5 Questions to Ask for Finding the Right Title Company
Purchasing a home is a major investment. It isn’t one that you should take lightly. There are a lot of different steps involved in purchasing a home, one of which is choosing a title company. While many real estate agents will try to offer their help by referring home buyers to title companies, as a consumer you are ultimately the one who has to make the final decision in determining your title company. You also have to remember that there is a lot more involved in choosing a title company than how much they are going to charge you for their services. You want a company that can provide you with quality work within your desired time frame and budget. As you prepare to find a title company, here are a few questions to ask to help you make an informed decision.
Who are the main title insurance companies?
- Stewart Title Guarantee Company
- First American Title Insurance Company
- FNF (Fidelity National Financial)-Chicago Title, Fidelity Title, Lawyers Title, Alamo Title, etc.
- Old Republic Title Insurance Company
Do you conduct thorough title searches?
You might not realize it, but this is one of the most important questions you can ask a title company. Working with a title company that is willing to take the necessary steps to identify and disclose everything they find is crucial. You don’t want to end up with any surprises at your closing. You want to make sure everything is resolved beforehand. This will ensure that your closing goes smoothly and that you have a clean title to your new home.
Because many homeowners don’t understand all of the different title issues out there, many don’t ask their agent about what to consider. Assuming that any issues are going to be taken care of before you finalize the deal will end up landing you in a world of trouble. You need to know about anything that might be going on with the property prior to finalizing the deal.
How safe is my money?
You need to know how the title company deals with escrow funds. Some people end up losing their escrow funds due to an insolvent, incompetent or dishonest company. This is why it is crucial to find out what internal controls and procedures are in place to safeguard your money.
Considering how much money is involved in purchasing property, you want to make sure that when you wire $100,000 of your money, you are getting someone who knows what they are doing and is going to protect your investment. Finding a reputable company is crucial before sending money to anyone.
Who is your client?
Title companies that are owned by a real estate agency aren’t as willing to take a stand on tougher issues. They don’t want to mess with any hassles. You are spending a lot of money on your purchase. As such, you need to make sure that the company is going to work for you and your needs. You need a clear title.
Were your rates approved by the Department of Insurance?
All title insurance companies are required to file their rates with the Department of Insurance. Whatever rates they have filed with the department are the only ones they can charge. They aren’t allowed to deviate from the rates reported. Buyers might be inclined to try to stick with a company offering the lowest rate possible. If the insurance premium is lower than what the market rate is, you might want to think twice about going with that company.
If a company is offering a lower premium than everyone else in the area, you might want to look into another company. Low premiums often mean the company doesn’t have sufficient experience in the field. It could also mean that they don’t have the proper accounting and financial controls in place to handle the customer. Don’t make your decision based on the lowest premium alone. Title companies are made up of much more than that. You also have to look at their overnight courier fees, electronic delivery fees, cashier’s check fees, wire fees, tracking fees and any other fees that the company might charge.
Are you investor friendly?
While many people might be able to go to a traditional bank and get a loan for their home, not everyone is in a position to do so. Some people are left with no other option than to go to an investor to purchase their new home. If you will be going through an investor, you need to make sure that the title company you are using is willing to work with an investor. You don’t want to choose a title company who isn’t willing to work with your specific situation.
Dealing with an investor is far different than dealing with a bank. This is why you need someone who has experience and knowledge of working with investors and has closed deals with these professionals in the past. If someone isn’t familiar with investors or doesn’t want to mess with them, you might want to consider going with someone who knows how to best deal with an investor.
By going through the questions above, you can make sure you end up choosing a company that is going to work the best for you and your needs. Purchasing property is a big decision already. You don’t need to make it any more complicated than what it already is. Take the time to do your homework before settling on the company chosen by the seller. It will save you time and hassle in the end.
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