When you’re ready to make a real estate transaction, selecting the right title insurance company can make a measurable difference in your experience, not to mention your peace of mind. Many people don’t know that even if they are required to secure title insurance, as a buyer or borrower they have the freedom to choose the title insurance company that is right for them.
Investigating title insurance company choices is not to be taken lightly; buying a house is often one of the largest financial transactions in a person’s life. And since most people may not understand what title insurance is, it’s important to educate yourself about the qualifications and qualities that help a title insurance company rise above the others.
Here are five things to consider when selecting a title insurance company.
#1 Shop for experience, because it matters. Title insurance can be a complex business, requiring broad-based knowledge of all types of real estate transactions. Make sure your title agent has the experience to handle the particulars of your transaction. If they specialize in another form of real estate transaction that’s different than yours, you’ll likely want to keep looking. Just as important is to tap the knowledge of your real estate agent or lender. Ask what title company they recommend and how that company performs.
#2 Look for services that work for you. Consider whether you are offered closing times that are convenient for you. In addition, you may want to ask whether e-recording is offered, as its immediate recording feature eliminates discrepancies or potential fraud by previous owners.
#3 Look into how well the company representatives communicate. Do they respond quickly to emails, texts, web-based contact forms and phone calls? Is there significant lag time before they respond to your queries? This could be a red flag. Do they speak in terms that are difficult to understand, or do they seem to be distracted when you are talking with them? These may signal communications weaknesses that could become big frustrations down the line.
#4 Be aware of ancillary title insurance fees. Did you know homebuyers spend on average two to seven percent of the cost of their home on closing costs? That’s not insignificant, so, it’s worth paying attention to where your money is going and how much of it is going there. Most fees are regulated by the State Department of Insurance, depending on where you buy your property. But fees charged by title companies themselves can vary, and shopping around can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars. You will want to keep your eyes open for fees that might include:
- Recording fees
- Reconveyance fees
- Courier, overnight delivery, and wire fees
- Electronic document fees
- Release tracking fees
- Mobile notary fees
#5 Determine whether the office location is convenient for you. You’ll need to visit the escrow office at least once, and maybe more, during the course of your real estate transaction to fill out paperwork, provide documentation or make a financial transaction. It may seem like a small matter, but you’ll be relieved when the title insurance office is conveniently located near your home or work, so you don’t have to make multiple long trips to and fro.
The bottom line is when it’s time to close, you want an expert on your team. Choosing the right company for title insurance is an important part of the property-buying experience, as a carefully-selected title insurance company can give you the confidence and peace-of-mind you deserve.