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Fraud, liens, judgments, forgery, unpaid taxes, clerical errors in public records, mental incompetence, and faulty deeds -- are some of the most common problems protected by title insurance that could compromise your ownership rights to the property.

This is where title insurance comes in; the title insurance will provide legal protection if a claim is made by the terms of the policy.

Title insurance fees may differ but are usually reasonable because it is a one-time expense during closing.

Common Title Insurance Protection Hidden Risks:

False Impersonation

If you buy a home that was previously sold by a person "falsely impersonating" a true owner, you risk losing your legal claim to the property. 

Forged Deeds, Releases, And Other Documents

Forged or fraudulent property ownership paperwork is frequently registered in public records, masking the genuine owner of the property. Your rights to your home may be threatened if these forgeries are uncovered.

Illegal Deeds 

While the chain of title on your property may appear to be flawless, a prior deed may have been generated by a minor, an undocumented immigrant, a person of unsound mind, or someone who claims to be single but is married. These occurrences may affect the enforceability of previous deeds, affecting prior (and presumably present) ownership.

Mistakes In Public Records

Mistakes or discrepancies in publicly filed records can affect your home ownership rights, and without title insurance, it can cause financial strain to fix them.

Unknown Liens

The previous owners of your new home may not have been careful bill payers or bookkeepers, which might result in debts. Now, even if you don't own or have anything to do with their previous debts, banks or other financial institutions might place liens against the property even after closing. 

Missing Heirs 

When a previous homeowner dies, anyone mentioned in his will, such as their heirs, may inherit the home. However, those heirs may occasionally be missing at the time of their death or other family members fighting for the will to protect their property rights may affect the rights of your property.

Unknown Encumbrances

You may be unaware at the time of purchase that a third party has a claim to all or part of your property due to a previous mortgage or debt, or non-financial claims, such as restrictions or covenants limiting your land's use, which could affect your ownership.

house deed with pen

Unknown Easements

An undisclosed easement may restrict your ability to use the property as you like or grant government agencies, businesses, or other people access to all or portions of your new home or land despite owning it. While it won't usually cause a financial problem, easements might affect your right to use your property. 

Disputes Over Boundaries And Surveys

Before purchasing, you may have seen numerous surveys of your property; however, other surveys with different borders may exist. As a result, another party may be able to claim ownership of a section of your land.

Protect Your Rights

Purchasing title insurance might sound like another expense; however, if you think of the benefits it can give you in case of an unwanted situation, you might realize that it's more of an investment. Not only will it help you financially, but it will also give you the peace of mind you need while you enjoy your new property.Do you have more questions about title insurance? Indy Legal is here to help! Send us a message here or leave a comment below!

When you're buying a home for the first time, the process can be scary. It may seem impossible to meet all the standards for financing. Typically, conventional mortgages need a minimum credit score of 620 and a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 36%. Additionally, you will be required to pay mortgage insurance if you put down less than 20%. 

For first-time buyers, meeting these requirements can be challenging, especially if you're young. Thankfully, there are numerous loans and programs available. By providing loans with lower down payments, less stringent credit standards, and aid with closing expenses, they can lessen the barrier to entry into homeownership. 

To be eligible for these programs, you must fulfill specific requirements. But compared to traditional loans, these loans and grants have less stringent criteria for securing a mortgage.

Who Qualifies As A First-Time Homebuyer:

One of the most popular first-time homebuyer programs comes from the Federal Housing Administration, though program requirements may differ. Anyone who meets any of the following requirements is considered a first-time homebuyer according to the FHA:

Three years have passed since you last owned a home before buying a property. For married couples, only one partner needs to have been without a home for the previous three years. 

You are a divorced or separated homemaker who has only ever co-owned a house as a couple. 

Either you've only possessed real estate that wasn't "permanently affixed to a permanent foundation" or that didn't adhere to local, state, or model building requirements. 

For first-time homebuyers, the following 6 loan and program types are available: 

Government-Backed Loan

Federal agencies guarantee government-backed mortgages, in contrast to conventional loans. If you miss a payment, the agency will pay the lender on your behalf. With the help of this guarantee, lenders will be able to give you a mortgage even if you don't match the standard requirements for a traditional loan.

