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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 heirship
  • Probate 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
An excellent way to save time and resources when looking for a new home is house hunting online. Read this post by Stewart: Schutt Law in Fort Myers for the top tips on how to do so. 

Determine Your Budget

Knowing what kind of budget you’re working with should be the first step before house hunting online. Determining your budget can help you narrow down the properties you’re looking at, know what type of mortgage you should take out, and even help you decide what area of town you can start looking in. You’ll need to sit down and crunch the numbers to determine your budget. Experts say you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on home expenses to keep your finances healthy. This percentage should include your mortgage, maintenance, property taxes, and utilities.

Narrow Down Your Options With Must Haves

Now that you have a budget, you’ll need to decide what features you want in your home. Knowing this will help you narrow down your search. Ask yourself:
  • Do you want to live in a condo, apartment, or townhouse?
  • How many bedrooms do you need?
  • How many bathrooms would you like?
  • Do you prefer open-house floor plans, or would you like a more traditional one?
  • Are you looking for a home with a backyard, a yard, or both?
  • What amenities would you enjoy in your neighborhood?
Answering these questions can be an excellent way to find your ideal home or find one that’s close enough. It can also make it easier to find it while house hunting online.

House hunting online is an efficient way to start looking for your perfect home. If you’re planning to buy a home, having title insurance and a professional title company by your side is essential Call Schutt Law in Fort Myers today at (239) 540-7007 and talk to an agent who will answer all your questions.

Use Trustworthy Platforms

There are many real estate platforms online where you can find good home options. That said, you should make sure the sites you’re looking at are legitimate and have verified references. This is to avoid falling for a scam. Also, remember you should never give out personal information to people online, and ensure that you visit the property before signing any paperwork or exchanging money.

Filter Your Search

Once you’ve found a trustworthy platform, it’s time to start looking for your perfect home. If you answered the questions above, you might already have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Most real estate platforms have filters you can use to search for the perfect home. Some of the filters you can find are:
  • Budget range
  • House amenities
  • House layouts
  • Neighborhoods
  • Neighborhood features
Using these filters is the quickest way to narrow down your search and ensure you’ll find the perfect house.

Having an experienced title agency by your side is essential for your home-buying journey. Call Schutt Law in Fort Myers at (239) 540-7007 and speak to a title agent today to learn about the excellent services they offer.

Hire a Pro Home Buying Team

One of the best reasons for house hunting online is if you’re moving into a new state or city. While you can certainly look for a place yourself, having a professional home-buying team is essential to ensure you find the best property and make the process go as smoothly as possible. A home buying team is made up of:
  • A title services company
  • A real estate agent
  • A home inspector
  • A real estate lawyer

Visit Your Favorite Picks

Once you’ve found a few options by house hunting online, it's time to visit them. While looking at houses online is a significant first step, it’s essential to see them in person before making a final decision. Visiting potential properties allows you to see the property and assess its condition, get to know the area, and determine if the neighborhood is right for you. Visiting the property you’re interested in is also an excellent opportunity to ask the seller questions about the house, like what the selling process has been like, the reasons why they’re selling, and what the neighborhood is like. This information can help you decide if it’s the perfect home for you and can also inform your offer.

If this is you’re a first-time buyer, the home-buying process can be overwhelming. But having experienced professionals by your side, like Schutt Law in Fort Myers, can make it much more manageable. Call them today at (239) 540-7007 and let their agents answer your questions.