Our mission here at Fidelity National Title is to provide you with the quality service and expertise that will result in the successful completion of your real estate transaction. We understand that each client is different, and in that approach, we go beyond the average title company. We work alongside our customers, listening to and anticipating their needs, allowing us to provide the services they need and the respect they deserve. Our clients continually return to us as a result of the personalized service they receive. Your success is our priority.
Our team is experienced in handling all types of files, including commercial, residential resale and refinance, home equity, construction loans and binders, and investment property transactions. This array of experience, not to mention the presence of an attorney in the office, allows us to quickly decipher and solve title issues arising in any real estate transaction. Additionally, several members of our staff are fluent in Spanish as well as English.
TITLE INSURANCE RATES
Title insurance rates are set by the State of Texas and are uniform throughout the industry. No matter which title company you choose, the fee you pay for title insurance is the same. Closing fees, however, vary from office to office. Unlike many companies, who quote you one closing fee and then hit you with other fees necessarily incident to the closing of a real estate transaction, our closing fee covers all administrative fees, other than recording fees, associated with the closing.
ABOUT TITLE INSURANCE
- Limitations on use of the property.
- Mechanic’s liens.
- Easements, rights of way, and other legal obligations are noted in the deed or public records.
- Restrictive covenants limit certain types of use of the property.
It is protection against loss if a covered defect is found in the chain of title to your property.
- Errors in information contained in deeds, mortgages, public records, etc.
- Liens – claims against the property or a prior owner that affect the property and have not been paid or released. Examples include prior mortgages, judgments against prior owners, and taxes.
- Claims to ownership – Someone claiming that they had an ownership interest in the property that was not accounted for in a prior transfer, such as the spouse of a former owner or heir of a deceased former owner.
- Invalid Deeds – such as a purported transfer by someone who did not own the property or who was not mentally competent.
In Texas Title Insurance rates are set by the Texas Department of Insurance and are based on the sales price of the property or the amount of the policy being issued.
- Title Companies can charge fees other than for the insurance itself, such as an Escrow Fee and Courier Fees. You should ask any prospective title insurance company for a list of fees.
- Title Companies, even offices of the same company, vary greatly in the quality of customer service they provide. Recommendations from friends, realtors, and other advisors are invaluable in finding a title company location that provides excellent customer service. It is your home and your money, so you deserve to be kept “in the loop” on your transaction.
THE CLOSING PROCESS
What can be done if a deceased person is in the title and no will exists?
If no will exists, we can prepare an Heirship Affidavit. We will need to know about any children born to the decedent. The Affidavit will be signed by a family member and two disinterested witnesses. It will be filed in the public county records where the property is located.
You just received the title commitment from us, and there is an Abstract of Judgment on Schedule C. What should be done?
Please provide us with the borrower’s social security number, date of birth, and driver’s license number. We will compare this information with the information on the judgment. If the judgment belongs to the borrower, it may have to be paid at closing. If not, we will require a Not Same Person Affidavit to be signed at closing.
If your client must sign documents outside of the United States, be sure to notify us when opening the title. The process of signing in a foreign country can take additional time. It is essential that the lender approve of the manner in which the documents will be signed and acknowledged.
It is best to have the documents signed and acknowledged at the local American consulate. If this cannot be done, a Notary Public of that country can acknowledge the documents, and an Apostille or Certification of Authentication will be required.
There are times when your client may not be able to make it to the closing. If they wish to use a Power of Attorney, the following guidelines must be followed:
• The Power of Attorney must be reviewed and approved by the title company and the lender before closing.
• The Power of Attorney must contain a description of the property in the transaction unless it is a Statutory Durable POA.
• The original Power of Attorney must be provided at closing for recording.
• We must be able to make contact with the person granting the powers unless they are incapacitated.
It’s that time of year again. Shadows are lengthening, leaves are beginning to show a hint of color, temperatures are out of the triple digits, and property tax bills will be mailed out soon …
Tax bills are scheduled to be sent out on or around October 1st. Once taxes are due and payable, they must be paid in full at closing. Even if the tax bill has not yet been issued, the lender may (and probably will) require us to collect an amount sufficient to pay the bill when it does come out.
In a sales transaction with a lender, we will collect this amount from the seller. We will prorate from the date of closing through the end of the year. This prorated amount will be debited from the buyer and credited to the seller at closing. In a cash sale, if the bill is not out, we leave it up to the parties involved whether we collect it or not.
In a refinance or home equity transaction, we will collect the full amount due from the borrower at closing. Again, even if the bill is not out, the lender may require us to collect an amount sufficient to pay it once it does come out.
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding property taxes. We’re here to help you!
The HUD has been reviewed, and the numbers are perfect! Your borrower/buyer is not bringing more money to the table than what had been estimated. All parties have arrived for closing, and the escrow officer asks for the borrower’s driver’s license. It is EXPIRED! What now?
We can accept other forms of ID besides a driver’s license. The following criteria must apply for an ID to be acceptable for closing:
• It is issued by the United States Federal Government or a United States’ State Governmental Agency. A passport or ID card issued by a foreign country is not sufficient.
• It contains the person’s photograph.
• It contains the person’s signature.
Can you do a Mail Away?
The answer is YES! We have a mobile notary service that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the U.S. If you have a client who lives out of town, please let us know when you open the title so we can arrange for this service. The cost is dependent on the location. Home Equity Loans, however, must close in our office.
Do We Need a New Survey?
A survey for a standard lot and block property usually runs about $400. You can save your client money if the seller is able to provide a survey that is acceptable to both the title company and the lender. Here are some things the title company will look for:
• The survey is less than 10 years old.
• The survey was done by a Registered Professional Land Surveyor.
• The survey is dated and signed by the surveyor.
• The survey is stamped with a seal by the surveyor.
• The survey locates all improvements, easements, property lines, driveways, fences, and roadways.
Ultimately the use of an older survey is at the discretion of the title company and the lender. Be sure to provide a copy when opening the title so it can be quickly determined whether a new survey will be required.
Quitclaim Deeds, commonly mispronounced as “Quick Claim Deeds,” are usually used by individuals to transfer title to property. The problem comes about when the new owner tries to sell or refinance the property. It is the title company that has to deliver the news that the Quitclaim Deed is of little value because of the language it contains. A title company generally will not insure based on a Quitclaim Deed because its language does not indicate what interest in the property is actually being given to the new owner.