From the News Archives

Monthly Archives: April 2019

If You Think You Don’t Need Owner’s Title Insurance, Think Again.

We get it. At closing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with what seems like a tidal wave of mandatory fees and surcharges. It may even lead you to consider rejecting what you see as “optional” closing costs. However, if you’re thinking about passing on getting an owner’s policy here are a few things to consider.

If you’re purchasing your home with a mortgage, the lender will require the purchase of a lender’s title insurance policy, which protects the amount they lend. It’s important to note that a lender’s policy only protects the lender. Owner’s title insurance provides protection to the homeowner if someone sues and says they have a claim against the home from before the homeowner purchased it. Without an owner’s policy, the substantial investment the buyer is making in the property may still be at risk.

How could this happen, you ask? Well let’s consider the case of Ryan Manning. Ryan was an excited first-time home buyer who bought a home with a deck, shed and big, fenced-in backyard. Or so he thought.

Two years after he bought the property, someone came to his door and informed him that the land his home sat on was one legal parcel of land while his backyard was on another. It turns out the two pieces of land were sold as one when purchased by a couple in 1989.
After the husband died, the wife sold the property, but only the lot with the house was transferred to the new buyer. She subsequently discovered the backyard lot had not been transferred, so she gave it to the new owner. He was the one who was now offering to sell it to Ryan.

Ryan was dumbstruck. He went to the real estate agency who handled the sale. The real estate agency referred Ryan to their lawyers, who told Ryan to take it up with the title insurance company. That’s when the title insurance company informed Ryan that the policy covered the lender, not him. This is where your blood should run cold. This is the type of financially crippling situation that can impact you and your family for the rest of your days.

The good news is you can avoid what happened to Ryan by purchasing an owner’s policy, which will protect you from a wide range of problems that may arise. This includes tax liens, deed errors or omissions, forgery of deed documents, fraud and mistakes in the public record. It also covers you if any previous owners’ unknown heirs show up to make a claim on the property.

So before you skip out on the owner’s policy to save a few bucks, remember what happened to Ryan. Buy an owner’s policy and protect your home, your family and your future.

Thinking About Using Zillow to Sell Your Home? Read This First.

Selling your home and thinking about trying to save some money by not hiring a Realtor? You might want to think again.

Most of us have tried to tackle that pesky plumbing problem, car repair, or remodel only to discover we should have hired a professional. Unforeseen variables made the project take longer, cost more and result in a less than optimal result. Professionals possess the experience and knowledge that prepares them for every step and possible challenge in a job. If a problem arises, that experience allows them to solve it and deliver positive outcomes.

Websites like Zillow offer a “one-stop shop” for home selling and make it tempting for sellers to think they can forgo partnering with a Realtor to sell their home. Taking this approach will actually cost you time and money in the end. Realtors have had extensive training, know the process, pitfalls, and opportunities of real estate transactions, and have access to tools for marketing that the average home seller does not possess.

Here are three examples of ways a Realtor would have a tremendous advantage over a web app:

Setting the Price

Setting the right price for a home is both an art and a science. Proper pricing is finding the sweet spot between too much where you can turn away potential buyers and too little where you lose out on money. A Realtor can access comprehensive market information and is acutely aware of local developments which can affect the price of a property. It’s not enough to base your price off online assessment tools or how much local properties are selling for. You need the advice of a trained professional.

Attracting Qualified Buyers

You aren’t going to sell a home or property if no one knows about it. Realtors have a myriad of marketing tools to get your listing in front of potential buyers in a cost-effective way, including the ability to list on multiple listing service (MLS) which shares your listing with thousands of buyers and professionals regionally and nationally. A person trying to sell a home or property for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) doesn’t have the access to these tools and is left trying to figure out how to promote their listing them self. This can be a costly process with little to no result.

Closing the Deal

A Realtor will also help with price negotiation and paperwork. A homeowner can bring emotional attachment to the negotiation, which could result in losing the sale. A home seller without the proper information could also undervalue their home, losing out on potential money. A FSBO seller can also get into a lot of trouble with the closing and paperwork if they are not familiar with the process. A mistake here can lead to a missed sale land even possible legal trouble.

Selling property without using a Realtor is possible, but it will be up to you to set a price, do all the marketing, invest in staging, set up and be available for appointments, and fill out all the paperwork. Failing to do any of these steps adequately can lead to undervaluing, overspending, missed opportunities, time strain, or even legal problems — which is why sometimes it is best to just hire a professional.