Every real estate agent understands that buying a home is overwhelming for many clients. There's a mountain of paperwork to sign and different fees associated with the closing process. All of these things can confuse even an experienced buyer.
Title insurance, or an owner's title policy, is often misunderstood by home buyers at closing. Buyers, especially first-time home buyers, look to real estate professionals as experts in the industry. It's important to be the advisor to your clients and help them understand the value of an owner's title policy and the risks that can arise without it.
Title insurance, or an owner's title policy, is a policy that protects the home buyers’ property rights. For the same reasons that the bank requires a lender’s insurance policy, a home buyer obtains an owner’s title policy to protect their legal rights to the property.
Here's an example: Your client purchased a new home from a builder, but the builder failed to pay the roofing company. That roofing company wants to get paid, so it files a lien against the property. Without an owner’s title policy, your client is responsible for paying that debt. This is just one example of how an owner’s title policy protects a home buyer from a variety of significant risks, such as unknown heirs, illegal deeds, forged documents, and much more. With an owner’s title policy, a buyer's property rights are protected while they own the property.
The good news is that an owner’s title policy financially protects home buyers for as long as they own the home. For Florida buyers, the price of an owner's title policy depends on the sales price of the home. Florida's promulgated rate is $5.75 per thousand, up to $100,000, and $5.00 per thousand thereafter, up to $1 million.
The party that pays for the owner’s title insurance policy varies from state to state. In Florida, the seller typically picks and pays for the owner's title policy. However, that can change depending on which county/area the property is located.
Fees can add up during the closing process, but this one-time fee gives home buyers peace of mind. After all, the home may be new to your buyer, but every property has a history.
Each state regulates its title insurance costs, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulates closing and settlement services to protect consumers from unfair practices. Established in 2011, the CFPB educates consumers about making smart financial decisions and holds companies accountable for any abusive or discriminatory procedures.
Title insurance can be confusing and seem like "just another expense" during the closing process. But, what's the price of your buyer's peace of mind? As a real estate professional, educating yourself and your clients on title insurance, the protections it provides, and the risks of going without it is vital.
Amy Gregory, the Chief Administrative Officer/President for Florida Agency Network, is featured in the February 2020 edition of American Land Title Association's (ALTA) "Title News."
In the article entitled "Finding the Diamonds in the Rough", Jeremy Yohe, Vice President of Communications for ALTA, highlights recruitment in the title insurance industry. Yohe explains how Gregory got her start in the title industry and the progression of her career.
The article goes on to explain what recruits are looking for from future employers and eight characteristics it takes to succeed as a title agent.
Closing on your new home can be both exciting and confusing. There are many factors to consider throughout the process. One item to consider is how you’ll hold the title of your new Florida home. Buyers can easily overlook this detail during the closing process, which can be detrimental if you decide to sell your home.
Your title agent can answer general questions or direct you to their real estate attorney to provide more information and answer questions. Here are the ways for you to hold title to real estate in Florida:
For a single, unmarried home buyer, this option is the most popular way to hold the title to their home. It’s simple and straight forward. It just means the title will be held solely under their name. Married individuals can hold title as sole ownership as well. For example, with an investment property, one individual may not want any ownership in the property. In this case, that spouse will have the Deed drafted for the property showing only one person holding the title. With this option, you may not receive any special tax breaks or other advantages of holding title in sole ownership. If the sole owner dies, any property held this way may be subject to probate court proceedings, which cost money and takes time.
With this option, each spouse owns an equal portion of the property for as long as they are both alive and legally married. Each spouse’s interest passes to the other upon death. This option also has some level of protection, in that a judgement against one spouse may not attach to the property.
Each tenant owns an undivided pro rata share of the property and must take ownership at the same time. Also, each tenant will have a right of survivorship, so if one of them passes away, their share will transfer to the surviving tenant (or tenants). The will of the tenant who passed away has no impact on the joint tenancy property. Joint tenancy also allows the surviving tenants to avoid probate expenses and delays when one of the tenants dies. The surviving tenants need to record an affidavit and provide a death certificate to clear the title
If there are two or more buyers, the individuals can opt to hold title as tenants in common. Tenancy in common is a popular option for individuals who aren’t married or are investors, friends, or family. As tenants in common, each tenant (individual) owns a certain percentage of the property, typically equal shares among the owners. In the event any owner should pass, their interest will vest in their estate or heirs at law. Their interest will not pass to survivors. The property will be subject to probate court expenses and delays.
Choosing the most beneficial way to take title is often overlooked by buyers. However, this step is critical to your closing transaction and situations later down the road.
It’s crucial to speak with a real estate attorney when deciding how to hold title on your Florida real estate property. We have in-house attorneys with years of experience in Florida real estate. By choosing to close with any of Florida Agency Network’s title agencies, you and your agent have access to those attorneys, and many more resources throughout your closing transaction.
In a world full of left-swipe worthy businesses, it’s difficult to know which title insurance company to choose for your transaction. Before you swipe right and do business with the wrong title insurance company, here are some things to consider before you choose your perfect match in a title company.
We see it time and time again, a title company seems to pop up overnight and is ready to do business. However, can you trust the work that is being done throughout your transaction? How do you know your private information is protected?
