Looking for ways to SAVE MONEY on your next closing, LOOK ELSEWHERE (when it comes to TITLE INSURANCE)
by Charlie in Real Estate Legal Services
Long gone are the venerable days when you hired an attorney for $1,000 and he actually visited the courthouse to search title to the property you were buying. The closing industry has become so competitive that most settlement fees are 1/3rd to 1/2 what they were 50 years ago! Attorneys had a monopoly in Virginia and many other states and they often charged 1% of the sales price for their closing fee. Commissions to realtors were 7% to 10%! So the good news for consumers is that, as a percentage of your purchase price, closing costs are actually a little lower than they were for your parents!
Blame it on computers! Blame it on the growth of the title insurance industry. Services that attorneys performed in the past, such as title searches, are now often automated and done by lower cost dedicated experts. Rather than receiving an attorney’s certification of title, you receive your Owner’s Title Insurance Policy. That policy generally costs a little more than 1/3 of 1% of your purchase price. Some buyers, either completely cash strapped or compulsively miserly, try to shave that expense out of the closing costs.
IT’S OPTIONAL! It’s gotta be like undercoating or other car dealership “add-ons” that most of the experts tell you to avoid like the plague. Right?
Wrong! Dead wrong! Title insurance has become a rock of the real estate conveyancing landscape in America. With the exception of one major title insurance company that went of of existence during the recession of 2008 (Southern Title) thus leaving their title policies worthless to homeowners that purchased them . . . far, far fewer title insurance companies have gone bankrupt than the number of Attorneys who have died after giving a Certificate of Title. They say that Old Attorneys Never Die, they just Lose their Appeal. But seriously, you want a mega-corporation insuring your title to your home. Keep that policy in a super safe place (e.g., a fireproof safe along with wills, life insurance, titles to cars, valuables, etc.). It is a contract between you (and your heirs) and a large company that wants and intends to be around for the next century and beyond.
Rather than bore you here with all the details of why you want an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy when you buy a home, please click this link and read this article which summarizes the benefits far better than I am able.