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What is Title Insurance?

Title Insurance:  Is a guarantee against any defects or encumbrances in title to real estate to which the title insurance company has not taken an exception.

Owner’s Policy:  Protects the property owner, up to the policy amount, for any loss sustained by reason of defective title.  If the owner sells the property, the policy is not transferable to the future owners.

Lender’s Policy:  Protects the lender only up to the amount owed on the mortgage loan for any loss sustained by reason of defective title.  If the mortgagee sells the mortgage to another party, the mortgagee’s policy is transferable to the new owner of the mortgage.

Title Search/Exam:  It is a search of the public records to show who has legal ownership to the property.  It also shows any outstanding mortgages, liens, or unpaid taxes against the property and/or owners.

Why You Must Have It:  Documents in the past may have been prepared and executed without the assistance of a professional, and once they are recorded in the public records, the document may affect the validity of the title to the property.  A licensed title agent is trained and experienced to look at each document to determine that the proper parties executed the document and that it was executed according to Florida Statutes.  Most Lenders/Banks require it as a condition to approve the mortgage loan.

Insurance Fee Determined:  The State of Florida regulates the minimum that can be charged.  Most companies offer “Card Rate” which is the minimum plus a nominal charge.  This is negotiable and depends on whether or not you have the existing Owner’s Policy to provide the title company.  This may help to reduce your expenses.


Location:  The closing will typically take place at Panhandle Land Title, LLC. Arrangements can be made to hold the closing at another location if needed.

Who Attends:  Closing agent, buyer, seller, any realtors, mortgage broker, and legal counsel if representing any party to the transaction.

What Takes Place:  The closing agent will explain the closing statement (HUD1) as well as any other closing documents, such as the mortgage that varies in length depending on the lender.  When all of the documents have been signed, including the deed, and the buyer has given the cashier’s check to the closing agent, the seller will receive his or her proceeds from the sale.  All other disbursements will be made (examples: existing mortgage, realtors, and mortgage brokers) at this time also.  Please be aware that you will be required to sign multiple copies of some documents.  If you choose to review any closing documents prior to closing, please advise us in advance so that we may accommodate you and your client without holding up the closing.

After Closing:  Closing agent sends the original deed and mortgage to the courthouse for recording.  The completed loan package is sent to the lender.  All remaining funds are disbursed according to the settlement statement.  The owner’s and lender’s title policies are issued when the deed and mortgage are returned to the closing agent after recording.  Once you receive these documents you should then go file for any homestead tax exemptions you qualify for.

Information We Need From You:

Driver Licenses:  All parties or borrowers who are involved in the transaction should bring to closing.  This should also be faxed with the title order and contract if possible.  This can reduce delays due to incorrectly spelled names.

Fully Executed Contract:  A fully executed and signed contract is need in order to process and close transactions.  Please include all pages, addendums, and disclosures.  Also any addendums that show seller’s contributions and/or credits should be provided in advance.

Marital Status:  This is critical in the conveyance of property in Florida.  There is no legal separation in Florida, only married or single status.  Divorced persons claiming single status must provide copies of Court stamped Divorce Settlement Documents.

Deceased:  If an owner on a property that is being sold or refinanced is deceased, you should provide a legible copy of the death certificate to close.  Additional documentation may be required.

Mortgages:  Please inform us of any existing mortgages on the property.  This will allow us to request payoffs and prepare correct documents and figures.  Many lenders require the property owner’s social security numbers and/or written authorization to release this information to the Closing Agent.  To avoid any delays, it is suggested that you provide this with the Contract or Title Order.

Cash to Close:  It is our goal to provide a preliminary HUD1 the day prior to closing.  This is sometimes not possible because we do not receive the final instructions from the bank or lender until a few hours before closing.  As soon as these instructions are received we can move quickly to get the lender’s approval and finalize the HUD.  Only the client of the bank has the power to push their bank or lender to give us information faster.

Checks:  Please inform us of how you would like your checks so that we will not be delayed in rewriting the disbursements.

You must reside on the property as of January 1st of tax year
Filing Deadline - March 1, of the tax year
Documentation necessary for application includes:

1. Florida drivers license
2. Florida vehicle registration
3. Florida voter’s card
4. Social Security number
5. Alien registration card (if applicable)
6. Declaration of Domicile
7. Recorded deed or current tax bill
8. Death certificate (if applicable)
9. Property in Trust must complete the “Certificate of Trust” provided by the Property Appraiser’s Office