Find the answers to some of the most common questions about title insurance, closing and escrow. We’ll help you gain a better understanding of what to expect when purchasing or selling your home. For more specific answers to your unique circumstances, feel free to contact us today.
Which title insurance company do you write with?
Greenspring Title Company generally writes with First American Title Insurance Company, one of the largest and most respected insurers in the country. However, through our partnership with 4 Seasons Title, we can write with additional companies if First American is unable to provide coverage. https://www.firstam.com/title-insurance-and-settlement-services
What in the world is title insurance anyway, and why do I need it?
This insurance provides homebuyers and lenders with vital protection against losses from certain title issues including forgery, fraud, and liens – problems that might limit a homeowner’s use and enjoyment of their property.
Here is a video that explains it well: https://www.firstam.com/title-insurance-and-settlement-services/
Why do I need two separate policies?
One policy (Lender Policy) protects your lender up to the amount of your mortgage loan. The other protects you (Owner’s Policy)
Here is a video that explains it well: https://www.firstam.com/ownership/videos/types-of-title-insurance-policies/
Am I required to purchase a Lender’s policy for the bank?
Yes. All lenders require it.
Am I required to purchase an Owner’s Policy?
Technically, no. But almost all buyers do. It is highly recommended. Just look what happened to Abraham Lincoln! https://www.firstam.com/ownership/videos/abraham-lincoln-lost-his-home-twice/
How long does title insurance last?
For the entire time you and/or your bank hold interest in the property.
How often do I have to pay the premium?
Once, at closing.
I am refinancing. Why do I have to buy title insurance again?
A new loan requires a new policy for the lender. However, it will be priced at the “re-issue” rate, which is typically around 40% off the new policy price. You do not have to buy a new Owner’s policy.
What is the difference between a standard and an enhanced policy?
An enhanced policy offers further protection for your most important investments. The product is so popular we always quote this policy, unless someone specifically asks for the standard policy.
Is the enhanced policy always available?
There are certain instances where it is not available. The most common being when the buyer is purchasing a “flip” home, where the Seller has only owned it for a short period of time.
How are title insurance policy premiums calculated?
Title insurance rates are based on the price of the loan and/or mortgage, which are approved by the Maryland Insurance Commission. See First American Title Insurance Company’s calculator here: https://facc.firstam.com/. Please select “Title Rates”.
Are title insurance rates negotiable?
No. Because the rates are set by the State, like other insurance products, they are non-negotiable.
Do title insurance rates vary from carrier to carrier?
In our experience, no. First American’s rates are comparable to other companies with minimal variation.
What states do you operate in?
Currently, Greenspring Title only operates in Maryland. Through our partnership with 4 Seasons Title, we can now coordinate Virginia closings. However, look for announcements regarding Washington D.C., Delaware, and Pennsylvania in the future!
What counties in Maryland do you operate?
Our main office may be based in Towson, but we can perform closings in the entire state of Maryland.
What types of closings do you do?
Greenspring Title Company can perform the following real estate transactions:
- Residential or Commercial
- Purchase or Refinance
- Cash or mortgage
What if I cannot attend closing on the date/time/time location the buyer chose?
- We have various options for parties that cannot attend closings. However, there are some restrictions such as the finalization of lender and title documents, and for business entities:
We can provide a limited Power of Attorney for another person to attend closing and sign on behalf of the non-attending party for an additional fee. This option is not available for persons signing on behalf of a business entity.
- We can provide a “second closing” for the non-attending party for an additional fee. We can provide this service throughout the United States. Fees vary based on location, and lender requirements; however, they typically are $150-$300.
Can’t you just email me the documents and I will send them back?
Unfortunately, no. While this once was a fairly common practice, our title insurance underwriters no longer allow it. Due to the high error rate with this practice such as: failing to sign, notarize, and date all documents as required, and failing to return all executed documents in a timely manner (and in some cases, at all), all documents must be presented, controlled, and returned by a title agent.
How long will it take for my deed and/or deed of trust to be recorded in land records?
For all counties other than Baltimore City, these title documents will be recorded within three (3) business days. However, it may not show up on the county’s land records or on SDAT for a few weeks thereafter.
For Baltimore City, which does not yet offer e-recordings, it may take a little bit longer. All recordings must be hand filed, hand checked by the clerk in the transfer tax office for appropriateness and proper tax amounts, and then hand delivered again to the Circuit Court for recording in land records.
I received a water bill for a period when I did not own the property. I do not have to pay this, correct?
Incorrect. Here is why: Unless there is an escrow for the water bill, you are given a credit by the seller for their water bill that is due by the Seller but it unpaid. Check the bottom half of you Closing Disclosure. There should be an offsetting line item for this scenario on both the Buyer and Seller side for the same amount. Effectively, the Seller is giving the Buyer additional funds to apply towards the water bill that was their responsibility, but there was no bill yet. Thus, the Buyer pays the whole thing because the Buyer received this money from the Seller.
Will I get copies of my documents that day after everything is signed?
If it is a refinance, yes. We will email you the unsigned documents after settlement to allow you to review anything you need during the three (3) day rescission period.
For purchases, and for refinances after expiration of the rescission period, we will provide you a link to view and download all the signed documents from your closing. These documents are typically available in 10 days.
There is a dispute between the Buyer and Seller regarding certain repair items not completed and/or not completed adequately. Will you escrow the disputed amount?
Our company can only escrow amounts that appear on the Closing Disclosure and approved by the Lender. Sometimes these issues pop up at the last minute after the final walk-through, but after the Closing Disclosure has been finalized. In those cases, our affiliated law firm, Blibaum & Associates, P.A., will be glad to hold the funds in its IOLTA escrow account, so long as every party signs and escrow agreement holding the law firm harmless.