What happens if I am not able to attend closing?

Not to worry! If you are unable to attend, all closing documents can be sent to you via fax, email, or regular mail and pre-signed before closing.


Does my spouse need to attend closing?

Because Florida is a homestead state, your spouse will need to attend the closing (unless you are purchasing an investment property). If you are obtaining a mortgage, your spouse will need to provide the required identification and execute the documents even if your spouse is not on the loan.


What items are required from me at closing?

The following need to be brought to closing:

  1.     A wire sent to Investor’s Title and Settlement Services, Inc. one day prior to closing.
  2.     A valid state-issued driver license, passport or state-issued I.D. card.
  3.     You will need to bring your spouse if you are married.
  4.     Some condo or planned unit developments require an approval. If this is the case, bring an original approval if one was not already provided before closing.


Closing documents can be daunting. How will I understand exactly what I am signing?

Your assigned closing agent will briefly explain each document you are to sign. Please notify us at least seven days before your closing date if you would rather review all closing documents independently in advance of signing them. We will be glad to furnish a copy of the required documents. 


Can I wire closing funds to Investor’s Title and Settlement Services, Inc.?

Yes. Our escrow account accepts the wiring of closing funds. For instructions, call us at (813) 879-0261.


Do I need homeowners insurance?

Yes. The lender requires homeowners to purchase homeowners insurance on any mortgaged property as soon as possible. Receipts of payment will need to be sent to our office. In instances where a non-traditional home is purchased (such as a condo, townhouse or villa), check with the homeowners or condo association, as dues may already include insurance.


Why do I need flood insurance?

If you are mortgaging a property located in a flood zone, you must obtain flood insurance to insure your property should it flood. Your insurance agent will be provided an elevation certificate which is required to determine the premium of your flood insurance.


What is a homestead exemption?

A homestead exemption allows a maximum of $50,000 to be reduced from a primary residence assessed value when calculating real estate property tax. Anyone who has legal or equitable title to real property located in the state of Florida and who lives on the property on January 1 and, in good faith, makes said property his/her permanent residence qualifies for a homestead exemption.


How is a homestead exemption filed?

For a homestead exemption to be filed, the initial application must be submitted between January 1 and March 1 of the year the exemption is needed. In most counties, the initial application can be completed online; otherwise, it can be submitted in-person at the office of the property appraiser. When filing for the first time, prepare to answer the following questions:

  1.     In whose name(s) was the title to the dwelling recorded as of January 1?
  2.     Did you reside in the dwelling on January 1?
  3.     What is the street address of the property?
  4.     How long have you been a legal resident of the state of Florida? (a declaration of domicile or voter registration will suffice as proof of date before January 1)
  5.     Is there a Florida license plate on your vehicle, and do you have a Florida driver’s license?

For additional information on homestead exemption and a list of the property appraisers in the state of Florida, visit the Florida Department of Revenue web site and select your county under the property appraiser category.


Why do I need a survey?

Most lenders require a survey as a loan condition. A surveyor of real property will measure the land and provide details of its boundaries in the form of a survey. The survey defines the exact location of any encroachments, easements, improvements, and all aspects affecting the property title.    


Title insurance usually covers what types of claims or risks?

  1.     Deed not recorded properly.
  2.     An undisclosed (but recorded) easement or use restriction.
  3.     Deed not joined in by a spouse, co-owner, heir, business partner corporate officer, or corporate officer; prior mortgage or lien that is undisclosed (but recorded)
  4.     Forgery and impersonation.
  5.     Lack of a right-of-access.
  6.     A party’s lack of legal authority, competency, or capacity.
  7.     Error or inadequacy of legal descriptions.


How are title insurance costs calculated?

The state of Florida regulates the rates of title insurance. The rates are calculated as such: $5.75 per thousand dollars of the property sale price up to $100,000; $5.00 per thousand dollars of the sale price from $100,001 to $1 million.


Why do I need a separate policy for myself if my lender gets title insurance for the mortgage?

Only the amount of the loan is covered with the lender policy, which usually does not include the full value of the property. When a claim is submitted, the lender typically would not be concerned unless the loan became non-performing and the claim jeopardized the ability of the lender to foreclose and recoup principal and interest. If a claim is submitted by an uninsured party, there is no payment of legal expenses. Compared to the cost of a single loan policy, the owner policy and the lender policy cost is a minimal increase.


What is the purpose of a prior policy?

A prior policy is required to secure a reissue credit. The title insurance rate of the previous policyholder will be discounted if certain requirements are satisfied. The requirements are:

  1.     If the prior policyholder is selling the property, the title insurance policy of the owner is no more than three years old. This restriction is not applicable if the holder is refinancing the said property.
  2.     The name of the insured on the prior policy must match the name of parties involved in the current transaction.
  3.     At the same time the order is placed, the prior policy must also be delivered.
  4.     An owner’s title policy only may be used for a prior policy (policies of commitments and loan do not qualify).
  5.     Though it can be, the prior policy does not need to be issued by the same company issuing the new policy.

What are endorsements?

To protect the interest of the lender, most require an endorsement as a loan condition. An endorsement is an adjustment or addition of a title insurance policy that broadens or changes policy coverage, completing certain requirements of the insured.