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Title Insurance FAQs

  • What Is Title Insurance?

    Title insurance is protection against loss arising from problems connected to the title to your property.

    Before you purchased your home, it may have gone through several ownership changes, and the land on which it stands went through many more. There may be a weak link at any point in that chain that could emerge to cause trouble. For example, a homeowner along the way may have forged a signature in transferring title away from estranged relatives. Or there may be unpaid real estate taxes or other liens. Title insurance covers the insured party for any claims and legal fees that arise out of such problems.

  • It is if you need a mortgage, because all mortgage lenders require such protection for an amount equal to the loan. It lasts until the loan is repaid. As with mortgage insurance, it protects the lender but you pay the premium, which is a single-payment made upfront.

    For Purchase transactions, an Owners Policy is optional. However, it is heavily advised as a protection against future lawsuits and or challenges.

  • The required insurance protects the lender up to the amount of the mortgage, but it doesn't protect your equity in the property. For that you need an owner's title policy for the full value of the home. In many areas, sellers pay for owner policies as part of their obligation to deliver good title to the buyer. In other areas, borrowers must buy it as an add-on to the lender policy. It is advisable to do this because the additional cost above the cost of the lender policy is relatively small.

  • No, title policies are indemnity policies, they protect against loss, and a lender policy would only cover the lender's loss. Of course, the fact that the insurer issued a policy to the lender indicates that the title has been searched and nothing amiss has been found, but no search is 100% dependable. That is why an insurance policy is issued.

  • With the exception noted later, title insurance only protects against losses from claims that arose prior to the date of the policy. Coverage ends on the day the policy is issued and extends backward in time for an indefinite period. This is in marked contrast to property or life insurance, which protect against losses resulting from events that occur after the policy is issued, for a specified period into the future.

  • Indefinitely. The owner's protection lasts as long as the owner or any heirs have an interest in or any obligation with regard to the property. When they sell, however, the lender will require the purchaser to obtain a new policy. That protects the lender against any liens or other claims against the property that may have arisen since the date of the previous policy.

    For example, if the contractor you failed to pay for remodeling your kitchen places a lien on your home, you are not protected by your title policy; the lien was placed after the date of the policy. You will probably be required to get the lien removed before you can sell the property. But in the event the lien hasn't been removed and a search has failed to uncover it, the new lender will be protected by a new policy.

  • The standard policy does not. Many events beyond your control can reduce the value of your house after you buy it. If it is a newly-constructed house, sub-contractors claiming they had not been paid by the builder may place a lien on the house. Identity theft can result in a new mortgage you know nothing about. A neighbor could build on your land without your knowledge, thereby adversely possessing and possibly eventually taking your land. Or you may suddenly be told that you must correct a zoning violation of the previous owner.

    To deal with these issues, preventative communication with your neighbors, builders, contractors, and neighbors is advisable.

  • No, but coverage under the ALTA policy referred to above increases by 10% a year for the first 5 years after issuance, to 150% of the initial amount. You can buy additional coverage as a rider to the policy.

    If your policy does not have such a rider and your property has appreciated sharply in value, you may be able to purchase additional coverage on the same policy by paying an incremental fee. The fee should be modest because no new title search is involved. The coverage will only apply to title defects that existed prior to the original date of the policy. To extend the coverage to events that may have clouded the title since the original policy, you would need to take out a new policy with a new search and pay the full rate.

  • You don't need a new owner's policy, but the lender will require you to purchase a new lender policy. Even if you refinance with the same lender, the existing lender's policy terminates when you pay off the mortgage. Furthermore, the lender is concerned about title issues that may have arisen since you purchased the property, such as the lien mentioned in an earlier question. A new title search will uncover the lien, and you will have to pay it off as a condition for the refinance.

    Insurers generally offer discounts on policies taken out within short periods after the preceding policy. In some cases, discounts are available as far out as 6 years from the date of the previous policy. Ask for it, it may not be offered if you don't.

  • No. Title insurance does not prevent loss of marketability due to a title claim, any more than fire insurance prevents fire. If a claim arises, you probably won't be able to sell your property until the claim is settled by the title insurer. The interest of the owner and the insurer may clash in such cases. The owner usually wants settlement immediately, whereas the insurer wants to minimize the cost of settlement, which may require time-consuming negotiations with the claimant.

  • One major reason is that the services covered by the title insurance premium vary in different parts of the country. In some areas, the premium covers not only protection against loss but also the costs of search and examination, as well as closing services. In other areas, the premium covers protection only, and borrowers pay for the other related services separately.

    To complicate it further, in some states the charges for title-related services are paid to title insurance companies, which perform the functions but charge separately for them. In other states, borrowers may pay attorneys or independent companies called abstractors or escrow companies.

    Of course, what matters to the borrower is the sum total of all title-related charges. These also differ from one area to another in response to a variety of factors. The 50 states have 50 different regulatory regimes, which affect charges. So do local costs, competition in local markets, and other factors. This is a largely unstudied segment of the economy that would make a nice PhD dissertation for a student in economics!

  • Yes, although few exercise it the shopping for Title and Closing agents is strongly encouraged. Most leave it up to one of the professionals with whom they deal - real estate agent, lender or attorney - to select the carrier. This means that competition among title insurers is largely directed toward these professionals who can direct business rather than toward borrowers. This is changing due to strongly written TRID regulations suggestions consumers deserve to shop.

