Florida Title Insurance Q&A

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Are You a First Time Homebuyer?

THIS GUIDE IS FOR YOU!

Jaime Dacosta
Jaime Dacosta

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 weeks ago

Working with Title Partners of South Florida as a real estate investor has continued to be an amazing experience every time. They are extremely professional, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to work with. They answer your calls, respond to your emails, and are always there for you, which is a lot more than I can say about some of the other title companies I worked with before making Title Partners of South Florida my go to title team. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a great title company. Peace of mind comes with Title Partners of South Florida when you choose to work with Ryan Phillips and his team. Oh yeah, and they have great cookies...

John Mackintosh
John Mackintosh

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

WOW, what a great experience I had with Title Partners of South Florida handling my closing. I had never closed on any property in FL before, and was told I needed to employ a title company. I searched the web, found Title Partners of South Florida, and was impressed with the info on their web site. I had some questions and called them for answers expecting a call back. But no, they answered the phone and I got to speak with Ryan Phillips who explained the process clearly to me, and put me at ease. Ryan, Lori Floyd and Tina Lund were all very attentive to my needs and questions. Through out the process, they provided prompt feedback and service at every step along the way to closing. I did all this from my home in Massachusetts. With their electronic signature process, I didn't have to be there at any time. I didn't even have to be there for the actual closing, but I was because I wanted to meet this great team. Yes, team. I felt I had a team working for me. Thank you very much, team.

Cici Seda
Cici Seda

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 weeks ago

What an unbelievable experience today! We were nervous, excited and anxious. But then we went to Title Partners and were immediately at ease. Lorie and Helen were amazing. I used TP 15 years ago and they were great. Now they are even better! The process was so easy! They had a sign with our names on it on the TV and inside the conference room a picture of our new backyard. It was so personal and welcoming. Helen makes great cookies and Lorie makes the process super easy. They brought tears to my eyes. Thank you girls for everything!

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THE CONTRACT

 

What happens once a Florida real estate contract is executed and accepted by both the Buyer and Seller?

You’ve spent weeks, if not months, working with a real estate agent trying to buy or sell a home. You finally find a home or a buyer, sign a contract… then what’s next?

Real estate agents are an essential part of a Florida real estate transaction. They help you find the perfect home or market your home for sale – then negotiate the best price for your purchase/sale. However, after the contract is signed the real estate agent’s role is significantly reduced. The title insurance company pretty much takes it from that point forward. Many real estate agents will refer you to a title insurance company they work with for many reasons. But their reasons for referring you to that company may not always be in your best interests. Maybe their brokerage owns the title company, or maybe their friend owns it, or maybe they even offer the real estate agent perks for referring the business… whatever the reason, it is important do your due diligence to choose the right company for you.

Search Google for Florida title insurance companies, read online reviews, call the company to determine their response time, submit a title insurance quote request online, just don’t accept the real estate agents recommendation blindly. Compare title insurance companies just like you would compare any other product or service you are going to purchase, title insurance is no different. Be an informed consumer and choose the title insurance company that best fits your needs… even if it’s not Title Partners of South Florida.

If you’re a Homebuyer, access our Homebuyer’s Closing Information Guide to answer any questions you may have about Florida title insurance and the closing process.

 

TITLE

 

What is a Title?

When you purchase a home, you are really purchasing the title to the property-which is the right to occupy and use the space. That title may be contested based upon past rights and claims asserted by others. These types of claims can cause you to lose money or even worse… lose your home.

 

 

TITLE SEARCH

 

What is a Title Search?

A title search is a detailed examination of the historical records concerning a property. These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many other documents. The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership, and to discover any claims, defects and other rights or burdens on the property.

 

What kinds of problems can a title search reveal?

A title search can show a number of title defects and liens, as well as other encumbrances and restrictions, which include (but not limited to) unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments against the seller and restrictions limiting the use of the land.

 

Are there any problems that a title search cannot reveal?

Yes. There are some “hidden hazards” that even the most diligent title search may never reveal. For instance, the previous owner could have incorrectly stated his or her marital status, resulting in a possible claim by a legal spouse.

Other “hidden hazards” include fraud and forgery, defective deeds, mental incompetence, confusion due to similar or identical names, clerical errors in the records and many more.

These defects can arise after you’ve purchased your home and can jeopardize your right to ownership. “Title insurance” protects your right to ownership.

 

How much does a title search cost?

The cost of a title search in Florida is typically the seller’s responsibility and ranges anywhere from $150 to as much as $1500 depending if it’s a residential or commercial title search and examination. The fee will be a separate line item on the Settlement Statement, which outlines all of the related costs and expenses — plus who pays what.

 

 

TITLE INSURANCE

What is title insurance?

Title insurance is your policy of protection against loss if any of these problems — even a “hidden hazard” —results in a claim against your ownership.

 

How does title insurance protect my investment if a claim should arise?

If a claim is made against your property, title insurance will, in accordance with the terms of your policy, assure you of a legal defense — and pay all court costs and related fees. Also, if the claim proves valid, you will be reimbursed for your actual loss up to the face amount of the policy.

