Land Title Talk

INSURE YOUR HOME OWNERSHIP LIFESTYLE

No comments

Not everyone should own a home. No offense, but we need all types to make the world go round—we need homeowners, and we need landlords and tenants. Not everyone is suited for the stability of home ownership, and thankfully in America, we have the freedom of diversity.

In the United States we can enjoy different lifestyles, some of which aren’t compatible with a permanent living situation. Home ownership requires a certain lifestyle with certain sacrifices. What do I have to give up for a beach house? Renting a place to live may be a temporary situation, or it can be a way of life.

However, if you can afford a home, insure your title to it. If you are able to put your hard-earned money into a home, pay the one-time for an owner’s title insurance policy, which insures your rightful entitlement to the property. Just because you got a survey and a title search and did everything right doesn’t mean that someone else didn’t do something wrong.

If home ownership is the lifestyle for you, insure that lifestyle with title insurance, to protect yourself financially from the legal expense of a challenge to your ownership. Remember, it’s expensive to be right.

Land Title of AmericaINSURE YOUR HOME OWNERSHIP LIFESTYLE
read more

WHY DO YOU NEED A TITLE COMPANY?

No comments

At Land Title of America, Inc., we’re not just an air-conditioned office full of friendly faces.  We’re here to help—in the immediate sense when you have a real estate closing, AND if there’s a problem.  If someone questions the real estate title to your home, you can walk in our front door and receive assistance in defense of your ownership rights.  Our services breakdown into three parts:

  1. Real Estate Closings – Yes, one function of a title company is to conduct real estate transactions. It’s a process, and it starts with a title search. We examine public records to make sure the chain of ownership is strong.  If we find a weakness, then we assist the seller in addressing that weakness.  We’re also watching the clock and the punch list to make sure surveys are done, inspections are made, and the money is in place.  We make sure funds are distributed correctly and documents are recorded into public record.  We want all parties involved to walk away from the closing table satisfied that their deal has been done as specified in the real estate contract.
  2. Title Insurance – Title companies sell title insurance. Though title insurance is not required by law, it’s normally a contractual obligation, and a real good idea.  Furthermore it’s a real good deal at a low cost that gives you a lot of financial protection on your real estate investment.  While title companies research every detail to minimize risk to the new owner, they also offer (at a one-time, low cost fee) an insurance policy that financially protects that owner from claims against his or her ownership.  The title search is an analysis of the situation, but it’s no guarantee; title insurance is the financial protection in case the title search doesn’t catch something.  Title insurance provides and pays for the legal defense of your real estate ownership should somebody challenge your rights to the property.
  3. If There’s A Problem With Your Real Estate Title – If someone questions your ownership to your home, you’re going to want a title company that can help you stand up for your rights by providing legal representation and paying for it.

It’s a bad day when a customer walks through our door because someone has filed a lawsuit against them, claiming ownership to their home.  But it’s good when we can be a big part of the resolution by putting that title insurance policy to work.  That’s what a title company like Land Title of America, Inc. is there to do.

Land Title of AmericaWHY DO YOU NEED A TITLE COMPANY?
read more

LAND TITLE CELEBRATES 20 YEARS IN BUSINESS

No comments

Land Title of America, Inc. celebrates two decades of business in St. Augustine in 2017.  The best part, according to company president, Stephen Collins, is the homeowners they have helped in that time.  Since 1997, Land Title has performed title searches, assisted in real estate transactions, and offered title insurance to protect homeowners from financial loss due to a challenge against their real estate ownership.

In 1997, the first Harry Potter book came out, the stock market hit record highs, and Stephen Collins opened Land Title of America, Inc. in St. Augustine, Florida.  He credits his aunt and uncle, John and Faye Gullett, who financed his venture, and Robert Mooney who granted him an agency agreement through Fidelity National Title Insurance Company.  These people provided him with the infrastructure to make his company a reality.

Stephen Collins was no stranger to the title industry, having grown up in the family business, Collins Title & Abstract Co., Inc., which had served Northeast Florida since 1979.  Stephen remembers being a human fax machine:  biking documents from one office to another starting when he was in middle school.  Raised with a foundation of family values hand in hand with solid business practices, Stephen carried the tradition forward to meet the challenges of today’s real estate market.

“On the one hand, I can’t believe it’s been twenty years,” says president and owner, Stephen Collins, “but on the other hand, so much has changed.”

Twenty years is a major milestone given the real estate market over the past two decades.  Land Title opened when the Dow Jones and New York Stock Exchange hit record highs and real estate was booming too, but then the subprime mortgage crisis began in 2007, which led to the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.  Land Title not only had to shift its focus within the market, it also had to adjust how it did business according to the new regulations.

