Ok, yeah, this is a blog post about Title Insurance. You've been warned.
I know, I know...title insurance is probably the most boring thing you could think of reading about. And you're right. It probably is. But hey, it's a part of this thing called BUYING AND SELLING REAL ESTATE, so you should probably know at least a little about it, right? If you thought or mouthed to yourself silently, "yep", then read on, my friend.
So what does a title company do, and what is title insurance?
In short, they perform a title search to verify that the seller in a transaction has the legal title necessary to actually sell the property. They do this through the use of a title plant, which is a repository of all publicly recorded information available for a specific piece of property. Upon completing the title search, the title company will issue a preliminary title report, and will be prepared to issue title insurance upon close of escrow on a purchase.
In Oregon, the seller of a property pays for the new owner’s title insurance policy. This title insurance policy protects the new owner from a number of items, including claims to title from other entities or people. However, there are exclusions to coverage, in much the same way that any other insurance has exclusions. The purpose of title insurance is to offer protection to the buyer that when they take ownership of the property, they have full legal title, free and clear of any other claims to the property.
In addition to the owner’s title insurance policy, in any financed purchase the lender will require a lender’s title insurance policy. This policy covers a few of the items that are excluded from a standard owner’s title policy. The lender’s title policy is paid for by the buyer as part of their closing costs.
There are a number of great title and escrow companies in Portland to choose from, and your broker likely has one that they can recommend, so don’t be afraid to ask them what their experience has been like with multiple companies.
Finally, in Oregon, it is ultimately the buyer who gets to choose the title company. A seller cannot force a buyer to use a specific title insurance company. Usually the MLS listing information has an escrow preference mentioned, but the buyer does not have to necessarily choose that company, although it can be helpful to show good will.
If you have any questions, or feel like we missed something important, don't hesitate to get in touch and let us know!