What does title to real estate mean?

When lawyers and other real estate professionals talk about “title”, they are referring to who has legal ownership and the right to use a piece of property. Defective titles can result in problems establishing ownership, which can complicate resale or impact the use of property.

What is title insurance?

Title Insurance is the opinion of the condition of title to property backed by a policy of insurance.

Why do I need title insurance?

Title insurance will protect your ownership interest in the real property from prior claims and will protect your lender’s financial interest in the real property.  A Lender’s Policy covers the amount of the loan (which is usually less than the purchase price) and the lien priority of the lender’s mortgage.  While an Owner’s Policy is not required, it is highly recommended to protect your financial and ownership interest in the real property you are buying.

Can I choose who provides me with my title insurance?

Generally, if you are paying for the Owner’s and/or Lender’s title insurance policy, you have the right to select the title agency of your choice.  If a Lender is involved in the transaction, you should confirm your choice of agency with them prior to moving forward.

What is the Cost of Title Insurance?

Title insurance rates are set by the Pennsylvania Insurance Commission based on the sale price or mortgage amount.  As these rates are set by the Commonwealth, the amount you pay for title insurance will not vary from agency to agency.

Are there other costs associated with purchasing real property in Pennsylvania?

Closing costs vary based on the nature of the transaction (commercial v. residential), recording costs with the local Recorder’s Office, document preparation and other expenses.

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