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Even while technology and the internet have greatly benefited us, personal information is increasingly vulnerable due to phishing schemes, data breaches, and greater access to information. Title theft has surged in tandem with identity theft.

Forging titles is becoming more popular among thieves as a means of obtaining personal property, although it is far less common than other forms of identity theft. However, what exactly is house title theft, and who is at risk of it? What can you do to avoid it if it happens, and what steps should you take?

In this post, let's find out all the answers you need to protect yourself from title theft.

What Is Home Title Theft?

The fraudulent transfer of a house deed into the name of another individual is a practice commonly referred to as deed theft or home title theft. Title thieves can counterfeit a deed so that it appears like they are the property owner by using stolen personal information.

Home title theft can happen in several ways if a thief obtains your personal information, including the following scenarios:

What Happens If Someone Steals A Property Title?

You can lose your property if someone steals the title without your knowledge. To avoid paying the mortgage, the burglar may refinance or sell your property, which could lead to a foreclosure. Nevertheless, if theft is discovered early on, acting quickly can reduce losses.

Use the procedures on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) identity theft website if you believe someone is stealing your title. Among these steps are:

  1. Speak with the businesses where the scam happened.
  2. Get your credit reports and put up a fraud alert with your creditors.
  3. Inform the FTC about identity theft.
  4. Make a report to the police department in your community.

You must take these actions to notify authorities and your lender of any potential fraud as soon as you become aware of it. Making calls to relevant businesses, such as your title insurance provider and mortgage lender, will initiate the fraud investigation process.

If you retrieve your credit report and examine your other financial statements, you can discover other indicators of identity theft if you suspect title theft. For instance, you should look for any recently opened credit cards in your name, as well as any personal or auto loans for which you were not the applicant.

How Worried Should You Be About Your Title?

When it comes to title theft, your residence is the main target. However, there are also other types of identity theft that are not only more prevalent but also easier to carry out. People with large amounts of equity in their homes and do not suspect fraud are the most common targets of deed theft.

Sadly, this implies that elders are probably easy targets. Aside from the substantial equity in their residences, some seniors might not be as tech-savvy or struggle with health concerns, making it harder to pay close attention to financial matters and easier targets.

Title theft is less frequent than other forms of identity theft, yet it still happens. The FBI reports that real estate mortgage and rental fraud cost 9,600 victims more than $56 million in 2017. It's difficult to say how much of this fraud is directly related to title fraud at the moment. But over the past 20 years, identity theft has increased dramatically, and with it, so have occurrences of title theft.

Individuals who own second properties are also likely targets for house title theft. Distance increases the susceptibility of vacant properties, whether they are holiday or investment properties, to unsolicited rental or sale offers that would be quickly discovered on your primary residence. If you own a second residence, make sure you keep a close eye on bills and notifications, pay frequent visits, or assign a reliable property manager to check in on the house.

cybercrime identity theft protect yourself

How To Protect Yourself From Title Theft

While title fraud is rampant, there are numerous strategies available to protect yourself against title fraud. If you are attentive enough, fraudsters might know and avoid you. 

Therefore, the first step in keeping yourself safe from such incidents is to be vigilant, and you can do so by doing the following:

Vigilant people will either avoid you or find you soon. Keeping an eye out for possible fraud is the first step in protecting yourself. You can increase your level of awareness by doing the following.

Watch Out For Missing Invoices

If your regular bills start to disappear or change, there may be a problem. Get in touch with the business right away if you discover that you have never received a bill or that an automatic withdrawal has never occurred. It can just be a minor mistake, or there might be a problem.

In any case, by following up, you could spare yourself the headache. Being vigilant about your mail and bills will help you detect any strange activity early on. Additionally, it will ensure that you don't miss a notice of foreclosure or missed payment.

Constantly Check Your Credit And Credit Report

Even without the issue of title fraud, it's a good idea to regularly check your credit report. Every year, you should review your credit report. You should keep an eye out for any unexpected bills, credit cards you didn't apply for, late payments, or other fraudulent transactions. One good strategy to spot the warning indications of title fraud is to keep an eye on your credit score.

If you simply want to be extra safe or have experienced identity theft in the past, think about subscribing to a credit monitoring service. To ease your concerns, you can register for a credit monitoring program. Numerous proactive credit safeguards are provided by these businesses.

