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TITLE FIRST CAN ASSIST YOU IN PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS WITH OUR FULL LINE OF MARKETING SOLUTIONS.

As a full-service title company, Title First believes in providing value-added services. Whether you’re a Realtor, lender, builder, law firm, buyer or seller, our helpful resources help you meet your goals.

Net-to-Seller:  This convenient tool helps you estimate your clients’ profit and presents it in a professional format that you can share.  Closing costs are calculated by adding up all various fees and charges a home seller pays when selling their home. For example, title insurance, home warranty, commissions, transfer tax, mortgage balance, prorated property taxes, mortgage balance and will also run various scenarios.

Full-Color Postcards, Imagery is powerful:  Stop working so hard. Title First has teamed up with PostcardBuilder.com to help you design, print, and mail your full-color, glossy, postcards. Choose from a variety of templates. Studies show that 56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy and are one of the best ways of exposure of your property and your business.

Property Profiles:  For your next listing, make a good impression on clients and prospective buyers with a bound presentation of property information.  Include some local market data that shows historic trends, how quickly homes are selling, or anything else that would be useful for the homeowner to understand how you will arrive at a price for their home. Explain  how the sales process works and how you will market their home in this presentation.

TitleFirstAgent Application:  Provide a higher level of service to your clients with a tool that enables you to give quick, easy estimates to any real estate financial questions. The app features net sheets, quick estimates, closing costs, prorated taxes and much more.  Watch the demo, here.

* Only available for Central Ohio

Listing Flyers:  Email us your MLS link, logo, and personal photo, and we will create a professional full-color info sheet for your listing.  This flyer, can help to sell your client’s home even when you aren’t there. Potential buyers will carry the flyer and all the information back to their home.

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Short Sale, Foreclosure and the Title to a Property

The most basic part of buying a new home is dealing with potential problems that may have been created by its previous owners. Short sales, foreclosures, bankruptcies and financial situations have added another element to the entire closing process that makes title insurance essential.  The title to a house is the document that proves that a person owns it.  Without that proof, the house can’t be sold or bought.

Title First Agency experts oversee and perform thousands of closings each year nationwide and ensure that all of the details of the title transfer and closing are in proper order. Unfortunately, at this time there are plenty of situations that could make problems with a title and complicate the process of buying the affected houses.  No matter why the house is being sold, its title problems must be cleaned up so they are not inherited by the buyer.

Short Sale: A short sale is when the lender agrees to let you sell your home for less than the outstanding mortgage debt. The proceeds from the sale pay off a portion of the mortgage balance and the lender releases the lien on the property. A title from a short sale is not always free and clear. A good Realtor will make sure to get a preliminary title search performed to determine the extent of outstanding legal obligations. If a home is bought without a clear title, the buyer could be responsible for the mechanic’s lien, which is a legal claim placed on a home to settle unpaid or partially paid contractor work,  any unsettled contractor liens, property-tax liens, IRS liens, homeowners’ association special assessment liens or even a second mortgage loan.

Foreclosure: Homeowners that can’t afford their home may decide to relinquish ownership and give the house to the bank that holds the mortgage. Mortgage foreclosures can cause a lot of issues with the chain of title. Sometimes, even though the owner loses their home, they may not actually lose the title to the property.  The property may have plenty of repair problems since financially distressed owners often let their properties fall into disrepair. From leaky basements, unpaid taxes,  to bills from homeowners’ associations to quarreling lenders – it can take some time to sort out who is owed what, how they will be paid, and when the title will finally be cleared. All buyers of foreclosed property need to protect themselves by making sure the title search shows that any previous mortgage was satisfied, canceled or otherwise released to avoid any future title problem.

The Bottom Line: There are dozens of potential barricades to clear title.  Buying or selling a home has become a complex transaction and you need a trusted title search company to guide you through the process. The experts at Title First oversee and perform thousands of closings each year. When using Title First, you can sign confidently on the dotted line knowing that all details of your title transfer and closing are in proper order. We are here to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home, and our team will guide you through the entire process.

