Article courtesy of TitlePLUS title insurance
No matter where you're buying a home in Canada these days, chances are that you're part of an active real estate market - one in which homes have had many owners over the past few years. The more often your home has changed hands, the more difficult it can be to trace a problem with title back to a specific owner. That's why more and more homebuyers are opting to protect their single most important investment through title insurance.
Title insurance provides compensation for losses suffered from title issues even if they are not discovered until years after the sale is completed. Risks covered by title insurance include unpredictable or undetectable issues such as forgery, fraud, missing heirs, unregistered rights-of-way and other issues that can affect rights of ownership. While real estate lawyers protect homebuyers with thorough record searches and inquiries during the home ownership transaction, they will also often arrange for title insurance to try to offset issues that could not easily be discovered as well as certain future problems.
If a problem arises with title that only becomes known after closing, title insurance can often compensate the homebuyer for the problem.
"Homebuyers put a great deal of time and energy into finding their dream home, so it's good to protect it with appropriate insurance. Title insurance provides a security blanket for the homeowner once the deal is closed," says Kathleen Waters, an experienced real estate lawyer and vice-president of TitlePLUS.
Title insurance is usually secured when the home is bought, although it is also available later for those who already own their homes. For a $500,000-home, it costs about $200 to $250. You pay that money only once for as long as you or your heirs owns the home. There are no deductibles and no additional annual fees.
Purchasing title insurance can sometimes save on closing costs as a real estate lawyer can often reduce the number of searches and investigations, thereby saving the clients out-of-pocket costs on their overall legal bill.
Title insurance is also often bought when homeowners are refinancing. A useful resource for people looking to learn more about title insurance, the role of a lawyer and refinancing, is the TitlePLUS Real Simple Real Estate Guide, available for free at www.titleplus.ca. The guide provides important information on the role of a real estate lawyer as well as specifics about refinancing a mortgage. The guide also offers useful calculators, a glossary of terms and a locate-a-lawyer tool.