Phone: 239.540.7007
Real Estate
Home Closing 101
Do you know what to expect on closing day?
Most people don’t. And that can lead to some uneasiness. But help is here. The American Land Title Association, or ALTA, has created a website featuring information every homebuyer can use to help familiarize themselves with the closing process before walking into the closing
The Home Closing 101 Site
At Home Closing 101 you will find information you can use to prepare yourself for closing. The site covers topics such as title insurance, escrow fees and closing costs. So when the time comes to sign on the dotted line you’ll feel fully prepared.

Home Closing 101 is especially helpful for first time buyers. Buying a house is an exciting time and the more you know about the process, the more relaxed you’ll be going through it. Spend a little time on the site and you can walk through the home buying process, receiving explanations for each step and helpful hints on how to find the right people to help you on your journey to homeownership.

Click here to start learning about the home buying process.
What Is American Land Title Association (ALTA)?
Founded in 1907, ALTA is the national trade association and voice of the title insurance industry. ALTA members search, review and insure land titles to protect home buyers and mortgage lenders who invest in real estate.

ALTA members advocate safe and efficient transfer of real estate and insist on high standards when searching land title records and preparing insurance documents. The industry seeks to eliminate risk before insuring, which provides homebuyers with the best possible chance of avoiding land title problems. But, title difficulties can and do occur, and members offer both Owner’s and Lender’s title insurance policies as effective safeguards.

Click here to visit the ALTA website.
About Stewart Title Insurance
Stewart (NYSE: STC) is a leading provider of real estate services, including global residential and commercial title insurance, escrow and settlement services, lender services, underwriting, specialty insurance and other solutions that facilitate successful real estate transactions. Stewart offers personalized service, industry expertise and customized solutions for virtually any type of real estate transaction, through our direct operations, network of approved agencies and other companies within the Stewart family. Through a focus on integrity, smart growth and conservative management, Stewart remains committed to serving our customers, innovating and improving to meet their needs in an ever-changing market. 

Please click on the link below for more information:
Owning real estate is one of the most precious values of freedom in this country. You want the assurance that the property you are buying will be yours. Other than your mortgage holder, no one else should have any claims or restrictions against your home.

Title insurance is issued after a careful examination of the public records. But even the most thorough search cannot absolutely assure that no title faults are present, despite the knowledge and experience of professional title examiners. In addition to matters shown by public records, other title problems may exist that cannot be disclosed in a search. Title insurance eliminates any risks and losses caused by faults in title from an event that occurred before you owned the property.

Title insurance is different from other types of insurance in that it protects you, the insured, from a loss that may occur from matters or faults from the past. Other types of insurance such as auto, life, or health cover you against losses that may occur in the future. Title insurance does not protect against any future faults, but does protect you from risks or undiscovered interests. Another difference is that you pay a one-time premium for a policy that remains effective until the property is sold to a new owner - even if that doesn't occur for decades.
What is a Lender's Policy?

A lender's policy, also known as a loan policy or a mortgage policy, protects the lender against loss due to unknown title defects. It also protects the lender's interest from certain matters which may exist, but may not be known at the time of the sale.

This policy only protects the lender's interest. It does not protect the purchaser. That is why a real estate purchaser needs an owner's policy.
What is an owner's policy?

An owner's policy protects you, the purchaser, against a loss that may occur from a fault in the ownership or interest you have in the property. You should protect the equity in your new home with a title policy.

What does an owner's policy provide?

- Protection from financial loss due to demands that may be charged against the title to your home, up to the cost of the title policy.
- Payment of legal costs if the title insurer has to defend your title against a covered claim.
- Payment of successful claims against the title to your home covered by the policy, up to the cost of the policy.
Why the seller needs to provide title insurance?

Any purchaser will need evidence that his investment in your property is free of title defects. The title insurance policy that you provide the purchaser is a guarantee that you are selling a clear title to your real estate, unencumbered by any legal attachments that might limit or jeopardize ownership. It will reassure your purchaser that he or she is protected from any risks or losses and could help you close your deal.
Why the buyer needs title insurance?

Without title insurance, you may not be fully protected against errors in public records, hidden defects not disclosed by the public records, or mistakes in examination of the title. As a result, you may be held fully accountable for any prior liens, judgments or claims brought against your new property. If this should occur, your title policy insures that you will be defended at no cost against all covered claims up to the amount of the policy.
How much does title insurance cost?

