On January 4th, 2017, the State of Virginia ruled that Title Company Home Warranties are no longer able to be provided to buyers at closing in return for business. If you don’t know this practice it goes like this: In many areas of the country, including the Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland areas, Title Companies have offered “FREE Home Warranties” for buyers who close business with them. Essentially, it was a marketing tactic by the Title Company to “induce” business. I have said for a very long time this is not a valid practice and should not be allowed. I wrote this blog back in April 2016 saying this exact thing and explaining how the Title Company Home Warranty isn’t really free. Someone does pay for it. Here is the ruling for you to check out for yourself.
I had a client closing last month where the buyer (last-minute) needed a real estate attorney to draft up a document/agreement. The buyer went to the attorney who also said: “Do you want me to look at your Title Insurance Policy?” The buyer said sure. The attorney then started saying things like…”hmm, that isn’t good” and ” oh wow” while taking a pen and striking out items. Keep in mind this was a $1.4M dollar home. The buyer got upset and told the Realtor that the Title Company was ripping him off and not providing proper title insurance coverage. This was all taking place at another place than the closing. After closing, my client was not happy. I had to explain to the client in detail a Title Commitment vs Title Insurance Policy. They are not the same. The attorney was striking out items in the Title Commitment (Schedule B)…not the policy that is sent to the buyer AFTER closing. Once I explained everything the client was fine. She said…“you should write a blog about that on your site, as it could help educate a lot of Realtors!” I agreed with her…so here you go:
As Real Estate agents and Mortgage Lenders you deal with a lot of different companies when closing your transactions. If you are in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC area hopefully you deal with just Stewart Title when it comes to your Real Estate closings. Do you ever notice that some of the companies you deal with are “Settlement Agents” (Companies) and some are “Title Insurance Company’s?” Are there differences when you compare a Settlement Agent vs Title Company? Yes! There are several differences. Many of these differences you are probably unaware. Let’s talk about the differences between Settlement Agent vs Title Company and why these are important, and what it means for YOU when deciding where to send your business.