Government-backed mortgages often fall under one of three categories:

FHA Loan

The minimum down payment required for a Federal Housing Administration loan is 3.5%. 

DTI ratios of 43% or less and credit scores of 580 or higher are what lenders prefer to see. If your credit score is between 500 and 579, you can still apply, but a 10% down payment is required.

However, there are some premiums that you must pay. You will pay a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) equal to 1.75% of your loan at closing. Then, depending on the term length, loan size, and loan-to-value ratio, you will pay an annual premium ranging from 0.45% to 1.05% of your loan.

FHA Loan Requirements

  • Minimum 580 credit score to get a 3.5% down payment 
  • 500-579 credit score for a 10% down payment
  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of less than 43%
  • Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) required
  • Steady income and proof of employment
  • One of the main benefits of these loans is that you can accumulate equity instead of paying rent. The borrower may experience drawbacks from the mortgage insurance they pay to safeguard their lender.

There are loan limits as well, and they change based on your region and the property type. To use an FHA loan, a house must be in good condition.

Important: Due to the less stringent rules for FHA applicants, using FHA financing may have an impact on how the seller perceives your purchase offer. 


If you a) purchase a property in a rural or suburban location b) and make a low to moderate income, you may be eligible for a mortgage via the United States Department of Agriculture. States have different minimum income standards.

A USDA-backed loan does not require a down payment.

USDA Loan Requirements

  • Low to middle class (exclusions vary by location)
  • houses in suburban or rural locations when the population is below a specific level
  • US national, non-citizen, or eligible alien
  • Must be the primary place of residence
  • Income eligibility: Cannot earn more than 115% of the area's median household income.
  • No minimum credit score is needed, but applicants must "demonstrate a willingness and ability to manage and handle debt"
  • only available with a 30-year fixed rate 
  • Must be able to afford the payment, which must not be more than 29% of monthly income, including taxes and homeowners insurance.
  • DTI: 41% for additional debt
real estate agent talking to first time home buyers

VA Loan

Veterans Affairs may offer loans to current and former service members. There is no requirement for a down payment, and the VA does not have a minimum DTI or credit score. Even though the loan is VA-backed, you'll still apply for it through a typical lender, and the lender will determine the required credit score and DTI ratio.

Instead of paying mortgage insurance, you will pay a financing fee that safeguards the lender if you stop making payments. 

Your funding cost will vary depending on several variables, such as the amount of the loan, the amount of the down payment, and if this is your first VA loan. The funding charge can either be included in your monthly mortgage payments or paid in full at closing. The financing fee is not charged to veterans who receive VA benefits for a disability related to their military service.

VA Home Loan Requirements

  • Must be a veteran, active-duty service member, or the spouse of a deceased veteran.
  • a minimum of 24 months of service, or fewer in circumstances of disability discharge
  • With rare exclusions, a minimum credit score of low to mid-600 is required.
  • DTI: 41%
  • The house must adhere to the VA's Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs). 

Important: Borrowers cannot refuse to have their homes inspected or valued when applying for VA loans. There are restrictions on the type of property you can purchase as well as its state. 

Conventional mortgages with low down payments

Two mortgage businesses that are supported by the government are the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). To those with good credit who meet the requirements, each offers traditional first-time homebuyer loans with as little as a 3% down payment. Until they have at least 20% equity in the property, borrowers will be required to pay mortgage insurance on these loans. 

Although only a 3% down payment is required, you still need a credit score of 620. The soundness of the rest of your financial profile will determine the maximum DTI ratio that is permitted.

These are a few of the loans that are offered:

Fixer-Upper Loan Programs

Look into home loans that allow flexibility for fixer-uppers if you're looking to buy a house and don't mind a house that needs some maintenance. Some mortgages include financing for improvements along with the overall cost of the property acquisition, saving the borrower time and money. 

First-time buyers may have access to a wider selection of properties thanks to fixer-upper financing. 

