Preferred Title & Settlement Services, Inc.
In conjunction with all the other components for a real estate closing, we coordinate and complete all aspects of your settlement. We work directly with all the necessary parties on your behalf, including:
- Listing and Selling Agents
- Insurance Agents
- Homeowners’ Associations
After being in business for over fifteen years, we have earned the respect of our colleagues and have forged successful working relationships that enables us to assure you of a successful closing every time.
Preparation is the best protection against any potential difficulties. When you choose Preferred Title, we immediately begin communicating with all parties involved, and stay in contact throughout the settlement transaction. These parties include the listing and selling agents, insurance agents, brokers, lenders, attorneys, homeowner’s associations and of course, we will always stay in touch with you! Our goal is to ensure the integrity of the transaction; by staying on top of the details, following all instructions and making sure all requirements are met prior to your settlement. All of this communication and preparation helps to prevent complications others may experience when closing on a home or refinancing on a mortage.
If you have questions or would like to make an appointment, please call us at 804-741-2500.
What Is Title Insurance?
Title Insurance is an extremely important element of your closing. There is a lot to know and understand. We encourage you to take the time to educate yourself about Title Insurance by clicking the link below. If after reviewing the link you still have questions, please give us a call. We are here to answer any questions you may have.
When you purchase your home, how can you be sure that there are no problems with the home’s title and that the seller really owns the property? Problems with the title can limit your use and enjoyment of the property, as well as bring financial loss. That is what a title search and title insurance are for.
Why do I need title insurance?
Do title companies charge different rates for title insurance?
What types of policies are available to me as a homeowner?
1) Owner’s Title Insurance Policy
2) Enhanced Owner’s Title Insurance Policy
How does title insurance differ from other types of insurance?
What are the risks?
Some title problems may show up months or years after the original purchase of the property. The following are examples of some of the matters that can cause loss of title or an expensive lawsuit:
- Forged deeds, releases, wills or other legal documents
- Failure of spouses to join in conveyances
- Undisclosed or missing heirs
- Deeds from minors, aliens or persons of unsound mind
- Errors in indexing of public records
- Liens for unpaid taxes including estate, inheritance, income or gift taxes
- Erroneous reports furnished by tax officials
- Mistakes in recording legal documents
- Deeds from defunct corporations
- Unprobated wills
How does title insurance protect against these hidden risks and defects?
The title policy guarantees that at the date the deed was conveyed in the name of the insured, the title was free of defects apart from those “excepted to” in the policy.
How do I obtain title insurance?
Owner’s Policy – an Owner’s Policy insures the purchaser for as long as they or their heirs have an interest in the property. Title policies are normally issued in the amount of the purchase price.
Enhanced Owner’s Policy – by choosing an Enhanced Owner’s Policy, you are protecting your home and land for the future. Ask your Settlement agent about all of the benefits of the Enhanced Policy.
Why do you need an Owner's policy?
Why do I need an Enhanced Policy?
Some of the benefits included in the enhanced policy are:
- Inability to use land for single family dwelling because of a violation of a zoning ordinance or restriction
- Post policy automatic increase in value up to 150%
- Forced removal of a structure which violates an existing zoning law
- Restrictive covenants violations and Covenant violation resulting in reversion
- Unrecorded easements
- Forced removal of a structure which encroaches onton another property or an easement
The Title Search
The Owner's Title Policy
Owner’s Title Insurance, called an Owner’s Policy, is usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase. It is purchased for a one-time fee at closing and lasts for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property. Only an Owner’s Policy fully protects the buyer should a covered title problem arise with the title that was not found during the title search. Possible hidden title problems can include:
- Errors or omissions in deeds
- Mistakes in examining records
- Undisclosed heirs
An Owner’s Policy provides assurance that your title company will stand behind you — monetarily and with legal defense if needed — if a covered title problem arises after you buy your home. The bottom line is that your title company will be there to help pay valid claims and cover the costs of defending an attack on your title. Receiving an Owner’s Policy isn’t always an automatic part of the closing process, and is paid for by different people in different parts of the country. Be sure you request an Owner’s Policy and ask how it is paid for where you live. No matter who pays for the Owner’s Policy, the fee is a one-time fee paid at closing. The Owner’s Policy protects you for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property.
