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11 min read Nov 29, 2022

How Much is Title Insurance in Washington?

How Much is Title Insurance in Washington

Buying a new home is a significant investment, and it is only natural that you want to protect yourself from any future vulnerabilities. Title policies help you do just that. But how much is title insurance in Washington going to cost you? Let’s find out!

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is a policy that safeguards the interests of both the homeowner and the lender in cases of issues associated with the house’s title, including:

  • Liens or lawsuits
  • Forgery
  • Encroachment
  • Undisclosed heirs
  • Errors in deeds

What are the Title Insurance Costs in Washington?

Title policies usually cost about 0.5% to 1.0% of the home’s purchase price and are included in the home’s closing costs. A typical title insurance policy quote in Washington will include the following title fees:

Title Search Fee:

A title search helps verify that the seller is the legal owner of the property being sold. It also ensures that the house has a clean title, i.e., it has no outstanding secured debts, liens or lawsuits, undisclosed heirs, etc. This is essential to protect the new homeowner from future monetary or ownership disputes related to the title.

In Washington, the title search is included in the insurance premium and is usually done by a title company or an attorney. The cost of a title search in Washington ranges from $75 to $200, depending on the type of property and is borne by the seller.

Title Settlement Fee:

A title settlement fee is paid to the title company that acts as the settlement agent at closing. It covers the administrative cost of closing and is separate from the net property value. This fee includes escrow fees, land survey fees, notary fees, deed preparation fees, etc. The title settlement fee in Washington differs from company to company.

The buyer and seller generally split the title settlement fee in Washington.

Lender’s Title Insurance:

A lender’s title insurance generally protects the mortgage lender financing your transaction from someone claiming a right to your house. It is issued for the loan amount given to the buyer, and as the debt reduces, so does the liability.

When purchasing a house using a mortgage or a loan, you will need a lender’s title policy in Washington.

Owner’s Title Insurance:

An owner’s title insurance policy secures the homebuyer’s transaction from real estate-related issues. Though purchasing a homeowner’s title policy isn’t compulsory, it is highly recommended to prevent any financial losses later on.

The seller usually pays for the owner’s title insurance in Washington. They have to pay a one-time fee, and its coverage lasts for as long as you or your heirs own the property.

Attorney Fee:

In Washington, the law doesn’t require an attorney to oversee the real estate transaction or the title insurance process. However, having an attorney provides both parties with a safety net. They review contracts and other paperwork, including the title. The attorney fee is their remuneration for their services and, in most cases, is split between the seller and the buyer if the same attorney is hired.

Real estate attorneys generally charge an hourly fee of around $321.

Abstract and Recording Fee:

The title abstract is a legal record of a property’s title history. It includes information about past title transfers, liens, and legal actions against the property. The abstract is a crucial document for buyers to ensure a clear title for properties in Washington. It is issued by an abstraction.

The abstract fee can go up to $400.

Recording refers to the registration of the change in ownership of a house or the sale of a property in the public record. It also records mortgages and other liens against the home.

The county usually charges the recording fee. In Washington, it costs approximately $200.

Understanding the Types of Title Insurance Policies in Washington

Title policies are of two types: owner’s title insurance and lender’s title insurance.

1. Owner’s Title Insurance

Homeowner’s title policy helps protect the buyer from future vulnerabilities that may befall them due to a defective title. It covers problems like:

  • Third-party claims to the title
  • Pre-policy fraud
  • An unmarketable title
  • Liens
  • Building permit violations
  • Post-policy forgery

If someone raises a claim to the property, the title insurer will bear the costs of legal representation. Further, they will reimburse the required amount up to the policy limit in case any damages are awarded in the lawsuit.

How Much is Owner’s Title Insurance in Washington?

The premium for an owner’s title policy in Washington is paid just once. However, certain factors determine its cost:

  • Government regulations
  • The title company
  • The coverage chosen

While the government does not firmly lay down the title insurance rates in Washington, they are based on the house’s purchase price. The rates quoted by the title companies need to be approved by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner before extending them to the consumers. Since you have the luxury of shopping around for a policy, you may find one that suits your needs without being heavy on your pocket.

The title insurance rates differ based on the county and policy chosen. The estimated costs title insurers charge for an ALTA standard policy are as follows:

Home Purchase PriceTitle Policy Premium (per $1000)
$100,000$6.08
$200,000$3.84
$500,000$2.49
$1,000,000$1.94

You may even be eligible for a discount if you purchase the owner’s and lender’s title policies from the same company. Moreover, you can get almost a 40% “re-issue rate” discount if you renew the owner’s title policy purchased by the seller. However, the seller must provide the policy document for this to be applicable.

Owner’s title insurance offers two coverages, standard and enhanced. While the standard policy does provide sufficient security to the new homeowner, enhanced title insurance protects against any post-closing vulnerabilities. It typically costs 20% more than a standard owner’s title policy.

👉 Remember to check if your title company in Washington offers an enhanced owner’s title policy.

Who Pays Owner’s Title Insurance in Washington?

