I won’t go into too much detail on what a title insurance policy is, though you can read the article here: http://tetonrealtyblog.com/what-is-title-insurance/ which might be a good prerequisite to this article.
It dawned on me the other day that while it is common for almost all real estate transactions to be accompanied with some sort of title insurance policy, it’s important to remember that title insurance only covers the initial purchase price of a property. For example, if a claim is made and a defect in the title is found, the claim can only be made for up to the amount of the original purchase price. The next obvious question is, how about when a property is improved or the value of a property is increased?
With all of the new construction we are seeing throughout the area, I figured this was an opportune time to bring this to the attention of home owners and investors. Probably the most common example would be someone building a new home. With low residential home inventory and relatively affordable land costs, it’s becoming increasingly common to see people buying land with savings or home equity lines of credit then preparing to build in the future either with cash or a construction loan. When obtaining a construction loan, the lender will require a lender’s policy for the build (reference previous article), but there usually isn’t a seller involved to pay for a title insurance policy like a regular transaction between a buyer and a seller.
The result of the above scenario would be a home valued at several hundred thousand dollars with a title insurance policy protecting up to the value of the land, in many cases less than $100,000. If a defect is found in the title after the home is constructed, albeit an unlikely worst case scenario, it could be a very expensive proposition for the homeowner with inadequate title insurance.
Being that title insurance is extremely affordable and is only paid one time and is not recurring, this is something that anyone looking to build a home should consider. Fortunately all of our local title companies are experienced with writing these types of policies and can answer any questions that you might have.