I just discovered a new web site that let’s you shop for (drumroll please) title insurance. I know! This is probably the most excitement title insurance companies have seen since, well, probably ever, really.
CLTA TitleWizard(tm) lets you search title insurance rates. This new service is being brought to consumers and real estate professionals by from Closing.com and the California Land Title Association.
You might be wondering that exactly title insurance does for you. Well, unlike most types of insurance that protect you from events that might happen in the future, title insurance protects you from what may have happened in the past. Specifically, it ensures that the title to your property really is free and clear and there are no liens, claims or encumberances that affect the ownership of your home.
There are two types of title insurance policies – CLTA and ALTA. CLTA provides basic coverage, ALTA provides more.
That’s the description of the two policies in a nutshell, and there are policies for both owners and lenders. Typically, lender’s policies are the ALTA policies, and owner’s policies are CLTA policies. The Financial Title Company site has a fairly good breakdown of the types of policies if you’re interested in learning more about them.
One thing to keep in mind is that when you buy San Francisco real estate, the title company you select also handles the escrow process, and while CLTA TitleWizard(tm) will let you shop for rates between the various title insurance companies and potentially save a few bucks, in reality, you’ll find that most prices are pretty close. And when it really comes down to it, it may be worth it to pay a few more dollars to be assured a smooth escrow process with no snags.
The odds are that most home buyers haven’t had too many experiences with title companies (even if you buy a home every 5 years, it’s not that often to be familiar with a company’s customer service), so be sure to ask your REALTORÂ® what their preferred title company is. We deal with title companies on a daily basis, and we all have our favorites for different reasons (my criteria is knowledgable staff, prompt communication and timely recording of closing documents and deeds).
If you have questions about title insurance, feel free to contact a title company, or your San Francisco REALTORÂ®!