The insurance commission approves and controls the premiums for title insurance policies. The premiums are paid only once and the cost depends upon the purchase price of the property and the policy amount must be equal to the purchase price.
What does title insurance protect from?
  • Fraud
  • Adverse possession
  • Rights of divorced parties
  • Deeds by minors
  • Undisclosed Heirs
  • Errors in tax records
  • False affidavits of death or heirshipProbate matters
  • Deeds and wills by persons of unsound mind
  • Conveyances by undisclosed divorced spouses
  • Forfeitures of real property due to criminal acts
  • Deeds by persons falsely representing their marital status
  • Documents executed by a revoked or expired Power of Attorney
  • Defective acknowledgements due to improper or expired notarization
  • Mistakes and omissions resulting in improper abstracting
  • Forged deeds, mortgages, wills, releases and other documents
  • False impersonation of the true land owner
A home inspection is necessary to help you make a safe investment when you're buying a home. You'll be able to tell if the house is in good shape and maybe get a better deal. Here's what you need to know about home inspections.

Here's What You Need to Know About a Home Inspection

Once your offer on the house has been accepted there is a certain process you must follow. You need to get a home appraisal, settle your mortgage loan, acquire title insurance, and arrange a home inspection. A home appraisal is a mortgage requirement to determine the home's market value.  On the other hand, a home inspection is necessary to help find out if everything in the house is fully functioning. We've already covered what a home appraisal includes, this time Schutt Law-Title Insurance Agency brings you a bit more information about the home inspection.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a visual assessment of a home’s physical structure and systems. A professional home inspector performs it, and it’s only meant to identify unsafe areas or elements that need to be repaired in a house. Unlike a home appraisal, which determines the market value, the inspection merely examines a home’s physical condition. The examination is requested almost as soon as a home seller has given the buyer the green light and accepted their offer. The results of the home inspection are presented in a written report. You can later negotiate with the seller to make some repairs or choose to back out of the deal.

What a Home Inspector Looks for

Although the requirements for a home inspection vary from state to state, there is a minimum standard that every inspection should include. Here are the things that the home inspector must check for. Remember that while you get your home inspection, you can also purchase your title insurance. Not sure if you should get it? These are some of the reasons why you should. So go ahead and call Schutt Law-Title Insurance Agency at (239) 540-7007 while your home inspector does their job.
  • Roof:  The inspector will check if there are any missing shingles, areas that need repair, damage to chimneys, the state of the gutters, and if there are any potential leaks.
  • Structure: The home must have a solid foundation, they will revise if there is any sagging or bowing of the structure, and that the windows are all aligned.
  • Exterior: They will examine the condition of the exterior paint, working lights, and the right clearance between the ground and the siding material.
  • Plumbing: The home inspector will make sure that there are no visible leaking pipes, the hot temperature is appropriate, and the toilets, sinks, showers, and bathtubs are functioning.
  • Electric system: All the electrical outlets and light fixtures must be fully operational, so must the circuit breakers. The inspection will also check for visible wires, which can be a safety hazard.
  • Basement: There shouldn't be any visible leaks or water damage to the walls and floors, and the basement foundation must be solid.
  • Heating and cooling system: The inspector will turn on the air conditioning system to test its function while they explore the house. They will also examine the furnace, chimney, and fireplace.
  • Grounds: The report will include if there is any damage to the driveway, fences, and sidewalks, overgrown trees that might cause trouble in the future, drainage, and leaks from the septic tank.
  • General safety: The inspector will check that the house has working fire sprinklers, carbon monoxide alarms, and garage door openers. They will also check that the stairs are safe and the handrails placed solidly.
  • Appliances: If some of the main appliances such as the stove, refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer, and dishwasher are included with the house, the inspector will try them out.

What a Home Inspection Doesn’t Include

Again, home inspection requirements tend to vary according to the state and the inspector. However, some areas are not covered by the inspection. Reviewers tend only to inspect things that are visible or that are easily accessible. An inspector won’t be digging up your yard or drilling holes in your walls; they don’t have the licensing requirements. If you feel like there might be a problem with some of the aspects of the house not included in the home inspection, you should look for a specialist.  Here are some of the things you won’t find in your home inspection report.
  • Termite and pests
  • Swimming pools and hot tubs
  • Septic tank
  • Asbestos, radon gas, and lead paint
  • Central vacuum systems

Purchase Your Title Insurance in Fort Myers

Once you're sure that your dream home is a safe investment, be sure to learn about its title history. Call Schutt Law-Title Insurance Agency at (239) 540-7007 to begin your title insurance process and protect yourself from undisclosed liens.