This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.
Q. I just purchased my first home in Arlington, one that had only one owner over the life of the home. The home was also owned outright. When going over closing costs, I was told that the owner’s title insurance is optional. Given that this expense is upwards of $800, what is your take on buyers opting out of this?
A. The house may have had just one owner, but what about the land itself? It has had several owners over the last 200 years. There could be any number of title defects that affect the land.
If there are any title defects, a buyer can certainly pursue a claim against the seller under the covenants in the deed; however, will the seller have the assets to satisfy the buyer’s claim? Will the buyer even be able to find the seller years after closing?
That is the benefit of owner’s title insurance. A buyer is safe in purchasing realty because if there are any title claims, the title insurance carrier will be there to compensate any loss.
Not getting title insurance is like not getting auto insurance. Sure if you get into an accident and it’s someone else’s fault, you can sue them. But if they are without insurance and judgment proof, unless you have insurance, you have to absorb the loss yourself.
The response to this question was provided by Helen Krause and Nicholas Vlissides of NewWorld Title. I recommend contacting Helen at NewWorld Title for any of your settlement and title needs: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.