Why do I need title insurance?
If a buyer is purchasing real estate and anticipates borrowing to do so, a standard lender’s requirement is a title insurance policy that ensures that the lender’s mortgage will have first priority over other possible claimants. A title insurance policy ensures that the buyer owns the property which is critical before the buyer makes the investment.
How long does it take to get a title commitment?
A typical loan commitment can be issued in about a week. This provides sufficient time for a searcher to check the county records, and for the title company to do investigation as to the property and accumulate prior title policies, contracts, surveys, and other relevant documents. If a prior title policy is available, this can help speed the process. If there are issues relating to the title, it can take longer. If time permits, a title commitment can be expedited.
How long will it take before my transaction can close?
The time it takes to close on a real estate transaction varies according to the circumstances and the availability of the information needed so that a title commitment can be issued, and a closing statement can be prepared. A residential transaction might typically take 30 days, but it can take less time if the information is available and all the participating parties have provided the documentation needed to close the transaction. A commercial transaction may take longer, but similarly, if all of the information is available, the transaction can close more quickly.
Is a title insurance policy similar to a survey?
No. One of the standard exceptions contained in a title policy is that it does not ensure that the boundaries conform to an exact legal description. This is typically the subject of a survey. Often it is prudent for a buyer to purchase a survey, or review the survey obtained by a seller. Title insurance warrants that ownership of the property will be in the name of the buyer. Additional endorsements are available relating to the legal description for the property, but a survey is typically needed, and there are additional charges.
What if an estate is involved?
Many of our search requests come from attorneys who are working on real estate that is associated with an estate. Depending on whether the estate is being probated or not, and depending on the state of the title, additional considerations come into play to ensure that a personal representative has the ability to convey the real estate.
Does a title insurance policy warrant that every conceivable claim to an easement has been reviewed as part of the title search?
No. The title search will locate easements that have been recorded in the county records, and are associated directly with the property. However, sometimes there are other parties making use of a property, but there is no easement of record. For example, there could be a manhole cover on property from a utility company, but for some reason no easement was ever obtained from the owner. Because this use is unrecorded, it will not show up in a title commitment or policy. Extended title insurance coverage is available to deal with unrecorded easements, at an additional charge.
Does the title insurance policy ensure that I will have access to the property?
Yes. The title policy affirmatively ensures against loss or damage sustained or incurred by reason of lack of a right of access to and from the land. While the title policy ensures that there is legal access, it does not ensure the exact location of the legal access, nor does it ensure physical access. If access is a critical concern, you should discuss this with the title representative.
If the property is being sold by an entity, are there additional requirements?
Yes. Whether the entity is a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company, a seller needs to confirm that the entity is in good standing with the appropriate authority, and that the parties who will sign the papers to sell the property have the legal authority to do so.
How is payment handled at the closing?
The Illinois Title Insurance Act requires that a payment of $50,000 or greater received from any single party be made by wired funds. If the payment is less than $50,000, a cashier’s check, or bank money order may be accepted. The parties should confer with the title company prior to closing to confirm the manner in which payment will be required.
Do I need an attorney?
A title insurance agency does not perform legal services on behalf of its customers. If you need legal advice, you should consult an attorney. A real estate transaction is often a complex process, and can be of great financial significance to the party involved. We encourage you to seek legal advice.
Does a title insurance policy warrant the zoning for the property?
No. The zoning for the property is a record typically maintained at the municipal or county level, and is not typically reflected in the title records. Therefore, to ensure the zoning of the property, contact must be made with the appropriate municipality or county.
What is a closing protection letter?
A closing protection letter provides the insurance underwriter’s assurance that a closing will be properly conducted and that the funds for closing will be properly disbursed. When title insurance from ATG is specified for your protection in connection with a closing, subject to certain conditions and exclusions, ATG will reimburse for an actual loss incurred by you in connection with a closing conducted by the title agency. A closing protection letter may be requested by a party in connection with a closing, and the letter should be reviewed closely to understand what it does, and that it is subject to certain conditions and exclusions.