Real Estate Advice
I’ve owned my home since 1978. My mortgage is paid off. I’ve heard stories about people trying to steal property titles, and I’m a bit worried since I don’t have title insurance. Can I still get it if I no longer have a mortgage? – BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
DEAR BETTER: Since the early 1990s, most people in Ontario have been buying title insurance when they purchase or refinance their homes. That didn’t apply when you bought your property 40+ years ago, but there’s nothing stopping you from getting on the bandwagon now. It’s never too late to protect your largest asset, and if you buy title insurance at this point, you’ll enjoy the same benefits as you would have had you purchased it decades ago.
Why does title insurance matter? Your property title is an important legal document. It proves you own your property, secures your rights to your land, and documents a variety of critical details, like registered mortgages, liens and easements that may be related to the property.
Title insurance is your protection against potential errors or misrepresentations in the title that could affect your clear ownership of the property or diminish its value. These could include instances of fraud, errors in surveys or public records, encroachment issues or undisclosed liens, all of which could affect your ability to sell, mortgage or lease the property in the future.
Title insurance is not legally required in Ontario, but having it makes a ton of sense. Buying title insurance is a one-time expense that offers protection for as long as you own your home, whether that ends up being a few months or several decades.
Fortunately, you can purchase title insurance from your lawyer at a pretty reasonable rate. On a $500,000 property, the average policy will likely cost you under $400. You won’t need to pay any more for the policy as your home increases in value, and the insurance only disappears once your property is sold.
Given the protection it offers, this is money well spent.
PRO TIP: If you’re in the process of buying a home, ask your lawyer whether your title insurance policy includes “legal service coverage”, which will protect you in case your lawyer makes a mistake during the buying process. These days, it’s a level of coverage that many lawyers are reluctant to work without. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator
David Schooley is an award-winning real estate Broker with RE/MAX Twin City in Kitchener. Recently dubbed the Michael Jordan of Real Estate, his keen understanding of the nuanced local market is built on 30 years of entrepreneurial success in Waterloo Region. Fervently dedicated to client success and community support, his "Stuff the Hummer" family events have raised over 200,000 emergency meals (and counting) for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.