USA Real Estate TitlesAugust 15, 2015
What you need to know about buying houses for sale in America
When you purchase real estate you take possession and own a title to a property. In the majority of US states, a title agent manages the transfer of real esate between the seller and the buyer. In some US states like Georgia and South Carolina a real estate lawyer who specializes in property transfers will provide the services of a title company. In the Phoenix and Cleveland real estate markets where America Property Source transacts, title companies will be used for the closing (settlement) of a USA real estate purchase or sale.
The title agent’s role is to act as an independent third party to the real estate transaction. The title agents have no vested interest in the deal other than managing the transaction and handling the exchange of money between the buyer and seller. Title companies are regulated by the state and money is held in an escrow account. In Australia, an escrow account is referred to as a trust account. The seller’s money is held in escrow until the agreed upon date where the property title transfers from seller to buyer.
Property investors in Australia appoint a conveyancer to review land title documents prior to settlement. In the United States a title company and a title agent will examine the title history of a property. Title agents ensure that you have a clean title that is marketable after the transfer or purchase. During the time it takes to close or “settle” a real estate purchase, the appointed title agent will check to make sure that the title is “free and clear” of any encumbrances or liens. If the title agent uncovers any problems associated with the property title they will work to correct the issues before the transaction is completed. For example there may be easements or restrictions and the title agent will guide you through how to remove these if possible or necessary.
What is important is that you have a clear and insurable title prior to the exchange of payment for the property. US property investors want a title insurance policy to insure you as the title owner against any claims to the property title. A title agent will only be able to insure a clear title. Further more, banks will want a title insurance policy prior to issuing a lenders policy. Make sure you ask your title agent to clearly explain all of the benefits and reasons why a title insurance policy is necessary.
Title agents also manage the exchange of money and documents that are involved in legally transferring real estate from the seller to the buyer. Like any specialty in the real estate industry, this requires a lot of knowledge to do correctly. Making sure the title transfer takes place on the appointed date is the responsibility of the title agent. Good relationships help get extraordinary service on time sensitive transactions. If penalties are associated with late title transfers then you want a title agent who is prepared to go the extra mile for you on time sensitive deals.