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Title Insurance Myths

Title Insurance. A History Lesson.

What The Beatles Should Know About St. George Short Sales

Well, what the Beatles should know about St. George short sales depends on which Beatles we’re talking about. Paul and Ringo are still alive, but they are rarely, if ever, seen in the Saint George, Utah area. And if Paul and Ringo should know about a St. George short sale, they’re either looking for a bargain or they simply love the beauty and climate of Washington County for the next of their many houses.

Whether those Beatles are interested in the real estate of Southern Utah is for me to know and for you to find out. (You wouldn’t want me to fall out of their graces for revealing secrets, would you?) Perhaps there are other Beatles who may wish to buy a house in St. George. Beatle-loving entomologists, who changed their name to Beatle or folks born with the surname Beatle are options to pursue a St. George short sale; and while ESPN broadcaster, Michelle Beadles, may love St. George, her name is spelled with a D.

Regardless of which Beatles or blokes are considering a St. George short sale, they should know the following six things.

When the owner of a property owes more than it’s worth, he or she may be in the less-than-ideal financial position to sell the property as a short sale. This means that he must get the lender’s permission to sell the house or land for less than what is owed. If the seller convinces the lender that he is in financial hardship and can’t continue to make the mortgage payments, the lender will often agree to a sale of the property for less than the balance of the mortgage. This is preferable to default and foreclosure for the lender, because, for example, $200,000 is better toward a debt of $235,000 than nothing, and foreclosures cost the lenders much more.

Selling your house as a short sale is softer on your credit score than a foreclosure is. You can sell the house, get some emotional relief, and move on to preparing to buy another home, with little hit on the Fico. Keep in mind that the longer the lender takes to approve the short sale and the offer from a buyer, the more months you’ll be late on your mortgage payments, which do affect the FICO score.

The seller doesn’t have to pay sales commission to the real estate agents; the lender pays them.

Because the lender has to approve both the seller’s application for a St. George short sale and also the offers by potential buyers, the sale can take months, usually about 120 days.

The number of prospective buyers of short sales is smaller than for typical real estate because of the waiting time. Some buyers simply don’t have months to wait in purchasing a house, so you have less competition when making offers on St. George short sales.

When making an offer on a short sale, be aware that because of the likely financial duress of the seller, he may not have been able to maintain the property very well, so it will likely need repairs and fix-ups.

What The Beatles Should Know About St. George Short Sales

Article By: Clear Content Marketing

3 Freaky Reasons Why CC&R’s In St. George Can Get You Fired

New to the neighborhood, I thought I’d attend the monthly HOA (Home Owners’ Association) meeting.  After all, an HOA is a new thing for me, and I wanted to introduce myself, meet some of my neighbors, and make a good first impression.  I also wanted to find out if all the bad things my friends told me about HOAs were true.

The Board members read the minutes from the last meeting and shifted to tonight’s agenda.  “Anyone have input on CC&Rs?” Well, this one is easy, I thought. I spoke up, “My favorite oldies band!  John Fogerty, Proud Mary, great stuff!” Some members laughed a little, and others just glared at the innocent smile on my face.  One said, “Not CCR, CC&Rs.” “Oh, of course,” I uttered. I felt dumb and embarrassed. Then, a shocking dialogue ensued, and I learned the good, bad, and the ugly about CC&Rs.  This article presents three reasons why CC&Rs in St. George can get you fired.

What Are CC&Rs?

First, let me define CC&Rs.  The abbreviation stands for Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.  If you live in a house that’s part of an HOA, you have to agree to abide by the CCRs, which are designed to enhance property values and safety in the neighborhood.  They are rules that tell you what you can and can’t do with your property. Common examples include what kind of pets you may keep, where you may park, and what color you may paint your house.  If you rebel against the CC&Rs in St. George, any of the following can happen.

The Size Of Your Dog

1. Many CC&Rs in St. George limit the size of your dog.  That’s why you see plenty of folks in HOA communities, walking their ankle-biting Shitzus and Yorkshires.  Rarely will you see a 100-pound Labrador or Rottweiler. The reasoning is that they can be destructive to fences, graphically violent to people, especially children, and, as Donald Trump would say, “Their poops are huge!”  If you ignore this CC&R in St. George, the HOA can ban you from the facilities, such as swimming pool and clubhouse.  Then if you are caught using the pool, they can call Police because you longer had the legal right to the pool.  This citation or arrest is usually posted online, and if your boss gets wind of it, you could be fired for the misdemeanor.

What Color To Paint Your House

2. Another common CC&R restricts how you can paint or “beautify” your house.  One guy I know was from California, so he was accustomed to the many colors of stucco houses, commonly seen in California cities.  He painted his house a soft orange, lighter than salmon, kinda peachy. Not only did the HOA fine him, but also two neighbors made death threats.  Had he not returned the stucco back to boring beige, there very well may have been some vandalism or fist fights, which could definitely cause you to lose your job, especially if a weapon or serious injury is involved.