In Washington, the seller usually pays for the homeowner’s title policy. If the buyer wants to purchase an enhanced policy, they will have to pay for the difference between the two policies.

2. Lender’s Title Insurance

A lender’s title insurance is taken on when you purchase a house either via a mortgage or a loan. Hence, it is also known as a loan policy. It protects the lender’s investment should an ownership dispute arise in the future.

A lender’s title policy is required in Washington when purchasing a house using a mortgage.

How Much is Lender’s Title Insurance in Washington?

The cost of a lender’s title policy in Washington is usually equal to the amount the loan is issued for. So, the accountability of the title insurer decreases as the loan is paid off.

Who Pays Lender’s Title Insurance in Washington?

The buyer has to purchase the lender’s title policy in Washington to protect the mortgage broker’s interests in the transaction.

Who Picks the Title Insurance Company in Washington?

Generally, the party that purchases the policies decides which title company to opt for.

Sometimes, the lender or the real estate agent may also provide suggestions for title companies with which they may have tie-ups. They could be getting kickbacks in return for bringing them clients. Consequently, you could end up paying inflated title insurance rates, thereby extending the expenses and increasing your stress.

👉 Remember to thoroughly vet the title company or attorney you choose to save money and maintain peace of mind.

Lender’s Title Insurance vs. Owner’s Title Insurance

Lender’s Title Insurance in WashingtonOwner’s Title Insurance in Washington
Lender’s policy protects the lender’s interests in the real estate transaction.Owner’s title insurance looks after the buyer and protects their investment from title defects.
The policy is equal to the loan issued.The policy has a one-time fee paid at closing. There are two coverage options, standard and extended.
As the loan is paid back, the liability reduces.The policy lasts for as long as the buyer or his heirs own the property.
Lender’s title insurance is mandatory.Owner’s title insurance is optional but recommended.
Generally, the buyer pays for lender’s title insurance.Generally, the seller pays for owner’s title insurance.

Average Cost of Title Insurance in Washington

The median price of a home in Washington is $610,121. Suppose the downpayment for the home is 20% (it ranges from 3% to 20%), then the title insurance costs in Washington will be as follows:

Title FeesAmount
Title Search and Lender’s Title Insurance$110
Postage/Courier$100
Attorney, Closing, and Settlement Fees$777.9
Recording Fees$230
Owner’s Title Insurance$1,464.29

» Buyer Closing Cost Calculator in Washington: Find out how much you have to pay for title insurance in Washington.

Is Washington’s Title Insurance Cost Negotiable?

Since a title insurance quote includes several fees, there is very little wiggle room for negotiation in its prices. Aspects like lawyers’ title fees, cost of title transfer, title search cost, etc., may change based on the process and individual being dealt with.

Who pays for title insurance in Washington is another area where you can negotiate. The seller pays for the owner’s title policy in most areas of Washington, while the buyer pays for lender’s insurance. However, you can discuss it with the seller and come to a different arrangement.

The real estate contract will state the party/parties responsible for paying the title insurance premium.

Alternative to Buying Title Insurance in Washington: Warranty of Title

A warranty of title, also called a Washington General Warranty Deed, is a legal document where the seller guarantees that they can transfer ownership of the property to the buyer. It also states that no one else has any claim to the house. Thus, it protects the buyer’s interests, allowing them to sue the seller should any dispute arise in the future.

A warranty of title doesn’t provide as much financial protection as a title policy in Washington. But, if you are unable to buy a homeowner’s title policy at the time of closing, this document may protect you from threats like:

  • Unresolved inheritance issues
  • Boundary-line disputes or survey inconsistencies
  • Undisclosed mortgages
  • Outstanding property or federal income taxes

Are Title Costs in Washington Worth It?

Yes! Title fees help ensure that all the processes for the title transfer are done accurately. In Washington, title insurance is the largest cost you will have to bear among all the title fees.

The purpose of title insurance is to protect against future problems like disputes in ownership, any outstanding liens from the previous owner, encroachment, etc.

With an insured title, you won’t have to spend on legal fees or pay back taxes, saving you money in the long run. All for just a one-time fee! On the other hand, without a title policy, you risk losing your home to the complainant.

In Washington, a lender’s policy is automatically included in the closing costs and is a non-negotiable purchase. But keep in mind that this policy only extends its coverage to the lender. You need a separate homeowner’s title policy to protect yourself from title defects.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are title fees in Washington?

Title fees are a part of closing costs. They include the charges for carrying out the title search of the property, attorney and notary services, settlement fees, etc. If you want to know how much you will need to pay as closing costs in Washington, use Houzeo's closing cost calculator.

2. How much does title insurance cost in Washington?

When bought together, the lender's title and owner's title policies usually cost about 0.5% to 1.0% of the home's purchase price in Washington. The premium rate is based on the location of the property and the mortgage amount.

3. How much is title insurance for land in Washington?

When buying a plot of land in Washington, you should also acquire an owner's title policy to protect your investment. It is a one-time fee ranging from 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price.

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How Much is Title Insurance States Washington

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