As a Bitterroot Valley lending professional you’re well aware of the unique beauty and complexity of Ravalli County property. If you are an out-of-area lender, welcome! We’ll get you through the quirks of Montana Real Estate transactions quickly and accurately. At First Montana Title we’re committed to making your client’s borrowing experience as smooth, accurate and secure as possible.
Below are some frequently asked questions and suggestions of how you can help us create a pleasant closing experience:
First Montana Title Company of Hamilton was established in 1903 as the Bitterroot Valley’s original title abstract company, and continues today as Western Montana’s most trusted real estate settlement and title insurance agency. Having been operated by the current owners as a Montana-raised, family-owned business for more than 30 years, we understand the culture, values, and intricacies of land and title in the Bitterroot, and value each of our customers as a friend and neighbor.
As the only fully functional title research plant for consumers, lenders, attorneys, government agencies, developers and real estate professionals in Ravalli County, we provide world-class settlement services, and insurance policy options from top-tier national underwriters, for transactions of all sizes and complexities. Other title companies complete their research using online portals and processes that can sometimes be inaccurate or incomplete in rural areas like Ravalli County.
Our plant is used by county and state governments, local attorneys, lenders and real estate agents to ensure historical accuracy, research unique issues and gain access to our highly experienced staff (who average more than 25 years in the title research business!).
Old Republic National Title Insurance Company
Old Republic National Title Insurance Company has been serving the real estate and mortgage industry for more than a century. Founded in 1907, Old Republic Title is one of the largest title insurance groups in the United States. They operate through a national network of Company-owned offices, affiliates, authorized agents and approved attorneys, which allows them to service customers in both large and small markets across the country.
Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company
Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company issued the first modern title insurance policy in 1876 and with it an industry was born. Commonwealth has been a leader in making title insurance a key to realizing the dream of property ownership for individuals and businesses alike. Commonwealth is now a proud member of the Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (NYSE: FNF) family of title companies, which collectively represent the largest title insurance and escrow services company in the world.
E&O Liability Coverage
Settlement service and accuracy is an important aspect of a secure real estate transaction. While we pride ourselves on being as accurate and timely as possible, Errors and Omissions liability insurance coverage is essential in creating peace of mind for our clients.
First Montana Title Company of Hamilton has had less than a fraction of one percent in E&O claims submitted over more than 30 years of current ownership. However, we are fully backed by Lloyd’s of London with E&O policy coverage up to $1 million per transaction.
View our E&O Policy: Lloyds Insurance Policy Certificate
First Montana Title is committed to providing best-in-class settlement services and competitive insurance products while protecting the integrity, privacy and security of consumer information and related real estate transactions. This is achieved through adherence to established ALTA procedures and best practices, and through a deeply held commitment to accuracy, integrity and customer experience.
Placing an order is as simple as submitting a request through our secure portal. Simply upload your internal order form, purchase agreement, or any document that contains your order information. Be sure to let us know who you are and any other pertinent information. Submit your request here.
You can also send your order via your own secure email service, fax, mail, or drop it by our office. We’d love you to come in say hello! Our contact information is:
Title Companies Operate by instruction. This means that disbursement of funds to specific parties, the payment of any invoices or the transfer of any personal property (such as water rights or farm equipment) must be specifically requested prior to closing and appropriate information provided. Proper names, addresses and legal descriptions are necessary for both buyers and sellers to complete all closing documents. Here’s what we might need:
- A copy of the signed Buy-Sell Agreement including:
- Complete address and contact information for both parties (phone numbers and emails if possible).
- Legal description of property (in Montana an address is not always accurate or sufficient).
- Contact information for all agents involved.
- Commission amounts and splits (not included as part of standard Buy-Sells).
- Information on Deceased Parties:
- Most deaths won’t show up in a public document search at our local court house, unless we are specifically instructed to look in death certificate files for Ravalli County. If a person passed in another county or state, the death certificate will not be referenced anywhere in county records. Please notify us if a party to a sale is deceased. A death certificate may be required to close.
- Water Rights information:
- While we may do a preliminary search for water rights through the DNRC website, verification of water rights, unfiled wells, or lake and ditch shares are the responsibility of the Seller and their agent. We’re happy to complete and file appropriate forms to transfer water rights on information you provide.
- Trust, Partnership, or Corporation documents:
- We will need declaration and signature pages for all trusts, partnerships or corporations (to verify vesting and who can sign). Even when we’ve done previous work for a particular client, legal documents change constantly and must be reviewed each time. First Montana Title does not maintain a database of private legal documents for clients.
- Loan/Creditor Account Numbers:
Although certain times of year are busier than others in Montana, we are generally able to produce a preliminary title commitment within 5 business days. First Montana Title does the most comprehensive title research in Ravalli County. As the only company with a complete onsite title plant, we regularly identify and solve title issues impossible to find or correct through the online search process used by other companies.
Our examiners have decades of experience in research and real estate transaction analysis in the Bitterroot Valley, and are relied on regularly to research and answer questions for County and State government, local banks, mortgage companies, real estate agents and attorneys. Settlement statements are generally prepared 3 days prior to closing to allow for review by agents and the parties involved.
Statements produced earlier than this generally require correction for payoff and prorated amounts. Most lenders also dictate the pace of the settlement process, and we must rely heavily on their documents and timelines. All in all, 14 business days are usually necessary to close a transaction. First Montana Title may charge an additional fee for rush requests.