Frequently Asked Real Estate Title Questions

A title is a right to ownership of specific real estate property. Included is the right of possession, right of exclusion, right of control, the right of enjoyment, and right of disposition. Titles can change hands through a will, court decree, law, or by selling the property. Any time a title is transferred it is recorded in a deed and filed with county clerks.

Many defects can hinder the transfer of a title, such as:

  • Errors in tax records
  • Fraud
  • Forged documents
  • Unpaid judgments
  • Unfiled liens
  • Heirs
  • False affidavits

Unless you are paying cash for your home, your lender will more than likely require you to purchase title insurance. It’s advisable to purchase a policy to protect yourself as well. By doing so, you are protecting yourself from title defects that may give someone else claim to your property. You can choose between an Owner’s Title Policy and a Homeowner’s Title Policy that offers additional coverage. Read about the differences and make an informed decision.

There are many things title insurance protects you against, but some of the most common are:

  • Fraud
  • Forged deeds, releases or wills
  • Misinterpretations of wills
  • Deeds by minors or by persons of unsound mind
  • Deeds by persons supposedly single, but in fact married
  • Liens
  • Unpaid taxes
  • Unpaid inheritance

The insurance policy will pay for any legal defense costs and will reimburse you for any mortgage payments you are unable to make due to losing the house to someone else’s claim on it.

The Owner’s Title Policy includes all the basic coverage items, and the Homeowner’s Title Policy goes beyond the basics and provides expanded coverage and benefits. Read about the differences to make an informed decision.

A Homeowner’s or Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance is paid for at closing of a purchase of real estate. Coverage lasts as long as the land is held and may last forever for any title warranties made when the property is sold.

A title search is an assessment of the historical record of a given property.

The title search examines deeds, court records, the existence of unresolved liens, recorded code violations, restrictions of use, easements, any judgment that might have been filed against the title, or any other burden.

This is done to make sure that the seller has the right to transfer the property to a third party.

The title agent carries out a thorough research in the county records to discover if there are any problems with the title that might jeopardize the buyer’s future ownership.

Escrow is when the closing agent holds funds, documents, securities, or other property for the seller and buyer during the process of the real estate transaction.  When the deal is complete, the closing agent distributes the legal documents and funds according to the buyer’s and seller’s instructions.

To close a real estate transaction in Ohio, the seller must sign a deed of conveyance as well as a set of other documents supplied by the title company, including a closing statement that details the costs, fees, and distributions of the funds from the sale.  The buyer shall provide any final closing costs by immediately available funds (by cashier’s check under $10,000, by a wire for amounts in excess of $10,000) and sign documents provided by their lender, if applicable.  After all of the documents have been signed and all of the funds have been received and placed into the title company’s escrow account, the deed is presented to the county auditor and then the county recorded for transfer of title.  The title company provides the original deed to the buyer after recording with the applicable county has been completed. 

A title company represents the transaction that the parties are involved in, and in doing so, has the best interest of all parties to the transaction in mind. Title work is not about favoritism or looking out for the best interests of either a buyer or seller specifically, rather, the title company is a neutral party, focused on due diligence and best practices involving each and every independent transaction. 

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