  • It is a good idea to ask an informed but disinterested local professional whether it pays to shop in the area where the property is located. Just keep in mind that those likely to be the best informed may not have any involvement in the transaction at hand.

  • Under existing rules, they are not. If the tax code was logically consistent, however, premiums paid by borrowers on lender policies - those that protect only the lender - would be deductible. The same is true of mortgage insurance.

Innovative Technology

Real Time Tracking & Price Quotes

Through Nations' (NTA) proprietary on-line operating system, WebTRAX Nations is able to post real time updates as they are received through a PDA compatible, encrypted vendor website.

The NTA clients enjoy a state of the art online LE & CD rate quote engine which is complete with all recording fee, and transfer tax fees in all applicable US Counties.

Fast, Easy Direct Integration Capabilities

Currently, NTA partners with every major national 3rd party LOS interface in the industry such as: RealEC, Calyx Point, Encompass, and many others.

Don't want to use a 3rd party LOS, or Web Portal? Nations in-house development team has built over 50 custom direct integrations with client's proprietary LOS.

Customized Client Reporting Suite

NTA clients have up to the minute status reports available at their fingertips. With the ability to customize any type of title or settlement report, NTA is more than just a "service provider".

E-Signatures & Digital Closings

All of the latest E-Signature and Digital Signature technologies and consumer authentication practices are available at NTA. Consumers enjoy the safety and convenience of closing real estate transactions in their homes.

Security & Compliance

Service and Security isn't just our Policy... it's our Commitment!

Nations Title Agency (NTA) is certified SSAE18 security compliant because of its high integrity in regards to industry TRID Regulations and Best Practices.

  • NTA uses state of the art encryption and defense to make sure sensitive information is protected against identify theft and other threats.
  • NTA uses secure, redundant backup servers to ensure high operational availability.
  • Grant Thornton Certification of SSAE18 Security Levels.

Best Practices

  • All NTA locations are licensed as required to conduct business in applicable states.
  • NTA maintains top level secure controls of Escrow and Trust Accounts.
  • All information security policies are written and followed with the highest levels of protections in mind for Non Public Private Information, or NPPI.
  • All NTA associates are trained on industry security, and background checked for consumer protection.
  • Title Insurance Policies are issued with maximum protection on a timely basis for both Lenders and Consumers.
  • Errors & Omissions & Fidelity coverage are at the top of industry standards with NTA.
  • Consumers have a voice to communicate with Nations before, during, a real estate transaction.

Real Estate Glossary

As you may have learned while shopping for your new home, the real estate industry can sometimes feel like it has a language all its own. And while many terms in real estate are universal throughout the nation, for example "title insurance", which protects your property against hidden liens or potential ownership issues, always means "title insurance", words describing or relating to the same thing often differ considerably in various parts of the country. For example, "closing" in one area is sometimes called a "settlement" or "escrow" in another.

The Nations Real Estate Glossary provides simple definitions for some of the most common terms you can expect to hear during the closing process.

While this glossary is intended to provide accurate explanations and definitions for some of the most common real estate terms, this page is not exhaustive and may not be 100 percent accurate in all jurisdictions. Thus, these definitions are for general purposes only and should not be used for legal purposes. Please consult with your Nations representative to see if these terms apply in your area.

The Alphabetical List of Foreclosure Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


ABSTRACT - An abbreviation of the cardinal aspects of all recorded deeds, mortgages, leases and other instruments affecting the title to a particular piece of land.
ABSTRACTING - The process of making and compiling an abstract.
ABSTRACTER - The person or company engaged in making abstracts.
ADVERSE POSSESSION - The unauthorized occupation of land belonging to another, by a person who does not have the consent of the owner. Said occupier is said to hold possession adversely to the rights and interests of the owner. In most states, by operation of law, title to the land becomes vested in such occupier after a fixed number of years of peaceful occupancy.
ALL-INCLUSIVE RATE - When referring to title insurance, an all-inclusive rate is a rate that includes at least some part of the cost of researching the title or the cost of conducting the closing.
ALTA - American Land Title Association, the national trade association for the title insurance industry. ALTA is made up of title firms that conduct your closing and issue you an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance.
AMORTIZATION - This term has developed through French and Old English from the Latin words "mors" or "mort" meaning death or dead. It is the killing off of an existing debt by regular partial payments. The word "mortgage" is also derived from the same Latin root.
APR - Annual Percentage Rate. The yearly interest percentage of a loan as expressed by the actual rate of interest paid.
APPRAISAL - An estimate of value of property from analysis of facts about the property; an opinion of value.
ATTORNEY'S OPINION - The written statement of an attorney setting forth what he believes to be the condition of a real estate title.


BASIC RATE - When referring to title insurance, the basic rate is the rate charged to a consumer who does not qualify for a reduced rate.
BROKER - One who acts as an agent for another in negotiating sales or purchases in return for a fee or commission.
BROKERAGE - A fee or commission paid to a broker.


