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
Before heading to an open house, be sure you know what to look for in the home. Instead of focusing on how it's decorated, pay attention to the details that matter.

Know What to Look for During an Open House

An open house is a great way of getting a closer look at a home you're considering purchasing. From getting to experience the layout of the home firsthand to getting to tour it at your own pace and with less pressure, there are tons of benefits to open houses. However, it's also easy to focus on how well the home is staged and lose focus on other details that are more important. To prevent this from happening, show up knowing exactly what to look for. To help you out, check out these tips from Schutt Law.

Look Closely at Tiling

The tiling in a home may not be something you think to look at, but it can reveal some things you may not have noticed otherwise. Take a close look at the tiling in the kitchen, the bathroom, and even floor tiles. If there are weird gaps in between tiles or they're uneven, chances are this was a DIY job that was rushed. While DIY home projects aren't always bad, if there are signs that indicate they weren't completed carefully this can lead to home issues in the near future.

Is There Enough Closet Space?

Closet space may not sound like a big deal now, but if you move into a home that doesn't have enough space for all of your belongings, it can get annoying very fast. Check the bedrooms to ensure they have closet space and look for additional storage space for linens and other household items that will need to be stored. Check that the kitchen has enough cabinet space and pantry space for all of your belongings. While you can add extra storage space, this will be another thing to consider before deciding if the home is right for you.

Test the Windows

Windows are another feature that may seem small and almost insignificant, but the truth is that they're quite important. Open the blinds and take a look at the window frames. If they're crooked or if the windows have a hard time opening, this can be because of a small issue or this can even point to a larger problem with the foundation. Don't forget to also look out for holes around the windows are old caulking that is no longer doing its job. Keep in mind that windows are generally small, but they can be quite expensive to replace. Before purchasing your new home, be sure you have title insurance in Fort Myers to protect your investment. To get title insurance that will give you the best protection, contact Schutt Law. To learn more about their title services, give them a call at (239) 540-7007.

Look out for Mold

While you can get a closer look at a home during an open house, you also can't walk around it inspecting every nook and cranny like a home inspector. Focus on inspecting the areas that you know are more prone to showing signs on mold, such as the bathroom, basement, or kitchen. In the bathroom, don't be afraid to inspect the bathtub or shower, the sink, and under the sink. Check the basement for musty odors and for a humid environment which will inevitably lead to mold growth. Don't forget to also look up and check the ceiling for black or grey spots.

Know How to Detect Water Damage

If the home has suffered water damage, you can be sure the seller has done their best to cover this up. A musty odor and water lines running down the walls or on the ceiling will be clear signs that there has been some type of water issue in the home. It's also a good idea to check under rugs for signs on pooled water or stained floors. You will also want to check exposed pipes for mold, leaks, and water stains which can indicate there are issues with the pipes that can lead to flooding in the future.

Was Maintenance Neglected?

Sellers will do their best to present their home as an impeccable living space, but this isn't always reality. If the seller hasn't kept up with maintenance through the years, a new coat of paint and new appliances won't be enough to hide this. Leaky faucets, dry patches on the lawn, faded paint, an old roof, and other small signs all point to neglected maintenance. Keep in mind that these are only signs on the surface, so it may be worse once you start looking into other systems.

Get Title Insurance in Fort Myers

Protect your home investment by purchasing title insurance before closing on the home. Get your title search started today to make sure there are no clouds in the title that can jeopardize your rights to ownership. To get started, contact Schutt Law at (239) 540-7007.