FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Title Insurance?

A title insurance policy ensures a new owner that his/her title is free and of any possible encumbrances and that he/she is insurable from the seller. It also ensures that the new owner will be protected from loss or damages as a result of defects, such as forged deeds, mistakes in public record, fraud and false impersonation of the owner's or predecessors in title to the property. A thorough search of the records by Gregg County Title will reveal any liens, claims or encumbrances that affect the property. The two basic types of title insurance policies are the owner's policy of title insurance, which insures the owner, and the Loan Policy, which insures the Lender or Mortgagee.

What is an Earnest Money Contract?

An Earnest Money Contract is an agreement between a Seller and a Buyer, which establishes the guidelines for the transaction, setting forth the sales price, the term or duration of the contract and specifies what charges will be paid by each party. An Earnest Money Contract is very important to any sales transaction and is often required by any Lender.

What is a Survey?

A survey is a geographical description that provides a tangible representation of the property. It sets out the boundaries, dimensions and area of the property. If there are improvements on the property, a survey also locates the improvements and often identities access to and from a public road. The lender and/or title company may require a new survey if your survey is of extreme age or does not locate your improvements on the property.

What is a Chain of Title?

A chain of title is a history of ownership of a particular tract of land, revealing when a property was bought and sold. This information is obtained from the Gregg County Clerk's Office or by and through the computerized plant maintained in the offices of Gregg County Title.

What is a Title Search?

Gregg County Title performs a search of the documents on record in Gregg county to compile a list of conveyances, encumbrances and exceptions affecting the subject property. This search includes items filed among the Real Property Records, Deed of Trust Records, Official Public Records, and the general index for tax liens (State and Federal), Abstracts of Judgment, Lis Pendens, Probate and District Court records. A chronological list of documents is composed to complete the Title Search.

What is a Commitment?

Upon completion of the title search, a Commitment of Title Insurance is issued, which reveals the information obtained through the title search. Schedule A of the Title Commitment sets forth the proposed transaction, including the purchaser and/or borrower, vested owner, estate of title, and description of property being purchased or used for obtaining a loan. Schedule B sets forth any restrictions and exceptions, such as easements or oil leases, etc. which affect the property and will be shown as an exception to the policy issued after closing. Schedule C sets forth requirements that must be met at or before closing (i.e. payment of outstanding liens or taxes). Schedule D provides information on Gregg County Title and the Underwriting Company and estimates the title insurance premium.

What is a Closing?

Upon completion and approval of the Title Commitment by all parties (Seller, Buyer and Lender), receipt of loan documentation from Lender (if applicable), receipt and review of survey by all parties, Gregg County Title will schedule a closing. The escrow officer or realtor will contact all parties to schedule a closing date that is convenient to all concerned. The purchaser or borrower is notified what to bring to closing (i.e. cashier's check, curative matters, etc.) All parties meet (either together or separately) with the closer to execute all documents required to complete the transaction. Upon funding, we will record the documents among the Official Public Records and disburse all funds (i.e. payment of taxes, loan payoffs, survey charges, etc.). Shortly after the closing, Gregg County Title will issue the appropriate policy and forward to the proper party.

What is a Settlement Statement?

The Settlement Statement is a list of all charges and payments involved with the transaction. The closing statement should accurately depict the transaction being completed.

What is Title Insurance Premium?

The Texas Department of Insurance sets title insurance premium rates so that all Title Companies in the State of Texas are governed by the same rates, and thus should charge the exact same premium.

What do I need to bring to the closing?

Both buyers and sellers and/or their respective real estate agents are required to bring a few items to the closing to facilitate a successful transaction. Both buyers and sellers are required to bring picture identification, issued by a US Government Agency (state driver's license, US Passport, etc.). At most closings, buyers will be required to bring money for closing cost and any down payment they are making on the property. Under Texas law, for any amount in excess of $1,500.00 the funds presented at closing must be in the form of either a cashier’s check made payable to Gregg County Title or a wire transfer. Finally, as a practical matter, buyers should always check with their lender for any last-minute conditions that must be satisfied to ensure timely loan funding.

20 Important Reasons Why You Should Have an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance:

These are just some of the hidden title risks that would not be disclosed by even the most meticulous title search, but are covered by an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance:

  1. Forgery

  2. Fraud in the execution of documents

  3. Undue influence on a grantor of a deed

  4. False impersonation by someone purporting to be the owner to the property.

  5. Incorrect representation of marital status

  6. Undisclosed or missing heirs

  7. Wills not properly probated

  8. Misinterpretation of wills and trusts

  9. Mental incompetence of a grantor of a deed

  10. Transfer of title by a minor

  11. Heirs born after the execution of a will

  12. Incorrect legal descriptions

  13. Non-delivery of deeds

  14. Unsatisfied claims not shown on the record

  15. Deeds executed under expired or false powers of attorney

  16. Confusion due to similar or identical names

  17. of courtesy rights of spouses of former owners

  18. Incorrect indexing of the land records

  19. Clerical errors in recording legal documents

  20. Delivery of deeds after the death of the grantor