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Recent Posts in Closings Category

  • How are Real Estate Closings Like a Game of Poker?

    A buyer takes title to commercial property with an underground gas main running through the middle. Neither the buyer nor his mortgage company had any idea that the property was simply unbuildable. Both lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. How would something like this happen? Your real estate contract calls for a title commitment to be issued relatively soon after signing the contract – usually ...
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  • How Do You Like Your Eggs?

    Last week I went to the Coffee Shoppe for breakfast. I hadn’t been there in years and had to wait in line. While I was waiting I read a book and I was OK with waiting (My breakfast was worth the wait, by the way). I then began to imagine what would have happened if several more customers had shown up at the same time. Our society is accustomed to being served now . We don’t wait well. What if I ...
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  • What We Do Is Who We Are

    One day in a certain place a real estate closing happened. This story is about what went wrong in that closing, why it matters who closes your purchase, and about who is at risk when a closing goes wrong. The closing is scheduled for 9:00. At that hour everything is laid out on the table for closing, but a boundary survey has not been received. The property to be conveyed is acreage located at the ...
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  • A New Year's Wish

    I’ve been told by people I respect that this is the wrong article to carry a New Year’s message of hope. They’ve told me the message is way too heavy, and not fun. But if I care about the reader, and feel strongly about the message, may I be excused again for bringing the elephant in the room into the conversation, just briefly, even if the elephant weighs down the discussion? That being said, ...
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  • When You Smell Something Odd

    I received a call from a real estate owner whose property is listed for $ 1.1 million. She had just received a verbal offer for $1.5 million, but with the condition that she pay back to the Purchaser $350,000 cash “outside the closing”. If she agrees to pay back $350,000.00 to the Purchaser, the Purchaser’s agent will prepare the offer in writing. Quick math will show that the owner was to make an ...
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  • Are All Title Policies The Same?

    Unfortunately, I seldom get questions from articles written in this space. My office assures me that is probably not because no one reads these articles, though I suspect otherwise. Even though I am ecstatic to have the question asked, I promise I did not plant the question and I am glad it occurred to someone that it was important. The question was from a purchaser who had been promised at a ...
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  • To Exchange Is Minimum Professional Advice

    This article has two messages. The first is for our mutual benefit; the second is intended for Realtors. First, the matter of real estate closing, and our mutual advantage. I see too many closing documents, including closing statements, that have some aspect of their content that contains a glaring, stupid error. Sometimes the error is mine; sometimes someone else should claim it. But the intent ...
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  • When Little Things Grow To Big Things

    One of the pedestrian requirements of life is running a small non-profit association. We have them because they are necessary. Churches, condominiums, and homeowner associations all have non-profit corporate charters. When they are small and have almost no budget, such corporations offer no public recognition, and few will even know they exist. They are not fun. They are dangerous. In the last few ...
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  • Whom Does The Closing Agent Protect?

    Anyone who has ever gone through a busy intersection when the power was down knows what a traffic cop does. Cars come from every direction, all of them in a hurry, all of them important, all of them scurrying somewhere. An efficient, clear, methodical police officer is like someone placed an angel at that intersection. A closing agent in real estate is that, and more. Every realtor is in a hurry ...
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  • Does It Matter Who Closes My Real Estate Deal?

    Every title company can write title insurance. The company is in business because some insurance underwriter agreed to let that company be its agent. Because the company can legally write title insurance for a title insurance underwriter, the company is in a position to do those closings that title insurance companies may legally do. A title company is legally permitted to prepare only those ...
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  • Why Not Own The Title Company?

    How many times has someone asked me, “don’t you want to sell me a piece of the Title Company.” This question is asked to me because, together with a person a whole lot more competent to run a title company than I, I own Old South Land Title Company in Niceville and Shalimar. The question is always asked by someone in some field of the real estate business, and always with the theory that they ...
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  • All That Glitter Is Not Gold

    This is a story of two closing agents, one named Goldie and one named Bronze. Both have conducted hundreds of closings. Real Estate Agents flock to Goldie because “her closings are so smooth”, and “she always has the answers”. These are their responses to questions asked of them: Question 1- At closing, the Buyer asks, “What if I’m late on my mortgage payments. Will I be foreclosed?” Goldie says, ...
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  • Why Should You Get A Survey?

    There are only about 1,000 reasons. The most obvious is that a survey marks the corners of your land. From the corners you can determine where fence lines should be, where a pool can be built, and all of the other dozens of decisions a homeowner might want to make. If you are buying in a developed neighborhood, and a home is already constructed on the lot you buy, the survey will show you setback ...
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  • A Sharper Image

    The words “primary” and “secondary” are probably commonplace if you build booster rockets for the Saturn 5. They may also be common if you assign beneficiaries in a life insurance policy. The words are also important in title insurance. At Old South Land Title, and in my law office, we decide about once a week whether a title policy is to be primary or secondary. That is a several-thousand-dollar ...
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