Title Insurance Protection

Having title insurance from Title First Agency will protect you from the possibility of a claim to ownership of your home by someone. It’s hard to believe this can happen, but it is more common than people think. It’s not usually a plot to steal your home but a confusion with the deed. The laws regarding property ownership are complex and when liens come into play, someone may believe they still own a house that was technically taken over by a bank.

Title problems appear when parties want to be repaid loans and bills outstanding by the same property. There is a lender that made the first mortgage; the lender that opened the home equity line of credit; contractors whose unpaid bills resulted in liens on the property; taxing districts; and even homeowners’ associations all lining up to be repaid from the proceeds of the house, it’s easy to see how they might not agree on who gets paid what, and when.

Without a title search, the buyer buys all those problems along with the house. The problems don’t go away just because there is a new owner. There have been examples of homeowners having to sell the house just to pay the bills.

Title searches are required by all lenders to be sure that title problems are cleared up before a home is bought. It’s not for you. It’s for them. If the lender makes a mortgage with another that already has claims against it, that lender is going to lose that money.

The Bottom Line: The title is proof that a piece of property is legally owned. It’s an extremely important document. Without a clear title, you are taking a tremendous gamble in purchasing a house or other property. The experts at Title First Agency oversee and perform thousands of closings each year. When using Title First, you can sign confidently on the dotted line knowing that all the 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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Title Insurance on New Construction Home

Most people know how important it is to have title insurance when buying a new home. The buyer needs to have protection against defects or problems because of liens, encumbrances or defects in the title when there is a transfer of property ownership.  But, what if the home being sold is new construction since there isn’t an actual previous home that has a title? 

When a home is sold, the original seller transfers the title deed to the buyer. The hope is that the seller has had full possession of the title without any liens on the property and has the right to sell it. A title company will research public records looking for problems that might be associated with the property – filing errors, forgeries, undisclosed heirs – and once searhed will provide a poliy to protect the buyer from an issues that may be uncovered later.

All of the above makes sense if a home that is being bought has been owned by someone else. What happens when a buyer is purchasing the land to build a new house on? Why would title insurance be needed? Because the land was owned and may have been broken up from an even larger parcel that has undiscovered claims. The title to that land may come into dispute in years to come. Most land is not completely claim-free, thus there is history. Furthermore, the builder may have bills unpaid to subcontractors and suppliers resulting in a lien on the new home. 

A title policy is the best and safest way in protecting the buyer of the land that the new home is being built on.  There will be no question of ownership in the future, especially if the home in the new subdivision was not properly subdivided. 

The Bottom Line: The lender will want to be sure that there is a clear title on the property.  Someone owned the land on which the new home is being built before the buyer and the title to that land may at some point come into dispute. And, while there is no question the owners could experience disruption during a dispute, the title insurance will ease the pain by covering the bills during the process. 

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Title Agency at Closing

Homeowners oftentimes have more than one mortgage on their property. Once sold, the mortgage has to be released so the buyer gets a clear title.

A mortgage is a debt secured by the collateral of specified real estate property, that the borrower is obliged to pay back with a predetermined set of payments. Mortgages are used by individuals and businesses to make large real estate purchases without paying the entire value of the purchase up front. To sell a house with a mortgage, the loan needs to be paid off the same day of the closing.

There is a lot going on at the closing of a property. Title First Agency plays a crucial role in the process of closing and protecting the seller from any unforeseen legal issues.  Title First Agency can assist with the loan transactions and handle the money between the buyer and seller. One of our agents will receive the money from the buyer, pay off the existing mortgage, remove the lien on the title and transfer the title to the new owner. We will be able to provide the agent with the mortgage payoff amount and account number before closing.

If there is money left over once the mortgage is paid, the seller could receive it within days, if not immediately at closing – each state is different.  Title First Agency, as the closing agent, will coordinate the activity and documentation from a variety of participants, pulling each piece of the transaction together.

