Title Services

Laredo Title & Abstract issues title insurance and handles all types of real estate transactions, both residential and commercial.

Over the years as the Real Estate market has continued to evolve, so have the services that we offer. This broad range of services has one common goal… help protect your piece of the American dream.

WHY TITLE INSURANCE IS IMPORTANT?

Purchasing a home may be one of the largest investments a person will make during his lifetime.

Obtaining an owner’s title insurance policy will help protect your investment against the risks that can be associated with real estate transactions.

Prior to closing on your property, ask about title insurance and how it can provide financial protection and security for your investment.

21 REASONS YOU NEED TITLE INSURANCE

  • A fire destroys only the house and improvements. The ground is left. A defective title may take away not the only the house but also the land on which it stands. Title insurance protects you (as specified in the policy) against such loss.
  • A deed or mortgage in the chain of title may be a forgery.
  • A deed or a mortgage may have been signed by a person under age.
  • A deed or a mortgage may have been made by an insane person or one otherwise incompetent.
  • A deed or a mortgage may have been made under a power of attorney after its termination and would, therefore, be void.
  • A deed or a mortgage may have been made by a person other than the owner, but with the same name as the owner.
  • The testator of a will might have had a child born after the execution of the will, a fact that would entitle the child to claim his or her share of the property.
  • A deed or mortgage may have been procured by fraud or duress.
  • Title transferred by an heir may be subject to a federal estate tax lien.
  • An heir or other person presumed dead may appear and recover the property or an interest therein.
  • A judgment or levy upon which the title is dependent may be void or voidable on account of some defect in the proceeding.
  • Title insurance covers attorneys’ fees and court costs.
  • Title insurance helps speed negotiations when you’re ready to sell or obtain a loan.
  • By insuring the title, you can eliminate delays and technicalities when passing your title on to someone else.
  • Title insurance reimburses you for the amount of your covered losses.
  • A deed or mortgage may be voidable because it was signed while the grantor was in bankruptcy.
  • Each title insurance policy we write is paid up, in full, by the first premium for as long as you or your heirs own the property.
  • There may be a defect in the recording of a document upon which your title is dependent.
  • Claims constantly arise due to marital status and validity of divorces. Only title insurance protects against claims made by non-existent or divorced “wives” or “husbands.”
  • Many lawyers, in giving an opinion on a title, protect their clients as well as themselves, by procuring title insurance.
  • Over the last 24 years, claims have risen dramatically.

Underwriters & Affiliations


sellers information

The process of selling your home involves several costs and fees. The following information is very general. Many of these items can be negotiated with the buyer. Consult your real estate professional for details.

  • Real estate commission
  • Document preparation fee for deed
  • Any loan fees required by buyer’s lender
  • Payoff of all loans in seller’s name (or existing loan balance if being assumed by buyer)
  • Interest accrued to lender being paid off, statement fees, reconveyance fees and any prepayment penalties.
  • Termite inspection (according to contract)
  • Termite work (according to contract)
  • Home warranty (according to contract)
  • Any judgments, tax liens, etc., against the seller
  • Tax proration (for any taxes unpaid at time of transfer of title)
  • Any unpaid homeowner dues
  • Recording charges to clear all documents of record against seller
  • Any bonds or assessments (according to contract)
  • Any and all delinquent taxes
  • Escrow fees (according to contract)
  • Title insurance premium (according to contract)

Buyer's information

So, you’re buying a house. It’s an exciting time. It can also be a bit confusing. Things feel like they’re happening pretty fast and, often, some important things can go unexplained – like title insurance. Many people don’t understand exactly what title insurance is or what it does, even a lot of people that already have it. As a title insurance company, Laredo Title & Abstract would like to remedy that. So we’ve put together some basic information for you on title insurance.

WHAT IS TITLE?

Simply stated, the title to a piece of property is the evidence that the owner is in lawful possession of
that property.

What is title insurance?

Title insurance protects real estate owners and lenders against any property loss or damage they might experience because of liens, encumbrances or the defects in the title to the property. Each title insurance policy is subject to specific terms, conditions and exclusions.

how does title insurance differ from other insurance?

