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COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT TITLE INSURANCE

 What Is Title Insurance?

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A Word About Real Estate

Real estate has traditionally been a family's most valuable asset. It is a form of wealth that is protected by many laws.These laws have been enacted to protect one's ownership of real estate and the improvements located on the land. The owner, the owner's family, and the owner's heirs have rights or claims to the property that you are buying. Those who may have an interest in or lien upon the property could be governmental bodies, contractors, lenders, judgment creditors, the Internal Revenue Service, or various other individuals or corporations.The real estate may be sold to you without the knowledge of the party having a right or claim in and to the property. In addition, you may purchase the real estate without having any knowledge of these rights or claims. In either event, these rights or claims remain attached to the title to the property that you are buying until they are extinguished.

The Past Can Determine Your Future

Generally, a person thinks of insurance in terms of the payment of future loss due to the occurrence of some future event. For instance, a party obtains automobile insurance in order to pay for future loss occasioned by a future "fender bender" or for the future theft of the car. Title insurance is a unique form of insurance. It provides coverage for future claims or future losses due to title defects which are created by some past event(i.e., event prior to the acquisition of the property.) These risks are far less obvious than those protected against by automobile insurance, but can be just as devastating. The following information will answer some commonly asked questions about title insurance.

Will You Get Clear Title?

It is of utmost importance that you receive clear title to the property when you purchase real estate. In order to do so, you must first be informed of any existing rights or claims that may, in the future, threaten your title and possession to the property. Title insurance provides you with this twofold protection.

How Do You Find Out What Claims Exist?

In order to determine the status of title, your closing attorney conducts a diligent search of the public records for those documents associated with the property and then examines those recorded documents in order to determine if there are any rights or claims that may have an impact upon the title to the property. The title search may reveal the existence of recorded defects, liens or encumbrances upon the title such as unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments and tax liens against the current or past owners, easements, restrictions and court actions. These recorded defects, liens and encumbrances are reported to you prior to your purchase of the property. Once reported, these matters can be accepted, resolved or extinguished prior to the closing of the transaction. With title insurance you are protected against any recorded defects, liens or encumbrances upon the title that are unreported to you and which are within the coverage of the particular policy issued in the transaction. This is the first benefit you receive from title insurance.

What About Undiscovered Claims?

The title to the property that you have purchased could be seriously threatened or lost completely by hazards which reconsidered "hidden risks." "Hidden Risks" are those matters,rights or claims that are not shown by the public records and,therefore, are not discoverable by a search and examination of those public records. Matters such as forgery, incompetency or incapacity of the parties, fraudulent impersonation, and unknown errors in the records are examples of "hidden risks" which could provide a basis for a claim after you have purchased the property. In order to protect you against this possibility, North Carolina Title Services provides insurance coverage for such claims. This is the second benefit you receive from title insurance.

How Does a Title Insurance Policy Protect Against All These Claims?

If a claim is made against your insured title, North Carolina Closing & Title Insurance Company protects you by: (1)Defending your title, in court if necessary, at no cost to you,and (2) Bearing the cost of settling the case, if it proves valid, in order to protect your title and maintain your possession of your property.

Title Insurance Protects Your Asset

Title insurance gives you the assurance that possible clouds on title to the property you are purchasing - which can be discovered from the public records - have been called to your attention that such defects can be corrected before you buy.Additionally, it is insurance that if any undiscovered claims covered by your policy arises out of the past to threaten your ownership of real estate, it will be disposed of, or you will be reimbursed exactly as your title insurance policy provides.

Only One Premium

Unlike other forms of insurance, the original premium is your only cost as long as you or your heirs own the property. There are no annual payments to keep your Owner's Title Insurance Policy in force.

Why Do You Need Title Insurance?

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To protect possibly the most important investment you'll ever make - the investment in your home.  With a title insurance policy, you as owner, have an indemnity contract that will reimburse you for loss in the event someone asserts a claim against your property that is covered by the policy.

 

How can there be a title defect if the title has been searched?

Title insurance is issued after a careful examination of copies of the public records. But even the most thorough search cannot absolutely assure that no title hazards are present, despite the knowledge and experience of professional title examiners. In addition to matters shown by public records, other title problems may exist that cannot be disclosed in a search.

