Consumers

We created this webpage with the understanding that buying, selling and/or refinancing your home is a complicated process today. We are here to help, feel free to contact any one of our professional staff members with any questions.

To help clarify the process of title and escrow we have outlined the important topics you should know.

Shopping For Title and Escrow Services

Consumers are free to shop for title insurance and to select a title and escrow company, to conduct their closing. Many consumers rely on their real estate agent or lender for a recommendation for a title company since they are in a position to know which companies provide good service. We are consistently ranked number 1 in market share and strive for excellent customer satisfaction. Because the closing process involves so many parts we believe it is important that you choose Escrow Officers and Title Officers with proven experience and reputations. If you decide to shop your own title company, we encourage you read our testimonials.

Benefits of Title Insurance

Because real estate is one of our most valued passions and so highly regarded, special laws have been created to protect ownership of the land and buildings erected thereon. Pacific Northwest Title examines the history of the property and issues title insurance to protect buyers and sellers of real estate, and mortgage lenders, against discrepancies or defects in ownership rights to the property. In Washington, home sellers customarily purchase “owner’s coverage” for their buyers, and buyers purchase “lender’s coverage” for their lenders. A title search can disclose (read more)

How Title Insurance Premiums are Regulated

Unlike most other kinds of insurance, title insurance protects against risks arising from past events rather than future events. Premiums include the costs of title searches, overhead, claims and profit. In Washington State, title insurers are regulated by the Insurance Commissioner, and under state law, insurers and agents must be licensed and maintain title plants, and may not sell any other type of insurance. Insurers must file their rates with the Insurance Commissioner, the Commissioner may order rates modified if he finds them “excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory,” but has no authority to approve or disapprove particular rate filings.

How does title insurance differ from other types of insurance?
Title Insurance is unlike auto, life or health insurance. Title insurance protects against risks arising from past events rather than future events. One time premiums are paid when consumers buy, sell, or refinance their property rather than monthly premiums paid for auto, life or health insurance.

How long does my coverage last?
Title insurance lasts as long as the insured has an interest or liability (based on warranties created under the seller’s conveyance) in the property. For the buyer, the coverage last as long as the buyer or his/her heirs (as defined in the title policy) own the property. For the lender, the policy is in effect until the lien of the loan is either paid in full or released from the property.

Types of Policies

In Washington, the Homeowner’s Policy of Title Insurance is customarily issued for only the sale of a 1-4 Single Family Residences/Condominiums This product is a plain language policy, which is the default policy in the MLS purchase and sale agreement, and is an evolution of title polices for the consumer. Coverage ranging from defects in the record chain of title to certain zoning and encroachment issues and future occurrences. This policy is subject to maximum dollar limits of liability described in Schedule A therein. Read more on the terms, conditions and stipulations of the Homeowner’s Policy of Title Insurance.

Alternatively, the 2006 ALTA Owner’s Policy, issued in the sale of a real estate transaction, has evolved from an industry standard policy for more than 40 years and can be issued on any type of real property. It can be issued on commercial property, vacant land, residential dwellings and leasehold estates. The 2006 ALTA Owner’s Policy covers only those matters of public record insuring the purchaser and/or owner only. his policy is a solid, and proven policy recognized and widely interpreted the same by owner’s, title companies and attorneys alike. Read more on the terms, conditions and stipulations of the 2006 ALTA Owner’s Policy

The Escrow Closing Process

Buying a house is an exciting time and the more you know about the process, the more relaxed you'll be. The team work of the closing process is essential. Beginning with professional agents that represent you to sell your home to the mortgage professional that will navigate you through the lending process. Escrow can be compared to the composer that conducts all the parties, from a neutral position, by gathering all the elements of closing such as: the purchase and sale agreement, lender instructions, seller instructions, buyer instructions and other claimants on the property and from these instructions your escrow officer then prepares the settlement statement and other closing documents and proceeds to closing. We'll walk you through what the closing process really means. (read more)

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Your Escrow Officer

Escrow officers act as impartial liaisons between all the parties of the transaction to carry out your written instructions. They are knowledgeable, professional, dedicated, to the closing process. Your escrow officer works hand in hand with their assistants to over see and coordinate the entire escrow process. (read more)

Your Title Officer

Title Officers act as liaisons between the title company and its clients. They assist customers by answering questions on how to clear a specific defect on a title, and helping explore options available to perfect the title. (read more)

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