Title insurance is one of the key pieces of any commercial real estate transaction. Without it, buyers and sellers would most likely find the risks of buying and selling property to be too high. Title insurance has been around in one form or another in the United States since 1874. The stronger your understanding of what title insurance is and its role in commercial real estate transactions, the better prepared you are for negotiating great deals and protecting your assets.
While title insurance in residential real estate is often seen as a mere formality, title insurance is an integral part of both the due diligence phase and the closing process in commercial real estate deals. Because the stakes are so high in commercial real estate, all of the parties from the buyer and the seller to the lender or lenders have a vested interest in making sure the title insurance issuance goes smoothly.
If a lender is involved in the transaction, the buyer will almost always pay for the loan title insurance policy. The cost of the policy is often rolled into the cost of the loan. If there are multiple lenders, each lender will require their own policy.
The buyers will also want an owner’s title insurance policy. Sometimes the seller will pay for this policy as part of the closing costs. However, as a practical matter, the buyer is the one ultimately baring the cost of the owner’s title insurance policy, as the seller will just add the cost into the purchase price.
The party who benefits from a title insurance policy will not necessarily be the same as the party who pays for the policy. While the buyer may be paying for the loan policies, if something goes wrong with the property, it will be the lenders that benefit from the policy, not the buyer.