Articles by Contributor

12/11/18 9:50am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

It’s easy to make the general statement that all title companies are the same. They all offer the same services, and in Texas, they all charge the same for title insurance. However, it’s like saying that all Realtors are the same, or all home inspectors or insurance companies are the same.

A closer look will reveal that there is often a difference in the level and quality of service between companies. Working with a reliable, experienced, and caring professional can make the difference between an easy, positive transaction and a nightmare experience.

Which title company you get into bed with can be like a marriage. Regardless of how it goes, you’re stuck with them for the duration of the time you own your home.


12/04/18 9:55am

Background Checks

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

When buying or selling a home, get ready to reveal some private details through background checks. We’re going to pry, inspect, confirm, clarify, authenticate, and document a lot about you, your finances, and the property. Some of the surprises we unearth would shock your mother, but maybe not your banker.

Just how deep do the folks involved in your transaction probe? Well, there isn’t any kind of testing that involves getting ink on your fingers or peeing in a cup. Nor do we care about your driving record, your education level, your health, or your résumé.

But we will start with requiring your Social Security number and date of birth. We’ll also need to know your past and present marital status, and where you plan to reside after the sale.

As a seller, we’ll run a search of both your name and the property. When something unexpected pops up, like an Abstract of Judgement, a tax debt, or a couple of child support liens, we’ll tell you. This would be the time to ensure your spouse is aware of it as well.


12/02/18 9:15am

flippedBy Linzi Martin

As a renter, finding a flipped property can be great. After all, you’re moving into a recently renovated space that’s clean, modern, up to code and generally more visually appealing, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Some flipped properties are done very quickly, and in the process, hazardous shortcuts might have been taken. It’s important to know what to look out for when renting a flipped property so you can ensure you’re getting a property that’s been cared for rather than neglected. Here are five things to consider when renting a flipped property.

1. Water damage

Water stains on walls, floors or ceilings are a strong indication that an underlying problem was covered up and not addressed. This could be caused by an internal leak from a pipe or cracks in the exterior. (more…)

11/27/18 9:45am


By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Buying or selling a house takes time. How much time you spend closing depends on several of factors. There is a reason we call it the closing process. Many moving parts must come together before title transfers ownership. In Texas, it’s typically 21 to 45 days.

How long does it take to sign all the documents and actually transfer ownership of the property? That part of the process usually happens in a single day. The closing day is when the deed to a property is exchanged for money. The buyer deposits the money due with the title agent and signs the loan and purchase documents. The seller signs the deed and closing statements and receives money due to them. In Texas, the buyer and seller usually sign closing papers separately. Unlike some other states, not everyone sits down at the closing table at the same time.

Signing the closing documents can take anywhere from five minutes to several hours, depending on the situation. The more complicated the transaction, the more paperwork there is to endorse and the longer it can take.


11/20/18 9:40am

Today’s Title Tip is a weedy issue if you’re considering a different kind of ‘joint’ ownership. It involves getting title insurance for a property being acquired to use for marijuana-related business enterprises.

While medical or recreational use of marijuana is not legal in Texas, there are plenty of folks who think it could be some day. Lots of forward-thinking investors might look at real estate for growing, processing, or selling marijuana if it becomes legal here. Or they could be looking to buy similar property in a state where it is legal.

There are 22 states that allow legalized medical use and nine more than allow both recreational and medical use. This growing industry is attracting real estate-minded buyers. But your plans could quickly go up in smoke.


11/19/18 9:00am

Are you moving to Dallas from out of state? Here are 7 things no one tells you about Texas according to Jenny Harrison. (file photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

By Jenny Harrison
Special Contributor

Pop culture stereotypes have ruined the image of Texas — the brave and beloved Lone Star State. For those who haven’t been there or haven’t met someone from Texas, it is the state of short-tempered rednecks, wild cowboys, and dumb blondes. The reality, however, is different and shockingly more interesting.

Texas is the second largest economy in the US, worth around $1.6 trillion, and that’s probably the reason you are moving to Dallas or San Antonio. With a 13 percent increase in employment over the last year, it is among the top five states to offer lucrative job opportunities. The cost of living is slightly lower than the national average and that makes it a great place to save money and raise a family.

These are the things you rarely hear about Texas. So today, we will talk about things that no one tells you about Texas when you are stuck on whether you should or shouldn’t move to Texas.


11/13/18 9:30am

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Business conflicts always seem to revolve around money. It’s no surprise that some of the worst disputes we see at title companies are over earnest money: Who wants it. Who is entitled to it. Who thinks they’re entitled to it. Etcetera. It can get uglier than avocado appliances and shag carpet.

When a transaction fails to close, any earnest money that was deposited with the title company must be disbursed to someone. The provisions for this are in the standard contract put out by TREC – the Texas Real Estate Commission. What happens to the earnest money is spelled out clearly. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from fighting over it anyway.


11/12/18 9:00am

By Ashley D. Stanley
Special Contributor

Does your firm have a dispute resolution policy that could potentially help save your transaction?

It has become increasingly important to establish a dispute resolution policy because disputes between buyers, sellers, and even real estate brokers/salespeople are not covered under Article 17 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors. Parties and the courts are now utilizing programs that avoid the legal system to resolve disputes in a quick and cost efficient manner.

There are several types of dispute resolution methods you can use, including: