Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Is Title Insurance For And Why Is It Important To Have It

Purchasing a home can already be a stressful and confusing process especially when it comes to understanding all the different closing costs associated with it. When you buy a home or you refinance your mortgage you will be required to buy title insurance before the closing on the new mortgage. The title insurance is there to protect the mortgage lenders from any third party claims on the property, in other words it protects them from any losses that could happen if there is a dispute on the title. There are two different types of this insurance that you need to know about.

The first type of title insurance is the one that the mortgage lenders requires you to get to protect them from financial losses should there be an unexpected problem related to the title of the property. This type of insurance will not protect you, the homeowner. This is what the second type is for because it will protect you instead of the lender.

The insurance for you is not required but it is a very good idea to have it and is usually a standard offering with any good real estate lawyer. It can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars if the title is disputed after you bought the home. It will also save you in lawyers fees as your lawyer will not need to do any extra lengthy and comprehensive title searches. In most cases the cost of the title insurance would be less expensive then having your lawyer doing and exhaustive search. The title insurance for the lender will expire after the mortgage has been repaid. The homeowner title insurance will last for as long as you own your new home.

When you first apply for refinancing or to buy your home the lender will have a title search done to make sure that you are the owner and that it is not listed as a third party. You will be charged a fee for this search. The reason they do this is to find out if there are any liens that have been placed on the property such as property taxes.

This is why you want the title insurance for you and not just the lender. You have to protect yourself in case there are any unforeseen problems in the future. If you don't have this insurance and the attorney overlooked something when they did the title search, you could be held accountable if an existing lien shows up later. For example, if a lien is found later and you don't have this insurance then you could be held responsible for any work done on the property before you bought the home.

So, with title insurance you will have to get the lender covered but you also want to protect yourself and get the same type of insurance. That way if something does happen in the future you will not be held responsible. Having this type of insurance is a good idea for every homeowner to have. So, make sure you get the insurance you need now.

Fray Gray Jr. specializes in Orangeville real estate and is a professional realtor for Royal Lepage RCR Realty. For those looking for homes in Orangeville or Alton real estate please feel free to contact Frank Gray for all of your real estate needs.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ratings Recap: Am. Merchants, LandAmerica, RSUI Indemnity

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has withdrawn its 'Api' (public information) financial strength rating on American Merchants Casualty Co. - a sister company to Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd., Endurance American Specialty Insurance Co., Endurance Reinsurance Corp. of America, and Endurance Worldwide Insurance Ltd., all of which have 'A' financial strength ratings. "The withdrawal eliminates possible confusion concerning the assignment of a pi assessment to a part of this interactively rated group," explained credit analyst Taoufik Gharib. "Maintaining a pi assessment might wrongly imply that Standard & Poor's has access only to public information." S&P added that the withdrawal of the assessment should not be viewed as expressing a negative opinion on American Merchants Casualty Co. "given that its financial information is included in the assessment of the overall group's financial strength rating."

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has placed its 'A-' counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on LandAmerica Financial Group Inc.'s (LFG) title insurance operations (LandAmerica) on CreditWatch with negative implications. S&P also placed its 'BBB-' counterparty credit rating on LFG on CreditWatch with negative implications. "The CreditWatch placement follows the announcement of unfavorable operating results by LandAmerica's peers and news on macroeconomic factors that affect title insurers, such as mortgage originations," explained credit analyst James Brender. "This information suggests it is very likely that LFG will report a quarterly loss in 2008." S&P added that it also "believes the environment for title insurers will remain challenging until 2010 due to declining mortgage originations and rising claim rates."

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has withdrawn its 'A-' counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on RSUI Indemnity Co. and its affiliate Landmark American Insurance Co. at the Company's request.

Americas Watchdog Expands Its U.S. Investigation of Title Insurance Companies/Home Builders

Americas Watchdog and its National Mortgage Complaint Center are expanding their national investigation of title insurance companies over billing U.S. homeowners. The focus on this investigation will be national or regional U.S. home builders setting up phony title insurance companies and actual title insurance companies charging junk mortgage fees when a consumer gets a mortgage to finance or refinance a home. According to Americas Watchdog, "We think U.S. home builders and title insurance companies gouge most U.S. consumers with junk mortgage fees and we are talking the gloves of on what we see as a multi-billion dollar problem." Homeowners who feel like they were over charged can call the National Mortgage Complaint Center anytime at 866-714-6466 or visit their web site at

(PRWEB) July 29, 2008 -- Americas Watchdog and its National Mortgage Complaint Center are expanding their investigation into national or regional home builders setting up phony title insurance companies. Americas Watchdog is also expanding its national investigation of title insurance companies gouging U.S. consumers with junk title/closing fees in home mortgages or refinances in 2006 & 2007.

Thus far, Americas Watchdog has determined that many U.S. home builders were setting up phony title insurance companies, that did little more than spin title insurance policies to actual title insurance companies at a greatly reduced price. There was no cost savings benefit to the consumer. The specific focus on these investigations are home owners who purchased a home from a home builder in California, Nevada, Illinois, Arizona, Florida or any other U.S. state in 2006 and 2007.

The group is also looking at title insurance companies in these, or other states, that may have gouged consumers with title insurance fees or fees associated with closing a home loan, or a refinance. Consumers wishing more information, or a free audit of their HUD-1 Settlement Statement, can call Americas Watchdog's National Mortgage Complaint Center at 866-714-6466, or visit their Web site at

According to Americas Watchdog, "Everyone has heard about predatory mortgage lending, but few have heard about predatory real estate title insurance fees or practices. We are not only suggesting it happened, we can prove it, and we are now expanding the net, so the greedy home builders and greedy title insurance companies get punished severely. We also want to hear from title insurance company insiders, or home builder insiders about the sleazy practices, that cheated millions of Americans, with over inflated title insurance policies, or title fees/closing fees for nothing."

The group asks, "Whats the second biggest real estate list in the world?" According to Americas Watchdog, "Its the tens of millions of U.S. homeowners who were gouged by a title insurance company, a title insurance company acting as an escrow company, or a U.S. home builder acting as both." Americas Watchdog calls the biggest list in the the world, "U.S. homeowners who were cheated by a bank or a U.S. mortgage banker with a no cost mortgage."

*Note: U.S. banks or Mortgage Bankers have no disclosure requirement to explain, or show a homeowner, a huge kickback they get for inflating a homeowners interest rate or monthly mortgage payment (called a Yield Spread Premium). According to Americas Watchdog, "Rep Barney Frank (D) & U.S. Senator Chris Dodd (D) have done zero to require banks to disclose this huge kick back, to millions of unsuspecting U.S. consumers. Its just business as usual in Washington, DC."

According to Americas watchdog, "We are trying our best to clean up the U.S. mortgage business, and the U.S. title insurance business, but with Washington DC, and most state Insurance Commissioners corrupted with campaign donations, the consumer hardly has a chance." Americas Watchdog's home builder/title insurance project is aiming to expose massive consumer abuse for U.S. voters, prior to the U.S. national and state elections.

Again, consumers who used a home builders title insurance company or homeowners who feel like they were cheated, or over charged by a title insurance company should contact Americas Watchdog's National Mortgage Complaint Center at 866-714-6466 or visit their Web site at

Americas Watchdog is all about consumer protection, and corporate responsibility.