Buying a home is a good investment, but it is also a complicated process, especially for first-time buyers. During the closing process, buyers receive the title to prove ownership of the property. Title insurance is required to protect buyers from claims against the property title from the debts of previous owners. Licensed title agents perform public record searches to make sure no problems exist with the title, prepare documents and conduct the closing process, issue title insurance and distribute funds after purchase.
In most cases, you must be at least 18 years old and a state resident to become a licensed title agent. Some states, such as Vermont, allow non-residents to apply to become title agents. You must also undergo a background check and be trustworthy and financially responsible. Title agents manage the entire closing process and must be knowledgeable about real estate and title insurance requirements, organized and detail-oriented. The specific requirements to become a licensed title agent vary. Contact your state's Department of Insurance, Department of Financial Regulation or equivalent office to get the specific requirements for your state.
Experience and Education
You must meet either the experience or educational requirements to sit for the licensing exam. The specific amount of experience varies. Arkansas requires 2000 hours, while Florida requires one year of verifiable experience. If you do not have the required work experience, you may take a 40-hour, state-approved title insurance course.
You must pass your state licensing examination. The standardized examination covers insurance regulation in your state, title insurance, real property and real estate transactions. The examination is timed and you must complete the questions within the time limit. After you pass the licensing examination, you must submit an application and the required fee to obtain a license.
Maintaining Your License
To maintain your license, you must be working as an agent for an insurer and complete the required continuing education credits. For example, in Arkansas, you must renew your license every year and complete six continuing-education credits with at least one credit in ethics. Florida requires title agents to complete 10 continuing-education credits every two years.