One of the greatest risks in real estate is that after a transaction has been finalized, a defect in the title is discovered. To minimize this risk, lenders insist that buyers pay for a title policy naming the lender as the insured. Buyers also have the option of purchasing title insurance that protects them or they may simply rely on an attorney’s opinion that the title is clear. There are pros and cons to each, but The Law Office of Tania Sayegh Bartolini, P.A. recommends you don’t skimp on title insurance. After more than 15 years of real estate law practice, we are so convinced title insurance is an essential part of every real estate transaction that we broker policies for our clients.
Imagine this scenario. You’re buying a home where a couple has lived for the past 20 years. They raised their children in this home, and now that their nest is empty, the house is just too big. You are required to purchase title insurance to protect your mortgage lender against a title defect. Purchasing an additional policy naming you as the insured will run you about one thousand dollars. But your attorney says he can conduct a thorough title review and a lien search and issue you a title opinion letter, which will cost about five hundred dollars. So, you decide to rely on the title opinion and pocket the savings.
Unfortunately, after you buy the home, a defect in title appears. It seems that the couple had a 50 thousand dollar judgment lien filed against the property. Due to a clerical error, the lien had been placed on a different address, and when that homeowner challenged the lien, the error was found. Now you’re obliged to pay 50 thousand dollars or risk losing your home. Without title insurance, your only recourse is to sue the attorney who offered the title opinion. However, you must show the attorney was negligent — essentially committing malpractice — when he failed to find the lien. Your prospects of success are not good.
This example illustrates why, as a real estate firm that is concerned about our client’s security, we not only conduct thorough title searches but also act as title agent for insurers who can issue policies that safeguard your investment. We make sure that these policies cover the full value of the property and are not saddled with exceptions that would make it difficult to collect on an insurance claim.
The Law Office of Tania Sayegh Bartolini, P.A. recommends title insurance over title opinions for properties in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County, Florida and serves as a broker to obtain these policies for clients. To inquire about our legal and title insurance services, schedule a consultation at our office by calling 954-603-1865 or contacting us online today.