Why the Title Company You Choose Matters
A four-bedroom colonial with a swimming pool … a cozy condominium nestled in the woods … a contemporary townhouse close to a bustling downtown.
No matter what type of home you’re looking for, the homebuying journey often begins with finding a trustworthy and knowledgeable mortgage lender and real estate agent. However, choosing a title company to research the title and close the transaction of your dream home may not be a top-of-mind consideration. Let’s talk about why it should be!
Title insurance companies protect the new owners right against anyone who may try to claim ownership. It’s designed to protect, homeowners and mortgage lenders from financial losses due to defects in titles. A title company checks the validity of the ownership of the property’s title and once all requirements have been met, issues title insurance to the buyer as the new owner of that property.
The primary role of title companies is to ensure that titles are free of liens and other encumbrances. In addition, these companies and their settlement agents handle the closing paperwork and file the necessary documents with the appropriate agencies. The also maintain escrow accounts containing the funds needed to close on a home..
How to Find a Title Company
You may be wondering: What party in a real estate transaction chooses the title company? While the buyer and seller have the right to choose a title provider, an experienced real estate professional typically points them in the right direction.. In Michigan, the buyer and seller may each choose their own title company to represent them at the closing and issue the title insurance. According to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the buyer has the right to choose their side of the transaction that insures the lender.
That said, federal law prohibits real estate agents from requiring buyers and sellers to use a specific title company “as a condition of the sale.” Experienced real estate and lending professionals normally refer companies that they are familiar with but consumers have the final say on the selection of a title agency. In fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requires lenders to provide you with a list of title insurance providers in your area prior to closing. You can always ask your real estate agent or loan officer for this list, or even shop around for coverage on your own.
While cost is important, there are several other factors to consider when selecting a company, including its local expertise, service standards, market conduct and commitment to the local community. A helpful resource is the American Land Title Association (ALTA) consumer education website, homeclosing101.org, where you can search for companies that handle closings in your area.
What to Look for in a Title Agent
So, why does the title company you choose to work with matter? After completing the many steps involved in buying a home, you’ll want to be sure you can count on a reputable company to close the deal. By researching the title company’s reputation, experience and how they bill for their services, you can have the peace of mind from knowing a smooth closing experience will be the top priority. Here are some of the factors to consider when looking for a good title agent:
- Reputation: To find a title company that’s reputable and trustworthy, you can check out their website to research their professional experience and services offered and take a look at online reviews such as Google.
- Eye for Detail: To avoid mistakes and keep your information safe, the title company should use up-to-date technology and be able to search for potential title issues in the public record.
- Fees: The company should disclose its fees, as well as what’s included in the service.
- Office Location: If you’ll want to sign the closing paperwork in person, you can close at your real estate professionals office or at your title company if they are nearby. Even better, choose a company that offers convenience of closing anytime anywhere.
- Customer Service: You can ask potential companies how they actively protect your money, how they protect against identity theft and wire fraud, and whether they’ve handled transactions similar to yours. You can also ask them to explain their process and what’s expected of you.
- Escrow Process: You should make sure the title company you choose uses a fast and efficient escrow transfer processes to allow for easy transactions.
- Security and Innovation: Data and computer systems security is an essential priority for a good title company, as has innovative technology , eSignings and a convenient web portal.
- Legal Expertise: The best title companies often have experienced real estate attorneys on staff who know the ins and outs of title and closings.
- Compliance: Maintaining compliance with regulations is a must for your chosen title agent.
On the other hand, mistakes and delays due to overlooking any part of the due diligence and closing process can be costly — which is why it’s important to not ignore red flags that may indicate a title company is not on the up and up. Be sure to look for a pattern of complaints from former clients when reading online reviews.
Missed deadlines on the part of title companies can cause headaches and unnecessary stress for all of the parties involved. If the title agent skips a step due to their lack of experience, your closing could be delayed or your purchase done incorrectly. In addition, without an easy system for transferring funds, the escrow process could slow down the time it takes to finalize the sale. What’s more, a lack of security could create dangerous vulnerabilities in the closing process.
Vanguard Title Provides a Better Closing Experience
With nearly three decades of serving the real estate and lending communities in Michigan and beyond, Vanguard Title has always made client satisfaction our chief priority. We take pride in utilizing the latest title and closing technologies to ensure a smooth and seamless transaction. Plus, we adhere to federal and state consumer protection statutes, while implementing ALTA’s Best Practices, so you can have the utmost confidence in our service.
Our staff of skilled title and closing professionals has successfully handled thousands of real estate transactions, and our clients rely on our expertise to make certain their transactions are closed accurately and on time. Keeping your schedule in mind, we offer convenient closings at times that are favorable for you. From beginning to end, we keep all parties involved in each transaction informed and updated, explaining everything at the start to minimize any confusion and ensure there are no surprises along the way.
No matter what the home of your dreams looks like, we’re here to help make sure your closing goes off without a hitch.