CERTIFICATE OF TITLE - In areas where attorneys examine abstracts or chains of title, a written opinion, executed by the examining attorney stating that title is vested as stated in the abstract.
CHAIN OF TITLE - Beginning with a conveyance out of an original source of title such as a government, each succeeding deed, will or other medium which conveys and transfers the title to succeeding owners constitutes a link in the chain of title. The chain of title is the composite of all such links.
CLAIM - A right to assert, or the assertion of, a demand for payment of money due; or the surrender or delivery of possession of property or the recognition or some right. A demand for something as one's rightful due.
CLOSING - In some areas called a "settlement." The process of completing a real estate transaction during which deeds, mortgages, leases and other required instruments are signed and/or delivered, an accounting between the parties is made, the money is disbursed, the papers are recorded, and all other details such as payment of outstanding liens and transfer of hazard insurance policies are attended to.
CLOSING STATEMENT - A summation, in the form of a balance sheet, made at a closing, showing the amounts of debits and credits to which each party to a real estate transaction is entitled.
CLOUD ON TITLE - An irregularity, possible claim, or encumbrance which, if valid, would adversely affect or impair the title.
COMMISSION - The amount due a real estate broker, mortgage loan broker, or real estate professional for services performed in such capacity.
CONDITIONS - This term is first cousin to restrictions and reservations. It refers to provisions in deeds and other real estate instruments which provisions make a particular right contingent upon the occurrence of some future event.
CONTRACT - Same as "agreement," but usually more formal.
COVENANT - A formal agreement or contract between two parties in which one party gives the other certain promises and assurances, such as covenants of warranty in a warranty deed.


DEED - A written document by which title to real estate is conveyed from one party to another.
DEED BOOK - A book among the public records in which deeds are recorded.
DEFAULT - Failure to perform a promised task or to pay an obligation when due.
DEFECT - A blemish, imperfection or deficiency. A defective title is one that is irregular and faulty.
DEPRECIATION - Loss in value occasioned by ordinary wear and tear; destructive action of the elements; or functional or economic obsolescence.


EARNEST MONEY - Down payment or a small part of the purchase price made by a purchaser as evidence of good faith.
EASEMENT - A right held by a person to enjoy or make limited use of another's real property.
EGRESS - The right to a path or right-of-way over which a person may leave or go away from his own real estate.
EJECTMENT - (1) Eviction or dispossession. (2) A law suit to regain possession of real estate held by another.
EMINENT DOMAIN - The right of a government to take privately owned property for public purposes under condemnation proceedings upon payment of its reasonable value.
ENCROACHMENT - The extension of a structure from the real estate to which it belongs across a boundary line and onto adjoining property.
ENCUMBRANCE - A claim, right, or lien upon the title to real estate, held by someone other than the real estate owner.
ENDORSEMENT - Addition to or modification of a title insurance policy which expands or changes coverage of the policy, fulfilling specific requirements of the insured.
ESCROW - Technically, this term strictly refers to a deed delivered to a third person to be held by him until the fulfillment or performance of some act or condition by the grantee. In title industry parlance it means the depositing with an impartial third party called the escrow agent (usually the title company) of anything pertaining to a real estate transaction including money and documents of all kinds which are to be disbursed and delivered to the rightful parties by the escrow agent when all conditions of the transaction have been met.
ESCROW AGREEMENT - A written agreement usually made between buyer, seller, and escrow agent, but sometimes only between one person and the escrow agent. It sets forth the conditions to be performed incident to the object deposited in escrow, and gives the escrow agent instructions with respect to the disposition of the object so deposited.
ESTATE - (1) A sizable piece of rural land usually with a large house and other pretentious improvements. (2) The whole of one's possessions, especially all of the property, assets, debts, and liabilities left by a deceased or bankrupt person. (3) The nature and extent of an owner's rights in real estate.
EXAMINATION - In title industry terms, to peruse and study the instruments in a chain of title and to determine their effect and condition in order to reach a conclusion as to the status of the title.
EXAMINER - Usually referred to, in title industry terms, as title examiner. One who examines and determines the condition and status of real estate titles.


FEE SIMPLE - The highest degree of ownership which a person can have in real estate. An interest in real estate which gives the owner unqualified ownership and full power of disposition.
FIRST MORTGAGE - A mortgage having priority as a lien over any other mortgage or lien on the same property.
FORECLOSURE - A legal proceeding for the collection of real estate mortgages and other types of liens on real estate, which results in cutting off the right to redeem the mortgaged property and usually involves a judicial sale of the property to pay the mortgage debt.


GENERAL WARRANTY - A warranty provision in a deed or mortgage or other real estate instrument containing all of the common law items of warranty. Also known as a full warranty.
GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE - An estimate of closing costs the lender is required (under the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) to give to the buyer within at least three days of applying for a mortgage loan. This is the lender's estimate - it must be completely accurate regarding the lender's own charges and is supposed to be reasonably close to the charges third-party providers such as title insurers/agents, attorneys, surveyors, etc., may change. You should check with those third-party providers, however, regarding how much they will charge if you have any questions or concerns prior to settlement.


HAZARD INSURANCE - Real estate insurance protecting against fire, some natural causes, vandalism, etc., depending upon the policy. The buyer often adds liability insurance and extended coverage for personal property.
HEIR - A person who inherits or who is entitled to inherit real estate by provisions of law or under the provisions of a will.


INGRESS - The right or permission to enter; also the means or place of entry such as a right-of-way across adjoining land.
INTESTATE - Dying without leaving a legal will.


JOINT TENANTS - Two or more persons who hold title to real estate jointly, with equal rights to share in its enjoyment during their respective lives with the provision that upon the death of a joint tenant, his share in the property passes to the surviving tenants, and so on, until the full title is vested in the last survivor. A joint tenant cannot legally sell or encumber his interest without the consent or joinder of all of the other joint tenants.
JUDGMENT - A conclusion or determination by a court of law usually awarding the payment of money or relief of some kind to one of the parties to a lawsuit.



