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The Basics of ALTA Title Insurance

Title Insurance - Boston, MA

Firstly, What Is Title Insurance?

Title insurance secures your assets in your ownership of real property. Titles secure the transfer of real property rights and interest to both the buyer and the lender. Before purchasing real property, a title search is conducted to identify previous ownership. The title search determines if there are any other persons or businesses that have claim to the property and can encumber your ownership. The title insurance purchase, which pays for the title search, reduces your loss in the event that someone places a claim against your property purchase. A claim can be place for example by a family member of the previous owner or banking or financing company who determines that there is an outstanding debt that was not previously identified. Title insurance protects you as the true homeowner by guaranteeing that the title search took place and the property was accurately transferred to your ownership. The title insurance company acts on your behalf and defends the property for you the buyer.

What is ALTA?

The American Land and Title Association, or ALTA, is the nationally recognized trade association for title companies. It represents and sets the standards for agents, researchers and underwriting companies. In the past, the searches were done through abstracts or public records to determine if the property was clear to purchase. Since there were no guarantees offered, an 1868 court case pioneered the creation of title insurance. Local title insurance companies were formed in several major cities. This growth continued due to the increase in home ownership by returning WWII veterans, causing a national boom for the title insurance industry.

ALTA forms are used in a variety of transactions, including typical home purchases, large developments, different mortgage types, and different land usage requirements. The forms are updated throughout the years as necessary. Lenders encouraged ALTA to create polices specific to the lenders’ interests. Local laws must still be incorporated in the closing process.

Click here for more on our ALTA Title Insurance Policies.

As a Boston-based title company, OneBoston Title can help with all forms and process. In fact, it is our goal to streamline and simplify the entire closing process. If you’re in the real estate market or will be soon, contact us today!


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