Find out how long the title insurance company has been doing business. A title insurance company that's been in the industry for a longer period knows the ins and outs and can speak to common questions or issues that come up, with ease. A title insurance company’s longevity shows efficient and effective processes in place. And with experience comes stability and peace of mind for all those experiencing the closing process. That leads to the next point.
Life can get busy. Going out of your way to get to, or handle anything thing for your closing can become a hassle. Look for a title insurance company that has multiple locations or can accommodate you during the closing process. Do they offer mobile closing or mobile notary services to their clients? Do they offer e-closings or remote online notaries (RON)? These are just a few of the points you'll want to discuss with your title insurance company.
"A great captain is great only if he has a great team."
Your title insurance company is only as good as the team they provide to their clients. Choosing a title insurance company with a large, experienced, and dedicated staff are the qualities you want in your closing team. It's critical that your closing team has the correct licensing and educational background to get you through the entire closing process.
Don't forget to inquire about the title insurances company's support; Who do they underwrite with? What type of errors & omissions (E&O) policy do they carry? This may all sound foreign to you as a buyer or seller, but this information shows the strength of a title company when difficult situations arise.
A title company with longevity and experience has built a reputation within the real estate industry. You should place your trust in a title company that is the leader in customer and employee satisfaction.
Ask your real estate professional about their experience(s) with the title insurance company. Don't forget to do your online research. Read through online reviews on their social pages, Google and more. It's common to have a problem here or there, but is there a trend your finding with each customer experience?
There are many points to consider when swiping right on your perfect title insurance company. Florida Agency Network brands not only can close your real estate transaction at any of the many locations throughout the State of Florida, but also close your transaction at any place convenient to you with mobile notaries, e-closing and remote online notarization (RON) partners, FAN brands have the large footprint you want to have on your side.
Our closing staff has many years of experience in title insurance and closings. We also work with several underwriters which gives us the resources to close deals other title insurance companies cannot.
Contrary to popular belief, a marriage license doesn't necessarily give a spouse automatic power to make decisions on the other spouse's behalf. While spouses may have rights to things like joint bank accounts and medical records, property rights can be restricted. To conduct a real estate transaction on behalf of a spouse or other person, an approved power of attorney is necessary.
WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY?
A power of attorney is a document which gives a person, called an "agent", legal authority to act and make decisions on behalf of the spouse. The amount of power given to the agent can be limited, depending on what is agreed upon.
For real estate transactions, a power of attorney would need to specify the agent is authorized to make the specific decisions for the buyer or seller's spouse.
WHY DO I NEED A POWER OF ATTORNEY?
Most real estate transactions will not need a power of attorney. However, if your spouse is unable to sign the mortgage or the deed or any other documents needed for various reasons, you will need to have an approved power of attorney.
If there is a power of attorney already created, it's best to get that over to your title company and lender, if applicable, as soon as possible. That way, your closing team and lender has time to review and make sure the power of attorney is approved and ensuring your closing goes as smooth as possible.
WHAT ARE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH A POWER OF ATTORNEY?
If you're closing with any title brand in The Florida Agency Network and it involves the issuing of your title policy, there is no charges to you for drafting a specific power of attorney for the real estate transaction.
If you need a power of attorney drafted for other reasons or you've made arrangements directly with an attorney, there are possible charges for this. Fees may vary, based on the attorney or law office you and your spouse do business with.
Before starting your real estate transaction, where a power of attorney is needed, make sure the power of attorney is ready or there is a plan in place to get one drafted. Contact any of our offices for more information on how to get the processes started for your closing.
What you’ll see in this video is, there may be closing costs customary or unique to a certain locality but closing costs are usually made up of the following:
And any documentation preparation fees.
As we show you in this video:
And the keys to your new home!
While this video simplifies things to help you remember: you'll present your paid homeowner's insurance policy or a binder and receipt showing that the premium has been paid. The closing agent will then list the money you owe the seller (remainder of down payment, prepaid taxes, and so on) and then the money the seller owes you unpaid taxes and prepaid rent, if applicable.
The seller will provide proofs of any inspection, warranties, and so on. Once you're sure you understand all the documentation you'll sign the mortgage, agreeing that if you don't make payments the lender is entitled to sell your property and apply the sale price against the amount you owe plus expenses.
You'll also sign a mortgage note, promising to repay the loan. The seller will give you the title to the house in the form of a signed deed. You'll pay the lender's agent all closing costs and, in turn, he or she will provide you with a settlement statement of all the items for which you have paid.
The deed and mortgage will then be recorded in the state Registry of Deeds and you will be a homeowner.
Like the video says - real estate agents aren’t paid by the hour! They’re paid a percentage of the purchase price in a successful real estate transaction.
When one agent represents the sellers and another represents the buyers the commission is typically split between them.
In the US, real estate commissions are commonly 6% of the transaction usually 3%/3% when split.
No government or industry body sets commission rates. Legally, commission rates ARE negotiable. However, remember that agents only earn their commission on successful sales.
Consider the work you want them to do for you to evaluate the value you should put on the commission they earn.
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