LEASE - An agreement granting the use or occupancy of land during a specified period in exchange for rent.
LIEN - The liability of real estate as security for payment of a debt. Such liability may be created by contract, such as a mortgage, or by operation of law, such as a mechanics lien.
LIS PENDENS - A pending lawsuit. A lis pendens notice is legal notice to the world that a lawsuit is pending.
LOAN POLICY - A policy of title insurance issued to the mortgage lender insuring against loss by defects in, liens against, or unmarketability of title.


MARKETABLE TITLE - A title which a court of equity considers to be so free of material defects and liens that it will force the title's acceptance by questioning purchaser. Also known as a merchantable title.
MARKET VALUE - An average between the highest price which a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, would pay and the lowest price a seller, willing, but not compelled to sell, would accept.
MECHANIC'S LIEN - A lien on real estate, created by operation of law, which secures the payment of debts due to persons who perform labor or services or furnish materials incident to the construction of buildings and improvements on the real estate.
METES AND BOUNDS - A land description in which boundaries are described by courses, directions, distances, and monuments.
MORTGAGE - A temporary conditional pledge of property to a creditor as security for the payment of a debt which may be cancelled by payment.



OPINION - In title industry terms, referred to as title opinion. The conclusion and judgement of a skilled person as to the status of a title, based upon a title examination.
OWNER'S POLICY - A policy of title insurance usually insuring an owner of real estate against loss occasioned by defects in, liens against, or unmarketability of the owner's title.


POWER OF ATTORNEY - A legal instrument authorizing one to act as another's agent or attorney.
PREMIUM - (1) The amount payable for an insurance policy. (2) A sum of money or bonus paid in addition to the regular price.
PROBATE - A legal procedure in which the validity and probity of a document, such as a will, is proven.
PROMISSORY NOTE - A written promise to pay or repay a specified sum of money at a stated time, or on demand, to a named person. In addition to the payment of principal, a promissory note usually provides for the payment of interest.
PUBLIC RECORDS - The transcriptions in a recorder's office of instruments which have been recorded, including the indexes pertaining to them.


QUIET TITLE SUIT - A lawsuit brought by an owner of real estate for the purpose of cancelling, wiping out, and putting a quietus upon supposedly immaterial, inconsequential, and unenforceable claims and interests which cloud his title.
QUIT CLAIM DEED - A deed which does not imply that the grantor holds title, but which surrenders and gives to the grantee any possible interest or rights which the grantor may have in the property.


REALTOR - A copyrighted trade name which can be legally used only by those persons belonging to the National Association of Realtors.
RECORD TITLE - The aspects of a title which appear in the public records as distinguished from unrecorded title aspects and interests.
REFINANCE RATE - When referring to title insurance, the refinance rate is the reduced rate for a Loan Policy issued on the new loan in a refinance transaction, in which the original loan was previously insured within some period of years. Please consult the "Shopping for Title Insurance" section of this site for more information.
REISSUE RATE - When referring to title insurance, the reissue rate is the reduced rate for an Owner's Policy of title insurance issued on a property which was previously insured within some period of years. In some states, the term is also used for a refinance rate. Please consult the "Shopping for Title Insurance" section of this site for more information.
RIGHT OF WAY - (1) The right to pass over property owned by another, usually based upon an easement. (2) A path or thoroughfare over which passage is made. (3) A strip of land over which facilities such as highways, railroads, or power lines are built.
RIPARIAN RIGHTS - The many rights of a person in, to, and over the banks, bed, shallows, shore, and water of a stream or body of water upon which his land borders.
RISK RATE - When referring to title insurance, the risk rate is a rate that does not include the cost of researching the title or the cost of conducting the closing. Please consult the "Shopping for Title Insurance" section of this site for more information.


SEARCH - In title industry terms, a careful exploration and perusal of the public records in an effort to find all recorded instruments relating to a particular chain of title.
SECOND MORTGAGE - A mortgage ranking in priority immediately below a first mortgage.
SETTLEMENT - (See Closing.)
SIMULTANEOUS ISSUE RATE - When referring to title insurance, the simultaneous issue rate is the reduced rate for a Loan Policy or Owner's Policy of title insurance issued on the same property or loan at the same time as another policy. The term usually refers to a Loan Policy issued at the same time as an Owner's Policy when a property is purchased. Please consult the "Shopping for Title Insurance" section of this site for more information.
SPECIAL WARRANTY DEED - A deed which warrants the title only with respect to acts of the seller and the interests of anyone claiming by, through, or under him.
SUBDIVISION - An area of land laid out and divided into lots, blocks, and building sites, and in which public facilities are laid out, such as streets, alleys, parks, and easements for public utilities.
SURVEY - (1) To determine the location, boundaries, area, or the elevations of land and structures upon the earth's surface by means of courses in relation to the North Star, and the measuring of angles and distances by using the techniques of geometry and trigonometry. (2) The map or plat drawn by a surveyor which represents the property surveyed and shows the results of a survey.