Insurance such as car, life, health, etc. protects against potential future events and is paid for with monthly or annual premiums. A title policy insures against events that occurred in the past of the real property and the people who owned it, for a one-time premium paid at the close of the escrow.

what does it cover?

Title insurance protects against claims from defects. Defects are things such as another person claiming an ownership interest, improperly recorded documents, fraud, forgery, liens, encroachments, easements and other items that are specified in the actual policy.

who needs it?

Purchasers and lenders need title insurance in order to be insured against various possible title defects.The buyer, seller and lender all benefit from the issuance of title insurance.

how is a title policy created?

After the escrow officer or lender opens the title order, Laredo Title & Abstract begins a title search. A Preliminary Report is issued to the customer for review and approval. All closing documents are recorded upon escrow’s instruction. When recording has been confirmed, demands are paid, funds are disbursed, and the actual title policy is created.

what is escrow?

Escrow refers to the process in which the funds of a transaction (such as the sale of a house) are held by a third party, often the title company or an attorney in the case of real estate, pending the fulfillment of the transaction.

what are the policy types?

A standard owners policy insures the new owner/home buyer, and a lender’s policy insures the priority of the lender’s security interest.

why you need title insurance?

Other types of insurance coverage focus on possible future events and charge an annual premium – such as flood insurance or hazard insurance that safeguard against loss from wind damage. Title insurance protects against loss from hazards and defects already existing in the title and is purchased with a one-time premium.

title search and examination is the first step?

Insuring a home’s title begins with a search of public land records affecting the property. The title agent or attorney working on behalf of the underwriter examines pertinent documents to determine whether the property is insurable. Those documents include deeds, wills, trusts, outstanding mortgages and judgments, property liens, highway or utility line easements, pending legal actions and notary acknowledgements.

When title problems are disclosed during the search process, they are corrected whenever possible to avoid future claims. According to surveys done by the American Land Title Association (ALTA), title problems consistently arise in one out of three real estate transactions (36%).

a corrective process is vital to curing title problems?

The process of performing title searches and curing title problems does not come cheap. Industry studies find that title insurers spend an average of 92 cents out of every premium dollar as their cost of doing business.

The most common actions to cure title defects include:

  • Releases/pay-offs for liens – 33%
  • Releases/pay-offs for deeds/mortgages – 19%
  • Typographical corrections (names, addresses,legal descriptions) – 17%
  • Clearing estate/family issue – 11%
  • Clearing physical property issues – 7%

what if a problem is hidden or missed?

After all this searching and examination, a title problem may still be hidden or missed, such as:

  • A forged signature on a deed
  • An unknown heir who steps forward to claim ownership of the property
  • An expired or forged power of attorney used during a property transfer
  • An incorrect public record

In each of these cases and many more, when there is appropriate title insurance coverage, a policy will offer financial protection. The title insurer defends the title and either perfects the title or pays valid claims.

why do lenders need it?

Lenders require the homeowner to purchase title insurance, just as they call for fire insurance and other types of coverage to protect their financial investment in the property. A lender’s policy insures that the mortgage is valid and the lien priority is correct. In addition, title insurance is required for lenders who package and sell their loans in the secondary mortgage market.

For the homeowner to be covered, he or she must purchase an owner’s policy in addition to the required lender or mortgagee policy.

a separate owner’ s policy?

Owner’s title insurance lasts as long as the policyholder or his or her heirs have an interest in the property – maybe even after the homeowner has sold the property. It is either purchased for an additional premium or an owner may pay a simultaneous issue charge (usually a smaller amount) for the separate lender coverage.

why title insurance?

Title insurance was first issued in 1871 to enable speed and efficiency when property is conveyed, or legally transferred from one owner to another. Because of title insurance, real estate is more marketable and thus more valuable. It has worked so well to protect buyers and lenders against defects in legal ownership that it is spreading around the world.

Therefore, while the title industry in many states closes the transaction, handles the escrow and records the documents, it also works to make the title searches even faster, better and more cost-effective. The role of title insurance to fix problems and pay claims is crucial to the marketability of real estate.

Contact us for more information on title insurance and to find out why we’re the right title company for you.