What title insurance protects against

Here are just a few of the most common hidden risks that can cause a loss of title or create an encumbrance on title:

  • False impersonation of the true owner of the property

  • Forged deed, releases or wills, Instruments executed under invalid or expired power of attorney;

  • Undisclosed or missing heirs; Mistakes in recording legal documents

  • Misinterpretations of wills Deeds by persons of unsound mind

  • Deeds by minors

  • Deeds by persons supposedly single, but in fact married

  • Fraud

  • Liens for unpaid estate, inheritance, income or gift taxes

What protection does title insurance provide against defects and hidden risks?

Title insurance will pay for defending against any lawsuit attacking your title as insured, and will either clear up title problems or pay the insured's losses. For a one-time premium, an owner's title insurance policy remains in effect as long as you, or your heirs, retain an interest in the property.

What this means to you

The peace of mind in knowing that the investment you've made in your home is a safe one.

Steps In The Title Process

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On-Site Searching and Examining

Your real estate attorney and paralegals performs three searches: Property, Name, and Tax searches. From that information, a preliminary report is created.

Technical Review

The skill and expertise of our title officer is the key to providing you with a useful, accurate title report. Once the report is issued the review begins by making a technical analysis of the documents of record. An interpretive view of all recorded matters is made to evaluate their impact on the title to the property. Among the questions the examiner asks are: Would any of the recorded matters prevent the buyer from using the property for its intended purpose? Can antiquated leases be eliminated from the policy per a review of the current leases?

Inspection Analysis

In anticipation of ALTA coverage, a site inspection is ordered.From the inspection report, the initial title product is supplemented to show any encroachments or other off-record matters which would ultimately impact the title. In addition, surveys, while not always required, are recommended.

Co-Insurance, Re-Insurance, Other Details

If co-insurance or re-insurance is needed for a transaction, we expedite the confirmation of approval. You, the customer, are never bogged down or delayed by the action on the part of our company. To the contrary, as a resource and as a facilitator of the transaction, we assume the responsibility for as many details as possible and are able to direct you to other resources where necessary (such as for a lost instrument bond).

We Earn Your Respect with our Skills, Service and Solutions

We try not to point out impediments to the close of a transaction without also offering assistance and solutions. By understanding the sometimes delicate balance of the interests of the parties to a transaction, and by professionally and courteously handling issues as they arise, we can capably guide a transaction to a successful conclusion.

Documents in the Title Process

  • Commitment - Shows the condition of title in the way we are willing to issue it.

  • Pro Forma - Specimen of what the requested policy, as requested, will look like. Underwriting issues not completed. Not binding upon the company.

  • Policy - Final product. Contract of indemnity between named insureds and the company.

Common Ways To Hold Title

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How You Take Title - Advantages and Limitations:

Title to real property may be held by individuals, either in Sole Ownership or in Co-Ownership. Co-Ownership of real property occurs when title is held by two or more persons.There are several variations as to how title may be held in each type of ownership.The following brief summaries reference seven of the more common examples of Sole Ownership and Co-Ownership.

Sole Ownership

A man or woman who is not married.
Example: John Doe, a single man.

An Unmarried Man/Woman:
A man or woman, who having been married, is legally divorced.
Example: John Doe, an unmarried man.

A Married Man/Woman, as His/Her Sole and Separate Property:
When a married man or woman wishes to acquire title as their sole and separate property, the spouse must consent and relinquish all right, title and interest in the property by deed or other written agreement.
Example: John Doe, a married man, as his sole and separate property.

Co-Ownership

Community Property:
Property acquired by husband and wife, or either during marriage, other than by gift, bequest, devise, descent or as the separate property of either is presumed community property.


Example: John Doe and Mary Doe, husband and wife, as community property.
Example: John Doe and Mary Doe, husband and wife.
Example: John Doe, a married man

Joint Tenancy:
Joint and equal interests in land owned by two or more individuals created under a single instrument with right of survivorship.


Example: John Doe and Mary Doe, husband and wife, as joint tenants.

Tenancy in Common:
Under tenancy in common, the co-owners own undivided interests;but unlike joint tenancy, these interests need not be equal in quantity and may arise at different times. There is no right of survivorship; each tenant owns an interest,which on his or her death vests in his or her heirs or devisee.
Example: John Doe, a single man, as to an undivided ¾ ths interest, and George Smith, a single man as to an undivided1/4thinterest, as tenants in common.

