Purchasing a home in Florida is probably the single biggest investment you will ever make. Before closing on the purchase, you'll want to know that no other individual or entity has a right, lien, or claim to the property. Determining that your rights and interests to the home are "clear" is the business of a title insurance company.
For a one-time title insurance premium, you will receive continuous title insurance protection in an amount equal to the purchase price of the property. This premium typically includes your "owners" policy as well as the "lenders" policy should you also have a mortgage loan.
One of the marked advantages of title insurance is that prior to a policy being issued, the title insurance company completes extensive research into relevant public records, maps and documents to trace ownership of the property and determine if anyone other than you has an interest. Through its research, the title insurance company can usually identify any title problems that may arise and satisfy these problems prior to closing.
Your title insurance owner's policy will describe the property and outline any recorded limitations on your ownership. It will also set forth the title insurance company's responsibilities should any claim covered by the policy terms arise. Typically your title insurance will protect you from loss:
- If someone contests your title in legal action the title insurance company will defend the title at no expense to you.
- If there is a title defect that cannot be eliminated the title insurance company will protect you from financial loss up to the amount of the policy.
To finalize the sale of your new Southwest Florida home, a neutral third party (the title insurance company or real estate attorney) is engaged to assure the transaction will close properly and that title passes legally to you, the new homeowner. The title or closing company insures the lender, if you have a mortgage, holds the earnest money deposits, pro-rates taxes, HOA/Condominium assessments, completes the required forms, and obtains the release documents for any seller loans or liens that need to be paid off with the transaction. They are also responsible for creating a "Warranty Deed" to assure you clear title to your property before the purchase price is fully paid. Once the transaction has "closed," they will record all the necessary documents in the county where your new home is located.
The documentation the title or closing company collects includes:
- Loan Documents
- Tax Statements
- Insurance Policies
- Title Policies
- Sales Contract
- Other Closing Cost Invoices
Once all the instructions of the escrow are met, from the lender or the terms of the sales contract, then closing can take place. The closing company will compile all outstanding fees for both Buyers and Sellers showing them on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. This document shows "who" paid for "what." At the close of escrow, payment of funds by the Buyer shall be made in an acceptable form, e.g., a bank wire.
Upon both Buyer and Seller signing all the escrow documents, the closing company will verify your funds and then give you the keys to your new Southwest Florida home.
For more information on this real estate topic, please feel free to contact us directly. Our associates will be more than happy to assist you in answering any and all questions you may have.
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Page Authored by Benjamin Dona of Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors
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