Secure Yourself And Property With Title Insurance

A title company verifies that the property's title is free and unobstructed. It protects the property from liens and claims made against it. Lender's and owner's title insurance are the two types available.

Your mortgage company requires a lender's title insurance, which guarantees that the title is approved for sale. After you purchase the property, your protection comes from an owner's title insurance policy. It safeguards you if, after you buy your house, any liens or claims are made or found.

When you purchase a property, title insurance is frequently included in the closing costs as a one-time expense. If you have chosen to have title insurance through your owner's policy, this will assist in shielding you against fraud.

Sign Up For Services For Title Protection

Recently, there has been criticism of title protection services, and it's primarily because homeowners have the option to independently verify their land records and title status or to register for a free county consumer text notification service. Many people have written off these services as being worth it because they offer information that is already freely available.

That could be valid if you have owner's title insurance coverage in this case. meanwhile, if you decide not to get insurance, you could be able to access a service that continuously tracks your records for $15 a month.

Beware of fraud artists posing as title protection suppliers. More people are falling victim to scammers as more people strive to get their titles. Make sure you do your homework and avoid answering enigmatic texts, calls, or emails that might be phishing scams or other scams. Make sure to get in direct contact with a reputable company if you choose to enroll in title protection.

Frequently Asked Questions On Home Title

Now that we're done with the basics, let's go over some of the most frequently asked questions concerning title theft.

Does home title theft exist?

First of all, home title theft is a real issue. Home titles were taken in several significant American cities, including Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia, according to information gathered by the FBI. However, other types of identity theft are far more frequent and plausible. Before identity theft develops into property theft, you can detect early signs of identity theft by monitoring your mail, credit report, and personal information.

How often does home title theft happen?

Although the number of title theft cases is increasing, it doesn't happen very frequently. While there is an increase in many forms of internet crime, credit card fraud and wire fraud are two more prevalent forms of online identity theft.

Is it required to have home title theft insurance?

It is not required. When you close on your house, you can choose to have or not to have owner's title insurance. Nonetheless, it is sensible to purchase title insurance at the time of your house closing. Following your home's closing, you should keep an eye out for con artists pretending to provide title insurance or for typical con artists advertising title protection services.

Final Notes

Title theft is less frequent than other forms of identity theft, but identity fraud in general has increased recently. Online identity theft has increased as more of our information is available due to security breaches at major corporations and other sources.

If left unchecked, home title theft is a dangerous crime that can have catastrophic consequences. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to safeguard both your house and yourself, including monitoring your credit record, keeping a look out for unpaid debts, and getting title insurance. To defend oneself and stop title theft, you must be proactive.

If you want to learn more about your home's title and/or how you can protect it and your property, you may send us a message or call us at 317-214-6023 today!

If you're still thinking about whether title insurance is just a "luxury" and not a necessity, then an article from The Washington Post might help.

It says that the chances of having an issue with a title are relatively high since most real estate transactions need "extraordinary work." While problems, such as outstanding liens, taxes, etc., might occur, title insurance offers a safety net to cover unexpected expenses. 

Doing a title search investigates for title defects that may prohibit the seller's legal transfer to the buyer. Doing this helps ensure that the title is "clean" and that the buyer has the peace of mind they need as they purchase a new property.

Below are the title issues that may arise before or after buying a home.

9 Issues To Look For During Title Search


One of the most frequent issues with title searches is taxes. If there are any outstanding taxes associated with the property, a preliminary report shows them. Before other financial commitments, such as mortgage liens, taxes should be settled first. Taxes must be paid off before any other debts can be settled with the money from the sale of these assets.

property taxes files with magnifying glass

Mortgage Liens

A title search finds out whether there are any mortgage liens on the property you want to purchase. Ignoring this cost could put you in debt because you could have to pay it back after the transaction. 

Restrictions, Conditions, And Covenants

Zoning conflicts, historic monitoring, and other restrictions might also impede or postpone the selling of a property. Thankfully, previous homeowners or their neighbors' boundary and survey limits can be found through title searches. No matter how tiny, try to find out whether there is a border issue on the land you plan to purchase. If not, unresolved boundary conflicts could surface and cause you trouble.

