CAN A SELLER REQUIRE A BUYER TO USE A PARTICULAR TITLE COMPANY? YES AND NO
Section 9 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) prohibits a seller from requiring a home buyer to use a particular title insurance company, either directly or indirectly, as a condition of sale. Buyers may sue a seller who violates this provision for an amount equal to three times all charges made for the title insurance. However, a seller can offer certain incentives for the use of a particular title company but the seller cannot require that a particular title insurance company be used by the buyer as a condition of the sale unless the seller pays 100% of all title insurance and related title costs. The CFPB has issued guidance stating that if the seller requires the buyer to use a title company (without offering an incentive), unless the seller pays 100% of the title-related costs then the seller has violated RESPA. Even if the seller offers to purchase the owner’s title insurance policy for the buyer, there can still be a violation of RESPA if the buyer must purchase the lender’s title insurance policy.
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