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Top 5 Questions About Title Insurance

Buying a home is, for many of us, the biggest single investment we’ll ever make.  Knowing this, most homeowners provide for the security and safekeeping of their homes by insuring them against hazards such as fire, theft and weather damage.
But there is another hazard that can pose an even greater risk to homeownership:  Defects in the title to your property can cause you to lose part or all of the investment in your home.
Fortunately, there is a way to protect your investment from these title defects.  It comes in the form of title insurance.  

What is title insurance and why do you need it?  We’ve listed the answers to these and other commonly asked questions.  

We suggest that you read through this information carefully.  It will help you to better understand the value of title insurance in protecting your homeownership.  And the general real estate information will help make the home-buying process a smoother one.

What is a title?

A title is the foundation of property ownership.  It is the owner’s right to possess and use the property.

Why is transferring the title to real estate different from transferring the title to other items, such as a car?

Because land is permanent and can have many owners over the years, various rights in land may have been acquired by others (such as mineral, air or utility rights) by the time you come into possession of it, even if the land has never before been built upon.  So in order to transfer a clear title to a piece of land, it is first necessary to determine whether any rights are outstanding.

What is a title search?

A title search is a detailed examination of the historical records concerning a property.  These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many other documents.  The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership, and to discover any claims, defects and other rights or burdens on the property.

What kinds of problems can a title search reveal?

A title search can show a number of title defects and liens, as well as other encumbrances and restrictions.  Among these are unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments against the seller and restrictions limiting the use of the land.

Are there any problems that a title search cannot reveal?

Yes.  There are some “hidden hazards” that even the most diligent title search may never reveal.  For instance, the previous owner could have incorrectly stated his marital status, resulting in a possible claim by his legal spouse.  Other “hidden hazards” include fraud and forgery, defective deeds, mental incompetence, confusion due to similar or identical names and clerical errors in the records.  These defects can arise after you’ve purchased your home and can jeopardize your right to ownership.
Heartland Abstract has the ability to offer policies insuring any property in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Our primary focus is in Eastern Pennsylvania, including Montgomery, Berks, Chester, Lehigh, Delaware, Philadelphia, Bucks, and Northampton Counties. Our Pottstown location is uniquely situated to offer service to a wide range of counties and millions of people in Pennsylvania.   
We want to hear from you.  Please contact us if we can provide you with a title insurance rate quote or answer any questions you may have.

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