General FAQs

What is Title Insurance

Owner’s title insurance protects purchasers of real estate against title defects that may exist on the property.

Lender’s or (Mortgagee) title insurance insures the lender as to the priority of its lien, meaning there are no other mortgages, liens or judgments that have priority over their mortgage.

What is a Title Search?

A title search is a detailed examination of the historical records concerning a property. These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many other documents. The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership, and to discover any claims, defects and other rights or burdens on the property.

Who Pays for Title Insurance?

In Florida it varies per county and can be negotiated in the contract. The seller generally pays for the title insurance and chooses the title/closing company in most Florida counties. The buyer generally pays for title insurance and chooses the title/closing company in the following counties; Sarasota, Collier, Miami Dade and Broward.

How Much Can a Title Company Charge For Florida Title Insurance?

Florida title insurance rates are set by the Florida Department of Insurance. A Florida title insurance owner’s policy and a Florida title insurance lender policy are generally issued simultaneously, with the policy of lesser value having only a nominal premium rate.

The scale of Florida title insurance rate premiums is as follows based on the insurance amount:

Up to $100,000 a rate of $5.57 per $1,000 of insurance;
Over $100,000 up to $1 Million a rate of $5.00 per $1,000 of insurance;
Over $1 Million up to $5 Million, a rate of $2.50 per $1,000 of insurance;
Over $5 Million up to $10 Million, a rate of $2.25 per $1,000 of insurance;
Over $10 Million, a rate of 2.00 per $1,000 of insurance

What Does Title Insurance Protect Against?

False impersonation of the true owner of the property
Forged deeds, releases or wills
Undisclosed or missing heirs
Instruments executed under invalid or expired power of attorney
Mistakes in recording legal documents
Misinterpretations of wills
Deeds by persons of unsound mind
Deeds by minors
Deeds by persons supposedly single, but in fact married
Liens for unpaid estate inheritance, income or gift taxes

What is an Escrow Deposit?

An Escrow Deposit, also known as an Earnest Money Deposit, is money that a homebuyer puts down as a sign of good faith when purchasing a home.

What is Escrow?

Escrow is a process that provides for a fair and equitable transfer of property from one person to another.

Escrow opens when the buyer and seller sign a sales contract, commonly called a Real Estate Purchase Agreement and a deposit is paid. The contract, along with any additional instructions, serves as instructions for the escrow officer in terms of accounting for Escrow and release of Escrow funds.

Escrow assures that the lender releases the home purchase funds at or about the same time that the deed is recorded to reflect new ownership. Escrow includes depositing, with a neutral third party, funds, documents and instructions necessary to complete the transfer.

How Long Do the Funds Stay in Escrow?

The amount of time necessary to complete the escrow is determined by the terms of the Real Estate Purchase Agreement or the time taken to process your loan. It is normally 45 to 60 days, but can range from a few days to several months.


What is FIRPTA? The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, better known as FIRPTA, 26 U.S.C. § 1445, provides that a buyer must withhold 10% of the amount realized by the foreign seller in the sale of an interest in U.S. real property. If the seller is a foreign person and the buyer fails to withhold, the buyer may be held liable for the tax.

Where Can I Get More Information On FIRPTA?

We would be glad to answer any questions that you might have on FIRPTA, but additional information, applicable forms, the withholding certificate application process and more can be found at the

What is a Survey and Why Do I Need One?

A survey is the measurement by a surveyor of real property which delineates the boundaries of a parcel of land. A survey additionally delineates the exact location of all improvements, encroachments, easements and other matters affecting the title to the property in question. Most lenders require a survey as a condition of the loan.

What is a Prior Policy and What is Its Purpose?

The purpose of a prior policy is to obtain a reissue credit. This grants the holder of the policy a discounted title insurance rate if the following requirements are met:

  • The Owner’s policy of title insurance is NOT more than three (3) years old if the holder is selling the property. This time limit does not apply if the holder is refinancing the property.
  • The insured named on the prior policy must be the same as those involved in the current transaction.
  • The prior policy must be delivered to the title company at the same time the order is place.
  • The prior policy does not need to be issued by the same company that is issuing the new policy.
  • Only an Owner’s Title Policy may be used for a prior policy. Commitments and Loan Policies do not qualify.
How Do I File for a Homestead Exemption?

Initial application for homestead exemption must be made between January 1 and March 1 of the year for which the exemption is sought. Initial application can be made in person at the property appraiser’s office or on-line (in most counties).If filing for the first time, be prepared to answer these questions:

  • In whose name or names was the title to the dwelling recorded as of January 1?
  • What is the street address of the property?
  • How long have you been a legal resident of the State of Florida? (A Declaration of Domicile or Voter’s Registration will be proof of date before January 1.)
  • Do you have a Florida license plate on your car and a Florida driver’s license?
  • Were you living in the dwelling on January I?

For additional information on homestead exemption and a list of the property appraisers in the state of Florida please visit Property Appraisers in Florida.

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