Titles of Dakota - Abstracts of Title, Loan Closings and Escrows, Title Insurance

slide image


What is an abstract?

An abstract is a history of the title to a particular tract of land. It is not a title! It consists of a summary of recorded instruments affecting the title of the real estate in the county where the property is located. The abstract may be correct but the title to the property can still be flawed. The abstract is not a guarantee. It is only a summary of what has been recorded. It does not judge the correctness of any item it lists. It merely reports what is on the record.

What is title insurance and why do I need it?

Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects you against loss that could result from defects in the title of the property you are buying. The premium is paid only once and is good until the property’s ownership changes. Unlike most types of insurance which protect policyholders from future events, title insurance protects you against defects that could already exist.

When do I purchase title insurance?

The title insurance policy is purchased at closing for a one-time premium, based upon the loan amount and/or purchase price. However, the preparation that leads to the title insurance policy being issued begins in the very early stages of the closing process.

Why proof of title?

When you buy a house, the burden to provide clear title is usually the responsibility of the Seller. The lender will not give you a mortgage until you can prove that the present owner of the house legally owns it or has title to it.

Why do I need title insurance?

A title insurance policy guarantees that the property you are purchasing is free of undisclosed liens, confusion in the rights of ownership, and other clouds on the title. Clouds of title can include mistakes in recording legal documents, clerical errors in public records, undisclosed or missing heirs, invalid divorces, misrepresentation of marital status; or invalid mechanics liens.

Doesn't the deed ensure I own the property?

No. A deed does not cancel certain prior "rights" or "claims" other people may have a right to your property. These claims might go back in time months or decades.

What items are needed to close?

The following items will be needed prior to or at closing. Please confirm with your escrow officer, as practices vary by state.

  • Buyer's copy of purchase agreement
  • Proof of purchase of insurance for fire, casualty, etc.
  • Invoices for any unpaid taxes, utilities or assessments
  • Cashier's check(s) to make all payments – required at closing
  • Photo identification (passport, driver's license, or state-issued identification card) – required at closing


  • Seller's copy of purchase agreement
  • Invoices for any unpaid taxes, utilities, assessments, and latest utilities meter readings
  • Receipts for last payment of interest on mortgages
  • Bill of Sale of personal property covered by the purchase agreement
  • Any unrecorded instruments that affect the title
  • Proof of satisfaction of any mechanics' liens, chattel mortgages, judgments, or mortgages that were paid prior to the closing
  • Photo identification (passport, driver's license, or state-issued identification card) – required at closing