The information presented here can help you navigate the title and escrow world. These, along with the PNWT team, will provide you with answers that may come up throughout each step of the process.
Shopping For Title and Escrow Services
Consumers can shop for title insurance and 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 #1 in market share and strive for excellent customer satisfaction.
How Title Insurance Premiums are Regulated
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, maintain title plants, and may not sell any other type of insurance. Insurers must file their rates with the Insurance Commissioner, and 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 lasts 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. It is an evolution of title policies 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. This 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. Teamwork is essential from 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. From these instructions, your escrow officer then prepares the settlement statement and other closing documents and proceeds to closing.