Here are a few possibilities:

Fannie Mae HomeStyle Loan

For homes that require repairs following a move-in, use the HomeStyle loan. If both you and at least one other borrower are first-time homebuyers, you'll only need a 3% down payment if you're living in the property rather than renting it out or letting someone else live in it.

Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation loan

The Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan and the CHOICERenovation loan are comparable. More precisely, if you want to disaster-proof your house with additions like retaining walls or flood barriers, it might be a suitable alternative.

The building or remodeling work must be finished before the mortgage may be "delivered" to Freddie Mac. The CHOICEReno eXPress is a scaled-down variation of this loan. 

The maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratios for CHOICERenovation loans are typically up to 75% of the appraised value of the finished upgrades or the total of the purchase and renovation expenditures. 

FHA 203(k) Loan

Compared to the HomeStyle or CHOICERenovation loans, this loan has tougher restrictions on the kinds of modifications that may be done, but you may still be eligible with a lower credit score. If your credit score is 580 or higher, you can put down as little as 3.5%, and if it's between 500 and 579, you can put down 10%. 

When you wish to renovate your first house, FHA 203(k) loans can be helpful. By offering finance for a fixer-upper that other buyers might pass by due to the additional work required, they might offer an affordable entry point into a competitive market. 

Energy Efficient Mortgage Program

With an EEM, you can refinance the cost of energy-efficient renovations without increasing your down payment. An EEM can help you make improvements to things like your heater, insulation, and thermostat system. 

If your credit score is at least 580, a down payment of 3.5% is required; if it is between 500 and 579, a down payment of 10% is required.

An EEM can only be used to fund improvements that are considered cost-effective. Over the anticipated lifespan of the upgrades, costs for existing dwellings must balance. The most affordable upgrades for brand-new structures are those that abide by the most recent version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

Borrowers are required to have a qualified energy assessment performed. 

State And Local First-Time Homebuyer Programs

For first-time homebuyers, many state programs offer a variety of assistance. Before choosing a certain form of loan, it's a good idea to look into your alternatives in your state to make the most of the best programs available to you.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to get funding support for your down payment, closing charges, and other expenses. Additionally, several jurisdictions offer tax credits to borrowers with low to moderate incomes. 

The program details vary by state and location, however the following are a few examples of the kinds of assistance that are offered:

Down Payment Assistance

The largest barrier to becoming a house is frequent down payments. 

You should look into any down-payment aid plans offered by your state or local. You'll probably need to meet requirements such as a minimum credit score, a certain income level, and a particular DTI ratio. 

The Iowa Finance Authority, for instance, offers a $2,500 grant or up to a $5,000 loan to cover closing fees and down payments. 

Other Government Loan Programs

Other government initiatives for home loans are targeted toward particular demographics. These consist of:

Good Neighbor Next Door

If you work as a teacher, fireman, police officer, or emergency medical responder and reside in a "revitalization area," you might be eligible for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Good Neighbor Next Door program.

To look for homes in your neighborhood, visit the Good Neighbor Next Door website. You can buy a home for 50% off the asking price for the first seven days that it is posted.

Native American Direct Loan

Veterans of Native American descent are eligible for the NADL, which is provided by the VA. You won't pay private mortgage insurance and you won't require money for a down payment.

A standard VA loan involves a lender providing you with a mortgage that is supported by the VA. With a NADL, your true lender is the VA.

Final Note

The largest challenge for first-time homeowners is frequently saving enough money for a sizable down payment, even though they can acquire financing through traditional channels.

First-time homebuyer loans and programs come with many advantages but also have certain restrictions. Therefore, carefully weigh all of your options before deciding how to finance your mortgage. The drawbacks of lesser down payments, such as mortgage insurance and the possibility of owing more on your mortgage than the value of your home, occasionally outweigh their advantages.

Getting a mortgage is important when purchasing a home, whether it’s your first time or not. And just like buying a house itself, it comes with tons of considerations. 

In this article, we’ll help you learn the basics of loan application so without further ado, let’s get started.

What Is A Loan Application?

An application for a loan is exactly what its name says: a loan application. In addition to filling out a loan application form, an individual interested in applying for a loan must also write up an application before submitting it to a loan provider like a bank or another type of financial institution. 

