Home Buying in Orleans>Question Details

Bron, Home Buyer in Wellfleet, MA

Know any scary stories about people without Owner's Title Insurance?

Asked by Bron, Wellfleet, MA Sat Oct 11, 2008

After declining it 12 times in NY with no pressure to do otherwise, we're finding it "highly recommended" by our lawyer now that we're buying in MA. Does MA have a higher incidence of odd property claims? Does anyone out there know of anyone who ever needed it or wish they'd had it? Or should I add earthquake insurance to my policy while I'm feeling paranoid and fiscally loose. Thanks for any opinions!

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Title Insurance is the biggest ripoff out there. The only people pushing it are the people putting your money in their pockets. I live and have lived in Mass for 40 years and never have nor will I ever purchase Title Insurance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 1, 2013
Ripoff. Hmmm. Well, title insurance is protection against the unseen. I will not buy real estate without it. It is super cheap, a one time premium, and covers crazy things you can't find in a title examination. Most interesting situation was a fraudulently endorsed deed (yep, forged). No way to find it in a title exam, but sure created an issue with ownership. I have also seen improperly indexed land records resulting in claims. Foreclosures done improperly with lawsuits to recover property are now prevalent - in fact, downright common. There are tons more examples. In Virginia, where I am a practicing real estate attorney, it is not required, so folks can do what they want...however, I get the cases when they are big money litigation if they don't choose to insure though.
Flag Wed Feb 24, 2016
Dear Bron,

There have been several instances in my career that an owners title insurance has fixed the problem. The most memorable incidence was for a house built in the 1930’s. The first owner lived in the property until 1998 and then the second owner hired me to sell it. The second owners’ title company never recognized that the house was in-fact built on the wrong lot - according to the deed. The new buyers bank caught the problem and put the brakes on.

This was huge. Fortunately the original owner in his 80’s was a local firefighter and we were able to track his son down a few towns over for signatures to fix the problem. All this research, the document preparation and the attorney and registry fees were paid in full by the title company.

My husband has worked in the land surveying industry for the past 8 years. I believe that we have a large turn over rate in MA because of all the subdivisions / property line changes and foreclosures. Among these are deed mistakes and title liens and other various safety checks that has accounted for our need for title insurance.

Understand that until recently we didn’t have a deed template and it can be challenging interpreting a deed even 50 years old for a description of premise. The funniest description called for blue slashes on trees. Those blue slashes are or have turned green along with red and yellow and other various colors on all sorts of trees in that general area. So do we assume the blue turned green or did the owner run out of blue and decide yellow and red should do or were they logging. You get the point.

As far as earthquake insurance. ??? They say the east coast has a big fault line. When it will be active, who really knows? I suppose you might weight the replacement cost of your property to the overall lifetime cost of the insurance. And then consider what the monthly payment in a decent IRA fund might make. It might surpass the replacement cost of your house in less time.

Good Luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 12, 2008
Thanks so much, all. Monica McNamara's blog post was scary enough to convince. And thanks, Andrew- good to have the "did happen" to add to the "could happen".
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 11, 2008
I work in Maryland, and have always been a believer in title insurance. In fact, I have enclosed a ink to an article I posted here on my Trulia blog....."77 Ways to Lose Your Property".

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 11, 2008
I know of an individual that bought a condo with 2 deeded parking spaces. Turned out it should have only been one. Title insurance paid the home owner $20,000 for the parking space that they didn't really own because the value of a condo with one vs. two spaces is less. I will guarantee you that the borrower was glad they purchased owner's title.

It is a waste of money....Until you need it!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 11, 2008
In most transactions NOT having title insurance is simply begging for trouble. The cost is cheap compared to the challenges you may face. Perhaps not in the purchase, but when it comes time to sell....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 11, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
There was a great Trulia Blog Post the other day about this from Monica McNAmara in Ocean City Maryland titled "77 Ways to Lose Your Property." Check it out!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 11, 2008
The cost of owners title insurance is equal to less than or at about 1 hour of an attorneys fee. it is teh best protection a buyer can have. it is not just for your purchase but any sale or purchase in the properties life time. for instance missing death certificates, marriage certificate, divorce, missing releases for leins, mortgages, taxes or such. forgetting to include a tract of land you though you owned, and more. it is more common than you think. protect your assetts and yourself from future claims and expenses.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 11, 2008
There are many scary stories that relate to this subject. That being said, my guess would be that there are more title searches done that don't lead to problems than ones that do. You can alway purchase the insurance after the closing however; it is usually less money to get a combined lender/owner policy right at the closing. I have bought it myself and find that the peace of mind is well worth the one time fee especially if you are dealing with an older home that has had several owners.

Spend an hour in your local register of deeds and tell me that the likely hood of human error doesn't exist. The only time you have to worry about scary stories is if you don't have it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 11, 2008
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