You also have the option of purchasing a policy with expanded coverage. It’s called the Homeowner’s Policy and it covers more things than the Owner’s Policy. Ask your local title company for an explanation of the expanded Homeowner’s Policy so you can decide which policy is the best one for you.
The Loan Policy
Prices vary from state to state. Be sure to ask your settlement or title company about pricing and whether the Loan Policy and Owner’s Policy are sold separately or together. Find a list of ALTA member companies who can conduct your closing and issue you an Owner’s Policy.
Common Title Problems
Fraud & Forgery
Those involved in real estate fraud and forgery can be clever and persistent, which can spell trouble for your home purchase.
In a western state, an innocent buyer purchased an attractive home site through a realty company, accepting a notarized deed from the seller. Then another couple, the true owners of the property — who lived in another locale — suddenly appeared and initiated legal action to prove their interest in the real estate was valid. Under the Owner’s Title Insurance Policy of the innocent buyer, bought for a one-time fee at closing, the title company provided a money settlement to protect against financial loss. As it turned out, the forger spent time in advance at the local court house, searching the public records to locate property with out-of-town owners who had been in possession for an extended period of time. The individual involved then forged and recorded a deed to a fictitious person and assumed the identity of that person before listing the property for sale to an innocent purchaser, handling most contacts through an answering service. Also, the identity of the notary appearing on deeds was fictitious as well.
Fraud and forgery are examples of hidden title hazards that can remain undetected until after a closing despite the most careful precautions. Although emphasizing risk elimination, an Owner’s Policy protects you financially through negotiation by the insurer with third-parties, payment for defending against an attack on the title as insured, and payment of valid claims.
Conflicts over a will from a deceased former owner may suggest a study topic for law school. But the subject can take on a reality dimension and all too quickly your home ownership is at stake.
After purchasing a residence, the new owner was startled when a brother of the seller claimed an ownership interest and sought a substantial amount of money as his share. It seemed that their late mother had given the house to the son making the challenge, who placed the deed in his drawer without recording it at the court house. Some 20 years later, after the death of the mother, the deed was discovered and then filed. Permission was granted in probate court to remove the property from the late mother’s estate, and the brother to whom the residence initially was given sold the house. But the other brother appealed the probate court decision, claiming their mother really did not intend to give the house to his sibling. Ultimately, the appeal was upheld and the new owner faced a significant financial loss. Since the new owner had acquired an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance upon purchasing the real estate, the title company paid the claim, along with an additional amount in legal fees incurred during the defense.
When buying a home, it’s important to remember what you don’t know can cost you.
A couple purchased a residence from a widow and her daughter, the only known heirs of the husband and father who died without leaving a will.
Soon after the sale, a man appeared – claiming he was the son of the late owner by a former marriage. As it turned out, he indeed was the son of the deceased man. This legal heir disapproved of his father’s remarriage and had vanished when the wedding took place. Nonetheless, the son was entitled to a share of the value of the home, which meant an expensive problem for the unwary couple purchasing the property.
Although the absence of a will hindered discovery of the missing heir in a title search of the public records, an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance issued for a one-time fee at the time of the real estate transaction would have financially protected the couple from the claim by the missing heir. For a one-time charge at closing, an Owner’s Policy will safeguard against problems including those even an exhaustive search will not reveal.
An Owner’s Policy is necessary to fully protect a home buyer. Lender’s title insurance, which is usually required by the mortgage lender, serves as protection only for the lending institution.
What is Escrow?
However, Preferred Title does much more than simply hold the deed and purchase money. Our reponsibilities include making certain the title is insurable, as well as recording the deed and other necessary documents with the courts. We will also pay various Settlement expenses such as the agent’s sales commission, appraisal fee, transfer fee, and the seller’s mortgage balance, as well as other tasks.
I'm buying a newly built home, do I need title insurance?
Contact Us Today!
Owner, Settlement Officer, Title Underwriter
1100 Welborne Drive, Suite 104 Henrico, Virginia 23229