If you have an interest in real estate and law, and enjoy research, then a title insurance career may be a good career choice. Read on to learn more about title insurance careers.
What is a Title?
A "title" means you own real property, such as the home you buy and the land it resides on. Owning the title means you have the legal right to occupy the property, use the property and sell it at your discretion. When you own the title, it means no one can interfere with your use of the land. Only things like zoning laws can place restrictions on your ownership.
What is Title Insurance?
Title insurance is insurance against defects in the title. A defect in your title is something that could interrupt the ownership of your land. At worse, a defect could mean that you don't really own the property at all. Examples of defects include:
- A past owner still owns your land through marital rights
- Invalid signatures
- An unknown person having a valid claim to your land
Title insurance companies will exam records to see if any defects can be found before issuing title insurance. However, some defects are nearly impossible to discover regardless of how much research is performed. Therefore, the title insurance company will defend the buyer of the title insurance in case a defect is revealed after purchasing the property.
Title Insurance Career Options
The most common title insurance career options are the following positions:
- Title Examiner
- Title Abstractor
- Title Searcher
A Title Examiner will perform some or all of the following duties:
- Search public records
- Examine titles
- Summarize the findings of document searches
- Prepare the title insurance policy
- Write reports regarding the findings of the title research
- Meet with the clients to discuss the findings
- Talk with homeowners and sellers, banks, realtors and contractors
Abstractors have a related, but slightly different role. They perform the following tasks:
- Summarize important legal or insurance findings related to the property such as statutes or case law
- Search titles to find out if the deed to the land is correct
Finally, a Searcher will be involved with the following activities:
- Research real estate records
- Examine titles and summarize information
- Put together lists of title-related documents through public record research
Title Insurance Career Job Skills
All title insurance careers require the following skills:
- Strong research and investigation skills
- Excellent attention to detail as the little details are extremely important in title insurance
- Communication skills including oral and writing abilities
- An inquisitive nature is also helpful
There are no specific educational requirements required for a career in title insurance, though an Associate's or Bachelor's degree is usually recommended. Courses in the following subjects are useful for title insurance workers:
- Real Estate
- Business courses, especially in Finance and Business Law
- Communication courses that require writing and speaking
- Computer courses
- Journalism courses to gain experience in writing and investigating public records
Breaking into the Field
Most people who work in title insurance begin their careers as a searcher or abstractor first. Then, after several years of experience, they are eligible to become title examiners. Training is usually provided by the employer. You can increase your chances of getting hired by having an internship with a title company while in school. The following types of companies employ title examiners and searchers/abstractors:
- Title companies
- Real estate agencies
- Mortgage companies
- Land development companies
You look for jobs online through job postings websites such as Monster and in your local newspaper classified section. You can also look for job postings on the websites of local title-related companies in your area.