When you buy something at the mall or online you get a receipt.

That receipt can prove you bought it and prove that the item is actually yours.  In other words … you own it.

When you buy something electronic or  it has a serial number you can also register the  serial number online with the vendor or manufacturer in your name.

But who actually owns a property (a house or condo or parcel of land)?

Well that can be verified by doing something called a “Title Search”. Your Real Estate Lawyer can do a “Title Search” with the Land Registry Department.

Now I have a question for you.  Can someone “steal” ownership of your property?

In other words, can they have the Registered Owner on Title transferred to their name?

And can it be done without you knowing?

Surprisingly the answer is YES.

The same way someone could steal a valuable watch from your drawer and you wouldn’t notice if you don’t ordinarily wear that watch, someone could steal “Property Title” or ownership of your property without you knowing, because you don’t ordinarily do Title Searches on your own property.

When my clients buy a property, whether it’s their first home or moving to another home, when it comes time to meet with the Real Estate Lawyer they are often urged to buy Title Insurance.

As a very important side note … if you bought your property long ago and didn’t buy Title Insurance you can & should still get it for your own protection.

Title Insurance is totally different from Mortgage Insurance or Property Insurance or Home Owner’s Insurance.

BTW if you want to know more about Property Title, Title Insurance, and 4 ways it can protect you from Title Defects, be sure to check out my post :

Title Insurance – What Is it & 4 Ways It Can Save You”.

Back to my original question about if/how someone can steal ownership of your property.

Unfortunately there is a problem that really isn’t well known but it happens more often than people realize.

That problem is called Title Fraud.

Title Fraud involves a fraudster assuming the identity of a property owner and then transferring Property Title or ownership of your property into their name without your knowledge.

Title Insurance will provide coverage for losses arising as a result of Title Fraud, including your legal expenses that might be incurred by you to defend or reclaim your title.

Properties can also be susceptible to Mortgage Fraud.

This happens when a stranger takes out a fake mortgage using fraudulent signatures and the mortgage is registered against your property.

So how do you get Title Insurance & how much does it cost?

You can get Title Insurance through your Real Estate Lawyer.

It is not something you pay for monthly or even yearly.

It’s one-time, up-front payment.

The price is based on the value of the property.

For typical resale condos it can cost approximately $250.

For a 1 million dollar property for example, it can cost approximately $900.

Please remember that TITLE INSURANCE is not a Buyer’s Insurance or a Seller’s Insurance per se.

It’s actually in essence a Home Owner’s Title Insurance for protection against Property Title & Property Title related risks & defects in Property Title.

Like I said, as a Buyer your coverage can protect you if you discover problems after your purchase.

As a current home owner if a Buyer files a claim or lawsuit against you for issues relating to a property you sold them then you   have your home owners’  TITLE INSURANCE.

If you are thinking of buyingor selling a home and want to talk more about how to do it safely and smoothly … I’m always happy to chat.  Just get in touch with me by email or phone.