 

How much does title insurance cost?

The cost of title insurance varies based on the purchase price of the property. Unlike other insurance premiums, which must be paid annually, a title insurance premium is paid one time only at settlement. The premium is figured based on the purchase price as follows; up to $100,000 = $5.75 per thousand, over $100,000 = $5.00 per thousand (ex: $100,000 = 575.00; $200,000 = $1,075.00).

 

Who pays for title insurance?

In Florida it varies per county and can be negotiated in the contract. The seller generally pays for the title insurance and chooses the title/closing company in most Florida counties. The buyer generally pays for title insurance and chooses the title/closing company in the following counties; Sarasota, Collier, Miami Dade and Broward.

While title and closing costs are typically paid by certain sides of the transaction, it is good to request a free, no-obligation title insurance quote now by clicking here to determine which fees you are responsible to pay based on the contract you signed

 

Who chooses the title insurance company: buyer or seller?

Most buyers and sellers are indifferent about title insurance companies, while as explained above most real estate agents have an existing relationship with a title company they like to work with.

But who has the right to make the ultimate choice?

The person responsible for choosing the title insurance company is typically the person who pays for the Owner’s Title Insurance Policy (see “Who pays title insurance at closing?” above). That said, the party not paying for the Owner’s Title Insurance Policy can make a counteroffer that includes a new proposed title company if they are passionate about using a certain title insurance company.

In many counties in Florida, the seller customarily pays for the new Owner’s Title Insurance Policy, which should give them the right to select the title company. The only caveat would be that, in this case, a buyer would be forced to use the title company the seller chooses and that title company may not provide good customer service or a professional, engaging and memorable closing experience. In Miami-Dade, Broward, Sarasota and Collier Counties where the buyer customarily pays for and chooses the title insurance company, this is not an issue.

The ultimate goal in any transaction is to get the transaction closed. Buyers and sellers can usually agree on a title company that is best positioned to do just that — close the transaction without issue.

 

 

TRANSFERS

 

Is title insurance transferable?

There’s a simple answer to this question: No. Title insurance is never transferable when the ownership of a property changes, and it similarly can’t be assumed by a new owner. In fact, a title insurance policy itself terminates when the legal title on a property changes.

 

How do you sign a title over in Florida?

Signing over a title in Florida is actually quite simple — assuming the title is unencumbered. What does “unencumbered” mean? It means there are no competing claims or liens on the property. In these cases, a deed is used to transfer the title of the property to the new owner.

 

What is the cost of title transfer in Florida?

The fees related to title transfer in Florida are actually called “documentary tax stamp rates,” and they are included in closing costs — typically paid by the seller, though this is negotiable. The documentary tax stamp rates are uniform throughout the state with one exception — Miami-Dade County. The tax in most of Florida totals $.70 for each $100 of the home’s purchase price, which is also known as the deed’s consideration. In Miami-Dade, that rate drops to $.60 per $100. For example, purchase a home through most of Florida for $250,000, and the documentary tax stamp rates will be $1,750. Purchase a home in Miami-Dade, and the documentary tax stamp rates will be $1,500.

 

 

THE CLOSING

 

What is a closing?

Closing, which is also known as “settlement” or “escrow” is the event where the title to a property is transferred from seller to buyer. Closing is typically held in the title company’s office and involves the completion of all the necessary paperwork to finalize the agreement between buyer and seller. In addition, all financial issues are settled at closing —closing costs — and the necessary documents are signed and filed with local authorities, which successfully transfers the title.

 

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are all costs required to close the real estate transaction. They can include (but are not limited to) surveying fees, property taxes, title insurance, attorney fees, closing agent fees, recording fees, points, loan origination fees, private mortgage insurance (PMI), and the balance of your down payment.

Prior to closing, you should review your final Settlement Statement to ensure that all the calculations are correct and that you have been given all the credit for deposits and other agreed upon buyer and seller credits. Also recheck all lender, title, and escrow fees to make sure they are accurate.

 

What is the most important factor to you when choosing a Florida title insurance company?

 

Besides facilitating the closing and issuing a title insurance policy, one of the most important jobs of a Florida title insurance company is to clear title prior to closing. This is so important, because if the title insurance company does not clear the title properly, you may have to make a claim on the title policy after closing, incur a hardship, or possibly even lose your home!

There are also issues of communication and fraud… At Title Partners of South Florida we use a 24/7 secure communication platform, state-of-the-art e-services, and our #1 goal is for you to walk away from the closing table with a positive, long-lasting memory. In addition, we guarantee your NPI (non-public information) is secure, we implement all of the Best Practices set forth by ALTA (American Land Title Association) and we adhere to all the rules set forth by the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).

This is why it’s so important that you choose a Florida title insurance company carefully… it’s not just about the cost. Search the internet, read online reviews, call the company to determine their response time, check their credentials and submit a title insurance quote request online.

 

Good luck and we hope you choose Title Partners of South Florida for a professional, engaging and memorable closing experience!

P.S. If you’re a buyer, access our Homebuyer’s Closing Information Guide to answer any further questions you may have about Florida title insurance and the closing process.

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