A title company is an insurance company that supports the real estate industry. Title insurance companies protect buyers and sellers from potential conflicts during real estate transactions. The title company guarantees that the real estate property is clear of any flaws, certifies the ownership of the property before it is sold and provides the certification to lenders in the financing of a sale. The state of Florida maintains a strict process for the starting of a title company, including lawyers, investment capital of at least $35,000 and criminal background checks for owners and employees.
Background and Preparation
Hire a lawyer. A title company working in Florida must have either a licensed resident title agent or a member of the Florida State Bar in good standing as an “agent-in-charge.” The owner of the company does not need to have either of the designations, but the agent-in-charge must.
Raise your capital. You will need at least $35,000 as a guarantee bond with the state of Florida. You will also need specific a fidelity bond of no less than $50,000 and an Errors and Omissions Insurance policy for at least $250,000. These costs are over and above the standard overhead of running any business.
Perform background checks. You will need to provide the social security number, address and background check information of your agents when starting your company in Florida.
Decide if your title company will be a sole proprietorship, a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC). File the appropriate business paperwork with the State of Florida and the federal government.
Registration with the Florida Department of Financial Services
Complete the application from the Florida Department of Financial Services (FLDFS). You will need the federal ID number for your business, names of all owners of partners in the business and locations of the business offices with names of the managers of each office. The FLDFS site offers an online process for registration and fee payments.
Provide finger print cards for each agent in your title company to FLDFS.
Get a fidelity bond from an insurance underwriter for no less than $50,000 and an Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance policy $250,000. Provide proof of these policies to the FLDFS.
Pay the appropriate fees for registration and finger print cards.
The street address for the Florida Department of Insurance Bureau of Agent & Agency Licensing is :
200 E. Gaines Street Ground Floor, Lawson Bldg. Tallahassee, Fl. 33299
The online application for a license with the Florida Department of Financial Services requires the use of the browser Microsoft Internet Explorer. The site takes MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card and e-check. FLDS does not accept VISA.
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