All posts tagged: Home Ownership

Congrats Habitat for Humanity of St. Johns!!

No comments

It took 486 Volunteers only 108 Days to make homeownership come true for a local family.  Congratulations to Habitat of Humanity of St. Johns for the completion of another home in St. Johns County!!

Habitat for Humanity of St. Johns has helped over 100 families realize homeownership in our county, allowing them to establish a stable home environment in which to learn and grow and share with each other.

Habitat for Humanity/St. Johns offers homeownership to St. Johns County residents based on need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with the program.  Qualified applicants put in 250 to 400 sweat equity hours on the construction of their home—it’s a hand up, not a hand out.  The home is then sold to the new homeowner with an affordable monthly mortgage payment.

It’s a great deal for a new homeowner, and a great deal for our community!!

Congratulations to Delores Washington on your new home, and congratulations to Habitat for Humanity/St. Johns for building hope.

If you would like to contribute or learn more about Habitat for Humanity St. Augustine/St. Johns, please visit their website at www.habitatstjohns.org or call (904) 826-3252.

Stephen CollinsCongrats Habitat for Humanity of St. Johns!!
read more

What You Don’t See Can Really Bug You

No comments

In June 2014, my band OE-2-KB (Old Enough-2-Know Better) had a gig along the St. Johns River.  It had rained all day, but Eddie said he had a thousand-foot tarp that we could put over everything.  So we started setting up and we were watching the radar…and wondering if that tarp could really cover all of our band equipment.

There were a few little blind mosquitoes around, but they didn’t bite, so no big deal.  We played our first set, took a break, and came back.  By then it was very obvious the atmosphere had changed—there were blind mosquitoes everywhere!!  At first I thought they were just around the lights, but they were everywhere!!  Still, they didn’t bite, so we started our second set.

It was like the plagues of Moses—the blind mosquitoes were in our mouths, in our ears, and all over the keyboards, the guitars, the drums.  I’ve never seen anything like it before.  My brother, Rusty, had pages of music stuck together with dead bug bodies.  We had been worried about the rain, but what we didn’t see coming that stopped the music.  The same can be true of real estate title claims.

Owner’s Title Insurance addresses not just the title problems you can see in public records, but also the hidden risk.  

Home ownership should be hassle-free.  You should be able to check the radar, have a big tarp handy to cover everything, but even so, challenges to your ownership can happen.

Most property disputes are something small—not a big claim like fraud or forgery on a deed, or someone trying to claim ownership of the entire property.  Usually it’s a matter of feet, an encroachment.  It’s the freak bizarre things, and you just don’t see them coming—that’s why you get title insurance.

Title Insurance provides an initial service when you pay for it—a title search—and provides a secondary service—legal representation and / or compensation of the policy amount—at no additional charge to you should the title come into question.   Title Insurance can’t always prevent an attack on home ownership rights, but it can shield the Homeowner from court costs in a legal defense of property title.

Title Insurance helps keep title claims from bugging you.

(If you’re looking for OE-2-KB, you can keep up with us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OE2KB or our band website at http://www.oe-2-kb.com.)

 

Stephen CollinsWhat You Don’t See Can Really Bug You
read more

Real Value of Owner’s Title Insurance in Florida

No comments

The misconception of Title Insurance is costing Florida homeowners dearly.  I would like to clarify the real value of Owner’s Title Insurance for all those impacted by the Florida real estate market, from the individual homeowner to the State economy.

When an Owner’s Title Insurance is purchased, primarily it is for the prevention of claims against home ownership.  When a company provides title insurance, a title search is part of the risk assessment done before issuing a policy.  The title insurance company’s objective is in lockstep with the consumer’s best interest:  to avoid questions or challenges of the homeowner’s title.  Thus in the examination of public records, the title company has a vested concern to find any and all complications to the ownership title.  We just do not say, as quoted in a famous movie, “This house is clean.”*   You saw how well that went—they should have gotten a policy as their house is being sucked into oblivion!  We put our money where our mouth is and insure it.

Though title insurance works mostly through prevention, it offers security via financial protection from the massive costs of litigation and other legal expenses should a problem, challenge, or complication to a Florida homeowner’s title arise.  No matter how much effort is put into this prevention, bad things still happen.  It’s expensive to be right when someone thinks you’re wrong.  Owner’s Title Insurance provides and pays for all costs associated with a title claim (whether through settlement, legal defense, and / or reimbursement of the policy amount to the homeowner if that defense does not prevail).

The cost of Owner’s Title Insurance is promulgated by the State of Florida, and the current rate has been the same for 20 years.  It is a nominal fee when compared to what litigation costs are.  Furthermore, Owner’s Title insurance is a one-time fee, typically paid at the closing of a real estate transaction.  Once it’s paid, it’s paid—no monthly premiums, no annual fees—no additional charge to the consumer, the homeowner.