Any municipal zoning that limits the use of land in a particular district is also revealed by a title search. These limitations, which may include gardening and renovation regulations, specify the kind of property you are allowed to build in that zone. Condos and properties owned by associations are subject to specific covenants and regulations. It is imperative to conduct a title search for them before making a purchase. 


The right to use a portion of land without having ownership rights is known as an easement. It could be used, for instance, to allow access to a public beach or a property situated back from a main road. Typically, federal, state, or local entities are involved. 

The fact that easements are legally transferred with property ownership is the source of their problem. Only the parties concerned may choose to have them removed because they are legally binding agreements.

Unfamiliar Or Uninformed Heirs

Imagine purchasing a piece of land, and two months later, someone else appears claiming to be the heir. Purchasing a property from one or more of the heirs of a deceased owner frequently results in this situation. Make sure everyone is aware of the transaction and has given their consent; otherwise, heirs may appear and cause you a lot of bothersome issues that could prevent you from enjoying a quiet and comfortable life in your new house. 

All of these options are revealed by a title search, which also lets you know if the seller's will contains any restrictions on their ability to sell the property. The search makes sure the original owner didn't leave it to someone else who might show up and sabotage the deal.  

Illegal Deeds

This nation still has instances of illegal title issuance. The property you want to buy might have been owned by someone who entered the country illegally. You may have some problems as a result, but a professional title search firm can assist you in identifying this potential problem.  

Public Record Errors

Public documents should be accurate, yet mistakes are made by people. Errors happen when land officials file millions of deeds, paperwork, and surveys every year. These documents may include misspelled words, names, phone numbers, or addresses. All of these issues can be found with a precise title check before a house transaction is completed.

Divorce Edicts

An extensive divorce can have a significant impact on a family's financial security. Your house purchase may be delayed or derailed by divorce decrees. This can happen if the seller, who is divorcing, loses all or part of the property you are interested in purchasing in a settlement. 

You have to include the other party in the selling process as a result of this loss. The selling procedure could come to a complete standstill if the other divorcing party is not involved or if they decline to consent to the transaction. You can save needless problems and discover all these details by conducting a title search.


There are a lot of impersonators in home selling, and a properly executed title search can identify whether the sale of the house is a fraud. Impersonators can cause problems in many ways, such as stealing legitimate ownership names and other identity documents to employ in unlawful real estate transactions. When the true owner shows up, you don't want to waste your money on an invalid transaction. So, take your time and use a title search to confirm the information.

Indiana's Leading Title Company

Buying a home may not be as smooth and seamless as it should be; however, as long as you have the right support you need, it can be an exciting and fulfilling moment. 

IndyLegal is Indiana's leading title company that offers support in handling title searches, escrow services, insurance, settlement services, and more.

We help reveal and fix red flags to avoid further problems. Call us at 317-214-6023 to learn more about our offers.

Title insurance is a necessary component of the real estate sector, protecting both home buyers and lenders in the event of any unforeseen title issues with the property. 

It is a type of security that protects against financial damage caused by faults in a property's title.

In this post, we'll look at the significance and advantages title insurance provides to all parties involved in a real estate transaction.

To begin with, title insurance protects property buyers. When buying a home, the last thing a buyer wants to worry about is whether or not they have legal title to the property. Title insurance guarantees that the buyer will not be held accountable for any title concerns like liens or outstanding mortgages. Having this kind of protection is invaluable as it provides peace of mind and guidance to help them avoid costly legal issues in the future.

Title insurance also covers lenders, which is why it is typically required as a condition of a mortgage loan. Any problems with the title could jeopardize the lender's investment and title insurance ensures that loan providers will not lose money if there are any problems with the title.

mortgage approved with keys

Third, title insurance makes the closing process smoother and easier. Without title insurance, the closing process may be delayed owing to the requirement to resolve any title difficulties. 

If there are any concerns in the transaction, the title insurance firm will be able to address them. This allows both home buyers and lenders to proceed with confidence and save all parties involved time and money.

Fourth, title insurance is reasonably priced. The cost of title insurance is normally a one-time expense often included in the property's closing fees. The National Association of Realtors reports that the average cost of title insurance is roughly $1,200.

Furthermore, according to the American Land Title Association, the title insurance industry is a large contributor to the economy, with a total yearly economic impact of $18 billion. This demonstrates the significance of title insurance in the real estate sector.

