One-Third of Residential Real Estate Transactions Have Title Issues

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According to a 2005 member survey by the [tag]American Land Title Association[/tag] (ALTA), title problems were found in 36 percent of all [tag]residential real estate[/tag] transactions (new and resale homes, and refinances), up from 25 percent in 2000. The “Abstracter and Title Agent Operations Survey” tracks changes in the title industry, including the number of orders received and percentage of title issues discovered and repaired prior to closing or escrow. According to Rande Yeager, president of ALTA, “The most frequent curative action taken last year was obtaining releases and/or obtaining pay-offs for discovered [tag]lien[/tag]s, such as prior or existing first or second mortgages, unpaid child and spousal support, [tag]outstanding taxes[/tag], and other [tag]judgment[/tag]s against the property.”

The next most common curative action, according to Yeager, was obtaining releases for assignment on deeds of trust/and or mortgages, followed closely by recording errors of names, addresses, or legal descriptions of the property. “The booming real estate market over the last several years has increased the number of transactions significantly, which means more title problems are found,” said Yeager. “This clearly demonstrates the importance of a professional title search in all real estate transactions, whether purchasing a new home or refinancing an existing mortgage.” According to ALTA, homebuyers and regulators alike have recently questioned the value and cost of title insurance. A Loan Policy of title insurance is required by lenders prior to the issuance of a loan, even on a refinance, to assure that the title is clear. Before a policy is issued, an extensive search is conducted to locate problems so they can be rectified and the transfer of property and/or loan can proceed.

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