All posts tagged: property survey

WHAT’S CHEAPER, A SURVEY OR A JACKHAMMER?

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Jackhammers are not as easy as they look. (And if you thought it looks easy, you scare me a little bit.) SO why in the heck is a Land Title Blog talking about jackhammers? Why not? Aren’t you tired of hearing about title stuff? So I figure I’ll spend this paragraph and talk about jackhammers and the importance they have in everyone’s life. Nah, you’re not that lucky!

If you’re one of those highly intelligent souls who thinks they can just take a visual of their property lines and that’s good enough to save the cost of a survey, you might need a jackhammer. As comedian Bill Engvall says, “Here’s your sign!”

Jackhammers cost around $3,000 and a land survey is a fraction of that expense.

Don’t try this at home! Leave property disputes to the professionals. Use a Survey instead of a Jackhammer to settle property line disputes.

Land Title of AmericaWHAT’S CHEAPER, A SURVEY OR A JACKHAMMER?
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Please, Please, Please Get A Survey!!!

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I am not making this up, though I wish I were. Maybe by sharing this story I can prevent you from making the same mistake of not getting a survey when you purchase property. (Please note that certain aspects of the story have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.)

This is the tale of an older lady who thought she was getting a deal on a distressed property with a house. She paid $35,000 in cash and closed without a survey…because she didn’t need one because she was paying cash—you only need a survey if there’s a bank involved, right? She moved into the house and lived there for six months before she found out what she had actually paid for was the four acres of vacant land behind the house.

The house had been winterized, there was a sign out front, and the buyer lady was using a Realtor. The buyer paid cash for a Bank-Owned Property (or REO), and closed without a survey. The legal description of the contract used the abbreviated tax reference. The bank had winterized the wrong house, and six months after the buyer was in full possession, the couple from California who owned the house politely informed the lady that she was in her house.

The lady had purchased the four-acre piece of property behind the one acre up front where the house was. Now she’s going to have to pay another $64,900 for a home and land she thought she already owned. She didn’t have a clue. She had paid $35,000 for four acres of vacant land worth about $11,000—an expensive mistake! She just spent $29,900 to find out what a $300 survey could have told her. What she thought was a good deal turned out to be a nightmare all because she wanted to save $300 on a survey.

For the bank, “AS IS” is “Where Is.”

Please, please, please don’t make this mistake—GET A SURVEY!!! Without a survey, title insurance can’t cover you for this kind of error. Spend a few hundred dollars on a survey, even if it’s a cash deal—ESPECIALLY IF IT’S A CASH DEAL. Spend a few hundred dollars on a survey to save thousands of dollars in a mistake.

If you are paying cash, you need a survey more than ever because your cash is the money at risk.

Really this is Reason Number 2 to get title insurance (Remember: the Number 1 Reason is because it’s expensive to be innocent!). It shows up on my true story list of “1001 Reasons to Get Title Insurance” as Number 7.

Stephen CollinsPlease, Please, Please Get A Survey!!!
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True or False: Does Title Insurance Never Have to Pay?

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True or False: Is Title Insurance one of the kinds of insurances that never has to pay?

The answer is False

The job of a title insurance company is to look at the property, deal with title problems, and assess the risk. They try to minimize that risk with a thorough title search, a search of public records, looking for anyone else who might have ownership rights or interest in the property.

I have a story for every question. I’ve been in the business long enough that I can give you an example for every situation, often more than one, but I’ll limit myself to one here.

There was a lady who wanted a trust created, but she was mad at her family and wanted to give her house to the guy who had been so nice and had taken such good care of her. When she died, he got the house, and sure enough, her kids challenged his ownership. They sued him for what they felt was their rightful inheritance.

Even though the guy had gotten the house free and clear, he did not have the money to defend himself in a court of law against their claim. Fortunately he had gotten a title insurance policy on the house, and that policy paid his court cost. Completely.

Yes the title insurance company did pay out on the policy. It happens more often than you think.

Stephen CollinsTrue or False: Does Title Insurance Never Have to Pay?
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