Florida Title Insurance Q&A
Are You a First Time Homebuyer?
THIS GUIDE IS FOR YOU!
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...
I just finished my seconded closing with Title Partners of South Florida. Another amazing experience. It's why I went back to them a second time. Best closing experiences I have ever had. Super professional, accessible, knowledgable and helpful in every way. Highly recommend. Thank you Lorie Floyd and team.
I found Title partners like most people, via Google. Being new to the Fort Lauderdale area and purchasing my first house, I was expecting the process to be daunting. I cannot recommend Title Partners of South Florida enough. Ryan and Lorie were incredibly helpful and efficient and made the whole process extremely smooth. The welcome sign and muffins on our closing day were also a nice touch. If we ever need title services again I would not hesitate to use them.
Have questions about Florida Title Insurance or the Closing Process?
The information contained on this page is all you need to understand the entire process - from the moment you sign the contract all the way through the actual closing where the keys are exchanged - including everything you need to know about title insurance.
Are you in the beginning stages of your research? - Be sure to bookmark this page for future reference, so all the answers will be at your fingertips.
What happens once a Florida real estate contract is signed by both the Buyer and Seller?
You’ve spent weeks, if not months, trying to buy or sell a home. You finally find a home or a buyer, sign a contract… then what?
Real estate agents play an important role in a Florida real estate transaction. They help you find the perfect home or market your home for sale – then negotiate the best price and facilitate the signing of a real estate contract.
If you're not utilizing the services of a real estate agent, a title insurance company can help guide you in the preparation and signing of a real estate contract.
Once the contract is signed by both the buyer and seller, the title company takes it from that point forward.
In a nutshell, the title company is responsible for clearing the title, closing on time without any errors and providing you with an overall enjoyable "closing experience".
Here is a list of the title company's main responsibilities;
- holds the earnest money deposit in an escrow account - if applicable
- runs a title search and performs an examination of the title
- works to clear any potential title issues
- orders any payoffs, estoppel letters, municipal lien search, survey, etc. that are needed
- prepares all necessary documents to clear and transfer title
- coordinates the day and time of the closing with all parties involved in the transaction
- facilitates the signing and notary of all required documents
- records the necessary documents after signing
- and lastly, issues any title insurance policies
As you can probably gather from the list above, the title company also plays an important role in a Florida real estate transaction.
Who directs where the earnest money deposit is held and which title company will handle your closing?
Real estate agents and lenders will refer you to a title insurance company for many reasons. Maybe they like working with the title company for a personal reason, maybe their company has an interest in the title company, or maybe they receive perks for referring the business... whatever the reason, it is in your best interests to do your due diligence and choose the right title company for you.
Search for Florida title insurance companies online, read online reviews, check their credentials with the Florida Department of Financial Services, call title companies to determine their response time, or request a title insurance quote online.
Compare title insurance companies 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 would like to learn more about Title Partners of South Florida to determine if we are the type of company you would like to work with, we invite you to visit the About Us section of our website.
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!
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 Florida 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 complex 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 which fees and costs.
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. Florida title insurance premium is based on a promulgated rate calculation, which is determined by the state of Florida. Florida title insurance premium is also determined 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 company in most Florida counties. The buyer generally pays for title insurance and chooses the title 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, all costs are negotiable pursuant to the contract you sign and it's in your best interests to request a free, no-obligation title insurance quote to determine which fees you are responsible to pay.
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 may not be 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. Many buyers and sellers in Florida rely on Title Partners of South Florida to provide a smooth and stress-free closing.
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 transfer a title in Florida?
Transferring 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 simple Quitclaim Deed could be 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 Florida counties is $.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.
What is a closing?
Closing, which is also known as “settlement” or “escrow” is the event where all necessary documents are signed, the title to a property is transferred from seller to buyer and the keys are exchanged. Closing is typically held in the title company’s office and involves the completion of all the transfer documents to finalize the transfer between buyer and seller. In addition, all financial issues are settled at closing (closing costs), sales proceeds are sent to the seller, and the necessary documents are filed in the public records, 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) loan points, loan origination fees, private mortgage insurance (PMI), title insurance, attorney fees, closing fees, recording fees, surveying fees, property taxes, 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, we maintain processes and procedures to keep your NPI (non-public information) 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.
Good luck and we hope you choose Title Partners of South Florida for a professional, engaging and memorable closing experience!