Trust:
Title to real property in California may be held in trust. The trustee of the trust holds title pursuant to the terms of the trust for the benefit of the trustor/beneficiary.
The preceding summaries are a few of the more common ways to take title to real property in California and are provided for informational purposes only.

There are significant tax and legal consequences on how you hold title. We suggest contacting an attorney and/or CPA for specific advice on how you should actually vest your title.

Reasons For Title Insurance

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1. Buying Property Is A Numbers Business

2. A fire destroys only the house and improvements. The ground is left. A defective title may take away not the only the house but also the land on which it stands. Title insurance protects you (as specified in the policy) against such loss.

3. A deed or mortgage in the chain of title may be a forgery.

4. A deed or a mortgage may have been signed by a person underage.

5. A deed or a mortgage may have been made by an insane person or one otherwise incompetent.

6. A deed or a mortgage may have been made under a power of attorney after its termination and would, therefore, be void.

7. A deed or a mortgage may have been made by a person other than the owner, but with the same name as the owner.

8. The testator of a will might have had a child born after the execution of the will, a fact that would entitle the child to claim his or her share of the property.

9. A deed or mortgage may have been procured by fraud or duress.

10. Title transferred by an heir may be subject to a federal estate tax lien.

11. An heir or other person presumed dead may appear and recover the property or an interest therein.

12. A judgement or levy upon which the title is dependent may be void or voidable on account of some defect in the proceeding.

13. Title insurance covers attorneys’ fees and court costs.

14. Title insurance helps speed negotiations when you’re ready to sell or obtain a loan.

15. By insuring the title, you can eliminate delays and technicalities when passing your title on to someone else.

16. Title insurance reimburses you for the amount of your covered losses.

17. A deed or mortgage may be voidable because it was signed while the grantor was in bankruptcy.

18. Each title insurance policy we write is paid up, in full, by the first premium for as long as you or your heirs own the property.

19. There may be a defect in the recording of a document upon which your title is dependent.

20. Claims constantly arise due to marital status and validity of divorces. Only title insurance protects against claims made by non-existent or divorced "wives" or "husbands."

21. Many lawyers, in giving an opinion on a title, protect their clients as well as themselves, by procuring title insurance.  Over the last 24 years, claims have risen dramatically.

Why Use a Real Estate Agent?

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Real Estate Agents and Brokers

It's always a good market in real estate -- when you know what you're doing.  Structuring transactions, arranging financing and finding the right buyers are some of the keys to success.  There are few entities that know as much about the trends in today's market as your local real estate agent or broker.

Real estate has become a very complicated business.  Selling (or buying) a home can be one of the most important financial transactions in your life.  That's why it pays to work with a professional who specializes in this field-- a licensed real estate agent or broker.

Becoming a licensed agent or broker requires thorough training and examination.  Several states require continuing education in real estate for license renewal.  These specialists are compensated on their ability to sell properties quickly and cost-efficiently -- and their expert abilities are chargeable only when a transaction is complete.

Why It Pays to Use a Professional

  • When you use an agent, you'll get the benefit of professional experience from the moment you consider selling your house. Your agent will help you establish a fair market value from his or her daily dealings in your neighborhood, and arrange financing terms that make it easier to obtain a quick sale in today's market -- helping you receive the equity in your home.

  • If you wish to participate in financing the purchase of your property, your agent or broker can structure a workable plan that helps reduce risk from unusual terms -- and give you an estimate of the anticipated yield from carrying a property-secured financing plan.

  • Real estate agents are professionals at marketing properties -- that's their job. They can choose the media -- and the message -- that brings interested prospects to your home. They'll interview and qualify buyers for you. They'll use their sales skills and negotiating techniques to help you receive the best possible return on your sale.

  • Every brokerage office has a steady stream of prospects that no individual can match. National referral networks and multiple listing services also help to reach buyers from out of town -- or out of state. Many corporate relocation clients may be working with a broker before a move is made.

  • When you work with an agent or broker, they will follow-up with other agents who have shown your property and share their constructive comments on cosmetic repairs,financing arrangements, or re-evaluating your list price.