 

 

 

 

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FSBO Is Not Easy – Call A Realtor

Ready to sell your home? Of course, you want to make as much money as you can from the sale and you might be thinking your best plan to accomplish that is selling your home yourself – FSBO –  to avoid paying a real estate agent, which is understandable. But, we offer you a few reasons why hiring a good Realtor is a better idea.

Marketing a home is not easy:  Listing your home online doesn’t take much effort. Anyone can do that, which is why you must make your stand out and be noticed. A Realtor will have avenues to get the word out to other agents who are working in your price range and neighborhood, an option you won’t have to sell your home on your own. The Realtor’s very own website, Facebook & Instagram account will attract prospects that you simply won’t have the access to.

Qualifying a buyer is not easy:  There is a big difference between pre-approved for a mortgage and pre-qualified. A skilled Realtor will be able to find out whether the person that wants to see your house is qualified or just curious. Having to prepare your home to show takes a lot of work and you surely don’t want to put your life on hold while you ready your house for show – just for a curious neighbor. Realtors are trained to ask qualifying questions to determine the seriousness, qualification, and motivation of a person calling to see your home.

Staying unemotional about your home is not easy:  Selling your home and preparing to move is never easy and always an emotional process. A good Realtor will be there to buffer any situations that might occur because you might be letting your emotions take over. Most buyers know that an FSBO home has been priced by the seller and is quite often overpriced because they can’t detach themselves emotionally from their home. Savvy shoppers realize that after a while, sellers who can’t sell their home will finally hire a Realtor and the home will be on the market at the right price.  If they have the time to wait? They do. If not? They move on to another home.

Being home during the showing is not easy: Or smart. Nothing makes the buyers more uncomfortable than having the seller present when looking at a home. With FSBO you will have to be there touring your home with the potential buyer. More times than not, the showing will be rushed and some of your best selling points will be overlooked.

Negotiating is not easy: Especially if it’s your own home that you love and have emotional ties to. Negotiating is a complex matter and all transactions are unique.   Skilled Realtors know the laws, the contracts, the comparable sales, the closed sales that the banks usually look at when they decide to lend the money for the purchase, and the appraisal. There are plenty of points to negotiate on before the actual sale takes place. Repairs to the house, lawn upkeep, and even additions can be negotiated in the contract that may ultimately affect the price but can be negotiated almost entirely outside of the price discussion.  For every negotiating point, there’s a tactic to handle it best.

The bottom line:  Working without an agent requires a huge investment of time, knowledge, and effort. Besides separating your emotions from the home you love and possibly raised your family in, you should know how to stage it to sell, market it, negotiate and be able to accept a negative response from potential buyers. You can try to do it alone to save money, but hiring an agent has many advantages.  Interview and find the best Realtor in the area. Expect that they will be able to get the most exposure for your home, help you negotiate a better deal, and dedicate more time to your sale.  The right Realtor will bring expertise to the transaction, financially and legally.with many financial and legal

 

 

 

 

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Title Search for Buyers and Sellers

Buying or selling a home has become a complex transaction and you need a trusted title search company to guide you through the process. The experts at Title First oversee and perform thousands of closings each year. When using Title First, you can sign confidently on the dotted line knowing that all details of your title transfer and closing are in proper order. We are here to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home, and our team will guide you through the entire process.

Title First will be responsible for ensuring that all the documents related to the ownership of a property are in order before the real estate transaction is performed. We will also provide an agent to oversee the entire closing process. Insurance will be furnished that protects the buyer and the lender if legal issues arise after the closing.

Once a home is bought, the buyer takes possession of the title for the property. Titles are at the local courthouses and the buyer does not own the property until his name appears on the title. There have been times when titles are not properly taken care of when a home changes hands, which means that if there are any liens on the property still have a claim on it. When this happens, the owner who did not sign off on the deed exchange still has a claim on the title.

Title First will perform searches on behalf of the property owner and the lender. We will review court records to guarantee that any liens on the property have been satisfied and that there are no outstanding claims. We also make sure that the seller that holds the title has the right to sell the property, and that it is has a clear title to close.