To complete the application, borrowers must provide information about their finances, such as their assets and income. In addition to the information you supply, you will be expected to produce proof supporting the information you provide.

What Is Loan Processing?

Reviewing the loan application, ensuring that the borrower has submitted all of the relevant papers, and verifying that all of the information provided is accurate are all part of the process of processing the loan. The loan officer or originator guides you in selecting the loan product that best suits your needs.

The lender will order a credit report and a professional evaluation of your prospective home during the application process. The application procedure usually takes between 1-6 weeks.

loan application form

How To Secure A Loan

Here is the following information you may need to provide:

1. Pay Stubs For The Past 2-3 Months

An employer's pay stub is a document that lists the employee's gross earnings, deductions from that pay, and net pay. Each employee receives a new pay stub for every pay period since pay stubs are produced concurrently with paychecks.

2. W-2 Forms For The Past 2 Years

Specific details regarding your income from your company, the amount of taxes deducted from your salary, the benefits offered, and other information are shown on a W-2 tax form.

3. Information On Long-Term Debts

Long-term liabilities, also termed long-term debts, are third-party debts owed by a corporation for more than 12 months. The balance sheet shows current and long-term liabilities.

4. Recent Bank Statements And Tax Returns For The Past 2 Years

The transactions for a bank account over a specific time, typically monthly, are listed in a bank statement. The statement shows deposits, charges, withdrawals, and period balances. For tax returns, provide income, expenses, and other information to a tax authority.

5. Proof Of Any Other Income

Some examples include retirement income, investments, canceled debts, certificate of employment with monthly income payslips, payroll bank account statements, screenshots of online banking payroll credits, mobile banking apps, and other income.

6. Address And Description Of The Property You Want To Buy

The property's identification and a general summary of its history and progression must be included in the description of the property.

7. A Sales Contract On The Home You Want To Buy

Sales contracts are legally binding. The document provides transaction data, conditions of sale, specific product or service descriptions, and more. A solid sales contract should clarify each party's rights and responsibilities.
These are the essential steps when applying for a loan. To learn more about mortgages and similar topics, just visit our website.

Mortgages with no-closing costs require the homebuyer to cover none of the necessary closing charges. Closing costs are covered by the mortgage lender on the buyer's behalf.

There is no such thing as a house purchase with no-closing charges, which is why no-closing cost mortgages are frequently referred to as "zero-closing cost mortgages" or "no fee mortgages."

In this part, we'll first go over how no-closing cost mortgage works, their benefits, and how much closing costs will be for you to purchase a property.

How Do Mortgages With No-Closing Costs Work?

Because purchasing a property and getting a mortgage costs money, "no-closing cost mortgage" is misleading. Every loan has taxes and recording fees. Loan origination and discount points are sometimes waived. The term "lender-paid closing cost mortgage" better describes how no-closing cost loans work. The lender pays the buyer's closing fees in a no-closing-cost loan.

Mortgage lenders offer higher mortgage interest to offset the buyer's closing costs. Market factors affect closing cost-interest rate tradeoffs. The no-cost mortgage option adds $35 per month to a $200,000 mortgage payment at current mortgage rates.

Buyers may request rebates up to their closing cost. Lenders only refund whole fees and may usually trade one percent in closing expenses for a 0.25 percent mortgage rate rise.

The Benefits Of Mortgages With No-Closing Costs

Here are the benefits of a no-closing cost mortgage:

The typical first-time home buyer requires eight years to save for a modest down payment and closing fees without a financial gift or down payment help. For many first-time buyers, eight years is too long. Homeownership is more affordable with no-closing cost mortgages.

mortgage papers with phone and pen

How Much Do Closing Costs For A Property Purchase?

Closing costs average 1.01 percent of a house's purchase price, or $1,001 per $100,000, according to CoreLogic's ClosingCorp. Closing costs include lender, settlement, and title services.

Here are some common mortgage closing costs:

Watch out for the next part as we share additional information about no-closing cost mortgages.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to drop them below.

Thank you!

