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How to Become a Title Officer
Title officers work in the real estate industry where they investigate the authenticity of property documents such as mortgage deeds and tenancy agreements. These officers identify any discrepancies that can hinder the transfer of a residential or commercial property, and advise their clients accordingly. Aspiring title officers need some relevant training and the requisite skills to land the job.
Get Relevant Training
Competent title officers have knowledge of property laws and a good understanding of the real estate industry. Although some employers hire people with only a high school diploma or GED and take them though on-the-job training, if you want to stand out from the crowd, pursue title searching or real estate courses offered in some community colleges. The Merritt College in California, for instance, offers an associate degree in real estate that can lead to employment as a title officer. The program provides training in areas such real estate practices, property management and real estate laws.
Develop the Right Skills
A keen eye for detail and skills in information acquisition and analysis are must-haves for title officers. To determine the ownership history of a residential property, for example, they must obtain all documents associated with the house, examine the information on these records, and draw accurate conclusions. Computer proficiency is essential as well, because title searching may involve scrutinizing electronic documents or making use of search software. To deal with several documents effectively, title officers must be organized individuals with strong record-keeping skills.
Title officers don't need to hold any occupational license or certification to practice. Aspirants can enhance their professional knowledge and job prospects by pursuing distance learning courses offered by the American Land Title Association’s Land Title Institute. The "Ethics in the Title Industry" course, for example, enhances title officers' knowledge of the profession's code of conduct. Title officers can also become members of the ALTA to demonstrate their professionalism to potential employers.
Beginning title officers can find job opportunities at insurance companies, property management companies, real estate agencies and law firms. With sufficient experience in the field and some start-up capital, title officers can establish their own property title search companies. Self-employed title officers must have strong business skills to competitively price their services, and personnel management skills to manage a staff that may include title examiners and abstractors. As of January 2015, the annual average salary for title officers was $49,000, according to job site Indeed.
Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.