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Title Insurance & Closings
Our firm has multiple agents authorized to examine and issue title insurance commitments, policies and endorsements for all real property in any of the 67 counties in Florida. Preparation of closing documents, title insurance examination, estoppel requests, corrective property ownership matters, separation of title, assessment of documentary stamps, opinion of existing title on potential purchases, refinance and purchase transactions, clearance of encumbrances, extinguishing municipal, private and IRS liens on real property, mobile closings at home or office, 24 hour a day closing services, notary services, bilingual attorneys and staff.
Title Search and Exam
While the function of most other forms of insurance is risk assumption through risk pooling, the primary purpose of title insurance is to eliminate risks and prevent losses caused by defects in title arising out of events that have happened in the past either through inspection, ownership, or specific to the property itself. This is where the title search and exam – the first steps in the title insurance process – are critical.
Skilled professionals search and examine various public records to find and isolate title risks. This is intricate and tedious work, as information can be missing or filed inconsistently. These professionals examine documents such as judgments, liens, general taxes, utility assessments, as well as many others. In certain transactions, real property characteristics may also be evaluated, which include zoning, location, surveys, improvement type, and more. Additionally, these searches serve to identify any potential title risks, such as unreleased mortgages, mechanics’ liens, tax judgments, outstanding child support liens, pending bankruptcy or divorce proceedings, probate issues, etc.
Two categories of residential title insurance are available:
- Owner’s Policy
For a one-time premium (paid at closing), an Owner’s Policy protects the homeowner from enumerated title risks for as long as the insured (or their heirs) owns the property. Extended policies and expanded coverage can also be issued to address title issues that may arise after the policy date, including false claims by others, encroaching structures built by neighbors, and more.
- Loan Policy
A Loan Policy is generally required by lenders (and purchasers of loans in the secondary mortgage market) to help protect against unforeseen title problems. While an owner’s policy covers the purchase price of the home, the lender’s policy covers the amount of the loan on the property. This policy may insure that the lender has a lien that is valid and enforceable, and that the lender’s lien has priority over other liens. Extended policies and expanded coverage options are also available to lenders.
Settlement and Closing Services
Title professionals also conduct the settlement and/or closing of the property sale or refinance. For most transactions, the process requires more than 100 time-consuming steps. These might include reviewing the contract or closing instructions, depositing loan funds, paying off prior mortgages, coordinating property inspections, preparing HUD-1 settlement statements, among many others. These professionals then coordinate and finalize documents, close the transaction, and submit pertinent documents for proper recordation in public records.