How to Start a Title Company in Florida

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When you're ready to get your title license, Florida has policies and procedures to keep in mind as you get started. When you own a title insurance company, you will insure titles to protect buyers and sellers from litigation, should anyone try to claim rights to the title after a sale of real estate. The title license process for the state of Florida is involved, but once your legal ducks are in a row, you'll be positioned to make a profit while offering peace of mind to people in the busy real estate industry.

Florida Insurance Requirements

In the state of Florida, title companies do not need to work under the supervision of attorneys during real estate closing. To apply for a Florida title insurance license, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older to apply

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a noncitizen with work authorization from the U.S. government

  • You must reside in the state of Florida

If you qualify, you can apply for your title insurance license on the Florida Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services website by creating an account and following instructions as printed. You will have four years to meet all the requirements and receive your license.

Please note that if you are an attorney in the state of Florida, you are not required to obtain a title insurance license in order to practice and start your company.

Title License: Florida Approval

In the state of Florida, you must meet several requirements before you can print your official title license. These requirements include:

  • Taking 40 hours of classroom training or showing one year of experience

  • Arranging to have your digital fingerprints registered with the state of Florida

  • Passing the exam and submitting all other required documentation within one year of a passing score

  • Passing a background check

  • Submitting a letter of clearance if you have practiced in another state

Once you have completed all requirements and passed your licensing exam, keep an eye on your email account. The State of Florida will notify you once your application is approved. They do not mail a hard copy of your license, so you will need to head to your online account to print it yourself.

Title Company Bonding and Underwriting

Title company regulations require fidelity or surety bonds of at least $50,000. Purchasing your bonds could cost you up to $1,000, so be sure to plan your budget accordingly. Title company bonds help to protect both your and your customers. They give you both peace of mind in knowing customers can recoup their money if something happens to you or your company.

Underwriting is key to the success of a title company because the underwriters do the title check that ensures the title is clear prior to sale. They give you the authorization to offer the title coverage. Your insurance policies are only as good as the underwriters you work with, so choose the underwriter carefully. Some popular and well-regarded underwriters include:

  • Old Republic Title
  • Fidelity National Title Group
  • First American Title 

Title Company Structure

Most title companies are set up as corporations or limited liability corporations. Legal professionals can help you determine the best title company structure for your goals. As part of the process of establishing your business, you will also need to apply for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Your EIN will enable you to apply for business bank accounts and adhere to tax laws.

Remember to register your title company's name with the Florida Secretary of State, and apply for trademarks if you want to protect your name. It's also wise to draft an official title company business plan for your company to ensure you stay on track for growth and profits.