Real Estate FAQ

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Real Estate FAQ
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Do i need an attorney for a real estate transaction?

Generally, a buyer picks an attorney that will close a real estate transaction. As such, that attorney will primarily represent the interests of the buyer. Attorney will ensure that the seller actually owns the property and hasn’t sold it to someone else, that the seller has the right to convey the property, and that the property is free from encumbrances. An attorney will then obtain a title insurance policy that will protect a buyer from any encumbrances that may have been missed during the title search. Therefore, we strongly recommend to hire an attorney for all of your real estate transactions.

What is title policy and do I need it?

First of all, there are two types of title insurance policies: (1) Owner’s title insurance, called an Owner’s Policy, and lender’s title insurance, called a Loan Policy or Lender’s Policy. Most lenders will require you to obtain a Loan Policy when they issue you a loan. This is generally handled by an attorney during the closing process.

The Loan Policy is usually based on the dollar amount of your loan. It only protects the lender’s interests in the property should a problem with the title arise that wasn’t discovered during the title search. It does not protect the buyer. The policy amount gradually decreases as you pay down your loan and eventually disappears as the loan is paid off.

An Owner’s Policy, on the other hand, is usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase. It is purchased for a one-time fee, paid by the buyer at closing and lasts for as long as you have an interest in the property. Only an Owner’s Policy protects the buyer should a covered title problem arise. Frequent hidden title problems include:

  • Errors or omissions in deeds
  • Mistakes in examining records or title search
  • Forgery
  • Undisclosed heirs

An Owner’s Policy provides assurance that your title insurance company will stand behind you—monetarily and with legal defense if needed—if a covered title problem arises after you buy your home.

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