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When you buy a piece of real estate (condominium, single-family home or even a cottage), you are buying the title to the property.

This title (ownership) is registered at the land titles office and shows you as the rightful owner of that

property.

What many are unaware of is that title insurance is available to homeowners when they are purchasing a home or even if they have owned their home for years.

To explore more of the benefits of this unique form of insurance, I met with Bhavna Chavda, a national accounts specialist with First Canadian Title.

Their customers have included every major Canadian chartered bank, credit unions, real estate agents, lawyers and builders.

So what is title insurance? Title insurance provides the homeowner with coverage for as long as they own the property and can protect against survey errors, zoning infractions, builder's liens and other title defects.

When an encroachment onto neighbouring land is identified, or the lack of a building permit is found after closing, the homeowner may suffer loss that does not impact the lender.

In these situations, the homeowner should have a title insurance policy to have ensuing losses covered.

Bhavna recounts a claim where, prior to closing, a lawyer obtained a real property report and building information abstract that didn't reflect the existence of a deck or a hot tub.

A few months later, homeowners discovered that there was no permit issued for the deck, no final inspection completed and the deck did not comply with the building code.

The hot tub had to be moved and the deck reinforced at the expense of the homeowners.

If the homeowner had a title insurance policy issued, it would have prevented this out-of-pocket expense.

Of course, title insurance can also cover more severe situations, such as mortgage fraud and forgery.

This occurs when an imposter posing as the homeowner obtains a mortgage and has it registered against the property, leaving you on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

An example of this, which happened in Ontario, and the legal battle that followed can be located at www.ontariocourts.on.ca/decisions/2007/february/2007ONCA0074.pdf.

Unlike home or auto insurance, which has a monthly or annual recurring premium, title insurance is a one-time cost that varies slightly by province and property type and can be roughly $250 to $350.

Courtesy:  Sherwoodparknews.com

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