In our last blog post, we broke down the basics of title insurance for you. After reading it you are probably wondering how to find the right title company. Treat the process like an interview. The right title company will help to ensure a successful transaction.
Here are 10 tips that can help you find the right title company for you:
1. Get Recommendations: Often times your real estate agent, lender and other persons involved will have a recommended title company that they have previously worked with. It is very important to take their recommendations into consideration, but you should also do your own research. Many real estate agencies own or partner with title companies, but you do not have to use the recommended company if it doesn’t feel right. Start with their recommendations to get your list, and then pair it down from there.
2. Search for Reputation: While you are doing your research keep an eye out for online reviews of the contending title companies. It’s as easy as putting “title company near me” in your preferred search engine. Various title companies will appear like this screenshot:
It shows me three locations nearest to my location. If you wanted to see more there would be many more title companies that would appear. The three that appear all have different ratings if any. Just by looking at this the average viewer would lean towards the title company with 5 stars. While the 3-star company might be just as good, it doesn’t have as many reviews to prove it.
Taking a closer look at the 5-star company, we can see its top three reviews, all with very helpful and reassuring comments. We don’t recommend relying solely on reviews from your search engine, but it doesn’t hurt to pair down your list. Talk to peers who have recently purchased or refinanced a home also. Key things to ask them about is if the work was timely, if they were responsive and if they were friendly.
3. Location: Even though some of the work being done by your title agent can be done remotely, you may want/need to meet with the agent for multiple occasions like your closing. This is also something you will want to talk about with your agent. If you are someone who prefers meeting and talking in person you will want a more local agency for your convenience. If you have an agent who is willing to travel around you may not have to worry about the location of the title company. One of the most important events in this process is the closing and your title agent should be able to attend without an issue.
4. Experience: Generally, when a company is more experienced you are going to get higher quality work. When you are looking, keep an eye out for companies with long-term employees or ones with years of experience just by looking up employee licenses online.
5. Regulatory Compliance: State laws determine how title insurers structure their insurance premiums, but some companies are more compliance-driven than others. Find a title company that prioritizes insurance compliance. Strong indicators of compliance include a willingness to share audit results and proof of licensing. Ask them if all their employees are required to get their title license. This is something that Investment Title does to ensure that all our employees can provide the services you need and answer every question you have. Look at the company’s underwriters as well. The underwriter will be responsible for checking the title to the property to ensure ownership and rights to the parcel of land in question.
6. Additional Fees: Title insurance has a different cost depending on the state and the price of listing. While this is a one-time premium payment, some companies will tack on additional fees such as electronic, processing, and courier fees. If you are interviewing a company that has additional fees for their service, make sure to ask all the questions to see if it is worth it. Look for the arrangement that offers maximum protection and reasonable rates. Some states have rate manuals that are broken down and easy to read. Contact us for more details.
7. Transparency/Communication: Transparency and communication are important during every step of the home buying or refinancing process, so it wouldn’t be any different with your title insurance. The purpose of title insurance is to discover and protect you and your future home from any defects or problems. As a home-buyer, you want your title agent to be as transparent as possible. Especially if this is your first time buying, you most likely don’t understand what title is (read “Breaking Down Title” to learn!) and will need someone who can answer all your questions and communicate with you effectively. When deciding on a company to work with, think about the way they communicate. Can they contact you via phone, email, face to face, text, fax, or all the above? Any way you decide, they should be contacting you the way you prefer to be contacted. You can figure this step out when you’ve narrowed down your search to a few companies. Simply just ask them if they can communicate with you in the way you prefer.
8. Services: Various title companies offer different services, from escrow to settlement and more. Each company should have a list of their services when you visit their website. Find out how much each of the company’s services cost and make sure it aligns with the state fees. See if they have exactly what you are looking for and possibly more!
9. Technological capabilities: Every company should be well adjusted to new technological advancements, this means plenty of digital copies to ensure nothing gets lost on someone’s desk. Make sure your choice of company is up to date with technological procedures. Things to mention; are they insured for wire fraud from cyber-attacks (the #1 leading cause of title claims), and what are their procedures to protect your funds?
10. Preference: Lastly, choose the company/person that both you and the seller are comfortable working with. If the seller is the one purchasing the title insurance, then make sure there is clear communication. The buyer should still get a say in the choice of company. Once narrowing down your choices, ask your top candidates for a break down based on your loan amount. Compare the statements and decide on the title company that fits your needs. company.
Hopefully by using these steps you were able to narrow down your choices. Maybe Investment Title is one of your choices! With a lot of research, you are sure to find the title company that fits you best.
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