Maine Real Estate Practices

Attorney Involvement

Please describe any requirements under applicable state law for attorney, abstractor or other special professional involvement, for example, in the search, examination, opinion of title, signing, closing, disbursement, recording, preparation of documents, and/or policy-issuance.

No state law requirements.

Cancellation/Commitment Fee

Does your state permit or require a cancellation fee or commitment fee upon cancellation?

Not required, but such a rate could be filed.

Certificate of Release (of Mortgage)

If anyone other than the lender (such as a title agent, settlement agent, underwriter or attorney) has the authority to release the security instrument, please describe.

If a lender fails to release a mortgage after receiving payment, an attorney licensed to practice in Maine may release said mortgage by way of affidavit pursuant to 33 M.R.S.A. 553-A.


Please describe the kinds of deeds that are customary for commercial and residential transactions.  Please describe the kinds of deeds that are generally not insurable.

Commercial and residential properties are commonly conveyed via quitclaim deed or warranty deed.  Insurability would be questionable in conveyances using any form of release deed or a quitclaim deed without covenant.  By using such deeds, the grantor is making no representations whatsoever regarding the condition of the title.

Good Funds Requirements

Is there a good funds requirement in your state?

Yes, Chapter 145 Subchapter 1- A Fund Settlement Act; Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 524; 522(1), (3), (6); 523; 525;526; 527 (9-4-19)

Joinder of Spouses

If a non-title holding spouse is required to join in the execution of a deed or a security instrument, please describe.  Any analogous rights, such as those in a civil union or equivalent, should also be addressed. 

In the absence of recorded evidence of a divorce proceeding, real estate may be mortgaged or conveyed free of any claims of the non-owner spouse.  Maine does not recognize civil unions or same-sex marriages.

Mortgage Tax

Is there a mortgage tax in your state?  If yes, is it uniform across the state or does it vary?  If it is uniform, please describe.  


Payment Customs

Who customarily pays for:

(a) Owner’s Policy?
(b) Transfer Tax & Recording Fee?
(c) Survey Charges?
(d) Closing/Settlement Fees?

(a)    Buyer.
(b)   Transfer tax is paid one-half by the buyer and one-half by the seller.  Recording fees are paid by the buyer.
(c)    Buyer.
(d)   Buyer.

Policy Countersignatures

Please describe any statutory or regulatory requirements for countersignatures in order to issue the policy (for example, residency requirements).

Commitments/policies must be countersigned by a licensed title insurance producer.

Real Estate Taxes

Please describe the general tax year, due dates, and delinquency dates, including lien dates and payment cycle.

Please consult a local underwriter for information relating to real estate taxes on the subject property.  General provisions related to real property taxes commence at 36 M.R.S.A. 501.  Provisions relating to delinquency and liens commence at 36 M.R.S.A. 891. 

Search and Examination Fees

Is it permissible and/or customary to charge a separate search and/or examination fee, and under what circumstances?  If your jurisdiction is all-inclusive, please state that.

A separate search and examination fee is customary.  Search and examination is a single fee.

Search Requirements

Is there a minimum period of time for a title search required: (a) by state law, (b) pursuant to marketable record title acts, or (c) by any other applicable title examination standards (e.g., state bar association)?  Please respond to each category.  If a minimum search period exists for any category, please state it.

(A)  No.
(B)  No.
(C)  The Maine State Bar Association Standards of Title require a minimum period of search of 40 years, based upon a warranty deed.  A longer period of search may be required depending upon the starting point.

Security Instruments (Deed of Trust vs. Mortgage)

Please describe the customary and permissible form(s) of security instruments used in your state. 

Who can be listed as the trustee on the Deed of Trust (e.g., residency and/or natural person requirements, etc.)? Can an underwriter or title agent be designated as the trustee, and, if so, is it customary?

The customary form of security instrument is a mortgage.

Standard Exceptions and Requirements

Please identify the standard exceptions and requirements that are customarily used in your state.

Standard exceptions:

1.         Rights or claims of parties in possession not shown by the Public Records.
2.         Easements, or claims of easements, not shown by the Public Records.
3.         Encroachments, overlaps, boundary line disputes, or other matters which would be disclosed by an accurate survey and inspection of the premises.
4.         Any lien, or right to a lien, for services, labor, or material heretofore or hereafter furnished, imposed by law and not shown by the Public Records.
5.         Rights of the public and others in and to all streets, roads and ways that are adjacent to the Land.
6.         Liens for all real estate taxes and assessments for the year {{Tax-Fiscal-Year}}and all subsequent years, which are not yet due and payable.

State-specific Policy Variations

If there are state-specific changes to the provisions in the ALTA policies (e.g., Arbitration, Minerals), please describe.


Title Insurance Form and Filing Regulations

Please describe the form and/or rate filing requirements, if any, related to policies and endorsements.  Please describe any applicable rating bureau. 

Forms and rates must be filed with the Department of Professional & Financial Regulation, Bureau of Insurance, through the SERFF (System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing) system.

Transfer Taxes

Is there a transfer tax in your state? If yes, is it uniform across the state or does it vary?  If it is uniform, please describe.

There is a uniform transfer tax rate of $2.20 for each $500.00 of the value of the property.  One-half is paid by the grantor and one-half is paid by the grantee. 


Is usury coverage available?

The usury endorsement is available.  Maine does not have a statute limiting the amount of interest charged in real estate transactions.  The statutes governing mortgage lending are found in M.R.S.A. Title 9-A.

Withholding Taxes

What are your state’s requirements, if any, with regard to withholding proceeds from a sale, similar to but not including FIRPTA?

Every buyer must withhold a withholding tax of two and one-half percent of the consideration paid for the property.  The withholding must be transmitted to the state tax assessor within 30 days of the date of transfer of the property. See 36 M.R.S.A. 5250-A.

Witness Requirements

Are witnesses required on a deed or security instrument?  If so, please describe.

Deeds and mortgages need not be witnessed, but they must be acknowledged.