Buying a home? Then you will be buying Title Insurance, but what is it and can you choose the provider?

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What is Title Insurance—and Why do I Need It?

Insurance is just about the only big-ticket item nearly everyone purchases with the hopes of never needing to use it. We buy policies to protect ourselves against future catastrophic illnesses, automobile accidents, and damage to our homes and property. But there is one more type of insurance that is vital for property owners. Title insurance protects your legal right to your own property, ensuring that nothing from the past, such as outstanding mortgages, unpaid liens, or disputed property lines, will ever impinge upon your ability to use or own your property.

To close on any piece of residential or commercial real estate, you need to have a title company verify that the seller has the right to sell the property to you, the buyer, and that the title to the real estate can legitimately be given to the buyer. The title company performs a title search, looking for potential obstacles to the clean transfer of ownership. If a problem with the title is discovered, the issue is disclosed and the necessary remedial action is taken to clear the problem. Once the verification is done, the company backs that guarantee with title insurance, which protects the lender and/or owner in the event that someone comes along and makes a claim to the property in the future. 

“Imagine this nightmare scenario,” says Ken Meccia, President of Statewide Abstract Corp., “you have just moved into your dream home after months of searching, negotiating, packing, unpacking, and decorating. One night, after a long day at work, you go out onto your deck to relax and enjoy the view when you realize it has been dramatically altered. A group of trees in the corner of your property has been cut down. You find out that your neighbor is putting in a pool, but it's partially on your property. Your neighbor insists it is his property, but thanks to title insurance, you can prove that it’s yours and the title company fights the battle on your behalf.”

The title company who provided the insurance is responsible for pursuing the matter with the neighbor as he has essentially made a claim that your legal property belongs to him. That is why the company you choose to work with is as important as the policy that is written. You want a company that knows how to quickly remedy any issue that arises. Another scenario could be that someone rings your doorbell a year after you move in and claims that the house was left to them by a previous owner. This is another example of when your title insurance would kick in. Statewide Abstract has dealt with scenarios like this for 40 years, having closed over 125,000 deals. "We've seen everything," says Meccia. 

“Statewide is the oldest family-owned title company in Westchester, so our depth of experience simply can't be matched,” he adds. “Our dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced team of professionals knows the law, cares about each deal, and goes the extra mile for every client. This is what sets Statewide apart, our experience and depth of knowledge, and our outstanding customer service that is unequalled.”

Did you know? As the buyer, you have the right to request to work with any title agency of your choosing. According to this article on BestLawyers.com....

In most real estate transactions, there are 3 parties who can direct the closing to a title company of their choice: the seller, the buyer, and the lender. The Real Estate Settlement and Procedure Act has clearly defined parties that can and cannot direct the closing. ... The accepted practice in the real estate industry is for the buyer to submit an offer to purchase a property either alone or through an agent. The buyer will then select a title company. However, if the seller or if the agent representing the seller is not comfortable with the title company that the buyer has selected or has a strong opinion on where the closing process should be done, then the seller can counter the buyer’s proposal and suggest an alternative.

If you are buying a home, or even refinancing, you want to make sure YOUR interests are covered. To find out more about title insurance visit Statewide Abstract (www.statewidea.com). They have offices in Westchester at 202 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, NY and in Manhattan at Rockefeller Plaza. To reach Ken Meccia, call 914-683-5900.

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