By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor
 
Title companies are like the private detectives of real estate. That’s right. We’re like a combination of Sherlock Holmes and James Bond. Only without the guns and fast cars. Well, maybe we’re closer to a mixture of Nancy Drew and the tech nerd in the back of your office. But we still help save you from real estate disaster.  

One of the reasons title companies are so essential is the title search they perform. A real estate title search involves collecting documents and evidence of the history of a property. The purpose is to ensure the title is clear and valid, and to answer questions regarding a particular piece of real estate prior to the transfer of the title.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

One of the quirks of the title industry is the roller-coaster pace of business. A week day in mid-January can be as boring as watching paint dry. The last Friday of the month in the summer feels like bungee jumping into fire.

While title companies are generally glad to close a transaction, some days are a lot more welcome than others. The last day of the month is usually the busiest time for title companies and lenders. Fridays are the fullest days of the week.

I’ve suspected that mortgage companies were pushing for these days to close out their month or week with more business. But that is probably not correct.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) recently updated the standard residential contracts to now address policies regarding deposits of earnest monies. These changes become mandatory May 15, 2018.

On the first page of the newly updated Texas contracts, it states that “Within 3 days after the Effective Date, Buyer must deliver $___ earnest money to ___, as escrow agent, at ____.”  Previous TREC contracts did not have a deadline for delivering earnest money except to say it was due “upon execution of this contract.” Simultaneous delivery of the contract and earnest money didn’t always happen. Now it is clear.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Dear Diary,

OMG. My HOA is sooooo horrible. They’re, like, the worst ever. I mean, it’s like the mean girls of the school. I can’t even. They’re just trashing my entire experience. Like, totally! Turns out my condo isn’t warrantable. As if. And that rush fee they charged ate my swag money. Hashtag whatever.

Signed,

Throwin’ Shade Gal

Hey girl. I hear ya. But you might as well chillax, ’cause all HOAs (Home Owner Associations) are typically a hassle when you’re buying or selling a property. Seriously.

A property with mandatory HOA always adds another pile of paperwork to the transaction. And additional costs. Some more than others. You may be dealing with a Home Owners Association that governs the neighborhood where you live. Or you may be in a condominium under HOA management. These associations enforce restrictions, oversee common areas, supervise maintenance and repairs, … and generally ensure everyone follows the rules they’ve all agreed to.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Your friendly title company representative wants to know if you’re married. How flattering, right? Not exactly. Asking about your marital status isn’t a come-on or a pick-up line. At least not when it comes to a real estate sale.

When someone in a real estate transaction – either the buyer or seller – has been married, is getting married, is separated, is divorced, or is in any past or present state of marriage, it can affect the sale of a property. Well, sure, it can affect your mental state, too. But it also affects the sale process in other ways.

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Title vs. Deed

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Deeds and titles go together like love and marriage. But like love and marriage, they aren’t the same thing. A deed is not a title and a title is not a deed.

Though they seem alike, deeds and titles serve different purposes. And in the real estate world, the references to them can be confusing.
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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

After the paperwork has been signed and you’ve been handed the keys, there are plenty more expenses involved in moving into your new home — packing supplies, connecting utilities, hiring movers, new appliances or furnishings, etc. However, there are certain costs after buying a home that new homeowners should not incur despite a barrage of letters telling them differently.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Closing costs are expensive when selling a property. Fortunately, they are deducted from the seller’s proceeds at the time of the sale. So when the expenses are lumped into the pile of paperwork at the closing table, the cost of selling a home can be less evident.

How much are closing costs? That depends. How nice are you to the title company?

Just kidding. 

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