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Dispelling Myths: What Every REALTOR® Should Know about Title Insurance

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By Jeremy Yohe

Here’s an example of how an Owner’s Policy can protect a homeowner. Say your client recently purchased a new home from a builder. Unfortunately, the builder failed to pay the roofer. Wanting to be paid, the roofer filed a lien against the property. Without a title search alerting your client to this lien, and an Owner’s Policy protecting them, your client would become responsible for paying this debt—meaning they’d be paying the roofer instead of purchasing new living room furniture.

When purchasing real estate, consumers are free to select their own title professional or company. You can also make a recommendation or encourage consumers to ask friends and neighbors if they were happy with the title company they worked with and get a referral. Also suggest to your clients that they utilize a company that is part of its state’s title association or the American Land Title Association. If they are members, they are likely keeping abreast of state and federal trends and requirements.

Title insurance rates are regulated by state insurance departments. In addition, title insurance and real estate closing practices are regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Keep in mind that title insurance industry practices vary due to differences in state laws and local real estate customs. Who pays for the Owner’s Policy varies from state to state and sometimes even within a state.

For more information about title insurance, or to find a company that can issue an Owner’s Policy, please direct your clients to www.homeclosing101.org.

This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group.

Jeremy Yohe is the director of communications for the American Land Title Association.

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