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Do you need title insurance?

When you are preparing to purchase residential real estate in Pennsylvania, you may be advised to obtain title insurance on your purchase. Yet what is title insurance, and why would you need it when you have a binding purchase contract? What can title insurance protect you against?

Pennsylvania state code defines title insurance as insurance that protects you, as the buyer, against any liens, defects in title marketability, encumbrances, incorrect title information, or other conditions applying to the property. What this essentially means is that if the property owner sells the property to you when it has liens or other provisions that would complicate or otherwise prevent the legal sale of the property, you are not liable for said liens, encumbrances, or other matters.

Essentially, title insurance protects you from fraudulent behavior on the part of the seller. Should the seller misrepresent themselves and the property to you, as well as misrepresent their right to sell the title to the property, you are protected by title insurance from any losses engendered by the seller's deception or negligence. This can be especially useful if you were sold the title for a property the seller did not actually own, or other fraudulent acts. Real estate agents will generally guide you through the title insurance process, but if you find yourself actually needing to enact its protections then you may require further legal assistance.

This has been an informational blog post, and should not be misconstrued as a substitute for valid legal advice.

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