There could be lots of reasons to start a title company. There are already 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S., and starting a title company is a safe bet. With its 7% growth potential expected through 2028, a title company will continue to play a vital role in the home buying process.
A title company typically functions by searching real estate and public information records to determine the status of a property. As an agent of a title company, your responsibilities may include:
- Performing a title search.
- Conducting a property survey.
- Preparing an abstract.
- Offering title insurance.
To get to that point, you first have to start your business. So, here are the quick-and-easy steps you should take to start a title company.
The requirements for how to start a title company will vary by state, so you must first find out more about how to license a title company where you live. Review the website for your state’s Department of Insurance to get started. Here’s a list of the land title associations by state:
- Alaska Land Title Association
- Land Title Association of Arizona
- Arkansas Land Title Association
- California Land Title Association
- Land Title Association of Colorado
- District of Columbia Land Title Association
- Florida Land Title Association
- Idaho Land Title Association
- Illinois Land Title Association
- Indiana Land Title Association
- Iowa Land Title Association
- Kansas Land Title Association
- Kentucky Land Title Association
- Louisiana Land Title Association
- Maryland Land Title Association
- Michigan Land Title Association
- Minnesota Land Title Association
- Missouri Land Title Association
- Montana Land Title Association
- Nebraska Land Title Association
- Nevada Land Title Association
- New England Land Title Association
- New Jersey Land Title Association
- New Mexico Land Title Association
- New York Land Title Association
- North Carolina Land Title Association
- North Dakota Land Title Association
- Ohio Land Title Association
- Oklahoma Land Title Association
- Oregon Land Title Association
- Pennsylvania Land Title Association
- (South Carolina) Palmetto Land Title Association
- South Dakota Land Title Association
- Southeast Land Title Association
- Tennessee Land Title Association
- Texas Land Title Association
- Utah Land Title Association
- Virginia Land Title Association
- Washington Land Title Association
- Wisconsin Land Title Association
- Wyoming Land Title Association
In many cases, your state will require that you take coursework before taking the licensing exam, so you need to know what those exact requirements are.
Once you’ve reviewed your state’s guidelines, determine which courses you need to take. You should find a list of approved educational organizations on your state’s Department of Insurance page. The goal of your coursework is to prepare you for the licensing exam. It should give you a complete overview of what the exam will entail and offer quizzes to prep you for success. If you’re already a lawyer or you have a title company in a different state, they may waive this coursework.
You can sign up for your licensing exam through your state’s testing organizations. It will test you on title insurance principles, general insurance concepts, title exceptions, real estate transactions, and procedures for clearing a title. In general, you will need to pass the test with a 70% or higher score, but you should check your state’s requirements to make sure that’s the case in your situation.
Your state may require you to get liability insurance averaging around $250,000. Even if your state doesn’t require it, insurance is something you might want to get as protection for you and your company against errors and omissions. If one of your clients claims negligence against you or one of your employees, it’s just better to have that insurance in place. Even if you never make a mistake, fighting claims can still be devastating.
Your surety bond represents 10%–25% of your company’s worth, and a fidelity bond covers up to $50,000. Your bond is a guarantee that you can fulfill your obligations to your clients. If something unexpected happens to your company, bonds are one way they could reclaim their funds. It’s another layer of protection.
In many cases, it’s best to consult with a lawyer to determine whether your business entity will be a corporation or limited liability company. You can complete the appropriate paperwork and procedures via online resources, but a lawyer can offer the expertise you need to avoid errors and oversights.
You’ll need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), register your company’s name with your state’s secretary of state or county clerk, and apply for your business license. At this stage, you might also start looking for office space and determining how you’ll position yourself in your local community. You’ll also need to put together your company website or hire someone to build it for you.
In some cases, you can choose to work with an underwriter, who verifies the property’s title and ownership rights. The underwriter is another way to protect yourself and your company against risk since they take on the financial risk and ensure the quality of the policy.
When you start a title company, you’re embarking on a lucrative business opportunity. As part of the process, though, you’ll need to connect with partners and allies who will help you achieve your goals as a business and for your customers.
At paymints.io, our goal is to help you find better ways to complete that friction-filled real estate transaction. With a background and expertise in real estate, technology, title insurance, and lending, our team has built a secure, digital, white-label SaaS platform designed to meet your transfer needs.