Title, Escrow, and Inspection
What is Title?
“Title” represents the process in which the legalities around a property are examined to make sure the seller has complete ownership of a property and the right to sell it, the legal description is compared against the property for sale, and any other entities who may have legal and continuing access to the property are identified. Here are just a few things that are examined during the “title review” process:
Verify seller has the right to sell the property
Oftentimes there are other entities who may be listed as legal owners. These could include divorced spouses, heirs, or trusts. These need to be cleared before the property and the actual seller identified before the property can change hands.
Identify any lienholders
At this stage, I will compile a packet of information and pictures of all of the properties available that match your wants and needs. Most people wind up selecting a handful of properties you would like to look at on our first tour of homes.
Oftentimes after our first day of looking at homes, you will gain a clearer insight on what it is you want and need in your new home. If this is the case, I will get you a new packet of homes and we will begin the process again.
After touring homes with you, I usually have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for. At this point, I will preview all of the remaining homes that match your wants and needs profile. Together we will tour the homes I feel best fit your criteria. If you wish you can also drive by of all the available homes and give me a list of the ones you want to get inside of.
Identify easements which provide ongoing access
The buyer needs to be informed of any existing easements and ongoing access that goes along with the property. For example, some utilities such as power companies, gas companies, pipelines, driveways, and shared spaces must be identified so the buyer knows exactly what they are purchasing and which areas must remain clear of fences and outbuildings so those who need ongoing access can obtain it.
As a buyer you want to make sure that you are purchasing the right property!
What is Escrow?
You can think of escrow as a central station for making sure all the terms of the transaction are met. The escrow officer makes sure all paperwork is collected and distributed to all parties who have an interest in the transaction as well as making sure all funds and activities are taken care of in a timely fashion.
Once an offer is accepted by both parties, the purchase and sale paperwork is submitted to escrow along with your earnest money. Escrow will begin their lengthy list of “to dos” which will likely include:
Making sure contingencies are satisfied such as inspection, financing, or sale of another home.
Making sure buyer and seller signs off on such forms such as seller disclosure.
Working with “Title Officers” to make sure that the seller has a legal right to sell the property and there are no others who may have an interest in the property.
Making sure the buyers receive a copy of the “Title Report” which will indicate any easements and identify any parties who may be granted ongoing access to the property.
Making sure that other benchmarks are reached such as the septic and well inspection.
Making sure all the necessary paperwork is signed by the buyer including loan documents as applicable.
What do I Need to Know About an Inspection?
If you are thinking about buying a home, you may be wondering if you really need an inspection. I always recommend that my buyer get a home inspection, even in a highly competitive market. If the inspector finds an issue with the home that may cost in the thousands and thousands of dollars to repair, I want my buyer to know that going into the purchase.
Even if a home is being sold “as is”, it is worthwhile to have an inspection done so you can get an idea of what it would cost to do the needed renovations. A buyer may think that damage is cosmetic only but after the purchase when the renovations begin, that cosmetic damage can turn into a structural nightmare when walls are torn down and contractors begin taking a closer look at things like water damage, pest damage, and incorrectly-installed plumbing and wiring.
Having an inspection gives you the opportunity to get to know the bones of the home and discover the minor or major issues of the property – important information for any future homeowner. There isn’t a home out there that is perfect – but as the buyer you owe it to yourself to choose how imperfect of a home you want to live in.