Title First will supervise over the loan closings and any other real estate transactions. We are then responsible for recording the title, mortgage and any other document related to the transaction at the local courthouse.

Title First will offer a title insurance policy that will provide coverage for property owners and buyers in the event of legal disputes related to the ownership of the property. However, these issues should not arise as all of the searches are done before the closing. But, there is always the occasion that something was overlooked that can threaten the interest of the owner or lender.

If you have a question or would like more information, please contact our title experts.  614-503-7434

 

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Real Estate Myths: Debunked

Are you ready to start looking for your first home?  Buying a home can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Your home will likely be the biggest investment you’ll make in your life, which can also make it your biggest risk.  Don’t fall for the following myths:

Myth: If you pre-qualify for a loan, you will be approved for a mortgage

Loan approval involves an underwriter analyzing hundreds of pages of documentation, as well as considering other factors like the home appraisal report. A pre-qualification letter, however, is based on a quick, preliminary analysis of your credit report. Getting the letter is a recommended early step to show you’re a serious buyer, but it doesn’t mean a loan approval is guaranteed.

Myth: You need 20% for a down payment

There’s an array of loan options that don’t require 20 percent down — in fact, this amount is rare in today’s home buying market. According to the National Association of Realtors, 60 percent of millennials are putting just 6 percent down on average.

Saving for a big down payment can be advantageous, but you don’t want to deplete your savings or risk coming up short on your mortgage payment. Instead, you should save as much as possible for unexpected expenses.

Myth: You don’t need a real estate agent

Realtors are so important to the home buying process. Real estate agents get a commission, but the home buyer does not pay their fee. It is paid by the seller and is built into the selling price. Every seller expects to pay a buyers agent commission. If you show up without one thinking you can get a 3% discount on the price you will quickly regret it. Realtors help you get the lowest purchase price with their expertise and using comparables. Real estate contracts are long and often hard to understand for the average person. There are many items such as home appraisals, inspections, opt-out clauses, etc. that you need to know about in depth in order to protect yourself.

Myth: You need a perfect credit score

Your credit score doesn’t have to be flawless for you to be able to find a mortgage that fits your budget. It surprises many when they talk to a lender and realize that they can still qualify, even with a lower credit score. To offset potential negative factors on your credit history, you may need to have a larger down payment or meet other qualifications, but you don’t need to have a “perfect credit score” to qualify.

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Ohio Disclosure Rules

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When selling your home, you are obligated to disclose problems that could affect the property’s value or desirability in Ohio. Sellers and their Realtors are required to document any known defects to potential buyers. Sellers also have to take a proactive role by making written disclosures about the condition of the property.  Disclosure of a problem doesn’t mean you must repair or correct it. A buyer has an interest in getting the deal closed as well and oftentimes will overlook minor issues. More times than not, the disclosed item can become a point of negotiation between you and your buyer.

The Residential Property Disclosure Form is designed so that prospective home buyers are aware of known problems with the property during your ownership for a period not to exceed the past five years. Once the buyers have this in their hands, they have the right to rescind the purchase contract if it is made before the closing, within 30 days of signing the purchase contract and within three days of receiving the form itself.

Not everything needs to be disclosed. Many problems are obvious – a water stain on the ceiling for example or a deck that is rotten and falling apart. As a seller, you don’t have to disclose it. You can’t conceal or prevent a buyer from investigating the problem. A defect that is open, observable and can be discovered through inspection and inquiry is called a patent defect. The buyer can be held responsible and liable for all defects that could have been discovered upon inspection.  The burden is on the buyer to notice these issues prior to purchase.

If there’s any doubt about whether something should be disclosed, the best policy is to err on the side of disclosure. Full disclosure will protect sellers from future legal claims.