Where You Park

3. Most HOAs are enclosed developments with narrow streets, so parking on the street is often prohibited.  The CC&Rs in St. George typically don’t allow using your garage as a storage unit.  They’ll tell you it’s a fire hazard and attracts vermin, which are debatable, of course.  But, it is nicer driving around the community, not having to avoid cars in narrow passages.  And certainly, emergency vehicles have better access, too. If you continue to ignore this one, the HOA can file a lawsuit against you, forcing you to park the car in your garage.  Continued noncompliance can lead to arrest and more bad PR for your job or business.

3 Freaky Reasons Why CC&R’s In St. George Can Get You Fired

Article By: Clear Content Marketing


10 Ways To Protect Yourself In A Home Closing Process

For 99% of the civilized world’s population, buying a house is the largest financial deal they will ever make.  It affects quality of life, safety, social life, monthly bills, and long-term financial health. Going into a closing process blindly will undoubtedly bring both emotional and financial stress to concerned parties; however, there are ways to prepare and things to know so the transaction is not only much less stressful, but also exciting—a day to celebrate.  This article presents ten ways to protect yourself in the closing process of buying a home.

  1. It would be irresponsible not to mention of the effect that buying a home can have on personal relationships.  So, if you have a spouse or partner, they should be in agreement with the purchase and aware of the terms in the transaction; otherwise, you could be headed for trouble.  Talk, listen, ask, listen again until you understand your partner’s point of view, read this article, and come to consensus on the purchase before entering the closing process.

2. Get a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender for a purchase price you qualify for.  This not only helps you decide on your suitable price range, but also strengthens your offers when the sellers see your ability to get financing.

3. When you are ready to make an offer to purchase a property, hire a real estate agent to monitor things from offer to the closing process.  Share wants and needs so he or she can offer smart suggestions to avoid unnecessary headaches.

4. Next, open an escrow account, usually through the help of your real estate agent.  The escrow account is held by a third party to protect the money of both the seller and the buyer (including earnest money submitted with the offer).  At the right times in the closing process, the neutral, custodian of the escrow funds will distribute them properly.

5. Do a title search, and obtain title insurance.  These protect you from any liens against the property, ownership claims by another party, and any hazards which may be contained in the property itself.  This step in the home closing process is a must.

6. Lock in a good interest rate.  Mortgage loan rates fluctuate, so check them regularly, and lock in a rate with your lender when the interest rate is satisfactory to you.

7. Order the inspections—both home and pest.  A home inspector will visit the house you want to buy and search, thoroughly we hope, for problems that need repair.  A pest inspector will look for signs of termites, carpenter ants, and any other critters that may have or will damage the structure.  After getting the results of the inspection, you can renegotiate the price of the house or ask the seller to pay for the repairs.

8. At least three days before the closing date, you should have in your hands the closing disclosure, which indicates the terms of the loan, the closing costs, and any other fees.  Some states even allow you to read all the closing documents, which you can get from the escrow account officer, before attending the closing day arrives. That way, you don’t feel pressured to hurry through and sign them while the seller, agent, notary, and perhaps other people are silently biting their tongue, “Just sign ‘em so we can get paid.”

9. One of the last steps in the closing process before you sign the papers should be to walk through the property one last time. You want to make sure no damage has occurred since your last home inspection, the required repairs have been completed by the seller, no new problems are found, and nothing has been removed that is included in the purchase papers.

10. Bring three things to the closing appointment: your real estate agent, your money, and your wits. Your agent or mortgage lender can clarify any questions which might come up. If you have any closing costs or if you need to pay a down payment, usually a wire transfer is required. The title company will coordinate that in a safe and secure manner. If you come prepared and have read the closing disclosure, you can be calm and happy about the event.

10 Ways To Protect Yourself In A Home Closing Process

Article By: Clear Content Marketing

Six Things Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Know

Exciting and scary are the most common adjectives used by first-time home buyers.  Buying your first home engages your emotional, mental, and financial worlds like no other decision, with the possible exception of marriage.  You can go into it blindly or with savvy. Knowing these six tips can save a lot of heartache, stress, and money. This article presents six of the most important things every first-time home buyer should know.

Stable Employment and Good Credit

1. Build a steady employment record and strong credit score.  First-time home buyers need a solid record of work and payment history on other debts.  Prepare for at least one to two years. Mortgage lenders (underwriters) want to see six months to two years of employment and income, so be able to show a steady track record.  If you’re self-employed (1099), you’ll need one or two years of tax returns, showing a profit. Wage earners (W-2) sometimes need to show only six months of steady income. Be sure to pay all debts on time every month.  If you have a car payment, never let it go past 30 days late because that’s usually when a negative mark hits the credit bureaus. Making your secured and unsecured loan payments on time will raise your credit score, which helps you to qualify for a mortgage with a good interest rate.  (A FICO score over 700 will make getting a good loan much easier than a 630 score will.) Save as much money as you can for a down payment, closing costs, etc. A down payment will give you instant equity and lower the interest rate of your loan.

