American Land Title Association (ALTA)

Definition of "American Land Title Association (ALTA)"

Lisa McKeon real estate agent

Written by

Lisa McKeonelite badge icon

Douglas Elliman

The label American Land Title Association, also known as ALTA, is a trade association that helps in managing the title insurance industry. Another focus of ALTA is the abstract of title of properties, tying the property’s title to a specific piece of real estate. The main goal of the association is to protect customers and aims to correct industry oversights.

How does ALTA work?

Some of the ALTA members are abstracters, title agents, and title insurance companies that are active within the association. Almost all of them who work on title records have an ALTA membership. For those wondering how to get title insurance, know that the member’s end product is the title insurance policy that can either be for the owner, protecting them or for the lender, protecting them. ALTA itself merely provides industry-tailored forms that can be used by any real estate professional.

The role of ALTA in real estate is required before the closing of any real estate transaction. The abstract of title needs to be complete before closing, and a new title search and a title policy are required before the sale of any property or application for a refinanced loan. These explorations in the title’s history are necessary to discover any liens or encumbrances on any particular property. 

What does ALTA do?

The American Land Title Association’s work is highly complex, and it includes over 6,000 members from one-county operations to national title insurers. Their goal is to develop the knowledge and skills of those working in real estate transactions, improve the marketplace, and help to standardize products used by the industry. They are in regular contact with Congress members, as well as the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

With their focus on developing a better understanding of the industry and improving the forms used freely by insurers in the US, the goal is to establish better practices within the industry.

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