Zillow Attempting to “Streamline” Home Buying By Offering Title Insurance

An aerial shot of an upper class neighborhood in Florida.

If you work in the real estate industry, you’ve probably heard of a little company called Zillow. A favorite for casual home browsing, Zillow is quickly becoming its own real estate service. In addition to helping buyers search for homes, it now helps them sell their old home quickly, apply for a mortgage, and might even be offering its own title insurance and escrow services too.

Here’s what you need to know about all of Zillow’s ventures into the real estate industry.

From Digital Giant to House Flipper

For most of its existence, Zillow has operated as a digital media company that allowed home buyers to casually search homes for sale in any given area. Buyers could access all kinds of housing data on Zillow, including price, square footage, special features, neighborhood information, and more.

In 2018, however, Zillow decided to take it a step further by actually helping users sell their homes. They launched their home-selling program, Zillow Offers, in April of that year.

While they don’t explicitly claim to “flip” homes, that’s essentially what they’re doing. Users can quickly sell their home to Zillow for a cash offer, and Zillow will then make necessary repairs and sell the home for a profit.

In addition to selling homes, Zillow also offers another service to aid buyers in securing their dream home.

Zillow: Your New Mortgage Lender

Zillow only keeps adding to its real estate empire. In August 2018, Zillow acquired brokerage Mortgage Lenders of America. Earlier this year, it unrolled its newest offering: mortgage lending.

Rebranded as Zillow Home Loans, this service is expected to be at the heart of Zillow’s real estate services in the years to come.

So, now Zillow is an agent and a mortgage lender. What’s next?

Title Insurance

Really? Well, according to their website, Zillow’s goal is to make the home-buying (and -selling) process easier for consumers. This game plan could include helping buyers with title insurance in the very near future.

While it hasn’t yet been confirmed, Zillow is currently searching for a number of title insurance specialists. This hints that the digital giant is poised to add “title insurance agent” to their long list of professions.

What Does this Mean for Agents?

Some real estate agents, and other professionals within the industry, are worried that Zillow is trying to displace them. However, as convenient as Zillow’s services may be, they will never be able to replace the role of a true real estate agent—or a title insurance agent.

Agents are people, so they hold a number of advantages over a digital company. As experts in their field—whether its buying and selling homes or title insurance—they also have a level of expertise that’s difficult to communicate online.

Real Estate—and Title Insurance—is Constantly Evolving

That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of the latest trends. As a title insurance agency, we work with professionals from every side of the real estate transaction. We know the ins and outs of this industry, and we’d like to share our knowledge with you.

Have a question about title insurance in North Carolina? Need someone to discuss the current state of the market with? Please don’t hesitate to contact Tryon Title.

North Carolina Title Insurance: What Is It and Why Do I Need It?

Let’s say you’re buying a home. First of all, congratulations! This is an exciting life decision, and we know you’ve been working toward it for a long time. That’s why it’s so important to protect your investment with North Carolina title insurance.

Just like you need homeowners insurance to protect your home from fires, storms, and other natural disasters, you need title insurance just in case something is wrong with your home’s title. If an issue arises with your title in the years following your purchase (whether it’s a former owner disputing your right to it or a costly lien filed against it), you may be in trouble financially. That’s where title insurance comes in.

Here’s the rundown:

What is Title Insurance?

Real estate is a huge investment—whether it’s a new construction home or a vacant plot of land. Because it’s such a big purchase, any time a property’s title or ownership is transferred, certain risks arise.

When you take out a title insurance policy on a property in North Carolina, you’re signing up for two things. One is a thorough investigation of the property’s title history. The second is insurance that protects you in the event of a title loss or discrepancy on the title’s history.

Not only is title insurance valuable, it’s highly affordable in North Carolina. You pay a one-time premium at closing based on the value of your property.

Do I Really Need Title Insurance?

A woman sitting in front of a computer with her head on her chin researching north carolina title insurance

While it’s optional, it is highly recommended. Depending on the age of the land or property you’re purchasing, it might have gone through several owners. Over the years, title issues can arise due to a number of different problems.

Some of these problems might be mistakes like clerical errors, miscommunication between owners, or inadequate surveys. Other problems may arise from negligence, fraud, or forgery.

If an issue with your title arises somewhere along the line, you’ll be prepared, protected, and insured if you have a proper policy.

What Kind of Issues Might Arise?

We’ll walk you through some hypotheticals. Say you purchase a home from a single woman. However, that woman bought the home with her former husband—whose name is still on the title. She sold it without a signature from that former husband, meaning he may come back and lay a claim to it after it’s been sold.

Or, perhaps a lien was taken out against the property. A company or organization may have a right to place a lien on the property in order to settle a former owner’s debt. A lien stays with a property until it is paid off or the property enters foreclosure.

What Kinds of Title Insurance are Available?

A man showing his client different north carolina title insurance options on a graph.

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of title insurance: lender’s coverage and owner’s coverage.

Any real estate transaction comes with a small amount of inherent risk, so the lender’s coverage protects the lender for the amount of money they’ve loaned to the buyer.

Plus, when you purchase a title insurance policy, you receive an extra layer of security. Say you have to hire a lawyer and go to court to defend your title: when you have a policy, it covers your legal costs up to the amount of the purchase price.

The lender’s coverage policy ends when the owner pays the loan off. The owner’s coverage policy lasts for the entire time they own the property, with additional protection after selling the property.

How Do I Get Title Insurance in North Carolina?

Title insurance differs from state-to-state, but North Carolina has some of the lowest title insurance rates available. To pick the insurer that’s right for you, we highly recommend meeting with your attorney to discuss it.

Once you sign a purchase agreement for the property, your escrow and closing agent will begin the process of helping you obtain title insurance.

Looking for more information about which coverage is right for you or your clients? Our North Carolina title insurance professionals are here to help.

What Makes Tryon Title the Best Option for Title Insurance in North Carolina?

At Tryon Title, we are provide our clients with exemplary customer service, as well as the fastest turnaround times with laser-sharp accuracy. We’re also local to North Carolina, so we understand this area and its unique real estate needs better than anyone.

Our dedicated team of North Carolina title insurance professionals has more than 50 years of combined title insurance experience, and our underwriters are known for delivering final policies in less than 24 hours. No matter how small, large, or complicated your task may be, please know that it is our top priority.

Please reach out to us today for an expedited, accurate, and streamlined title insurance experience.