover, although you probably already have title insurance, it is possible that a hidden defect could be uncovered by the buyer’s attorney/title agent. Accordingly, it is important for sellers to work with a competent real estate attorney to ensure that any problems with title are handled quickly and efficiently. This is a service that title agents cannot provide. At Storrings Law, a Coral Springs-based law firm, we are ready to help you address any potential problems and sell your property.
Why do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer?
Title Insurance is very serious business. In Florida, only licensed title agents and attorneys may issue title insurance. Moreover, in some states, like Delaware, only attorneys may issue title insurance. The distinction between attorneys and title agents is critical, because title agents cannot: (1) negotiate contracts on your behalf, (2) give you legal advice, (3) explain the meaning of documents you are being asked to sign and the legal consequences thereof, (4) resolve title issues, or (5) can act on your behalf and in your absence to keep the closing process moving. A competent real estate lawyer can. In addition, because title insurance rates are promulgated by the Department of Insurance, title insurance obtained through an attorney is the same cost as title insurance from a title company.
Storrings Law, a Coral Springs-based law firm, can help you with every step of your real estate transaction, from contract negotiation through closing. Please call us if you are a buyer or seller of real property, whether residential or commercial. We are ready to help you.