Title Resources: Everything You Need to Understand Title Insurance and Prepare for Your Closing

At Cities Title Services, LLC., we protect the most important investment you may ever make – the investment in your home. The following resources are available to help you understand title insurance and begin the closing process.

Our team of experts works to insure that your title – and your investment – is completely protected, giving you the peace of mind you deserve. Call us now to talk about your closing and to learn how we can help! 651-779-0433

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is a unique form of insurance. It provides coverage for future claims or future losses due to title defects which are created by some past event (i.e., event prior to the acquisition of the property.) These risks are far less obvious than those protected against by automobile insurance but can be just as devastating. The following information will answer some commonly asked questions about title insurance.

In the event of a covered matter affecting your title, your insurance policy may protect you in various ways including:

  1. Defending your title

  2. Bearing the cost of settling the covered matter, or

  3. Paying you for the loss due to the covered matter.

Unlike other forms of insurance, the original premium is your only cost as long as you own the property. There are no annual payments to keep your Owner's Title Insurance Policy in force.

FAQs about Title Services

Do you have a question about title services? There’s a chance it’s a common one. If that’s the case, we’ve provided an in-depth answer below. If you don’t see your question, feel free to contact us anytime. 651-779-0433

Why do I Need Title Insurance?

The quality of your real estate investment depends upon the quality of title. This is because each successive owner brings the possibility of title challenges to the property.

Title insurance protects you against challenges to rightful ownership of real property and challenges that arise from circumstances of past ownerships. It also protects you against unforeseen defects in your title that an abstract or public records do not (or cannot) show.

Want to know more? Click here to see 21 more reasons you need title insurance!

When you purchase real estate, rely on Cities Title Services, LLC & Commonwealth Land Title Insurance to protect your interests. We’re backed by a long history of successful title operations, and we’d love to make yours one of them!

What does title insurance protect me against?

Here are just a few of the most common hidden risks that can cause a loss of title or create an encumbrance on title:

  • False impersonation of the true owner of the property

  • Forged deed, releases or wills, Instruments executed under invalid or expired power of attorney;

  • Undisclosed or missing heirs; Mistakes in recording legal documents

  • Misinterpretations of wills Deeds by persons of unsound mind

  • Deeds by minors

  • Deeds by persons supposedly single, but in fact married

  • Fraud

  • Liens for unpaid estate, inheritance, income or gift taxes

How does the title process work?

At Cities Title Services LLC, we work hard to make sure that your title process is smooth and stress-free. Here’s how it works:

Initial Request for Title Insurance

An order for title insurance is opened with a title officer who produces the initial response promptly within 24 to 48 hours. This preliminary report can be issued with the minimum of information – without even identifying the buyer or the terms of the sale. It shows the record title as it presently exists and is only an offer to provide insurance. Click here to order for title work now!

On-Site Searching and Examining

Your title officer performs three searches: Property, Name, and Tax searches. From that information, a preliminary report is created. Our on-site customer service center expedites the process of obtaining hard copies of recorded documents. Imaging helps to expedite searches with the ability to obtain documents online.

Technical Review

Our expert title officers have the skills to provide you with a useful, accurate title report. Once the report is issued the review begins by making a technical analysis of the documents of record. We make an interpretive view of all recorded matters to evaluate their impact on the title to the property.

Among the questions we ask are:

  • Would any of the recorded matters prevent the buyer from using the property for its intended purpose?

  • Can antiquated leases be eliminated from the policy per a review of the current leases?

  • And more.

Inspection Analysis

In anticipation of ALTA coverage, we order a site inspection. From the inspection report, we can supplement the initial title product to show any encroachments or other off-record matters which would ultimately impact the title.

First-Class Skills, Service and Solutions

If, during this process, we identify impediments to closing a transaction, we work quickly to offer assistance and solutions. By understanding the sometimes-delicate balance of the interests of the parties to a transaction, and by professionally and courteously handling issues as they arise, we can capably guide a transaction to a successful conclusion.

What is a title search?

A title search is a means of ascertaining that the person who is selling the property really has the right to sell it, and that the buyer is receiving all of the rights to the property that he or she is paying for. We’ll complete the following examinations:

  • Chain of title: A history of the ownership of a particular piece of property, the chain of title describes who bought it from whom, and when.

  • Tax Search: This allows us to determine the present status of general real estate taxes against the property we conduct a tax search.

  • Report on possession: We often send inspectors to look at the property to verify the lot size, check the location of improvements, look for evidence of easements that are not shown of record and check on who is living there.

  • Judgment and name search: One of the most important parts of the title search is to determine if there are any unsatisfied judgments against the seller or previous owners which were in existence while they owned the property. A judgment is a general lien against the debtor's real estate and constitutes security for any money owed under the judgment. The real estate can be sold to satisfy the judgment.

  • Commitment: When these searches have been completed, Cities Title Services LLC via Commonwealth Land Title Services issues a commitment to insure, stating the conditions under which we will insure the title. The buyer and seller and the mortgage lender can proceed with the closing of the transaction after clearing up any defects in the title which may have been uncovered by the title search and examination.

To read more about each of these examinations, click here.

How can there be a title defect if the title has been searched?

Title insurance is issued after a careful examination of copies of the public records. But even the most thorough search cannot absolutely assure that no title hazards are present, despite the knowledge and experience of professional title examiners. In addition to matters shown by public records, other title problems may exist that cannot be disclosed in a search.

What is escrow?

An escrow is an arrangement in which an objective third party, called an escrow holder, holds legal documents and funds on behalf of a buyer and seller, and distributes them according to the buyer's and seller's instructions.

What is the benefit of opening an escrow?

People buying, selling and refinancing real estate often open an escrow for their protection and convenience. The buyer can instruct the escrow holder to disburse the purchase price only upon the satisfaction of certain prerequisites and conditions. The seller can instruct the escrow holder to retain possession of the deed to the property until the seller's requirements, including receipt of the purchase price, are met. Both rely on the escrow holder to carry out faithfully their instructions relating to the transaction and to advise them if any of their instructions are not mutually consistent or cannot be carried out.

An escrow is convenient for the buyer and seller because both can move forward separately but simultaneously in providing inspections, reports, loan commitments and funds, deeds, and many other items, using the escrow holder as the central point of contact. If the instructions from all parties to an escrow are clearly drafted, fully detailed and mutually consistent, the escrow holder can take many actions on their behalf without further consultation. This saves much time and facilitates the closing of the transaction.

What about hidden title risks?

The title to the property that you have purchased could be seriously threatened or lost completely by hazards which are considered "hidden risks." "Hidden Risks" are those matters, rights or claims that are not shown by the public records and, therefore, are not discoverable by a search and examination of those public records. Matters such as forgery, incompetency or incapacity of the parties, fraudulent impersonation, and unknown errors in the records are examples of "hidden risks" which could provide a basis for a claim after you have purchased the property. The policies issued by Cities Title Services LLC protect you against many of these “hidden risks.”

Make sure your closing is seamless and stress-free. Contact Cities Title Services, LLC. today! 651-779-0433