Closing” is the final part of the buying process where all necessary documents are signed, money is exchanged, and house keys are given out. Also called “settlement,” this stage includes the buyers and sellers, their brokers, and attorneys, as well as a person in control of the procedure (the settlement agent). The title company and title agency are additional players before or during the closure. 

In this post, we will define some key roles as they all play a factor in the closing process. 

Title Insurance

Title insurance protects the mortgage lender in case there’s a problem with the title of the house. For instance, another party files a claim against the property.

On the other hand, the buyer may also have this; however, it’s optional. Meaning, you can choose not to have title insurance although it’s recommended since it might protect you from financial losses or potential damages caused by a bad title.

Title insurance is always required by lenders, but buyers are free to opt-out.

If you want to learn more about title insurance, how it works, and whether you need it or not, click the link to read our recent post about it.

Who Is Involved In Title Insurance?

The parties involved in title insurance are the following:

Title Company

Is the title company the same as the settlement company? The answer is no.

Purchasers, builders, developers, and lenders can obtain title insurance directly from and be directly underwritten by a title company, such as IndyLegal. One thing to note is that the title company may or may not be involved in the real estate closing.

Usually, the title company frequently acts as an independent agent for a title insurance business and issues title insurance policies on its behalf. While an underwriting firm receives the actual insurance premium and assumes the risk of any loss under the policy, the title company just facilitates the paperwork for issuing the policy.

To learn more about what we offer here at IndyLegal and how we can help you, you may call us at 317-214-6023 or click this link.

Title Agency

A subcontractor who represents the title company in a real estate transaction is known as the title agency. 

Before a title business releases the insurance coverage, a title agency underwrites the title. In place of the title corporation, one of the many small title agencies that exist across the U.S. will attend the closing. Purchasers of real estate can select the title agent or title business they want to work with.

When it comes to the policy, any flaws that are discovered throughout their investigation will be covered by this coverage. The price of insurance is frequently incorporated into the closing fees for a property, and the majority of lenders need title insurance before a sale is completed.

The Settlement Agent

So, what does a settlement company do?

The settlement agent is in charge of the closing procedure.

The title agent or title business, as well as a real estate agent, mortgage broker, builder, lawyer, or bank, may serve as the settlement agent. Their role includes but is not limited to ensuring that all necessary documents, including the loan agreements, are signed, money is transferred, and escrow payments are released. They also give the homebuyer the option to purchase a title policy and guarantee that the lender's title policy is carried out.

Take note that the title company, title agent, and settlement agent might be a single participant or from different organizations.

Difference Between Independent And Affiliated Settlement Agents

A real estate agent, mortgage broker, home builder, or a bank are examples of settlement service providers. A settlement agent or title agent may be an independent third party or an affiliate of one of these entities. 

An affiliate is a company with one or more service providers that receives compensation from the agent, who in this case is the settlement service provider. Although the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) forbids them, referral fees and kickbacks in the real estate industry nevertheless exist. 

To persuade the house buyer to choose the associated agency for settling/closing the transaction, the affiliated agent may provide a kickback in exchange for a referral from a settlement service provider. The settlement service may occasionally own a portion of the settlement or title agent.


A settlement agent that works independently of a settlement service provider is not connected to them and doesn't get paid extra for referring clients. Instead of using kickbacks, independent agents gain business due to the caliber of their services. Due to the referral fee that is incorporated into an associated agent's cost structure, consumers typically pay less for the services of an independent agent.

Independent agents do not perform one-stop shopping agreements and other cooperative ventures with settlement service providers. The fact that independent title agents make underwriting decisions based on good principles and without being influenced by referral fees is another advantage of their independence. Remember that the risk of a bad title does not fall on the kickback beneficiary; rather, the title agent is accountable for those risks.

You have the right to request an independent title agent rather than one who is affiliated with or suggested by a settlement service provider.

IndyLegal proudly serves buyers and sellers, banks and lenders, builders, developers, commercial agents and brokers, real estate brokers, and relocation companies in Indiana since 2008. If you want to learn how we can serve you better, contact us today.

8315 W. 10th Street
Indianapolis IN 46234

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