By Lydia Blair
Even though the services offered and fees charged by title companies across Texas are standardized, there is some variation in how they operate. Just as real estate brokerages and real estate agents vary in their operating standards and styles, so do title companies.
Title companies in Texas have three basic roles. They include completing a title search, closing the transaction (which includes preparing paperwork, managing funds, recording, etc.), and issuing title insurance. All licensed Texas title agencies perform these roles.
The basic kinds of title companies you’ll find in the Dallas area include:
Independent – These title agencies are independently owned and not a subsidiary or chain. Most have more than one location but they could consist of a one-office, mom-and-pop-style shop. Carlisle Title, Capital Title, and Allegiance Title are popular examples of locally owned and independent companies.
National Chains – These are big companies with branch operations in several locations. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, they include large companies like Old Republic and North American Title. They often run subsidiary title companies as well.
Subsidiary Title Companies – The local title agencies are owned and controlled by large chains. For example, Reunion Title and Republic Title are subsidiaries of First American Title. The parent company may or may not be heavily involved in operations and affiliated with other real estate related companies.
Fee Attorney Title Office – These are attorneys who can serve the function of examining title and handle the closing of the transaction. Some fee attorney offices operate independently (and may not be audited regularly). Others perform title services under the name of an existing title insurance company. Well-known fee attorney offices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area include Stewart Title, Alamo Title, and Lawyers Title.
Some Mixture of The Above – Some sizable companies have a mixture of operations. I think of them kind of like restaurant franchises – they may be corporate owned or locally owned, affiliated or not. Chicago Title is an example of a nationally owned title company with branch offices, as well as fee attorney offices who operate under its name.
Many title companies are affiliated with other businesses such as banks, builders, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, or real estate brokerages who send them business. These include companies like LegacyTexas Title and Texas Premier Title. Most national chains have affiliations with real estate-related companies.
All title companies have a duty to serve as a neutral third party in transactions. Regardless of the type of title company, they should always earn your business through quality service and placing the client’s interests first.
Opinions expressed are of the individual author for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. Contact an attorney or accountant to obtain advice for any issue or problem.
Lydia Blair (formerly Lydia Player) was a successful Realtor for 10 years before jumping to the title side of the business in 2015. Prior to selling real estate, she bought, remodeled and sold homes (before house flipping was an expression). She’s been through the real estate closing process countless times as either a buyer, a seller, a Realtor, and an Escrow Officer. As an Escrow Officer for Carlisle Title, she likes solving problems and cutting through red tape. The most fun part of her job is handing people keys or a check.