DEFINITION of 'American Land Title Association - ALTA'

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) is a trade association representing the title insurance industry. Founded in 1907, ALTA also focuses on a property's abstract of title, which ties the history of the title to a particular piece of real estate. The organization seeks to improve industry oversight and protect consumers. Members of ALTA agree to a code of conduct that outlines ethical business practices, including operating in a legal and compliant manner that is fair to the consumer.

BREAKING DOWN 'American Land Title Association - ALTA'

ALTA develops the title insurance forms used voluntarily by insurers across the nation, and works to develop a better understanding of its industry among those who use and otherwise interface with land title services. Members search, review and insure land titles to protect home buyers and mortgage lenders who invest in real estate. The Land Title Institute (LTI), a subsidiary of ALTA, offers educational training in the industry. Educational opportunities focus on best practices.

Members of the association are in business in most counties across the nation. Nearly all title insurance companies, as well as abstracters, who prepare a summary of public records relating to the title to a specific parcel of land, and title agents, hold ALTA membership. ALTA has more than 4,600 title agents, abstracters and title insurance companies as active members. Associate members of ALTA include attorneys, builders, developers, lenders, real estate brokers and surveyors. There is an 11-member ALTA Board of Governors that is responsible for creating association policy, managing the financial health of the association, overseeing the work of 33 committees and ensuring the overall welfare of the association.

Activities

ALTA's activities include regular contact with members of Congress, the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and other agencies regarding legislative and regulatory issues. The association may also join with affiliated state title associations regarding a position on pending state legislation. ALTA is in regular contact with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Other primary functions of ALTA include title industry-specific education and working to improve land title records.

Title Insurance

A title search is done prior to the completion of a real estate transaction. A new title search and title policy are needed each time a property is sold or the loan is refinanced. This is done to see if there are any liens or other encumbrances on the property. There are two types of title insurance. One is owner's title insurance, which protects the buyer. The other is lender's title insurance, which protects the lender.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Perfect Title

    A title deed for real estate that does not have any liens attached ...
  2. Cloud On Title

    Any document, claim, unreleased lien or encumbrance that might ...
  3. Clear Title

    Also known as "clean title," "just title," "good title" and "free ...
  4. Quiet Title

    A lawsuit filed to establish ownership of real estate when ownership ...
  5. Bad Title

    A title that does not grant ownership to its holder due to unsatisfied ...
  6. Certificate Of Title

    A state or municipal-issued document that identifies the owner ...
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    How to Decide if Title Insurance Is Worth the Cost

    Most people don't understand the critical role title insurance plays when buying a home.
  2. Personal Finance

    What Is an Alt-A Mortgage?

    Called "liar loans" for their low documentation requirements, Alt-A mortgages were hot until the subprime crisis. Now Wall Street wants to bring them back.
  3. Personal Finance

    Car Title Loan Requirements

    Here's a list of what you need to qualify for a car title loan. Most important: having sole ownership of your car with no liens.
  4. Personal Finance

    Getting A Car Title Loan

    This loan-of-last-resort uses your car as collateral and features very high interest rates and fees. Be extremely wary of even considering one.
  5. Personal Finance

    States That Allow Car Title Loans

    Only some states permit car title loans – and those that do may have restrictions. Check this list to see what to expect.
  6. Personal Finance

    Car Title Loan Limits

    You can usually get 25% to 50% of a car's value - but could pay more in interest than you borrowed if the loan rolls over a lot before it's paid off.
  7. Investing

    Holding Titles On Real Property

    Find out how best to claim and convey ownership on your assets.
  8. Personal Finance

    Title Loans vs. Payday Loans: Which Are Better?

    Both title loans and payday loans carry risks that outweigh the benefits.
  9. Personal Finance

    How to Sell a Car With a Lien

    Vehicle owners wondering how to sell a car with a lien on the certificate of title have four options to both remove the lien holder and transfer ownership.
  10. Personal Finance

    Are Car Title Loans Ever a Good Idea?

    Most people knowledgeable about finance consider title loans predatory. What would constitute a good-quality short-term loan? Here's one idea.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What do real estate attorneys do?

    Understand the role of a real estate attorney to help you decide if you would benefit from the expertise of this type of ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Dividend Yield

    A financial ratio that shows how much a company pays out in dividends each year relative to its share price.
  2. Fixed-Income Security

    An investment that provides a return in the form of fixed periodic payments and the eventual return of principal at maturity. ...
  3. Free Cash Flow - FCF

    A measure of financial performance calculated as operating cash flow minus capital expenditures. Free cash flow (FCF) represents ...
  4. Leverage Ratio

    Any ratio used to calculate the financial leverage of a company to get an idea of the company's methods of financing or to ...
  5. Two And Twenty

    A type of compensation structure that hedge fund managers typically employ in which part of compensation is performance based. ...
  6. Market Capitalization

    The total dollar market value of all of a company's outstanding shares. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying ...
Trading Center