  • An agreement between buyer and seller is just the beginning of a final transaction. From that point on your agent or broker can handle the details and paperwork necessary to make it complete: from building and termite reports to fire insurance and closing arrangements with the escrow company,title company or closing attorney.

  • As an expert in real estate, your agent or broker will give you advance estimates of your closing costs and net proceeds from the sale, as well as keeping you informed of the details to assure a smooth and timely closing.

When You Make the Sale

A vital part of any sale is title insurance.Lenders usually require a loan policy to protect their interests, and buyers need an owner's policy to protect their equity. Be sure to ask your agent or broker for protection from North Carolina Title Services. Your title insurance policy will be backed up by the resources of the strongest title insurance families in the industry. Your North Carolina Title Services Account Manager is an integral part of your agent's or broker's closing team. If You Are Buying a Home For most of us, a home is the single biggest purchase in our lives. The enormity of the financial transaction aside, finding the right home to fit our particular needs and wants is no easy undertaking. Just as you wouldn't buy a car, computer or camcorder without doing some research into various models and prices, you shouldn't consider purchasing a home without some expert advice and guidance.Though some people may think of using the services of a REALTOR® only when selling their homes, a REALTOR® can be invaluable when buying one as well. For instance, a REALTOR® can help you determine how much home you can afford based on your financial situation, help you get prequalified for a loan, and even inform you about available financing options. A REALTOR® also is an expert on the neighborhood, and can provide detailed information about schools, transportation, local taxes and community characteristics. Using a REALTOR® also means gaining access to homes listed in Multiple Listing Service (MLS), an important marketing tool used by REALTOR® to inform other REALTOR® about available properties. That means a REALTOR® can give you information about a wide range of available homes from which to choose. When it comes to finding out if you're paying too much,a REALTOR® can provide you with market analyses comparing asking and selling prices for homes in the neighborhood. Finally, a Realtor® can serve as the liaison between you and the seller,bringing to the table negotiating expertise and knowledge about required disclosures and the housing market.

If You're Selling a Home

Here's a Quick Read on How a REALTOR® Can Help You Realize Your Goal. You probably know that working with a REALTOR® is an indispensable part of selling your home. For one thing, your REALTOR® can list your property in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), providing your home with incomparable exposure and ensuring you have as many REALTORS® as possible helping to find a buyer. But that's not all a REALTOR® does to market your home. He or she knows how to specifically target advertising to reach buyers for your home, and uses all the marketing tools available to ensure that your home is sold expediently. Additionally, a REALTOR® conducts a variety of other marketing efforts on your behalf, from holding open houses and handling phone inquiries to showing your home to the prospective buyers. What does a REALTOR® do for you besides find buyers? Plenty. A REALTOR® provides information on local market conditions to help you price your property realistically and fairly, and keeps you abreast of changes in the market which may affect your property. And let's face it: buying or selling a home means paperwork, lots of it. When it comes to closing escrow, a REALTOR® can be invaluable, leading you through the paper trail with a steady hand, and familiarizing you with escrow, insurance, property disclosures and inspection procedures, to name a few. So, Where Do You Find a REALTOR®?Like finding any good professional, the best way to locate a REALTOR® is through recommendations from friends or those who have bought or sold homes recently. Ask for references and check each thoroughly. Also, interview several REALTOR® before you decide on one. It's important to find a professional who is a REALTOR®. Why? A REALTOR® is someone who, as a member of the local, state, and national trade associations, adheres to a strict code of ethics. Recently, the National Association of REALTORS® commissioned a nationwide survey to determine whether Realtors® were doing their job professionally. The results were impressive: 97 percent of respondents indicated they received "excellent" or "very good" service from their REALTOR®.

Reasons For Title Insurance

-

1. Buying Property Is A Numbers Business

2. A fire destroys only the house and improvements. The ground is left. A defective title may take away not the only the house but also the land on which it stands. Title insurance protects you (as specified in the policy) against such loss.

3. A deed or mortgage in the chain of title may be a forgery.

4. A deed or a mortgage may have been signed by a person underage.

5. A deed or a mortgage may have been made by an insane person or one otherwise incompetent.

6. A deed or a mortgage may have been made under a power of attorney after its termination and would, therefore, be void.

