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Q: What is title insurance and why is it so important to me?

A: Title insurance protects you against losses due to defects in the title of the property caused by past events.  These possible defects may or may not be apparent from a search of the public records.   While defects such as mistakes in legal descriptions, missing or incorrect documentation and other errors and omissions may be readily apparent to a trained title agent, there are many matters which cannot be detected by even the most careful and knowledgeable search of the public records.   These possible hidden title defects include fraud, forgery, missing heirs, incompetence and many other matters.  A title insurance policy will protect you and your heirs as long as you have an interest in the property.   If a claim, valid or not, is made against your title as covered by your policy, your ownership will be promptly defended, in court if necessary, at no cost to you.  If a valid claim is made against your title as covered by your policy, the title insurer protects you by bearing the cost of settling the claim in order to protect your title and keep you in possession of your property.

Q: What is the cost of title insurance?

A:  The rates for title insurance in Florida are promulgated by the State of Florida.  Please see the "rates and costs" section of our website for prices.  In addition to the State promulgated rate as shown in our "rates and costs", a fair rate is also charged for related services such as title search and closing/settlement fees, which are quoted on a case-by-case basis depending on each particular transaction.

Q: Who pays for title insurance?

A:   It is negotiable as to which party is responsible for paying title insurance at the time the buyer and seller enter into the contract for sale and purchase.    It may be customary in certain counties as to which party would be expected to pay for title insurance.  This is one of the many items that buyers and sellers need to discuss with their real estate professional prior to entering into a legally binding contract. 

Q: What is a title search and examination?

A: A title search compiles a history of a property by searching the public records of the county in which the property is located.  A title examination is a diligent, knowledgeable review of those documents to determine if the property is able to be conveyed or mortgaged free of claims, defects or other title issues and problems.  The title agent uses this information to prepare a title commitment which shows the status of title and the documentation required to convey "free and clear" title.  The title search could show defects such as unpaid taxes, judgments, unsatisfied mortgages, uncleared probate issues, incorrect or incomplete recorded documents and the like.  The title agent will then work to clear these items before a closing can take place.  The title search and commitment will also provide information about any restrictions affecting the land.

Q: Can a married person purchase property individually?

A: Yes, in Florida a married person can acquire (purchase) and convey (sell) property individually. However, in the case of homestead property, the spouse must join in the conveyance (sign the deed).

Q: If the note is only in my name, why does my spouse have to sign the mortgage?

A:  If the property is going to be the primary residence of the married couple, then it is necessary for the non-borrowing spouse to sign the mortgage in acknowledgment that he/she knows the property is being encumbered and that there is a note that needs to be paid against same.