With Owner’s Title Insurance, consumers pay a set amount for financial protection against the unknown cost of hidden risk to home ownership. 

Please refer to the numerous posts in my blog for examples of hidden risk to home ownership.  These issues are real and can be devastating to those who are not insured.

Homeowners need Owner’s Title Insurance now more than ever.  Title Insurance plays a vital role in Florida’s recovering housing market.  As a source of financial protection, Owner’s Title Insurance assures potential Florida buyers they can invest in real estate with stable value backing that investment.

Owner’s Title Insurance is good home economics.  It nurtures financial security for the homeowner, the State budget, and the Florida economy.  Owner’s Title Insurance adds real value to real estate rights, thus it benefits every Florida citizen.

*Poltergeist

 

Stephen CollinsReal Value of Owner’s Title Insurance in Florida
read more

Peace of Mind on a Piece of Property

No comments

Home ownership should be hassle-free.  Once you close on your house and get settled, you shouldn’t have to worry about who owns your home.  Doesn’t always work that way.

In our human world, errors occur…and sometimes omissions…or undisclosed heirs.  Sometimes a title company (not mine I hope!) misses a document in public records during a title search.  And every now and then, there’s a case of forgery.  Any of these things can put your home ownership in jeopardy.

Title Insurance can’t fix that.  What it can do is pay litigation costs should one of these events become an event in your life.

Home ownership comes with responsibility.  As a homeowner, you are responsible to defend your ownership.  Title Insurance gives you peace of mind knowing that if your ownership comes into question, the cost of legal defense (an attorney and all court fees) is paid for with your policy.

Home ownership is not hassle-free, but you can have financial peace of mind over a piece of property with Title Insurance.

Stephen CollinsPeace of Mind on a Piece of Property
read more

Property Loss Versus Financial Loss

No comments

If someone tries to claim ownership of your land, you could pay for a legal defense yourself, or you could just give them the land—forget the hassle or the dividend you’d make from selling the property. Land is valuable, sure, but it’s only money.

Not everyone feels that way. For most of us, property loss IS financial loss. If you were to lose your home in an ownership dispute, it could be financially devastating.

That’s a risk you don’t have to take. Title Insurance protects your financial interest in a piece of real estate. It pays valid claims and all litigation costs should someone challenge your ownership. Title Insurance covers legal expenses in the defense of your home, and it pays the amount insured should that defense fail. With Title Insurance, you may have property loss, but you won’t have financial loss.

Stephen CollinsProperty Loss Versus Financial Loss
read more

Hugeantic Repartment

No comments

“Hugeantic Repartment” is something I used to say as a kid. It means “Huge Apartment.” I’ve been spellbound most of my life (thank goodness for spell-check!) and I’m still making up words. I figure the English language is so messed up anyhow, isn’t that how most words came to be? You take Spanish, French, German and shake them up in a box and let ‘em go like Yahtzee dice—I’m just trying to do my part for the English language! Spelling and pronunciation errors are pretty easy to correct compared with real estate title problems. Title problems can hide then surface and cause financial “devastruction” (again, trying to do my part).

You can make one hundred percent on a spelling test. That means you spelled every word correctly, the grade goes on your report card and it’s not going to change. Real estate, on the other hand, can pass a title search—an inspection of public records—and still have problems.

A deed is the document that says you own your home or land. It comes in many different forms—it comes in the form of a Warranty Deed or a Quit Claim Deed—yuck—or Certificate of Title. It’s supposed to be unique—it has a legal description of the property and gets filed in public records to designate your ownership rights. Unfortunately, mistakes happen. Just like on a spelling test, you can have errors and omissions. Unlike a spelling test, those errors and omissions on a deed can fold into pockets of hidden risk, along with undisclosed heirs, a simple recording mistake, or even forgery.

A clear title search does not rule out possible ownership challenges. No problems found now doesn’t mean there won’t be a big risk later. What you can’t see can cost you unless you have title insurance.

On a spelling test, you’re liable for your own mistakes. In real estate ownership, you’re liable for everybody else’s mistakes who owned that property before you. Title insurance takes the risk of financial loss out of real estate ownership. Title insurance pays claims and litigation costs in the defense of ownership. You get an A Plus on your bank statement no matter what ownership challenges you face.

Stephen CollinsHugeantic Repartment
read more

You Might Still Lose

No comments

Homeownership comes with the responsibility to defend that ownership, even against hidden risk. It is not your fault someone at the courthouse didn’t record a deed, or that the previous owner forgot to include an estranged daughter in the will, but you are responsible to defend your ownership against these kinds of problems.