7. A deed or a mortgage may have been made by a person other than the owner, but with the same name as the owner.

8. The testator of a will might have had a child born after the execution of the will, a fact that would entitle the child to claim his or her share of the property.

9. A deed or mortgage may have been procured by fraud or duress.

10. Title transferred by an heir may be subject to a federal estate tax lien.

11. An heir or other person presumed dead may appear and recover the property or an interest therein.

12. A judgement or levy upon which the title is dependent may be void or voidable on account of some defect in the proceeding.

13. Title insurance covers attorneys’ fees and court costs.

14. Title insurance helps speed negotiations when you’re ready to sell or obtain a loan.

15. By insuring the title, you can eliminate delays and technicalities when passing your title on to someone else.

16. Title insurance reimburses you for the amount of your covered losses.

17. A deed or mortgage may be voidable because it was signed while the grantor was in bankruptcy.

18. Each title insurance policy we write is paid up, in full, by the first premium for as long as you or your heirs own the property.

19. There may be a defect in the recording of a document upon which your title is dependent.

20. Claims constantly arise due to marital status and validity of divorces. Only title insurance protects against claims made by non-existent or divorced "wives" or "husbands."

21. Many lawyers, in giving an opinion on a title, protect their clients as well as themselves, by procuring title insurance.  Over the last 24 years, claims have risen dramatically.

About Interest Rates

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About Interest Rates

This practice may cost Home Buyers ( first time and move-up ) more than they think... "The sooner, the better" may be the best strategy for buying houses. That's because lower interest rates can actually mean higher costs for those who delay the purchase of a home too long. When there are fluctuations in mortgage rates, Americans have a habit of waiting just a little while longer, hoping to save thousands of dollars as the rates dip lower.  But, even if the rates do fall further, that waiting strategy, says a housing expert, can actually cost you more.  John Pfister, vice president of Market Research at Chicago Title, says home buyers tend to forget that as mortgage rates drop, housing prices tend to begin rising."  Very often, the savings projected by lower interest rates are more than offset by the simultaneous rise in home prices," adds Pfister. To illustrate the point, here's an example of what might typically happen: A $150,000 house is purchased with a down payment of $30,000 and the balance is financed at a fixed 8.75 percent rate over 30 years.  Monthly principal and interest payments come to $944.05.  If the buyer chooses to wait until interest rates drop to 8.50 percent and, in the meantime the cost of the house climbs a modest 2 percent, which is a common increase in an interest-driven market, the monthly payment would rise to $945.78.  Payment differences between a 9.25 percent rate and rates a quarter percent lower down to 7 percent are shown in the following table based on housing price increases of 2 and 4 percent.  Pfister tracks housing statistics from coast to coast.   His research shows that the cost of financing a home has outrun housing inflation in only three of the last 20 years.  The 20-year average increase in housing inflation is 7.4 percent; for the cost of the money, it is a mere 1.4 percent.

Here's an Example


 

 

 

 

 


Interest Rates -- Monthly Payment, Principal & Interest
(on a 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage)

7.00% | $798.36 | $818.32 | $837.29

7.25% | $818.62 | $839.08 | $859.56

7.50% | $839.05 | $860.03 | $881.02

7.75% | $859.69 | $881.15 | $902.69

8.00% | $880.52 | $902.54 | $924.56

8.25% | $901.53 | $924.07 | $946.61

8.50% | $922.71 | $945.78 | $968.85

8.75% | $944.05 | $967.66 | $991.27

9.00% | $965.56 | $989.70 | $1,013.84

9.25% | $987.22 | $1,011.91 | $1,036.60


Housing costs do not always offset lower interest rates. However, Pfister warns that in those markets where housing values remain and keep growing, "waiting for interest rates to bottom-out" is a gamble. The bottom may not be the best time to buy. Talk to your local real estate agent or broker today to determine the best fit in housing and interest rate costs for you.

Be sure to check out the mortgage and amortization schedules found in our Resources directory.

Buyers Financial Responsibilities

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There are various costs and fees involved in purchasing a home. The following list depicts an example of the costs you may be responsible for.  Keep in mind that responsibility for some of these charges can be negotiable and the responsible party may vary from area to area.  Ask your real estate agent about applicable costs in your area.

