Understanding Title Insurance

Understanding Title Insurance

Title to a property is a record detailing the owners of the property and rights associated with the ownership. Title typically shows a progression of ownership from the first owner to the current one. Title is a fairly simple concept, but when it goes wrong it is a nightmare. That is where title insurance comes in, and why it’s important to understanding title insurance.

Title Insurance

Title insurance guarantees that the title on a property is marketable when you purchase the home, condo, land, etc. You should always pay for title insurance. It typically costs a few hundred dollars and will save you a bundle if problems arise.

When you buy title insurance, a title insurance company researches the title for the property. The insurance company will look to see if the title is clear. Clear simply means that the seller is truly transferring title to you and no other person can claim ownership. While this sounds fairly simple, rest assured that title problems arise all of the time.

Title Problems

You might be wondering how you could possibly have title problems. Here are a few examples:

  1. Divorcing Couples Divorce is unpleasant and sometime very ugly. In particularly nasty situations, one spouse may attempt to sell a home without telling the other. To gain clear title, you need both spouses to sign off on the sale. If you dont, you are going to become a party of the divorce proceedings. Now, wouldnt that be fun?
  2. Estate Sales If you are purchasing a house as part of an estate sale, there can be real problems. The heirs may not be getting along and in an effort to get whats mine, may try to sell the residence without including all the heirs in the transaction. If you buy this home, you could end up involved in a lawsuit filed by an heir left out of the transaction.
  3. Ingress and Egress Issues Title to a property can have technical issues related to egress and ingress. Occasionally, one finds title to a property that is so messed up that the owner doesnt have the right to enter or leave the land because to do so would require crossing another persons property. In short, the property is landlocked and something must be worked out with the neighbors. Typically, a solution comes in the form of hard, cold cashlots of it.

These are just a few issues that can arise with title. With real estate, unique issues can arise all the time.

If you buy title insurance, you dont have to worry about problems with title. If a problem arises, you calmly pick up the phone and call the title insurance company. The insurance company will come up with a solution, even if it means paying you for bad title.

Mortgage Fraud

Effective June 1, 2009 all residential properties (single family homes, condominium units and buildings with up to four units) in Cook County, Illinois will become subject to the amendments to the Illinois Notary Public Act contained in Illinois Public Act 095-0988 (the “Act”) in an effort to combat mortgage fraud in Illinois residential real estate transactions. The practical effect of the Act is that Illinois notaries will have to comply with the Act for all covered Cook County conveyances.

The Act is a pilot program applicable only to Cook County real property conveyances from June 1, 2009 through July 1, 2013. The Act will require Illinois notaries to take and save a copy of the right thumbprint of all individuals selling residential property in Cook County. The Act provides that if a right thumbprint is not available, alternative digits can be used. The thumbprint record must be saved by the notary for seven years and is not subject to copying or inspection under the Freedom of Information Act. The Act proscribes a Notarial Record form for the collection and retention of the record of the thumbprint. The Act does not exclude developers of individual condominium units in multi-unit projects from the fingerprinting requirements. Developers who do not want their in-house notaries to be bothered with the Act’s record retention requirements should plan on attending closings at a title insurance company for at least the next five years !

Effective June 1, 2009 all residential properties (single family homes, condominium units and buildings with up to four units) in Cook County, Illinois will become subject to the amendments to the Illinois Notary Public Act contained in Illinois Public Act 095-0988 (the “Act”) in an effort to combat mortgage fraud in Illinois residential real estate transactions.  The practical effect of the Act is that Illinois notaries will have to comply with the Act for all covered Cook County conveyances.The Act is a pilot program applicable only to Cook County real property conveyances from June 1, 2009 through July 1, 2013.  The Act will require Illinois notaries to take and save a copy of the right thumbprint of all individuals selling residential property in Cook County.  The Act provides that if a right thumbprint is not available, alternative digits can be used.  The thumbprint record must be saved by the notary for seven years and is not subject to copying or inspection under the Freedom of Information Act.  The Act proscribes a Notarial Record form for the collection and retention of the record of the thumbprint.  The Act does not exclude developers of individual condominium units in multi-unit projects from the fingerprinting requirements.  Developers who do not want their in-house notaries to be bothered with the Act’s record retention requirements should plan on attending closings at a title insurance company for at least the next five years !

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