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What Is a Title Agent and Why Do You Need One?

Monday, December 28, 2020

Are you buying or selling a home? Are you wondering if you need a title agent at your closing?

If you're new to real estate, a title agent can seem like an unnecessary seat at the closing table, especially if you already have a real estate agent and attorney. Yet their role is indispensable and they're responsible for more than you may think.

What is a title agent, and why do you need one?

Let's take a look.

What Is a Title Agent?

Before a property can be bought or sold, a title agent can let you know whether or not it's legally available for sale. A property may, for example, have unpaid taxes, liens, or mortgages against it that prevent it from getting sold. 

A title agent can help to rectify any problems that arise and make sure that the compromise is acceptable to both the buyer and the seller. A title settlement agent can also search for easements or leases, which will affect the sale of the property. 

What Does a Title Agent Do?

Before a sale gets completed, a title agent can supply a "title opinion letter" that states that a property is clear to get sold. If any issues arise, they will detail the issues in the letter. 

Finally, the title agency facilitates the paperwork that enables the title of the property to get transferred to the new owner. They will write a final statement providing important legal details. Any taxes, title fees, or lender fees will be clearly spelled out.

in the end, a title company will collect money from the buyer's mortgage and use it to pay off the seller's expenses. All documentation from the transaction will get filed at the county court, and the new owners will receive a deed to the property. 

It's important to note that the title and deed for your property aren't the same. While a deed legally transfers property from one owner to the next, a title is a document that certifies that you own the property.

The title gives you the right to possession, control, and enjoyment of your property. It also entitles you to ask others to leave the premises if you wish. 

Do I Need a Title Agent at My Closing?

An agent from the title company is usually present at a house closing. They will sign the title over from the homeowner to the buyer.

A title agent is almost always necessary if a home purchase is getting financed because mortgage lenders require title insurance. This will protect the interest of your lender until your loan gets paid off or gets refinanced. It also protects the new homeowner by insuring their property rights.

If you're purchasing a house for cash, or no money is involved in the transaction, you may not need title insurance. 

How Does Someone Become a Title Agent?

Title insurance licensing will depend upon the state the agent does business in. It helps the agent to have a background in sales or experience in real estate.

State laws may require individuals to have a background in title duties. This can include researching titles or performing real estate closings. If they don't have the right experience, they'll need to complete pre-licensing training.

Agents may also be required to pass a licensing exam. In some states, a certain number of hours of continuing education may be required.

The exact requirements for becoming a title agent will vary from state to state. The state of Pennsylvania, for example, requires twenty-four hours of continuing education credits for licensed agents who aren't attorneys. Those who are licensed attorneys must complete three credit hours. 

How Do I Find a Good Title Agent?

Your real estate agent or attorney may recommend a title agent as you approach closing. Make sure you read online reviews and see what former clients are saying.

If you don't get any personal reviews, look up title insurance agents in your area online and ask for at least three former clients that you can speak to. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Was the agency reliable, timely, and efficient? Did they resolve any issues that came up effectively? Were there any unexpected fees along the way?

Be sure to choose a local agency, as these outfits will have insider knowledge of the laws, requirements, and common problems in your area. You'll also likely be visiting the office several times.

A title insurance agent will charge between a few hundred dollars and $2,000 for their services. Before you hire one, get estimates from at least three different companies in your area. 

The state you live in will have the largest bearing on how much you'll end up paying for title insurance. You'll want to know that the price you're agreeing to is reasonable for the services your getting.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Professional Title Agent?

Liens and unpaid taxes on a property are common, and a title agent can ensure that your transaction happens smoothly and honestly. They can help sellers and buyers negotiate payoff so that both parties are satisfied.

When it comes to closing itself, a title agency provides necessary notary services. They can also help with contracts.

Besides their primary duty of performing title searches and supplying title insurance, title agents can also help to coordinate the entire closing process. They will make sure there are safe handling and distribution of funds. They can also hold on to important documents until all required conditions have gotten met. 

The Right Title Agent

What is a title agent? In short, a title agent ensures that property is legally available for sale and helps the buyer secure insurance so they can get a loan for their new home. The right title agent is critical for a smooth and amicable home sale.

Don't stop getting real estate savvy now. for quality title insurance agent services, contact us today.

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