Public Programs For First-Time Home Buyers

2. Talk to people and check the internet for programs that help first-time home buyers.  Most of them are administered by government or non-profit entities.  They’re in most cities, and they offer assistance on down payments and low interest rates.  If that pursuit meets a dead end, talk to the private mortgage companies.

Buy Less Than You Qualify For

3. If you qualify for $250,000, aim for less than that.  For example, if you get a house for $200,000, you’ll have more discretionary income for home improvements, lifestyle, and savings.  You don’t want your house payment to be shackles around your ankles.

Be Smart About Where You Want To Live

4. In deciding where you want to live, experts recommend considering family, work, health, convenience, and investment.  If your disabled mother needs you, it’s probably not good for anyone if you move far away from her. Consider your work life, what you enjoy doing and where you can make a living.  Location can affect allergies, illnesses or pain, stress, hobbies, and mental health. For example, if you tend to get depressed in cold, dark winters (SAD, seasonal affective disorder), don’t move to Alaska, no matter how much the job pays.  Do you want the convenience of the city, or do you value more the quiet and the freedom to keep animals, which the country offers? Do you want your home to appreciate fast in value for profitable resale, or is long-term stability more important to you?  First-time home buyers sometimes get so excited about a particular house that they neglect to consider how living there will affect the other aspects of their lives.

Make A Smart Offer

5. Low-ball offers are ok, if you don’t expect any help from the seller in paying for closing costs, and if you have a good down payment.  If you are going to ask the seller to contribute to closing costs, then offer closer to their asking price. You can also include a clause that you will beat anyone’s offer by $1,000, if you really don’t want to lose the house to another buyer.  After inspection, you can continue to negotiate when there are repairs to be made.

Research The Property Boundaries And Development Plans

6. Check with the city, or get a land survey to identify the exact boundaries of the property.  You may be surprised. This is a common mistake by first-time home buyers.  You have to know your property boundaries before dedicating time, work, and money to landscaping.  Also, ask the HOA or developer about any future plans for facilities near your house so you can decide if that facility is acceptable to you or not.

Six Things Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Know

Article By: Clear Content Marketing


Four Nightmares Which Title Insurance Can Prevent

We’re not talking about dreams of the boogie man, your family abandoning you, falling, or being chased by the bad guy.  Or, are we? In some cases, this type of nightmare is exactly what we’re talking about. Read on to find out why. This article presents four nightmares that title insurance can prevent for Saint George home buyers.

First Nightmare

Suppose you bought a house, painted it, moved in, fixed its broken whatevers, landscaped the yard, and started raising a family.  You’re a proud St. George home buyer. After a few years, you get a call from the County Assessor’s office, telling you that the person who sold you the house did not have the right to sell it on that property because he did not have a proper deed/ownership.  The grandson of Joe homesteader, from 60 years ago, is now claiming ownership of the property that the house is sitting on. Now, the fun begins! First, you try to talk to the grandson, but that goes nowhere. Next, you talk to a lawyer, but any advice from the lawyer is bad because it is either “You have to move,” or “You can fight it in court.”  Both are nightmares, and both cost money.

Second Nightmare

As a Saint George home buyer, you may be one of the many who are buying new construction.  St. George is considered among the fastest growing cities in the USA, and there is plenty of land and lots being developed for new construction.  Suppose the house gets completed, and you are given approval from the inspectors to occupy it. After a few weeks, you get a letter from the plumber who claims partial ownership of the property because the general contractor failed to pay the plumber for his work on the house.  You call the contractor, and he has filed bankruptcy. So, you either pay the plumber to release the lien on the house or get a lawyer involved. Just what you always wanted!

Third Nightmare

The third nightmare happens occasionally to St. George home buyers when they build or place something at the back of their property to enhance quality of life, such as a basketball court, chicken coop, shed, or swimming pool.  Suppose you built a mansion for your chickens. A few weeks go by while you’re humming and whistling to the cackling of the hens, and enjoying your new facility. Then your fun comes to a screeching halt with a hard knock, knock, knock at your front door, The man in a hard hat says, “There’s supposed to be an easement at the back of your property, Mr. Coop, so utility vehicles can access electricity and phone lines.”  What? Yep, it’s a pre-existing easement (space) which you didn’t know about because you did not buy the right title insurance.

Fourth Nightmare

Finally, we get to the literal nightmares.  If you fail to get a good records search on your property, as a St. George home buyer, you may find out later that the lot upon which your house stands was many years ago used for dumping toxic waste, or even better, was a cemetery.  Now, you have something to dream about: poison chemicals passing from the soil of the garden into your vegetables, or zombies reaching up through the ground, climbing out, and stomping around your yard. If you’re lucky, the zombies will mow the lawn and feed your chickens.

Four Nightmares Which Title Insurance Can Prevent

Article By: Clear Content Marketing


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