If someone challenges your ownership of your home, that person could be right. It sounds ridiculous, but yes, someone could have a valid claim to your property. Just because a rigorous title search didn’t reveal the estranged daughter of the previous owner doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a legitimate right to claim. Title insurance doesn’t prevent that kind of thing—it pays for it. Risk to ownership is inherent with real estate ownership itself.

Furthermore, title insurance doesn’t guarantee you’ll win in court. No one can do that, not even my brother, Rusty, even though he thinks so. If you have title insurance and the estranged daughter of the previous owner challenges you in a court of law, your title insurance will pay your legal fees—it pays for your attorney and all legal-related expenses of your case. The bottom line is you might still lose your house, in which case title insurance pays your legal expenses plus the amount of money you insured the house for.

Title insurance pays valid claims and legal fees to defend your ownership. The big advantage of title insurance is that it protects you from financial loss. Nobody wants to lose all their money and their home. Title insurance keeps your shirt on even if you lose your house.

Ownership challenges are not pretty and they can be difficult to deal with, but if you have title insurance, then you keep a bad situation from becoming a worst case scenario.

Stephen CollinsYou Might Still Lose
read more

Into the Woods

No comments

I went to college where I got a real education: MARRIAGE. I met my wife, Jennifer, at BYU-Idaho in a play called “Into the Woods,” a musical by Stephen Sondheim. She was Cinderella and I was Prince Charming. Our first kiss was a stage kiss. Our wedding was the start of many great things over the past 20 years, but happily ever after has had its challenges. Jennifer loved to dance, but lost that ability when she got MS. Our son, Sterling, was born with hypo plastic left ventricle and has had four open heart surgeries.

I’m a big believer in insurance. Certainly my family has benefitted from having health insurance—my wife, my son, I’ve had cancer, my brother had a heart attack. I’m grateful for the financial support we’ve had when we faced medical difficulties. I’ve also seen firsthand the benefit to having title insurance on a home or land. Title insurance protects you from financial devastation should you face a challenge to your ownership.

When you buy home or land, you step into the woods. Real estate ownership comes with responsibility and is surrounded by hidden risk. Despite a title search, you cannot avoid uncertainty. There could be errors and omissions, mistakes in examining records, forgery, or undisclosed heirs. There are many fallen trees in public records. If your deed is lost in the woods, it may be difficult to find in the forest of documents. You take on risk when you take on real estate ownership.

Home ownership comes with benefits as well, like shelter for you and your spouse and children. You can maximize your good fortune of ownership with title insurance to protect it. Beware of wicked stepmothers who try to get your property!

 

Stephen CollinsInto the Woods
read more

Vested Interest

No comments

I live here. Your loss is my loss when it comes to real estate. When it comes to title insurance, I have a vested interest beyond my business interest.

When one property in your neighborhood goes into foreclosure, what happens to your property? That’s right.  Your property value goes down.

You have a vested interest in title insurance too. When you buy a home or land, you have a financial interest in that property. You put money into it either through a cash purchase or through a mortgage. Even if you inherited a home or land, that property becomes part of your financial assets. Furthermore, you are liable to defend your ownership for every property you have, and that legal defense is going to draw on your financial resources, unless you have title insurance.

Yes, your home or land should be an asset in your financial profile; however, ownership also comes with liability and liability can be very expensive if you are not prepared for it—it can cost you your house.

Stephen CollinsVested Interest
read more

Money Pit

No comments

When you’re buying a home, what you don’t know can cost you.

There are great deals on the market right now, especially through REO’s (Real Estate Owned), also known as Bank Owned Properties. Bank Owned Properties are pieces of real estate that has been repossessed by the lender or bank. In many cases, you can pay a low purchase price for an amazing potential on an REO. The drawback is that the bank doesn’t know what’s wrong with the property. The bank doesn’t live there, so it doesn’t know if the place needs a roof replaced or if it just needs a new doormat. The bank can’t give you guarantees.

You can avoid buying a money pit with a home inspection. Get a home inspection before buying a home, especially an REO, that way you have an idea of what repairs will be needed, and you can consider those costs in your budget.

You can avoid owning a money pit with an owner’s title insurance policy. Purchase title insurance at the real estate closing, that way you can focus on fixing up your home without financial concern about somebody else trying to claim ownership after you’ve paid for it and spent money on repairs.

Title insurance gives you peace of mind about your legal rights to real property. It’s a one-time fee at closing that protects you for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property. It pays valid claims and covers the cost of a legal defense of your ownership.

As a buyer, you should be aware of how good a deal you’re getting by having a home inspection done ahead of time, then as an owner, protect that deal with an owner’s title insurance policy.

Stephen CollinsMoney Pit
read more