February 22, 2002 at 2:06 PM EST - Updated July 26 at 11:00 PM
Question: Who holds the earnest money, and what happens if the sale falls through?
Answer: The money is retained by the seller, real estate agent, or escrow company, as agreed. Conditions regarding what happens to these funds if the sale falls through are customarily outlined in your purchase agreement. Your closing kit includes a financial information form so you can let us know who has the earnest money. If you need this form, click here to download.
Question: What is title insurance?
Answer: When you purchase a home, you buy more than just the building. The land was probably owned by several people throughout time, and thus forms a "chain of title." This chain can have defects that occurred several decades ago that could affect your ownership today.
Question: What are some of the risks that title insurance protects me from?
Answer: They are divided into two main categories -- hidden hazards that cannot be detected in the examination of the title, and human errors, which will always be with us. Hidden hazards or "defects" include forgery, incompetence of grantor or mortgagor, unknown heirs, fraud, and impersonation.
Question: How does title insurance help protect my home investment?
Answer: If any discrepancy should arise where someone else is laying claim to your property, the title will be defended without cost to you. If the title, or any part of it, should be other than as insured, you will be reimbursed, up to the face amount of your policy, for any financial loss.
Question: What is the "life of the policy"?
Answer: An ALTA Lender’s Policy stays in effect until the loan is paid off. An Owner's Fee Policy is good forever. Even if you sell your property, it continues to protect you and your heirs on your warranties. It is a one-time investment that will bring peace of mind for several lifetimes.
Question: Am I required to hire an attorney?
Answer: In the state of Ohio you are not required, by law, to hire an attorney to complete your transaction. However, we do recommend that you have an attorney prepare the deed from the seller to the new buyer in order to avoid future problems in the chain of title. If you need an attorney, click here for a referral.
Question: Can an attorney assure me that my title is "good?"
Answer: Every attorney knows that there are hazards in real estate titles which cannot possibly be discovered through even the most diligent search of the public records. An attorney cannot possibly foresee hidden defects in the chain of title as mentioned previously, and cannot give you assurance to the authenticity of public records.