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
After a home inspection, how do you know if the home is worth the repairs needed? Below are some repairs that shouldn't change your opinion on the home.

Is It a Deal Breaker?

If you're looking for a new home, keep in mind that most homes aren't perfect. Homes with previous owners will always have at least a little bit of damage to them that will need to be repaired. The difference here is what type of damage it is and how much work will be needed to make the home comfortable and safe. After a home inspection, the damage found can leave room for negotiation, while other damages will be deal breakers. Below are some examples of home damages that shouldn't be considered a deal breakers but rather jumping off points for negotiations.

Mold in the Home

The presence of mold in a home can be a real turn off and, in some cases, cause for concern. If the home inspection has revealed that there is mold in some spaces in the home you're interested in, don't automatically change your mind on the home. Keep in mind that not all mold is toxic and it can oftentimes be cleaned up safely and without much hassle. There are some things you will have to consider before making this call. For example, a little mold in the shower is no biggie, but widespread mold that has caused serious damage will need to be looked at. Have a mold inspector check out the home and give you their professional opinion before deciding to move on to something else.

The Presence of Bugs

If a home has been uninhabited for a long period of times, expect some bugs and rodents. With that said, a few bugs may be nothing to worry about, especially if they aren't a full-blown infestation. Some bugs can potentially cause structural damage, so they will need to be exterminated in a timely manner in order to reduce their chances of causing real issues. If your home inspection report cites signs of bugs and rodents, have a qualified expert examine the foundation of the home for potentially serious issues. If there are real damages caused by critters, then you may need to decide if the home is worth the repairs.

Dangerous Paint

Lead-based paint used to be the norm, but it was outlawed in the late 70s because of the dangers it carried. Unfortunately, many homes still have this type of paint because, well, their paint job is old. The home seller should disclose this information from the get-go, but if they don't, the home inspector should catch this. If the paint does have lead in it, keep in mind that this isn't too hard to get rid of. Contact a contractor and ask for an estimate so that you can have a better idea of how much it will cost to remove this paint. Remember that you can use this information to negotiate a better deal for the home. Once you find the perfect home, protect your investment by purchasing title insurance in Gonzales. Schutt Law is happy to help you get started with a title inspection. Give them a call at (239) 540-7007 to learn more.

Cracks in the Cement

Cracks in cement floors can cause many homebuyers to worry about the foundation of the home, but they aren't always cause for concern. In fact, small cracks in the basement floor, for example, don't necessarily mean the foundation has issues. These hairline cracks are easy enough to fill in and forget about. Even hairline cracks on the foundation may not be a big deal, but get a contractor to check these out just to stay on the safe side.


Cosmetic repairs should be the least of your worries when looking at potential homes. If the paint color on the walls is less than ideal or the cabinets look dated, these are easy enough to change. They may be off-putting, but these issues aren't hard or even expensive to fix up. If they really bother you, you may even be able to get the home seller to negotiate the price of the home.

Dry Rot and Fungus

If there is dry rot or fungus on the exterior of the home, don't automatically move on to another home. This is actually quite common on the siding of most homes because they're exposed to all sorts of weather throughout the year. Keeping the siding and shingles painted will help combat this, so it's not too hard to prevent either. If the dry rot and fungus are in one area, this won't be hard to fix. However, if the entire home is affected, then there is more cause for concern.

Protect Your Investment With Title Insurance in Gonzales

Now that you've found the right home for your needs, be sure to protect your investment with title insurance. Contact Schutt Law at (239) 540-7007 to start your title inspection and get the peace of mind you're after.