Most first-time homebuyers aren’t familiar with the role of title agencies in the real estate process. However, title agencies are an integral part of ensuring that you can close on your home quickly and legally.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably wondering how to choose a title agency and what to look for in a reputable title agency. Continue reading to find out the answers to these questions and more information about how you can choose the best title agency for your next real estate transaction.
What Is a Title Agency?
Learning and understanding the basics of how title works are essential for real estate investors, first-time homebuyers, commercial property buyers, and anyone who wants to buy a home or investment property in the future.
In very simple terms, a title gives people the right to own and live at a property. Title agencies are the people involved in making sure the title is free and clear when a property is bought and sold. These companies and their employees work hard behind the scenes to ensure you can legally own the subject property.
The Basics of Title in Real Estate
Without a title, there is no way of verifying who the legal property owner is when buying and selling a home. This can make title one of the most challenging parts of the real estate process, which means having a good title agency on your side can make or break the deal.
One of the primary responsibilities of title agencies is to conduct title research and surveys to verify who holds title to the property. This may include searching through public records held by the county and other online property records. Then the title agency provides you with a title abstract that shows the title record of the property and any pending liens, transfers, and past legal action.
Even skilled title agents may be unable to find all the issues with the title on a property. Issues like filing errors, liens, and forged documents are common problems that title agents encounter while researching. The title agency issues a title insurance policy to protect you from these issues. The owner’s title insurance policy lasts for as long as you own the property and ensures your rights to ownership.
Why Work With a Title Agency?
Title agencies have many different responsibilities, but they mostly revolve around ensuring the transfer of title is smooth for both the buyer and seller of a property.
However, not all title agencies are created equal. Some title agencies, like us here at Leading Edge Title, have years of experience and built a reputation for providing excellent title services.
Can I Choose My Own Title Agency?
It’s important to understand that you must work with a title agency when buying or selling a property. While paying for title services is mandatory in real estate, most buyers don’t realize they can choose which title agency they use. Even though buyers are often guided to use a specific company, you can always shop for title services and choose the best agency that meets your needs. Otherwise, your lender typically selects a title agency they work with on a regular basis.
What to Look For in a Title Agency
As we mentioned previously, not all title agencies are created equal. Below are the top qualities to look for in a title agency.
A good title agency will have customer testimonials and other indicators of past success and satisfaction of their customers. With a simple Google search, you can browse their online presence to get a good idea of the legitimacy of the title agency you’re considering working with. It’s also a good idea to talk with your title agent on the phone to see if it’s a good fit.
Similar to experience, good title agencies should have a positive reputation in the real estate industry. Speak with your real estate agent and mortgage broker and listen to what they have to say about any title agency you are considering working with. Also, ask around with your friends and family. If they’ve purchased a property in the past, then they’ve worked with a title agency and could offer some insight into how the process worked.
Most title agencies can do their work without needing to be in the same location as the buyer. However, having a title agency with an office near you can make a big difference if title issues arise. There is also typically plenty of paperwork involved in the title process. Being able to talk with your title agency in person if needed is always a good idea.
Lastly, you should compare the cost of each title agency you contact. Depending on your area, property, and home value, title services can vary in price. However, you don’t want to cut corners when working with a title agency. Be sure to do plenty of research on title agencies while keeping in mind that cost is not always the most important factor.
Title is one of the most misunderstood and least talked about parts of the real estate process. Most title agencies do their work behind the scenes, and you may never come in contact with your title agent. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the title process.
What Documents Does the Title Agency Require?
Title agencies require several documents from buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction. The most common documents you’ll need to provide include photo IDs, the deed to the house, and transfer tax declarations. However, your title agent or lender will provide more information on any additional required documentation.
Can I Choose My Title Agency?
In short, yes. However, lenders typically select a title agency for you, so you’ll need to make it clear to your lender that you want to shop for title services. Failure to do so often results in using a title agency that costs more than others and may not provide the best service.
What if Title Issues Are Discovered?
Title issues can cause the real estate transaction to fall through. That’s why working with a title agency with a track record of success is vital if you want to ensure a smooth closing.
Choose an Experienced and Professional Title Agency
Are you looking for title services in Central Florida? Leading Edge Title has been providing high-quality title services to customers for over 16 years. With more than 15,000 closings under our belt, Leading Edge Title is the leader in title services in the Central Florida area. Contact us today to see how we can help you buy your next home.