Most real property transactions in Texas involve one or more title insurance products. But what
is title insurance, and why do parties to a transaction need it at all? This article discusses the basics of
title insurance, including what it is, why it is used, and who determines the cost.
Today’s real estate practice is fraught with more liability than ever before. While the vast majority of property transactions go uncontested, it is becoming increasingly common for real estate agents and their brokers to become parties to a lawsuit concerning the sale of real property. Sometimes, agents lose their commissions over lawsuits or threats of lawsuits, and in the worst circumstances they can be personally sued for negligence or actions that they took on behalf of their clients. In a competitive business, it is easy for agents to be swayed into gray areas. However, in almost all cases, the exposure to potential liability is not worth the risk. Here are three situations in which liability abounds.
Power of attorney documents are a powerful tool that real estate agents and brokers can use to
get their transactions closed in a timely manner when one or more parties cannot come to the table at
the time of closing. A power of attorney is simply a document signed by one person (known as the
“principal”) that gives authority to another person (known as their “agent”) to execute documents and
make decisions on their behalf. There are many reasons that someone buying or selling a property might
be unable to make it to a closing. Power of attorney documents are routinely used when a
servicemember is going to be deployed or away for training on the date of a closing, when a spouse is
going to be out of state for work, or an aging parent is going to be in surgery. These are simply a few
examples of the myriad of circumstances under which a party to the transaction might need to use a
A fee attorney refers to an attorney who has a contractual relationship with a title insurance company or title insurance agent. Much like the average escrow officer, a fee attorney’s office handles the work involved in closing a real estate transaction. This often includes arrangement for title examination, preparation and/or delivery of a title commitment prepared for the transaction, acceptance of earnest money, and handling of escrowed funds. However, unlike the average escrow officer, a fee attorney can do much, much more. When deciding upon where to close your next transaction, keep the following thoughts in mind.