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What Is ALTA?

The American Land Title Association (ALTA), founded in 1907, is the national trade association and voice of the abstract* and title insurance industry. ALTA members search, review and insure land titles to protect home buyers and mortgage lenders who invest in real estate. ALTA is headquartered in Washington, DC.

Members of the association are in business in most counties across the nation. Nearly all title insurance companies hold ALTA membership, in addition to abstracters* and title agents. Nearly 4,000 title agents, abstracters, and title insurance companies are Active members, ranging from small, one-county operations, to large national title insurers. Associate members of ALTA may include attorneys, builders, developers, lenders, real estate brokers, surveyors, consultants, educational institutions, computer services firms, and related national trade associations.

Protecting Homebuyers

ALTA members advocate safe and efficient transfer of real estate and insist on high standards when searching land title records and preparing insurance documents. The industry seeks to eliminate risk before insuring, which provides the insured with the best possible chance of avoiding land title problems. But, title difficulties can and do occur, and members offer both Owner's and Lender's title insurance policies as effective safeguards.

Professionals in the real estate market, as well as the homebuying public, benefit considerably from the commitment to excellence that is routine in the work of ALTA members. Involvement by a title company is often thought of as the catalyst that allows a real estate closing to proceed smoothly until completed.

Consumers are encouraged to shop for a title company (also called settlement company or attorney in some areas) to conduct the closing and issue you an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance.

About This Site

Home Closing 101 is part of a national education campaign launched by the American Land Title Association to provide home buyers with the information they need to successfully navigate the closing process.


*NOTE: an abstracter is the person who prepares a summary (or abstract) of public records relating to title to a specific parcel of land.

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An educational initiative of the American Land Title Association