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Do a Home Inspection Before Listing to Sell

Be ready for the buyer’s home inspection. Find out the exact condition of your home before you put it on the market to sell. The home inspection is often where the deal falls apart because buyers will make their offer contingent on approval of the results. Hidden defects or problems can turn the negotiating into the buyer’s favor. Even if you offer to fix a problem that arises on the buyer’s inspection report, skittish buyers may be hesitant to close the deal. Knowing before you list your home gives you the opportunity to fix the problem or price accordingly.

  • Buyers use items that need to be repaired on a home inspection to ask for a reduced price. The reductions are commonly based on estimates that are often inflated.  When you fix the repairs, you can call the contractor with the best price, saving you money in the long run.
  • Sellers can justify listing price through a pre-inspection. You can feel confident in the price you are asking with the results available to buyers. In a hot market, some buyers will make an offer on a home without the home inspection contingency.
  • According to Forbes, “…. pre-inspection is a goodwill gesture. It demonstrates a willingness to go beyond what’s expected, and that sets you apart from other sellers. You’re sending a signal that your house is an “open book,” and that you’re being upfront about the property. All of this can give potential buyers peace of mind and confidence.”

Once you have the pre-inspection report in your hand you can’t ignore any issues that came up. You’ll be required to disclose that information as a known defect or fix it before anyone makes an offer.  There may be some issues that you aren’t able to take on and it will be reflected in the price. You and your Realtor will be able to establish the right sale price including what you can or can not fix before putting your house on the market.

The bottom line: As a seller, getting a home inspection before listing your home gives you more time to make the repairs that you can and to shop around and control the costs for the work.  Be sure to hire an experienced Realtor that will know how to interpret inspection reports, and to let you know which issues are vital to address before listing your home.

 

 

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Quitclaim Deeds

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When a mortgage is in danger of becoming an unsustainable burden a homeowner’s finances,  they may sign a quitclaim deed that will transfer some ownership interest in their home to another party. Quitclaim deeds are most often used when a home is transferred between family members or to cure a defect on the title, such as a name that has been misspelled, or  when an owner gets married and wants to add a spouse’s name to the title, or when the owners divorce and one spouse’s name is removed from the title. Sometimes, they may be used to transfer ownership of a home from an individual to a sole proprietorship or corporation.

Common facts needed to understand a quitclaim deed:

  1. The quitclaim deed contains no warranties of title or ownership. If the grantor owns nothing, the grantee receives nothing.
  2. When purchasing a home, the buyer should receive a general warranty deed, not a quitclaim deed. Title insurance is favorable and often required by mortgage lenders.
  3. A real estate purchaser under a quitclaim deed is in many legal situations considered to be on notice that the title has defects.  It is recommended that an experienced professional undertake a title examination based upon a title search and render a title opinion prior to completing the purchase.
  4. If one has borrowed money under a real estate mortgage, a quitclaim or other deed to a third party does not release one’s liability for the mortgage debt. The lender may release a debt, but a borrower can’t avoid payment by unilaterally shifting that debt to a third person.
  5. Subsequent ownership by the grantor after the delivery of a quitclaim deed is not impacted or transferred by the quitclaim deed.
  6. Recording any deed in the public records at a local courthouse or recorder’s office, as determined by state law, only gives public notice of one’s claim of ownership. A deed does not guarantee actual title or ownership.
  7. If two or more individuals are co-owners of real estate, a quitclaim deed by one owner only transfers at best that one owner’s ownership rights. If the quitclaim deed requires the signature of all co-owners, the deed is invalid unless all co-owners have signed it and the deed is then delivered to the grantee. However, if the quitclaim deed allows one co-owner to sign it and claims to transfers the entire property to a grantee who takes physical possession of the property, then the deed may create an adverse possession ownership claim to the entire property.
  8. If one individual owns real estate and desires to add a co-owner such as a spouse, a quitclaim deed might be used. It’s in the best interest to contact an attorney before doing so, in order to curtail any taxation or inheritance issues.
  9. Call the best Title Insurance Agency because a title examination is necessary.
  10. There can’t be a reversal in a quitclaim unless the original owner proves that the quitclaim deed was signed under duress in a court.