Flexibility and creativity became keys to survival and success.  Stephen Collins expanded the company’s online presence with social media and a new website (www.GoLandTitle.com/).  Also he and his brother, Rusty, began to host the bi-monthly radio show, “Land Title Talk” on 102.1 FM WFOY (first and third Fridays at 8:00 a.m.)  The on-air discussions keep the public informed about real estate and legal issues affecting our area, and helps Stephen to know the concerns of homeowners living here.

Probably the most creative business strategy was the music marketing.  In 2011 the Collins brothers started a band called Old Enough-2-Know Better (OE-2-KB), which gave Stephen another way to reach out to customers and potential customers.  Now OE-2-KB performs every third Wednesday at Gypsy Cab’s Corner Bar, and every third Friday at the Orioles Nest #324, plus special events, like the Blue Crab Festival and St. Augustine Beach Blast (www.oe-2-kb.com).

Over the last twenty years, Land Title of America has played an important role to solidify property value in Northeast Florida.  Their commitment to customer satisfaction and their dedication to homeowner rights remain unchanged into their future.  You may contact Land Title at (904) 797-9600 or visit their website at www.GoLandTitle.com.

Land Title of AmericaLAND TITLE CELEBRATES 20 YEARS IN BUSINESS
read more

THE BIRDS & THE BEES OF TITLE CLAIMS

No comments

Where do Title Claims come from? Do they fly in from outer space? Does the man on the moon make them? Does the stork bring them?

Nobody really knows where title claims come from-just kidding. They come from the person suing you because they feel they have rights that you’re infringing upon. The issue is you don’t know they’re coming.

Often the birds and the bees of title claims are human error-honest mistakes made at the courthouse, or an omission in public records. Sometimes there’s a disgruntled heir who comes forward after being written out of the will of a previous owner, or a disgruntled step-son who feels in the divorce mom didn’t get what was hers. And every now and then there’s a case of fraud or forgery. Many title claims come from a simple property line dispute-not the whole parcel, but a matter of a few feet. Regardless of where title claims come from, you never know if one’s going to land on you.

Title Insurance is like a nest egg. For a nominal one-time feem you can buy Title Insurance at closing, then no matter where a title claim come from, you have that policy to pay for the legal defense of your property ownership rights.

Legal costs to defend real estate ownership rights are a beehive of expenses, but if you have the nest egg of Title Insurance, you can crack the yolk over the sting of legal fees.

Next Blog Topic: “How Babies Are Made” – just kidding!

Land Title of AmericaTHE BIRDS & THE BEES OF TITLE CLAIMS
read more

BIG BROTHER

No comments

When I testify in court for Rusty, he asks me my name, if we’re related, and how we’re related. I always say that Rusty is my big brother…because he is.

I recently testified at one of Rusty’s foreclosure hearings and I was surprised how many people don’t understand a Truth In Lending form, including the opposing counsel who represented the lender-he didn’t understand anything about the Truth In Lending form. It was very humbling to realize when I’m in a closing room with a customer how important my role is to make sure that buyer understands what Truth In Lending means and all the other closing documents.

The Truth-In-Lending Act (TILA) is a federal law that requires disclosure of a truth-in-lending statement for consumer credit. The statement includes a summary of the total cost of credit, such as the annual percentage rate (APR) and other specifics of the credit.

For people buying real estate, they rely on my expertise and knowledge to explain the deal they’re signing and make sure they know what they’re getting into. Rusty is my big brother, but sometimes I get to be the “big brother” for other people.

Land Title of AmericaBIG BROTHER
read more

“AMBIGUILTY” ATTORNEYS

No comments

The Washington Post published a list of useful words you won’t find in the dictionary, including:

Cashtration” (cash-tray-shun) – the act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent
Reintarnation” (re-in-tar-nay-shun) – coming back to life as a hillbilly
Dopeler effect” (dope-lur) – tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly

I’ve got a word to add to the list: “Ambiguilty” (am-bi-gil-tee) – the state of being at fault for filing a totally bogus title claim against a rightful property owner. This is a term that applies to attorneys.

Real estate could be unfamiliar territory, but that doesn’t stop some attorneys who think they’re jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none from trying to knock down your door with a ridiculous challenge to your ownership.

Regardless of how bogus that claim is, the homeowner is responsible to defend himself in a court of law. And that’s costly. Have you priced a legal defense lately? Have you taken out a second mortgage lately?

Some attorneys are ambiguilty of imaginary title clouds that could cost the homeowner big bucks. The attorneys don’t know any better so they file a claim that they’re not going to win because they don’t know any better- a circular situation that can leave you spinning.

Don’t let lawyers charge you out of house and home when a title insurance policy provides a legal defense for your ownership rights (or pays out the policy amount if needed). Protect yourself from ambiguilty attorneys-get title insurance.

Land Title of America“AMBIGUILTY” ATTORNEYS
read more

ALL FOR THE BEST

No comments

Some men are born to live at ease, doing what they please, richer than the bees are in honey… the rest of us have to work for a living!

