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Get Help from an Experienced Miami Real Estate Title Lawyer or Miami Title Insurance Attorney Today

When buying or selling real estate in South Florida, title-related issues can make or break the deal. Buyers need to know that they are getting a clear title, or at least that they will have access to adequate remedies in the event that they encounter issues post-closing. Lenders will have concerns related to titles as well, and, to adequately protect their interests, all parties involved in residential and commercial real estate transactions should work with an experienced Miami title insurance attorney.

We represent buyers, sellers, lenders, and title insurance companies in all title-related matters in South Florida. We help our clients address concerns and resolve issues before and during the closing, and we provide representation for post-closing disputes when necessary.

Common Title Issues in Real Estate Transactions

Residential and commercial real estate transactions can potentially involve a wide range of title issues. While most transactions close without the need to address any title-related concerns, it is not uncommon for issues to arise. For example, some issues our clients frequently ask us to address include:

  • Do I need a property title search in South Florida? For buyers, conducting a property title search makes sense in virtually all scenarios. Since title insurance doesn’t cover all types of title defects (as discussed in greater detail below), conducting a title search provides a crucial additional layer of insurance against buying a property with a clouded title.
  • Do I need title insurance in South Florida? Even a comprehensive property title search won’t necessarily identify all issues with a property’s title. As a result, title insurance is critical for buyers and lenders in the vast majority of situations. While there are limited circumstances in which title insurance may not be necessary, it is worth consulting with a Miami title insurance attorney before making a potentially costly mistake.
  • How can I be certain that I am getting a clear title? The simple truth is that it isn’t possible to be absolutely certain that you are getting a clear title. This is why buyers and lenders need to take steps to protect themselves beyond conducting a property title search. Protecting against title defects involves not only purchasing title insurance but including appropriate protections in the purchase and sale agreement as well.
  • What if a buyer is seeking to back out due to a title issue? If you are selling a property and the buyer is seeking to back out due to a title-related concern, you should speak with a Miami real estate title lawyer about your options. While the buyer might have the right to back out based on a contingency, this isn’t necessarily the case, and you may have options if you want to force the transaction to go through.
  • How do I ensure proper transfer of title at closing? Ensuring proper transfer of title at closing is important for all parties involved. The best way to do this is to work with an experienced Miami real estate title lawyer throughout the transaction and closing processes.

Again, these are just examples. If you have any title-related concerns in connection with a pending residential or commercial real estate transaction in South Florida, we strongly recommend speaking with an attorney before you move forward.

Understanding the Benefits and Limitations of Title Insurance

Title insurance protects purchasers and lenders against many of the title-related risks associated with real estate acquisitions. But, based on our experience, there are a lot of common misconceptions about title insurance, and when purchasers, in particular, rely on these misconceptions, they will often incur significant unnecessary costs and losses as a result. With this in mind, here are some important facts about title insurance:

Owner’s Title Insurance vs. Lender’s Title Insurance

There are two main types of title insurance policies: owner’s title insurance and lender’s title insurance. When mortgage companies require title insurance, they are requiring lender’s title insurance—insurance that protects the bank or mortgage company in the event that the title to the mortgaged property isn’t clear.

Purchasers also have the option of separately purchasing the owner’s title insurance. As its name suggests, the owner’s title insurance protects the purchaser post-closing. In the event that a purchaser encounters a title issue and it has only purchased the lender’s title insurance, the purchaser won’t have the coverage it needs to file a claim.

Limitations of Title Insurance

While title insurance is important, it has limits. In other words, title insurance does not cover all types of title defects. For example, title-related issues that frequently aren’t covered by title insurance include government regulations affecting the use of the subject property and claims of ownership through eminent domain. By conducting due diligence beyond a standard title search before closing, buyers can further mitigate their risk of encountering unanticipated use restrictions and disputes post-closing.

Title Insurance vs. Seller Liability

In some cases, purchasers won’t have title insurance claims, but they will instead have claims against the seller. For example, imagine a scenario in which a seller is aware of a possible eminent domain claim but fails to disclose this despite having a contractual obligation to do so. In this scenario, title insurance may not apply, but the purchaser may still be able to hire a Miami real estate title lawyer to pursue legal remedies.

Filing a Title Insurance Claim

Property owners and lenders can encounter various issues when filing title insurance claims. By their nature, the types of issues that are covered by title insurance tend to involve complicated legal and factual issues, and sorting through these issues requires in-depth knowledge of Florida’s real estate title laws. With this in mind, before filing a title insurance claim, it is best to consult with an experienced Miami title insurance attorney.

Common Issues in Real Estate Title Disputes

Real estate title disputes can involve several different issues, and the issues involved (as well as the claims and defenses that are available) largely depend on the parties and circumstances involved. Some examples of issues we often handle on behalf of our clients include:

  • Seller Misrepresentations – For example, if a seller misrepresents information about known title defects or third-party claims of right.
  • Inadequate Buyer Due Diligence – Sellers may counter buyers’ claims by alleging that buyers failed to conduct adequate pre-purchase due diligence.
  • Title Search Defects – If a title search is defective, then the purchaser or lender may have a claim against the title search company.
  • Title Insurance Exclusions – Among other grounds, title insurance companies will frequently deny claims by asserting title insurance policy exclusions.
  • Boundary Issues, Liens, and Encumbrances – Title-related disputes can also involve issues related to property boundaries, third-party liens, easements, and other encumbrances.

Here, too, these are just examples. At Edelboim Lieberman Revah we handle all types of real estate title disputes, including suits to quiet title and partition actions. Contact us for more information.

FAQs: Overcoming Title Issues Before, During, and After Real Estate Transactions

How Much Do Property Title Searches and Title Insurance Cost in Florida?

While different title companies charge different fees, you can generally expect to pay in the range of a few hundred dollars for a title search in Florida. Title insurance policies for residential properties are typically in the range of a thousand to a few thousand dollars for a one-time upfront premium. Different title companies offer different levels of service, and title insurers offer different coverages and exclusions, so it is a good idea to shop around or ask for referrals.

Do I Need to Purchase Owner’s Title Insurance?

Strictly speaking, the answer is “No.” You do not have to purchase owner’s title insurance when buying a piece of real estate in Florida. But, while it isn’t required, it is a good idea, and the relatively modest cost to purchase a policy will be well worth the investment should you need the coverage in the future.

What is the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and How Does it Protect Buyers with Regard to Title?

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is a federal law that covers many (but not all) residential real estate purchases in Florida. Under RESPA, sellers cannot mandate the use of a specific title company unless they are paying the buyer’s title insurance premiums at closing. RESPA provides several other protections for buyers as well (along with various other Florida and federal laws), and buyers can hire a Miami title insurance attorney to help them enforce their rights under RESPA in appropriate cases.

Do I Need a Title Insurance Attorney When Buying a Home in South Florida?

Again, the strict answer is “No,” but there are several reasons why it makes sense to at least talk to a Miami title insurance attorney before moving forward with a transaction. An experienced Miami real estate title lawyer will be able to help you make informed decisions, and if there are issues you need to address, your attorney will be able to address them on your behalf before closing.

Speak with a Miami Real Estate Title Lawyer for Free

For more information about our real estate title services in South Florida, please contact us to arrange a free consultation. Call 305-768-9909 or tell us how we can help online today.

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