Last but not least, title insurance gives lifetime protection. Once provided, insurance is valid for as long as the policyholder or their heirs have an interest in the property. This means that buyers and lenders may rest easy knowing that they are covered as long as they own the property.

Bottom Line

Title insurance may sound like an additional expense; however, it is a crucial component of the real estate sector since it protects both home buyers and lenders. 

It provides peace of mind, simplifies the closing process, is reasonably inexpensive, and provides lifetime protection. 

It is also an important aspect of the real estate business, contributing $18 billion to the economy each year. 

To learn more about this topic, you may visit our website today.

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!

Selling or buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions for most people. From the moment you start deciding on whether to buy or sell a new property up to the last process, there are many crucial (and often legal) considerations to make.

That might include choosing between a title company and a real estate attorney. While both of them have their own pros and cons, it all goes down to your specific needs and current situation.

To help you understand when you might choose one over the other, here are some comparisons:

Title Company

Title Search and Insurance

Title companies specialize in conducting title searches to ensure that the property's title is clear of any liens or encumbrances. They also offer title insurance, which provides financial protection in case any title issues arise after the transaction.


Title companies are often more cost-effective than hiring a real estate attorney because their primary service is focused on title search and insurance.


Title companies usually have streamlined processes for handling real estate transactions, making the closing process quicker and more efficient.

Standardized Services

Title companies often follow standardized procedures for closing real estate transactions, which can be helpful if you want a straightforward, well-established process.

Real Estate Attorney

Legal Expertise

Real estate attorneys are legal professionals who can provide legal advice, interpret and draft contracts, and protect your interests throughout the transaction. They can address complex legal issues that may arise during the process.


If your transaction involves unique or complicated circumstances, a real estate attorney can provide customized solutions and legal guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Conflict Resolution

Attorneys are skilled in dispute resolution and can help mediate or resolve conflicts that may arise during the transaction, protecting your rights and interests.

title company agent talking to new homeowners

Additional Legal Needs

If you have other legal matters related to the transaction, such as estate planning, trusts, or zoning issues, a real estate attorney can provide comprehensive legal services.

In summary, the choice between a title company and a real estate attorney depends on the complexity of the transaction and your specific needs. 

For a straightforward residential real estate purchase or sale, a title company may be sufficient and cost-effective. However, if you're dealing with unique or complex circumstances, or if you want the peace of mind of having legal expertise on your side, hiring a real estate attorney may be the better choice. It's often a good idea to consult with a professional to help determine the most appropriate option for your situation.

Our team at IndyLegal has over 50 years of experience and expertise with Indiana’s various real estate and title laws. So if you're looking for a reliable team to help you with real estate transactions, feel free to drop a comment below or message us here

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.

When you own a home, you are liable for the cost of repairs. Investing in a home warranty is one method to safeguard your finances. Below are some of the benefits of getting a home warranty. 

Interesting Read: 

Top Questions On Home Warranty

Pros Of Home Warranty

A home warranty plan purchase has pros and cons, just like everything else. The major benefits of home warranties are worth mentioning. Let's examine those.

Peace Of Mind

When your home is covered by a home warranty, you can unwind knowing that your key appliances and systems are safe. This is particularly beneficial for first-time homebuyers who may not be accustomed to dealing with repairs and may not have the cash on hand to cover them out of pocket.

Less Unexpected Costs 

You won't have to use all of your emergency savings when something does need to be fixed. You'll frequently be able to estimate the cost of a damaged stove or air conditioner. Some businesses will pay for preexisting problems, so you might theoretically estimate your warranty savings in advance based on the problems you are aware of.

Cons Of Home Warranty

The main drawbacks of home warranties may include:

Cleaning Gray Area 

A major drawback of a house warranty is that it excludes coverage for things that haven't been kept up with. There can be a lot of gray areas when it comes to what constitutes sufficient maintenance, which leads to numerous disputes between home warranty providers and warranty holders.

family bonding in living room

In the worst instance, shady warranty providers might use the poor maintenance clause as a reason to reject legitimate claims. Another possibility is that the contractor who comes to the house and the homeowner just disagree on what constitutes good upkeep. 