Buying a home is for many of us the largest purchase we’ll ever make. It takes a lot of hard work to afford to live where we live, but we get the benefit of shelter-a place to gather, a place to rest and play, and a safe place to raise our children. A home is a very costly part of our lives, and a very beneficial part.

Hard earned homes can be compromised if a title claim is made against the property. Even if that claim is illegitimate, the homeowner has to defend his title in a court of law. Litigation expense can exceed the property value, making a legal defense cost prohibitive.

However, title insurance can help a homeowner protect his purchase. At a fraction of the cost to hire an attorney, a title insurance policy pays court costs to defend the homeowner’s ownership.

Protect your purchase with title insurance, then all is not lost in the event of a claim or challenge. A title insurance policy is something I hope you’ll never use, but if you need it, it is all for the best.

Land Title of AmericaALL FOR THE BEST
read more

“IF ANY”- QUIT CLAIM DEEDS

No comments

With a Warranty Deed, the grantor fully warrants the title to the said land, and will defend the same against lawful claims of all persons whomsoever. You don’t get that with a Quit Claim Deed.

When someone deeds interest in a property via Quit Claim, he conveys or gives all interest he has IF ANY

. What if he doesn’t have any interest in that property? A Quit Claim Deed provides no warranties. DON’T DO IT.

Furthermore, because Quit Claim Deeds carry no warranties, they void title insurance policies. Yeah, so not only do you have no warranty on the deed, you also have no insurance to protect you from financial loss should someone challenge your ownership of the property.

A Quit Claim Deed is a great way to “clean up” title, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. It can also be a conduit for fraud, and you really don’t want to be on that end of the stick.

With very few exceptions, always get a WARRANTY DEED instead of a Quit Claim Deed.

Land Title of America“IF ANY”- QUIT CLAIM DEEDS
read more

CLOSE ONLY COUNTS IN HORSESHOES- NOT LAND SURVEYS

No comments

I lined up the shot- a three-pointer from the other side of my office, over my desk, aimed at the trashcan under the credenza. I angled my stance, checked the wind speed of the A/C draft, and released the paper wad from my hand…. It arced gracefully to clear my workstation and was on target to drop through the rim without touching. Then the air conditioning kicked on and knocked my perfect shot out of orbit. The paper wad quickly lost altitude and landed on the floor-I was so close! My staff did not applaud. Close only counts in horseshoes-not in basketball and certainly not in land survey.

A survey on a piece of real estate can’t be “close”. A survey defines the amount of land you pay for (or will be paid for) and is the basis of your living space-easements and set-backs.

Get a survey before you buy. Even if you are purchasing within a platted neighborhood where colorful flags “outline your lot”, get survey. It can mean the difference between where you put your jacuzzi and being in hot water.

The problem is, if you encroach on someone else’s property, not only do you decrease their lot, you also throw off the set-backs they’re required to have.

A swimming pool in the wrong place tends to water-down relations between neighbors. A poorly located drain field is even worse! When stuff like that hits the fan, amicable next door residents can become nasty neighbors in a hurry. No, “close” definitely doesn’t count in land surveys.

Get your survey when you purchase, and get title insurance to cover any in accuracy on the boundaries. There’s a lot at stake. Survey errors can happen, but if you have title insurance without a survey exception, you don’t have to pay to fix the mistake. Title insurance pays for the defense of your ownership and will pay for valid claims, such as an error on your survey. ( The ALTA 9 endorsement will probably be a good idea also.)

Be close in horseshoes, be close with your neighbors, but when it comes to putting up a fence, know where your boundaries are and follow them.

Land Title of AmericaCLOSE ONLY COUNTS IN HORSESHOES- NOT LAND SURVEYS
read more

BAD WORD: “QUIT CLAIM DEED”

No comments

I said a bad word on the radio- “Quit Claim Deed”. Don’t say that in front of your mother or write it on the bathroom wall!

When you convey a property using a Quit Claim Deed, you give all interest you have in that property IF ANY– but you may not have any interest. There are no warranties.

Let’s say Henry bought a nice home from a family member and paid cash. Because the transaction was among family, everybody decided to save cost and do the transfer without an attorney or title company. They’d heard from their friend that because there was no closing involved, it was a fast transfer of interest, it was a QUICK claim deed. (Please pay attention to the spelling- it’s a quit claim deed, not a quick or fast deed.)

DON’T DO IT. By using a Quit Claim Deed, the title insurance policy on the property was voided. Quit claim deeds are great for cleaning up title related issues, but not much more.

(Quit claim deeds can also be an easy way for someone to commit fraud.)

With few exceptions, always gat a WARRANTY DEED instead of a quit claim deed.

Land Title of AmericaBAD WORD: “QUIT CLAIM DEED”
read more