  • Title insurance premium (according to contract)

  • Escrow fees (according to contract)

  • Document preparation (if applicable)

  • Notary fees

  • Recording charges for all documents in buyer's names

  • Termite inspection (according to contract)

  • Tax proration (from date of acquisition)

  • Homeowner's transfer fee

  • All new loan charges (except those required by lender for seller to pay)

  • Interest on new loan from date of funding to 30 days prior to first payment date

  • Assumption/change of records fees for takeover of existing loan (if applicable)

  • Beneficiary statement fee for assumption of existing loan

  • Inspection fees (roofing, property inspection, geological, etc.)

  • Home warranty (according to contract)

  • City transfer/conveyance tax (according to contract)

  • Fire insurance premium for first year

Why Use a Real Estate Agent

-

Real Estate Agents and Brokers

It's always a good market in real estate -- when you know what you're doing. Structuring transactions, arranging financing and finding the right buyers are some of the keys to success. There are few entities that know as much about the trends in today's market as your local real estate agent or broker.

Real estate has become a very complicated business. Selling (or buying) a home can be one of the most important financial transactions in your life. That's why it pays to work with a professional who specializes in this field-- a licensed real estate agent or broker.

Becoming a licensed agent or broker requires thorough training and examination. Several states require continuing education in real estate for license renewal. These specialists are compensated on their ability to sell properties quickly and cost-efficiently -- and their expert abilities are chargeable only when a transaction is complete.

Why It Pays to Use a Professional

  • When you use an agent, you'll get the benefit of professional experience from the moment you consider selling your house. Your agent will help you establish a fair market value from his or her daily dealings in your neighborhood, and arrange financing terms that make it easier to obtain a quick sale in today's market -- helping you receive the equity in your home.

  • If you wish to participate in financing the purchase of your property, your agent or broker can structure a workable plan that helps reduce risk from unusual terms -- and give you an estimate of the anticipated yield from carrying a property-secured financing plan.

  • Real estate agents are professionals at marketing properties -- that's their job. They can choose the media -- and the message -- that brings interested prospects to your home. They'll interview and qualify buyers for you. They'll use their sales skills and negotiating techniques to help you receive the best possible return on your sale.

  • Every brokerage office has a steady stream of prospects that no individual can match. National referral networks and multiple listing services also help to reach buyers from out of town -- or out of state. Many corporate relocation clients may be working with a broker before a move is made.

  • When you work with an agent or broker, they will follow-up with other agents who have shown your property and share their constructive comments on cosmetic repairs, financing arrangements, or re-evaluating your list price.

  • An agreement between buyer and seller is just the beginning of a final transaction. From that point on your agent or broker can handle the details and paperwork necessary to make it complete: from building and termite reports to fire insurance and closing arrangements with the escrow company, title company or closing attorney.

  • As an expert in real estate, your agent or broker will give you advance estimates of your closing costs and net proceeds from the sale, as well as keeping you informed of the details to assure a smooth and timely closing.

When You Make the Sale

A vital part of any sale is title insurance.  Lenders usually require a loan policy to protect their interests, and buyers need an owner's policy to protect their equity. Be sure to ask your agent or broker for protection from North Carolina Title Services. Your title insurance policy will be backed up by the resources of the strongest title insurance families in the industry. Your North Carolina Title Services Account Manager is an integral part of your agent's or broker's closing team. If You Are Buying a Home For most of us, a home is the single biggest purchase in our lives. The enormity of the financial transaction aside, finding the right home to fit our particular needs and wants is no easy undertaking. Just as you wouldn't buy a car, computer or camcorder without doing some research into various models and prices, you shouldn't consider purchasing a home without some expert advice and guidance.Though some people may think of using the services of a REALTOR® only when selling their homes, a REALTOR® can be invaluable when buying one as well. For instance, a REALTOR® can help you determine how much home you can afford based on your financial situation, help you get prequalified for a loan, and even inform you about available financing options. A REALTOR® also is an expert on the neighborhood, and can provide detailed information about schools, transportation, local taxes and community characteristics. Using a REALTOR® also means gaining access to homes listed in Multiple Listing Service (MLS), an important marketing tool used by REALTOR® to inform other REALTOR® about available properties. That means a REALTOR® can give you information about a wide range of available homes from which to choose. When it comes to finding out if you're paying too much, a REALTOR® can provide you with market analyses comparing asking and selling prices for homes in the neighborhood. Finally, a REALTOR® can serve as the liaison between you and the seller,bringing to the table negotiating expertise and knowledge about required disclosures and the housing market.

