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. Title Insurance

    Insurance that covers the loss of an interest in a property due ...
  3. Certificate Of Title

    A state or municipal-issued document that identifies the owner ...
  4. Chain Of Title

    The official record of ownership of a property or asset. The ...
  5. Abstract Of Title

    A brief history of the titles for a piece of land. The abstract ...
  6. Title Search

    An examination of public records to determine and confirm a property's ...
Related Articles
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Investing

    Holding Titles On Real Property

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

    Title Loans vs. Payday Loans: Which Are Better?

    Both title loans and payday loans carry risks that outweigh the benefits.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Investing

    7 Unusual Property Ownership Rules

    Unique real estate regulations from around the world.
  8. Managing Wealth

    Tips For Transferring A House Title

    Transferring a house title can be complicated at times. Here are some guidelines to help you get through the process.
  9. Personal Finance

    8 Top Alternatives to Car Title Loans

    Before you sign up for a car title loan, investigate these 8 alternate strategies.
  10. Trading

    Car Title Loans: Good Option For Fast Cash?

    These loans provide fast cash, but they could leave you deeper in debt - and without a car.
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. Agency Theory

    A supposition that explains the relationship between principals and agents in business. Agency theory is concerned with resolving ...
  2. Treasury Bill - T-Bill

    A short-term debt obligation backed by the U.S. government with a maturity of less than one year. T-bills are sold in denominations ...
  3. Index

    A statistical measure of change in an economy or a securities market. In the case of financial markets, an index is a hypothetical ...
  4. Return on Market Value of Equity - ROME

    Return on market value of equity (ROME) is a comparative measure typically used by analysts to identify companies that generate ...
  5. Majority Shareholder

    A person or entity that owns more than 50% of a company's outstanding shares. The majority shareholder is often the founder ...
  6. Competitive Advantage

    An advantage that a firm has over its competitors, allowing it to generate greater sales or margins and/or retain more customers ...
Trading Center