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Urban and rural property
After Dismal Year, Homebuilders See Hope in 2012
Home Sales Rise to 11-Month High
Report: Foreclosures Down, But Discounts Abound
Home Sales Sunnier as Spring Buying Season Approaches
New Home Sales Dip, But Beat Expectations
Fannie Mae, Facing Deficit, Asks Fed for Another $4.5 Billion
Home Values Build for 3rd Consecutive Month
Real Home Price Recovery Not Expected Until Spring
Home Sales: Rise Reflects Steady Improvement
Economists: Housing Recovery Finally Here
Home Prices Increase in Most Major U.S. Cities
Pending Home Sales Near 6-Year High
Home Prices Rise 6.3% in October, Most in 6 Years
Housing Market 2013: Predictions of What's to Come
Housing Recovery Officially in Full Swing, Data Suggests
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Trulia Housing Barometer: Housing Market 52% Back to Normal
Home Prices Post Best Yearly Increase Since 2006
Tom Roeser Buys Up Town's Foreclosure Stock to Keep It Thriving
Housing Is Back! Best Moves for Homebuyers
Trulia: Housing Recovery Marches on in March
Are Real Estate Commercials Skirting Realities of Homebuying?
Trulia: Housing in 'Early Stages' of Multiyear Recovery
Obama Proposes Fundamental Overhaul of U.S. Mortgage System
Title Insurance: Who Needs It?
During the real estate transaction (especially if you're a first-time buyer), you're hit with so many foreign terms, fees and requirements your head spins. One of those strange and unfamiliar costs is title insurance. In most cases, borrowers have no option—either you get title insurance (among other requirements) or you don't get a loan.
The lender says you need it, you want the loan to go though, so you buy title insurance. Great. So what is title insurance?

When you buy a home you want to make sure that the people selling it actually have full and legal title. The party who conducts closing will check this out by going down to the local property records office to research the history of ownership.

But—and here's the tricky part—those records down at the property office may be official, but they may also be wrong. It's also possible that the person who does the title search can make a mistake and also that important information may simply not be recorded.

For instance, maybe a bill against the property was not recorded or some taxes were not been paid. Or, suppose that 40 years ago the property you want to purchase was owned by Smith. Let's also imagine that Smith was a bigamist with an extra spouse. Will this matter show up on the local property records? Not likely. Does the additional Smith spouse have an ownership claim against the property? That may only be clear after a lot of legal wrangling—and if you lose, you could lose the house.

There may be other odd and bizarre claims as well. Was an owner an alcoholic?
Insane? A drug user? Is there a contractor with a claim against the property? Such issues can "cloud" titles and neither lenders nor owners want clouds.

One form of title insurance, "lenders" coverage, is designed to protect (who else?) your lender in case of title problems. "Lenders" coverage is required and generally provides protection up to the original mortgage amount—if you buy a home for $300,000 and get a $250,000 mortgage, then $250,000 is as much coverage as you can get with a lender's policy. If there's a claim, the title insurer will fight on your behalf and if there's a claim the policy will pay off the loan if necessary. This is good news for you because you won't owe the lender a dime if you lose in court.

But there are also some options.

For instance, you can also get "owners" coverage. This will protect your equity—that $50,000 in the example above not covered by the lender's policy. And you can often get an "inflation rider" with an owner's policy—as the value of your home goes up, so does the value of your title coverage.

While title insurance is required by virtually all lenders, there is one big exception: Loans made in Iowa. In Iowa, the state says that attorneys and others who do title work must participate in a title guarantee program. If there's a title error, the state fund provides coverage.

  
Shopping for a Home in Winter
Secrets to a Successful Move
Saving the Best for Last
Renting to Own
New House or an Old One?
Make Them An Offer They Can't Refuse
Lifestyle Choices Affect Bottom Line
Inspecting Your Home Inspector
In Love With Two Houses?
How to Track Down Foreclosure Properties
Home-buying With Others
Five Keys to Successful Negotiation
Five Key Areas to Pay Attention to When Buying a Home
Finding a Good Home Inspector
Find the Perfect Neighborhood
Don't Overlook a Home's Potential
Do You Have Buyer's Paralysis?
Debt Reduction Not Required to Buy
Debating Between a Condo or a House
Contingencies Your Home Offer Should Include
Can You Afford to Buy a House?
Buying a Home With Loans from Family and Friends
Buyers, Get an Edge During The Busy Spring Season
Affordability Options for First-time Home Buyers
14 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home
12 Red Flags That Should Raise Concern
10 Summer Moving Tips
Experts Predict Annual Home Value Appreciation to Exceed 6 Percent in 2013
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Housing Starts Rise in July but Fall Short of Forecasts
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Home Sales in July Rise to Levels Last Seen in 2009
Rise in Rates Reduces Demand for New Mortgages
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Home Prices Rise in June at Slightly Slower Pace
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Mortgage Applications Rise, as Interest Rates Slip a Bit
Mortgage Rates Edge Up to Near Yearly Highs
What You Should Look for When House Hunting
What is PMI?
Trying to Buy A Diamond In The Rough?
Trouble Pulling the Trigger on Your First Home?
Title Insurance: Who Needs It?
Title Insurance
The Hidden Costs of Homeownership
The Art of House Hunting
The Appraisal Contingency
Sometimes Smaller Is Better
Signs That You're Ready to Buy
Should You Pay Discount Points?
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