Title First will finalize the deposits, wire transfers, and checks. After the closing, we will record the deed and the mortgage at the courthouse and prepare the owner’s and lender’s title policies. 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.  Call us today: 614-808-2062

 

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Quick Advice For Home Buyers

Do you have plans to buy a home soon? Be sure you are armed with the best Realtor in your area. If you aren’t paying cash for your new home and will be getting a mortgage, you will want to follow some quick advice.

Don’t damage your debt to income ratio by making a major purchase before closing. If for some reason you can not wait to by a new car, you might have to wait on owning a home. The bank could easily determine that car payment would hinder your ability to pay your mortgage. Wait until after you get the house to do some spending.

Don’t change jobs.  The lenders like to see consistency versus constant job hopping. From their perspective, your employment and income are paramount to your ability to make your payments.  Generally, there are three different characteristics of your employment and income that are considered – the amount, the history and the stability. Many lenders will do a final check to verify that your employment and income hasn’t changed since your final loan approval was issued. Further, some lenders will require 30 days of paycheck stubs for new employment. If you can’t provide these stubs, it could delay your mortgage approval. Worse, it could result in your mortgage application being declined.

As a home buyer, never surrender your earnest money to a For Sale by Owner Seller. There isn’t anything stopping the sellers from spending the money before the transaction goes through. If the deal should fall through you’ll have to fight to get the deposit back. It should be put into a trust account. Find an attorney willing to hold the deposit for you until the transaction is finalized. Your contract needs to state what will happen to the deposit in the event that the transaction falls through.

Stay practical and realistic during the home buying process. Don’t let your emotions get in the way.  Occasionally, sellers are willing to fix some of the problems with the home and others may not be as willing. Don’t let that refusal close the door on your dream home. Conversely, you shouldn’t let your loyalty to the home blind you to costly repairs down the road. You certainly don’t want to be in a money pit.

Talk to your insurance company right away.  Failing to line up the insurance will lead to delays in closing.  Your lender will more than likely require that you purchase at least some homeowners insurance before settling on your mortgage. In most cases, you’ll be asked to provide proof that you’ve prepaid one year’s worth of coverage before the lender will consider closing.

If the appraisal comes in too low, don’t panic. There are several solutions to this dilemma.  Your emotions may be running high and making a good decision can be difficult. A skilled Realtor will be an invaluable asset at this point and be able to guide you through.  It’s their job to keep up with the details, daily, of your deal and if the seller won’t come down in price, as painful as it may be, you may have to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario – walking away.

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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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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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Title Insurance and Liens

Home buyers

When putting in an offer on a home for sale and then applying for a loan, the best thing to do is to let a title company do a property title search to make sure there aren’t any bad liens on or against the property.

A lien is a notice attached to a property that lets people know that a creditor claims money is owed.  A lien is typically a public record. It is generally filed with a county records office or with a state agency, such as the secretary of state. Liens on real estate are a common way for creditors to collect what they are owed. More importantly, a lien means that the home could be foreclosed on and taken by the lien holder.   Again, a title search can say whether or not there is a lien levied against the property.

Examples of bad liens on a property:

  • Mortgage – the current homeowner’s lender can foreclose on the property if payments are not made every month.
  • Property Tax – placed on a home loan when property taxes are not paid and take priority over a mortgage lien.
  • Judgment – a judge has placed a lien on the property after a creditor has successfully sued the current homeowner.
  • Child Support – if child support has not been paid by the current owner the lien is placed.
  • IRS -secures the government’s interest in the property when the tax debt is not paid.

A lien on a home is a legal claim against the property. It gives creditors a stake in the home and a way to collect debts owed to them.  When getting a mortgage on a property, the lender will require a  purchase of a lender’s title insurance policy, which protects their interests in the property should there ever be a dispute in the title.   A policy of title insurance insures against defects in or liens or encumbrances on a party’s title to the property.

As a title company, much of our work can be done behind the scenes. The buyer may not even be aware that there may have been any title defects existing at all. They were simply taken care of before the closing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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