Chicago Title Insurance Company sent out notice today that, effective August 1st, it is increasing escrow closing fees and title insurance premium charges for residential closings. Escrow services will cost an additional $100 per transaction. Fees charged for Owners and Lenders insurance policies will also rise, $50.00 each.
I have not yet checked with any of the other title insurance companies but do not be surprised if others follow suit with rate increases of their own in the coming months. For the records, this is CT's 4th rate increase in the last in the last three years. Owners policy premiums have increased 20% since July, 2007. Lenders policies are up 33%. The cost of escrow closings, depending on the amount of insurance purchased, have increased as much as 55% in that time span as well. (To be clear, these historical rate increases span the whole Chicago Residential Market, not just at CT).
Chicago Title remains my preferred source for title services. I am an attorney-agent and am proud of that affiliation. The company has provided my clients with excellent service over the years and I really like working with its closers, examiners and the other support staff I interact with. That said, costs matter - especially in this tough market environment. There are (at least for now) other, somewhat cheaper alternatives available. One of the many reasons why I write title with several companies. Does a $50 or $150 cost increase matter in the relative scheme of things? For most people, probably not, but all the same, it has got to be hard for sellers confronting the deflation of home values (and resulting losses of equity in a sale) to bear increasing costs. Cheaper alternatives exist and I am grateful to have the ability to offer my clients choices.
Let me know if you have any questions about title insurance charges for your next real estate transaction or if you have leads on other cheaper (high quality) alternatives.