TAX LIEN - The lien which is imposed upon real estate by operation of law which secures the payment of real estate taxes.
TENANCY BY ENTIRETIES - An estate or interest in real estate predicated upon the legal fiction that a husband and wife are one person. A conveyance or devise to them (unless contrary intent is expressed) vests title in them as one person. Upon the death of either husband or wife, full title passes to the survivor.
TENANT - (1) Usually one who holds possession of real estate under a lease. (2) In a broader sense, one who holds or possesses lands and tenements by any kind of title.
TENANTS IN COMMON - Two or more persons in whom title to a single piece of real estate is vested in such a manner that they have a common or equal right to possession and enjoyment of the property, but each holds a separate individual interest or estate in the property. Each owner may sell or encumber his respective interest or dispose of it by will, and if he dies without leaving a will, his heirs inherit his undivided interest.
THIRD PARTY - A term usually applied to persons who are not principal parties to a contract or other instrument, but who have some right, interest or duty which such contract or instrument affects. For example, where a sale contract between buyer and seller of real estate provides that the money and documents involved in the transaction will be deposited with a title company pending the closing of the deal, the title company becomes a third party to the transaction.
TITLE - (1) A combination of all the elements that constitute the highest legal right to own, possess, use, control, enjoy, and dispose of real estate or an inheritable right or interest therein. (2) The rights of ownership recognized and protected by the law.
TITLE COVENANTS - Covenants ordinarily inserted in conveyances and in transfers of title to real estate for the purpose of giving protection to the purchaser against possible insufficiency of the title received. A group of such covenants known as "common law covenants" includes: (a) covenants against encumbrances; (b) covenant for further assurance (in other words, to do whatever is necessary to rectify title deficiencies); (c) covenant of good right and authority to convey; (d) covenant of quiet enjoyment; (e) covenant of seisin; (f) covenant of warranty.
TITLE DEFECT - (1) Any possible or patent claim or right outstanding in a chain of title which is adverse to the claim of ownership. (2) Any material irregularity in the execution or effect of an instrument in the chain of title.
TITLE EXAMINATION - (See Examination.)
TITLE INSURANCE - Indemnity against loss resulting from defects in or liens upon a title.
TITLE PLANT - (1) In many areas, synonymous with Abstract Plant. (2) A geographically filed assemblage of title information which is to help in expediting title examinations, such as copies of previous attorneys' opinions, abstracts, tax searches, and copies or take-offs of the public records.
TITLE SEARCH - A search and perusal of the public records for recorded instruments which affect the title to a particular piece of land. (See also Abstract and Examination.)
TITLE SEARCHER - One who searches titles.


UNDERWRITER - An insurance company which issues insurance policies either to the public or to another insurer.



WAIVER - The voluntary and intentional relinquishment of a known right, claim, or privilege.
WARRANTY DEED - A deed containing one or more title covenants. (See Title Covenants.)




Learn about the LE & CD

LE / CD Walkthrough: Explaining Closing Costs

Closing your home should be exciting, and once you understand the process and how it works, it can be.

Here you will find a list of costs commonly associated with closing on a home. Fees may vary depending on where you live, so be sure to talk to your lender, real estate agent, or Nations representative specific information.

All closing costs must be listed on your LE / CD settlement form, a document that is required to be filled out prior to finalizing the purchase of your home.

What are My Closing Costs?

In addition to the sales price of the home, there are a variety of costs associated with finalizing the transaction. Click on any of these links below for more information on these costs:

  • Real Estate Broker Commission/Fees

    If you use a real estate agent to help you in buying your home, the cost of the agent's services can be paid in one of two ways. Generally, the seller pays for all agents in a transaction in an amount usually stated as a percentage of the sales price. While this amount will be deducted, along with other seller-paid closing costs, from any amount the seller might otherwise be paid and is usually stated on the LE / CD, this will not be your charge. Increasingly, buyers in some places are engaging their own so-called "buyer's broker or agent". How they are paid and by whom varies from place to place and can be negotiated in many cases. Sellers frequently also pay for such services on behalf of buyers but if a charge is paid by the buyer, it will also be stated on the LE / CD and added to the amount you'll need to bring to closing.

  • There are certain items the lender may require you to pay at the time of closing or in advance of the actual closing date. These could include:

    Interest - Lenders usually require payment of loan interest from and including the day of closing through the end of the month of closing. After that, interest is accrued and paid as part of the monthly loan installments.

    Mortgage Insurance Premium - At the settlement, you may be required to pay your first year's mortgage insurance premium, or a lump sum premium that covers the life of the loan. This fee is payable to a Private Mortgage Insurance Company. If the loan is being federally insured (FHA) or guaranteed (VA), the mortgage insurance or funding fees for those government loan programs would be charged here.

    Hazard Insurance Premium - Oftentimes lenders require payment of one year's hazard insurance, commonly referred to as homeowner's insurance, against fire, windstorms and natural hazards. In order to bind the coverage, the premium is often paid in advance of closing.

    Flood Insurance - Depending on the location of your home, flood insurance may be required and payment of the first year's premium must be made in advance of closing.

  • Although the lender isn't required to provide an estimate of the reserves they will be collecting, it is important that you be aware of whether the lender will or will not be "escrowing" for taxes, mortgage insurance (if any), hazard and flood insurance. The use of an escrow/impound account to build up the funds needed to pay these items as they become due can often be a good way for borrowers to budget rather than having to pay these large sums out-of-pocket when they come due. Be sure to ask your lender in advance of closing how these items will be paid on a go-forward basis.

  • These fees cover the administrative costs of a title search, title examination, issuance of the title commitment/binder and final title insurance policy(ies.) Also included would be charges for conducting the closing/settlement/escrow. You are free to select the title company to conduct your closing/settlement/escrow, so let your realtor and/or loan officer know you prefer to use Nations.