A 10-year-old furnace that the previous owner neglected to maintain is another frequent issue that can arise when a person buys a used house. At that point, the previous neglect and any damage are irreparable, regardless of how diligently the new homeowner attempts to maintain the furnace going ahead. Furthermore, warranties have several exclusions as well as monetary limits for each repair and annually. 

One of the main benefits of a warranty is that they are inexpensive compared to the price of fixing or replacing the majority of a home's essential components. There could be many years, though, when nothing in the house wears out or breaks down.

Opportunity Costs

The homeowner receives nothing in return for her premium during these years (other than possibly peace of mind). That money would have at least received some interest if it had been placed in an emergency fund. Additionally, a homeowner who attempts to use the warranty but has the claim rejected will likely feel as though the premium and service call cost were a waste of money. 

Home warranties remove the need to find a contractor when something breaks. However, if you want the warranty to cover the repair or replacement, they also take away your ability to select your own professional—an independent contractor. You're in a bind if you don't like the contractor or the work that was done. Additionally, the model or brand of a product may not be entirely up to the homeowner replacement part, albeit the warranty agreement should call for a product of comparable or equal quality. 

Additionally, working with a home warranty business rather than a homeowner dealing directly with a contractor may make the entire process more difficult. 

The chain of title is a list of every property owner, from the first to the present, as well as all of the transactions that have ever been made. You can check there to learn who has owned the property and how it has been transferred. If there are any liens or claims against the title of your property, this is where you should start looking first because it will give you a spot to start investigating and fixing the problem. 

The legal records that affect a property's ownership, use, and value are all included in the chain of title. These documents consist of:

You should thoroughly examine the chain of title before purchasing or selling a property. The chain of title is broken and someone could eventually claim ownership of your land if a title transfer is erroneous or there is a void in the ownership history of the property. There are numerous ways in which it might occur.

shaking hands for buying real estate

A title may become unclear in any of these scenarios. As a result of their reluctance to assume this risk, title insurance firms can decide not to cover you or charge you more. Don't freak out if you discover a break in your chain of title. You can fix it by taking certain actions.

#1 To assist you spot any gaps or inconsistencies, start by gathering all the property-related documents that are currently available. After that, use a title business to run a title search to find any gaps or contradictions. 

#2 Check the chain of title for the property to make sure it is correct and identify the place where the break happened.

#3 Fix the underlying problem that led to the break to eliminate the flaw.

#4 To guarantee that the chain of title is complete and that there are no lingering disagreements, record the documents after the mistakes have been fixed with the county recorder's office. 

Having an accurate chain of title is one of the ways you can protect your property, so it is important to make sure there are no breaks. If you’re curious about yours, or you want to have a title search done, give us a call at 317-214-6023 and we’ll be happy to assist.

Standard, Extended, and ALTA Homeowner’s Insurance -- What Are The Differences?

Two of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to title insurance are:

To begin with, owner's policies come in three varieties: Standard, Extended, and ALTA Homeowner's. It's crucial to remember that the ALTA Homeowner's Policy is pre-selected on Form 22 of the NWMLS (Northwest Multiple Listing Service).

Insurance Title Options

As mentioned above, there are three types of insurance to choose from; however, ALTA Homeowner's policy stands above the others.

In comparison to the coverage provided by the Standard or Extended policies, the ALTA Homeowner's policy provides homeowners with the highest level of protection. Some home buyers might not be aware of the dangers to titles that are there and, as a result, may not recognize the explicit value of larger coverage. Customers should be aware that they always have an option, nevertheless.

What Makes ALTA Homeowner's Policy Unique?

The Homeowner's Policy (also known as the "ALTA Homeowner's Policy for One-to-Four Family Residence") has emerged as the new benchmark for residential transactions. The NWMLS Residential Purchase and Sale Agreement's Paragraph "e" specifies that this expanded coverage policy shall be the default policy. The majority of residential sales involving platted lots with an existing home should be conducted this way. However, it's not offered for all transactions, including those involving waterfront properties, expansive acreage, or when a corporation is the buyer.

Comparison Of ALTA Homeowners, Standard, and Extended

If you can see the risks covered in a list or tabular style, it will be simpler to compare the three policies and make an educated choice. The title policy comparison that follows will make it clear what distinguishes one policy from the others.

For example:

To learn more about Insurance Policies, you may visit our website or give us a call at 317-214-6023 so we can assist you!