As efficient as quitclaim deeds are in transferring real estate ownership from one person to another, they suffer from certain shortcomings that make them inappropriate for all but their intended purposes. Whereas they transfer title to a property, nothing more and nothing less, purchasers demand transfer assurances that quitclaim deeds can’t provide. They want warranties that guarantee “clear title” or lack of ownership encumbrances in the property. In such transactions, sellers transfer their real properties with general or special warranty deeds that offer those assurances to their buyers.

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Millennials and Real Estate

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The millennial generation has emerged as a dominant force in the housing market. They are looking for homes that are turnkey with very little work needed.  Forbes listed this group to be the top 10 real estate trends to watch out for in 2018. What are they looking for?

Green Home – Millennials want to do their part to conserve natural resources.  Recent studies have found that they are the most willing to pay extra for an energy efficient home. These homes will be designed to conserve energy, water, and gas and have the smallest impact on the environment. Features might include double hung windows, efficient air and heating systems, low-flow toilets, even bamboo flooring.

Tiny Home – Millennials prefer experiences over “things” and don’t want a lot of maintenance.  They are learning to live within their means and to pay off school loans by adapting to a pared-down lifestyle. Living a minimalistic lifestyle will reduce their carbon footprint, and lessen the amount of useless junk that so many other generations hold on to.

Three Bedroom Home – This and two bathrooms is the most preferred, and 1,000 square feet is the minimum. They want a home in the suburbs that will accommodate a family if they are married with thoughts of a future within a safe neighborhood and good schools. They want privacy, fenced smaller low maintenance yards and trees.

Investment Home – Millennials are looking for homes they can buy and rent out to generate income.  Flipping homes after renovating is another motivation. These homes may need repair but are in the best neighborhoods. They believe that investing in real estate is less risk, has tax benefits and has the potential for higher returns than the stock market.

Where are they buying homes? Past generations were taught to go where the jobs were regardless of the quality of life to be found in any given city. Millennials want to live in places they love, expecting employers will find them there.

How are they finding their homes? 91 percent use online resources to start the housing search, and 70 percent will then work with a traditional real estate agent.  Quality photos will be key to marketing a home.

Millennials are just starting to shape the housing market.  Their incomes will increase as they age and more change will come. The real estate industry needs to understand them, follow the trends, be innovative and proactive to convince them to buy a home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Title Insurance Company

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All homes on the market have a history and using the best title insurance company will aid you in the discovery of any title defects that are connected to the property that you want to buy by completing a title search. Problems that come up often are clerical (incorrect spellings, wrong address, inaccurate property description) or filing error in the public record that can include street & sewer assessments, judgments, and special taxes assessments.

Beyond human error, a good title company will be able to identify:

Unknown Liens:  Possible claims against the property, often the result of unpaid taxes or a judgment involving a creditor. This isn’t your responsibility to take care of – but can give you some leverage in the purchase of the home.  The best Realtor in your area will always do the due diligence for you.

Illegal Deeds: There is always the possibility that a prior deed was made by an undocumented immigrant or a minor that will affect the ownership of the home.

Missing Heirs: This can lead to a major problem for you, as a buyer. If the home was sold and there are family members that come along after the sale claiming and proving to be an heir to the home it could lead to an expensive problem for you.

Forgeries: Occasionally forged or fabricated documents that will affect property ownership are filed within public records, obscuring the rightful owner of the property.

Undiscovered Encumbrances:  Former mortgage liens or non-financial claims, such as restrictions or covenants limiting the use of your client’s property not surfaced at the time of purchase could result in a third party having a legitimate claim on the home.

Unknown Easements: Easements for driveways, roads, and sidewalks over a neighbor’s property, for example, are very common and can have a huge impact on the value of a property.

Having title insurance will provide you the protection from the above problems – some of which may not come to light until after closing.  There are many potential impediments to a clear title. Title problems can be the most expensive to fix, thus, when buying a home you want to make sure a search has been done and that you are protected going forward. The title insurance exists to protect you and your heirs against any losses resulting from future claims by a third party.

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