    Settlement/Closing Fee - A fee must be paid to a settlement agent who has prepared documents, calculated figures, and oversees proper execution of closing documents. This fee is often split between buyer and seller but can be negotiated as part of the sales contract.

    Abstract of Title, Search, Title Examination, Title Insurance Commitment or Binder - In order to ensure that there are no pre-existing problems with your property, a title insurance professional must perform a title search and produce documentation on the home's title. In some places, one or more of these charges will appear separately on the LE / CD and in other places they may be included within the title insurance premium. When a mortgage loan is involved, there may also be added charges for special endorsements that will accompany the lender's title policy.

    Document Preparation - Some settlement agents charge for the cost of preparing legal papers such as the mortgage, deed of trust, note or deed and/or other loan and title documentation. If a lender charges a document preparation fee, it will typically appear in the Loan Fees/Direct Loan Costs section of the LE / CD.

    Notary Fee - Because there are legal documents involved, a licensed notary is required to acknowledge the fact that the proper people signed these official documents in their presence. Notaries often charge a fee for their services.

    Attorney Fees - Both the home buyer and the seller might have their own legal representation to prepare and record legal documents. Frequently, however, where an attorney is acting as a settlement agent, there may only be one involved in the closing. Who pays for those services is a matter of contract negotiation but is often handled like fees paid to any other settlement agent/title agent.

    Title Insurance - There are two kinds of title insurance policies: Loan and Owner's policies. The cost for the Loan Policy is based on the loan amount and the cost for the Owner's Policy is based on the sales price of the home. Who pays these one-time fees at closing varies from state to state. Ask your settlement agent how it is handled in your area. In some circumstances, discounts may be available (such as a "reissue rate" or "reissue credit") when the property has recently been insured by a title insurer. Be sure to ask if you are entitled to any discounts.

    You also have the option of purchasing a policy with expanded coverage. It's called the Homeowner's Policy and it covers more things than the Owner's Policy. Ask your Nations representative for an explanation of the expanded Homeowner's Policy so you can decide which policy is the best one for you.

  • Buying a home is not only a big investment, it is also a matter of public record. The property information and the loan information are required to be filed at the county courthouse or other local government recording office.

    Recording Fees - The recording fee is paid to a government body which enters an official record of the change of ownership.

    Transfer Taxes, Document or Transaction Stamps - These are government charges based on the amount of the mortgage and, often, also on the purchase price. Depending on your location, there could be a city, county or state tax involved, or some combination.

  • Survey Fee - Lenders and title insurers often require a surveyor to conduct a survey of your property to define the property size and boundaries and to see if any part of the building or other improvements are "encroaching" on a neighbor's yard - or the other way around. They are also looking to see if there are any setback violations or other material matters that are considered problematic.

    Inspection Fees - When homes are sold an inspection is often recommended and in some cases the contract may even be contingent upon an acceptable inspection report. This fee covers the cost of an inspector to check the dwelling for any structural problems or issues. Frequently, this is a sales contract term imposed by the home buyer to obtain an accurate assessment of the condition of the property. The work is done prior to closing but the fee is often collected at closing. There are several inspections that a future homeowner might want to request and a lender might require. These could include pest inspections (termites and other wood-destroying organisms), lead paint inspections (for structures built before 1978), roof inspections, water/well certifications, structural or mechanical inspections, or additional specific inspections based on the property type and location.

Why you need title Insurance

When you purchase your home, how can you be sure that there are no problems with the home's title and that the seller really owns the property? Problems with the title can limit your use and enjoyment of the property, as well as bring financial loss. That is what a title search and title insurance are for.

To learn more about title insurance, click on one of the sections below:

  • The Title Search

    After your sales contract has been accepted, a title professional will search the public records to look for any problems with the home's title. This search typically involves a review of land records going back many years. More than 1/3 of all title searches reveal a title problem that title professionals fix before you go to closing. For instance, a previous owner may have had minor construction done on the property, but never fully paid the contractor. Or the previous owner may have failed to pay local or state taxes (See below for some other common title problems). Title professionals seek to resolve problems like these before you go to closing. What happens if a problem arises after you move in? Read on.

  • Sometimes title problems occur that could not be found in the public records or are inadvertently missed in the title search process. To help protect you in these events, as a property seller it is recommended that you obtain an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance to insure you against the most unforeseen problems.

    Owner's Title Insurance, called an Owner's Policy, is usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase. It is purchased for a one-time fee at closing and lasts for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property. Only an Owner's Policy fully protects the buyer should a covered title problem arise with the title that was not found during the title search. Possible hidden title problems can include:

    • Errors or omissions in deeds
    • Mistakes in examining records
    • Forgery
    • Undisclosed heirs

    An Owner's Policy provides assurance that your title company will stand behind you - monetarily and with legal defense if needed - if a covered title problem arises after you buy your home. The bottom line is that your title company will be there to help pay valid claims and cover the costs of defending an attack on your title. Receiving an Owner's Policy isn't always an automatic part of the closing process, and is paid for by different people in different parts of the country. Be sure you request an Owner's Policy and ask how it is paid for where you live. No matter who pays for the Owner's Policy, the fee is a one-time fee paid at closing. The Owner's Policy protects you for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property.

    You also have the option of purchasing a policy with expanded coverage. It's called the Homeowner's Policy and it covers more things than the Owner's Policy. Ask your local title company for an explanation of the expanded Homeowner's Policy so you can decide which policy is the best one for you.