If You're Selling a Home

Here's a Quick Read on How a REALTOR® Can Help You Realize Your Goal. You probably know that working with a REALTOR® is an indispensable part of selling your home. For one thing, your REALTOR® can list your property in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), providing your home with incomparable exposure and ensuring you have as many REALTORS® as possible helping to find a buyer. But that's not all a REALTOR® does to market your home. He or she knows how to specifically target advertising to reach buyers for your home, and uses all the marketing tools available to ensure that your home is sold expediently. Additionally, a REALTOR® conducts a variety of other marketing efforts on your behalf, from holding open houses and handling phone inquiries to showing your home to the prospective buyers. What does a REALTOR® do for you besides find buyers? Plenty. A REALTOR® provides information on local market conditions to help you price your property realistically and fairly, and keeps you abreast of changes in the market which may affect your property. And let's face it: buying or selling a home means paperwork, lots of it. When it comes to closing escrow, a REALTOR® can be invaluable, leading you through the paper trail with a steady hand, and familiarizing you with escrow, insurance, property disclosures and inspection procedures, to name a few. So, Where Do You Find a REALTOR®?  Like finding any good professional, the best way to locate a REALTOR® is through recommendations from friends or those who have bought or sold homes recently. Ask for references and check each thoroughly. Also, interview several REALTOR® before you decide on one. It's important to find a professional who is a REALTOR®. Why? A REALTOR® is someone who, as a member of the local, state, and national trade associations, adheres to a strict code of ethics. Recently, the National Association of REALTORS® commissioned a nationwide survey to determine whether REALTORS® were doing their job professionally. The results were impressive: 97 percent of respondents indicated they received "excellent" or "very good" service from their REALTOR®.

What to Expect

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You should select a professional real estate agent to represent your needs. Once you establish a working relationship with your agent, your home is put on the market and marketed to potential buyers. Once a buyer makes an offer on your home you have three options: accept the offer, counter the offer, or reject the offer. After you accept an offer you can expect to do the following:

  • Escrow is opened and buyer deposits "earnest money" into escrow.

  • Seller submits documents and information to escrow holder, such as:
    - addresses of lien holders
    - tax receipts
    - equipment warranties
    - home warranty contracts (if any)
    - any leases and/or rental agreements

  • Seller approves and signs the escrow instructions, grant deed and other related documents required to complete the transaction.

  • Seller orders inspections, receives clearances and approves final reports and/or repairs to the property as required by the terms of the purchase and sale agreement (responsibility for inspection procedures may vary).

  • Buyer and Seller fulfill any remaining conditions specified in the contract and/or escrow instructions; approves the pay off demands and/or beneficiary's statements.

  • Buyer and Seller approve any final changes by signing amendments to the escrow instructions or contract.

Note: The above is general information only. Your situation may differ. Please consult your real estate professional for details about your specific situation.

Sellers Financial Responsibilities

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The process of selling your home involves several costs and fees.  The following information is very general.  Many of these items can be negotiated with the buyer.  Consult your real estate professional for details.

  • Real estate commission

  • Document preparation fee for deed

  • Documentary transfer tax

  • Any city transfer/conveyance tax (according to contract)

  • Any loan fees required by buyer's lender

  • Payoff of all loans in seller's name (or existing loan balance if being assumed by buyer)

  • Interest accrued to lender being paid off, statement fees, re-conveyance fees and any prepayment penalties.

  • Termite inspection (according to contract)

  • Termite work (according to contract)

  • Home warranty (according to contract)

  • Any judgments, tax liens, etc., against the seller

  • Tax proration (for any taxes unpaid at time of transfer of title)

  • Any unpaid homeowner's dues

  • Recording charges to clear all documents of record against seller

  • Any bonds or assessments (according to contract)

  • Any and all delinquent taxes

  • Notary fees

  • Escrow fees (according to contract)

  • Title insurance premium (according to contract)

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