Working with real estate agents during the closing process is a significant portion of your job if you work for a title business, as you may have already seen. After all, in 2021, 90% of sellers and 87% of purchasers used real estate agents to assist them buy their houses. Therefore, your job will go a little more smoothly if you make it a point to establish relationships with real estate brokers. Additionally, if you establish strong relationships with many agents, those agents may refer more business your way. The question is: how can title companies foster stronger ties with real estate brokers? Check out some suggestions for getting going.

Ensure A Seamless Closing Transaction

The best method for title insurance in Indiana to win over real estate brokers is to make sure that their clients' closings happen well. After all, real estate brokers want to leave a good impression on their clients so that they will get repeat business or recommendations from other buyers and sellers. Make sure the closing day goes smoothly since unhappy buyers and sellers will be critical of the title firm and the realtor. Thankfully, you have a lot of control over how the closing goes as a title agent.

realtor agent holding keys

To prevent closing delays, for instance, you should make sure that the sale contract and all other documentation are accurate before the closing day. Additionally, you should ensure that the client and the agent are well-prepared for closing day, perhaps even by drafting a closing checklist that they can review beforehand. Additionally, maintain a constant contact to make sure you are available to respond to inquiries before the closing. This will go a long way toward impressing real estate agents and likely place your office at the top of the list of title firms they want to work with again if you take these steps to ensure a flawless closing day for every client.

Keep In Touch With Real Estate Agents

If you're a seasoned title agent, you're probably used to keeping in touch with your clients throughout the closing procedure. Make sure you interact with them as well if you want to win over their real estate agents and set yourself apart from the competition. By keeping real estate agents informed throughout the closing process, you'll demonstrate your commitment to working together to give their clients a positive closing experience.

If you want to develop relationships, you should maintain in touch with them after closing day. Please feel free to share any tools you find that would be useful to the real estate professionals you've dealt with. For your next close, even brief notes on special occasions and birthdays can keep you top-of-mind. Before beginning to work with them, be sure to inquire about their preferred channels of contact. The majority of real estate agents should be able to use either approach if they're unsure of how to start as 89% prefer email and 93% prefer text messaging for client communication.

Assist Other Real Estate Experts In Maintain Compliance

Being knowledgeable about real estate laws and regulations is a part of your job as a title agent. If you want to be sure you're handling all the title agency tasks correctly and prevent closing day delays due to your office overlooking crucial items, staying in compliance is essential.

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) and other large associations may have standards that must be followed, therefore title companies like yours must demonstrate that they do. Any new details you learn about ALTA and other organizations associated with the title industry should be shared with real estate agents if you want to benefit your clients during closing and strengthen your connections with them.

To accomplish this, you can send other real estate professionals a simple email whenever you learn of fresh information, or you can even create monthly or quarterly newsletters. When you and local real estate agents are working together as a team to guarantee that all house sales contracts are valid and enforceable, huge problems for buyers and sellers can be avoided. This is made possible when everyone has access to the most recent information in this field.

Focus on Closing Process Efficiency

The closing procedure must be simple for clients to understand title companies, and this involves making it as quick as feasible. After all, just like title agents and real estate agents, your clients are probably quite busy. They also want to move into their new house, so they're quick to finish the property purchase. You should make every effort to hasten the closing on their home.

Keeping in constant contact with the client and real estate agent throughout the closing process will help to ensure that any questions or concerns are handled as soon as they arise. Another strategy to prevent closing delays is to do a complete and correct title search.

Making effective use of technology can also boost closing efficiency. In fact, according to a survey, 81% of respondents still prefer in-person closings even if 70% of respondents want a more automated closing procedure. This means that, even if the closing will take place in person, you should include digital solutions in the process. Going paperless for as many papers as you can is one alternative, as eSigning technology is now widely accepted and trusted.

Making the payment procedure digital is an additional option. On closing day, you'll make it quick and simple for clients to deposit funds into the escrow account if you use a secure payment platform for all closing charges. They will not only save time, but they may also be less concerned about wire fraud and bad checks than they would be with other typical payment options during closing.

Thank you for reading this post. If you have questions or clarifications about insurance companies, IndyLegal Title Services is here to assist you!

8315 W. 10th Street
Indianapolis IN 46234

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