  • There are two types of title insurance: Owner's title insurance, as mentioned above, and Lenders title insurance, also called a Loan Policy. Most lenders usually require a Loan Policy when they issue you a loan. The Loan Policy is usually based on the dollar amount of your loan. It only protects the lender's interests in the property should a problem with the title arise. It does not protect the buyer. The policy amount decreases each year and eventually disappears as the loan is paid off.

  • Here are three short stories on some common title problems:

    Fraud & Forgery

    Those involved in real estate fraud and forgery can be clever and persistent, which can spell trouble for your home purchase.

    In a western state, an innocent buyer purchased an attractive home site through a realty company, accepting a notarized deed from the seller. Then another couple, the true owners of the property - who lived in another locale - suddenly appeared and initiated legal action to prove their interest in the real estate was valid. Under the Owner's Title Insurance Policy of the innocent buyer, bought for a one-time fee at closing, the title company provided a money settlement to protect against financial loss. As it turned out, the forger spent time in advance at the local court house, searching the public records to locate property with out-of-town owners who had been in possession for an extended period of time. The individual involved then forged and recorded a deed to a fictitious person and assumed the identity of that person before listing the property for sale to an innocent purchaser, handling most contacts through an answering service. Also, the identity of the notary appearing on deeds was fictitious as well.

    Fraud and forgery are examples of hidden title hazards that can remain undetected until after a closing despite the most careful precautions. Although emphasizing risk elimination, an Owner's Policy protects you financially through negotiation by the insurer with third-parties, payment for defending against an attack on the title as insured, and payment of valid claims.

    Conflicting Wills

    Conflicts over a will from a deceased former owner may suggest a study topic for law school. But the subject can take on a reality dimension and all too quickly your home ownership is at stake.

    After purchasing a residence, the new owner was startled when a brother of the seller claimed an ownership interest and sought a substantial amount of money as his share. It seemed that their late mother had given the house to the son making the challenge, who placed the deed in his drawer without recording it at the court house. Some 20 years later, after the death of the mother, the deed was discovered and then filed. Permission was granted in probate court to remove the property from the late mother's estate, and the brother to whom the residence initially was given sold the house. But the other brother appealed the probate court decision, claiming their mother really did not intend to give the house to his sibling. Ultimately, the appeal was upheld and the new owner faced a significant financial loss. Since the new owner had acquired an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance upon purchasing the real estate, the title company paid the claim, along with an additional amount in legal fees incurred during the defense.

    Missing Heirs

    When buying a home, it's important to remember what you don't know can cost you.

    A couple purchased a residence from a widow and her daughter, the only known heirs of the husband and father who died without leaving a will.

    Soon after the sale, a man appeared - claiming he was the son of the late owner by a former marriage. As it turned out, he indeed was the son of the deceased man. This legal heir disapproved of his father's remarriage and had vanished when the wedding took place. Nonetheless, the son was entitled to a share of the value of the home, which meant an expensive problem for the unwary couple purchasing the property.

    Although the absence of a will hindered discovery of the missing heir in a title search of the public records, an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance issued for a one-time fee at the time of the real estate transaction would have financially protected the couple from the claim by the missing heir. For a one-time charge at closing, an Owner's Policy will safeguard against problems including those even an exhaustive search will not reveal.

    An Owner's Policy is necessary to fully protect a home buyer. Lender's title insurance, which is usually required by the mortgage lender, serves as protection only for the lending institution.

  • When you refinance you are obtaining a new loan, even if you stay with your original lender. Your lender will usually require a new title search and Loan Policy to protect their investment in the property. You will not need to purchase a new Owner's Policy; the one you bought at closing is good for as long as you and your heirs have an interest in the property.

    Even if you recently purchased or refinanced your home, there are some problems that could arise with the title. For instance, you might have incurred a mechanics lien from a contractor who claims he/she has not been paid. Or you might have a judgment placed on your house due to unpaid taxes, homeowner dues, or child support for instance. The lender needs reassurance that the title to the property they are financing is clear.

    Ask if you qualify for a "refinance" rate, sometimes called a "reissue" rate. These rates are not available in every state, and you might have to meet some criteria to be eligible, so be sure to ask.

  • Construction of a new home raises special title problems for the lender and owner. You may think you are the first owner when constructing a home on a purchased lot. However, there were most likely many prior owners of the unimproved land. A title search will uncover any existing liens and a survey will determine the boundaries of the property being purchased. In addition, a builder may have failed to pay subcontractors and suppliers. This could result in the subcontractor or supplier placing a lien on your property. Again, lenders want to be sure the property has clear title, and they are insuring the correct property. Purchasing an Owner's Policy will protect you against these potential problems and pay for any legal fees involved in defending a claim.

  • The Right to Choose Your Own Title Agent/Company

    A good time to shop for title insurance is when you choose a real estate agent, and, or, a lender has prequalified you for a mortgage.

    You'll have an idea of the price you can pay for a home or land, and a title insurance agent or company can use that information to estimate your title insurance and closing costs.

    There are several ways you can find a title insurance and closing agent or company:

    • You can look up title insurance agents, agencies and companies in the phone book.
    • You can check online for title insurance agents, agencies and companies in your area.
    • You can ask for recommendations from your real estate agent, attorney, mortgage lender, financial institution or builder.
    • Questions to Ask Before You Buy Title Insurance

    When you shop for title insurance, be sure to ask the title agent or company the following questions:

    • How long have you been licensed to sell title insurance in [INSERT STATE]?
    • What title insurance company do you sell policies for?
    • Are you related or affiliated in any way with my real estate agent, mortgage lender, home builder or attorney?
    • Will anyone be paid a referral fee or commission or be compensated if I buy title insurance from you or a company you represent?
    • In addition to title insurance premiums, what other fees and charges will I pay?
    • Do you charge a cancellation fee if I don't buy title insurance from you after you do a title search?

