Title companies must comply with federal, state, and local regulations to transact real estate and act as escrow agents. Running title searches to verify the property has a clear or marketable title means they know what is typical for that jurisdiction and what signals a potential problem.
One way to measure a company’s expertise is to consider their longevity in the business. While education programs can teach you a lot, there are some things you pick up from the so-called “school of hard knocks.” The longer they’ve been in the business, the more likely they have encountered challenging cases and found solutions.
2 – Reputation
Your real estate representative is happy to provide you with recommendations for a title company. Real estate agents work with all the title organizations in a particular area. If they trust someone to handle your business, that’s usually a good sign.
Still, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Go ahead and do some more in-depth research. Ask your friends, family, or colleagues who have recently transacted real estate in the area who they used and if they recommend the company. Look at online reviews and to see if the company delivers excellent customer service and timely communication.
3 – Customer first
You may not think of the title industry as a customer service-oriented industry, but it definitely is. Title companies must accommodate the customer and whatever they need. Consider the convenience of their location to you and if they can handle remote or virtual closings. The title company should make you feel welcome from the beginning and always make you feel that they have time for your questions. When you speak with the title company’s representatives, did they sound professional and patient, or was the conversation short and clipped?
4 – Financially sound
Remember, the title insurance policy will protect your home, which is likely the most valuable asset you own. Claims against the title are rare, but they tend to cost thousands to rectify when they do happen. Ownership claims can happen at any time, even decades after you purchase the property. Will your title company be there down the road?
Look up the companies’ financial ranking using agencies, like Demotech or Kroll Bond Rating, to see if it is sound and likely to be there when you need them. Independence Title has been providing services since 2003, which means we weathered the Great Recession of 2007. Our underwriters have been working in the industry even longer.
5 – Title fees
Closing costs are not necessarily set in stone. There are areas for negotiation. In your closing agent interview, ask about their fee structure. Verify who will pay for the different fees, the buyer or the seller. Remember, in Florida, the person paying for the title search and title insurance typically has the first claim on the company used.
Select your title insurance company
You likely invested time in interviewing the right real estate agent. Apply the same due diligence to select the title company that will bring your transaction to a close. At Independence Title, we bring almost two decades of experience helping Florida home buyers and sellers confidently transact real estate to the highest professional standards.