You choose your real estate agent, your lender, your moving company and more during a home purchase or refinance but did you also know that you have the right to choose what title company you use during your real estate transaction. Picking the right title company to use could mean the difference between a smooth and hassle-free transaction or a complicated, delayed transaction which adds more stress to the process.
Land Title has come up with six questions you should ask when selecting a title company that we feel are absolute basic standards of service that any reputable title and escrow company should meet.
- Is my money safe? You don't trust just anyone to handle your money on a day-to-day basis and the same should be true when picking a title company. Make sure that the company has controls in process to offer adequate protection for your funds. It is important that the title company has a fully staffed escrow and accounting department that is dedicated to protecting your funds.
Land Title takes every precaution to protect your funds. All escrow accounts are reconciled daily, all wire transfers are subject to dual authorization and approval, and bank-issued electronic security tokens are utilized to generate unique passwords for every transfer. We never share your personal information with outside companies. We carry $10,000,000 in fidelity coverage and $4,000,000 in errors and omissions insurance.
- Is my investment protected? Not only should your funds be protected but your investment as well. A real estate transaction is typically the single largest purchase that most consumers will make so you want to make sure the the title underwriter that is being used is financially stable. It is encouraged to check the financial stability ratings for the underwriter of the title insurance policy.
Land Title only works with the most financially sound underwriters. Old Republic Title and First American Title, two of our underwriters, both maintain unsurpassed claims- paying ability ratings. We also utilize our own underwriter, Land Title Insurance Corporation (LTIC) which also maintains unsurpassed claims-paying ability ratings.
- Is the title company a neutral third party? Some title companies are owned by lenders, real estate firms, or builders. You want to make sure there is not a conflict of interest within this type of affiliated title company. You want to make sure that the title company is providing the a level of service consistent with industry standards and similar to competing title companies charging comparable fees.
Land Title believes that all parties deserve an independent, unbiased title company that will close the real estate transaction according to terms of the contract, free from any conflict of interest. We do not have any affiliated business arrangements with any real estate, lending or builder firms.
- In addition to the premium you quoted me, what are your other fees and charges? You may be hunting for the best deal on title insurance premiums but make sure to do your research on what other fees and charges there may be before picking a particular title company. Cut-rate premiums may also indicate a lack of experience, subpar service or a lack of financial and accounting controls. Lookout for fees such as an electronic delivery fee, overnight courier fees, cashier's check fees, release tracking fees, wire fees, and other title charges that often may add up to be more than the difference between the lower premium and the market share rate charged by reputable title companies.
Land Title discloses our rates up front and does not surprise you with additional "junk" fees. You can access our rates anytime on our website with our easy-to-use and accurate rate calculator.
- Does the title company conduct thorough title searches and report all exceptions? Cross your t's and dot your i's. Title companies are required to perform a "reasonable examination" for every transaction, which includes providing the consumer with actual recorded documents for each exception, as called for in the contract. It is imperative that consumers are working with a title company that will take the necessary steps to identify, disclose and resolve all issues prior to closing.
Land Title employs the most experienced title examiners in the industry to ensure that the consumer receives the most accurate title commitment and policy. We list all exceptions by name and provide links to support documentation online through our exclusive Linked Commitment Delivery system. Land Title spends nearly $1,000,000 every year to maintain accurate real estate records, so we can conduct the most thorough research for every property and disclose all exceptions.
- Is the title company locally owned and operated? Many title companies outsource the production of the title commitment and portions of the closing process overseas. A product prepared by local employees offers advantage that an outsourced product does not. A local company will be more knowledgeable of the local real estate laws and customs as well as the local real estate market. You can expect quicker responses to issues when local management and ownership are intimately involved in the operations.
Land Title has been locally owned and operated since 1967. All of our title and closing services are performed locally, right here in Colorado. With over 50 convenient locations across the state, we are knowledgeable of the real estate laws and customs across the state.
- Does the title company follow the title industry's best practices? The American Land Title Association (ALTA) created Best Practices to help title companies highlight policies and procedures the industry exercises to protect lenders and consumers, while ensuring a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience. The Best Practices cover all aspects of the title industry including settlement services, accounting practices, and data security. Compliance with these Best Practices demonstrates that a title company has dedicated the necessary resources to provide peace of mind to real estate professionals and consumers.
Land Title dedicates significant resources to comply with ALTA's Best Practices. In order to demonstrate our compliance, we engaged an independent CPA firm to conduct an audit to certify that we have the appropriate policies and procedures in place. We will continue to perform internal monitoring and engage independent firms to ensure that our business practices meet or exceed the title industry standards.
For more information about these important questions view our downloadable PDF.