    When you choose a closing agent, be sure to ask the following questions:

    • Can you give me a list of all the fees and charges I would pay if you were my closing agent?
    • Are your closing staff licensed title insurance agents?
    • How and when do you conduct closings?
    • Who will handle my closing?
    • When will you give me a copy of the CD or does a lender?
    • Do you have references or testimonials available?

    Closing your loan can vary from state to state, and even within the same county or city. Nations Lending Services or Nations Title Agency has national coverage, as well all local offices in many areas. Visit our Office Locator to find an office near you. You may save money by choosing the correct title company, so let your realtor or loan officer know you would like to use Nations Title.

  • An owner's policy of title insurance is intended to provide the homeowner with peace of mind about their legal rights to real property.

    Whenever the homeowner has any question or concern about his or her rights, he or she should promptly notify the title insurance company whose name appears on his title policy. The title policy includes instructions for contacting the title insurer, usually at the end of the "Conditions and Stipulations" section within the policy.

    If you are unable to locate your policy, or are unsure whether you purchased a policy, you should contact the title company, title agent or attorney that handled your purchase and inquire about your coverage. You can determine if you have title insurance coverage by reviewing the settlement statement (CD) provided at the closing of your purchase, which itemizes receipts and disbursements by the closing officer. For example, charges for an owner's policy of title insurance are listed on line 1110 of the standard CD form of settlement statement. Contact information for the title insurer may also be found in telephone directories, on the internet, or by inquiry to your state department of insurance.

    When giving notice of a potential claim to the title insurer, you should include the property address, a brief statement of the question or matter that concerns you, copies of any claims documents received, and a copy of your owner's policy (if available).

    Remember, the broad coverage of title insurance includes protection against frivolous claims, or "clouds" on title that may not present an immediate problem. So it's best to contact the title insurer promptly, as soon as you have any question or concern about your legal rights with insured land.

  • Nations welcomes your questions on title insurance and real estate closings. For more information, contact a Nations representative at: sales@nationscompanies.com.

Client Testimonials


American Bank Loan Officer

They made themselves extremely available and made closing on time a very easy process.

Dennis and Mary

Utah Homeowners

This being my first home I am so, so happy. I can not put in words how happy I am. Thank you very much for all of your help.

Lance and Julie

California Homeowners

Nice and helpful to us before, during and after the closing. Good job and thank you very much.


Bank of America Borrower

Thank you for your professionalism and kindness. I am a military veteran with multiple disabilities and was treated with kindness, respect and was explained all the details.


US Bank Manager

We have been fortunate throughout our careers to have been able to work with many wonderful people in a variety of capacities, concerning a large number of issues. The folks at Nations Title Company have established the benchmark for competence, integrity and professionalism within this outstanding group of people.

Todd and Dawn

Kentucky Homeowners

Nations was wonderful and helped explain all of the documents we signed. Their closer was prompt and courteous on returning calls with any questions that we had.


PNC Bank Loan Officer

I would definitely recommend Nations Title to my friends. My escrow officer was very prepared and prompt. It went so smooth I couldn't believe it.


Arizona Branch Manager

Nations Title has demonstrated in every transaction that they are committed to providing professional, efficient and high quality service. Their dedication to customer service makes it a pleasure to work with them.


Florida Homeowner

Very pleased with this process. For being a first time home buyer I was treated with great respect and everything was explained in detail. All questions were answered and everything went great! Very friendly staff. Thank you for making this possible and helping me.


Wells Fargo Manager

In my experience, the quality of service delivered by the Nations Title team is unsurpassed in the industry. The team is smart, thorough, responsive, and very well connected. There is no challenge too big or too complicated for these professionals.

Karen and Dave

Kansas Homeowners

I was nervous because I was reaching the deadline for the first time homebuyer tax credit but Nations Title made sure everything was completed timely. Thank You!


Stonegate Executive

Nations Title has mastered the art of creating value for their clients by providing the resources, information, and service necessary to execute transactions efficiently.


Tennessee Realtor

This is the easiest title company that I have ever worked with! They saved me a lot of time.


PNC Bank Manager

The excellent service and efficiency of the Nations staff take much of the difficulty out of the closing process.


Georgia Homeowner

Meeting me at work was fantastic. Very professional operation start to finish. This was the perfect close to an otherwise nervous experience.


US Bank Borrower

The professional staff at Nations Title Company rendered impeccable service for our title insurance, appraisal and closing. I give the Nations team my strongest possible recommendation.


US Bank Processor

I can't tell you how impressed I was with your customer skills. Everyone in the process was wonderful and did a great job.


Florida Realtor

Nations Title consistently brings professionalism, attention to detail and diligence to the deal. Having them involved always makes my job so much easier.


Nebraska Realtor

Out of all of my life working in real estate and mortgage, I have never ran across such a proficient and pleasant company in this business before.

Anjela and Kevin

Arizona Homeowners

I really appreciated the excellent service and caring attitude during the closing of my new home. Your staff was friendly and trustworthy! Thank You!