Unpaid or delinquent tax payments can also raise a red flag as a title issue. “Tax issues are not unheard of. They aren’t as expensive as fraud, but these are some common reasons why people buy title insurance,” adds Clements.
For many consumers, problems normally covered by title insurance are gray areas, ones that buyers may not completely understand even when seated at the closing table. For this very reason, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently proposed changes that will help real estate professionals across the board better serve consumers, allowing for more transparency in the industry and more education for unaware consumers. Part of these proposed changes is ensuring that lenders are working with quality business partners and settlement providers with higher security and operational compliance standards.
“Lenders are really making this flight to quality. They don’t want a bad reputation because some title company without financial standing caused an issue for one of its consumers. We’re seeing lenders become very focused on ensuring a high-quality experience and a high level of financial stability,” says Marvin Stone, CFPB program manager for Stewart Title.
The CFPB is also working to create and pass new consumer-designed Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms that will replace the Good Faith Estimate, Truth-in-Lending Disclosure and HUD-1 statements. The new forms will be easier for homebuyers to understand and will be partnered with a three-day rule that states that all disclosures must be in the buyers’ hands three business days prior to closing. These changes, along with new requirements lenders must consider when underwriting loans, all aim to simplify the process for everyone involved, particularly consumers.