Colony Title Group, Ltd.

Maryland Real Estate Title Insurance : MD : DC : VA

What is the Difference Between a Clear Title and a Marketable Title?

If you’ve been doing a little research on home titles and title insurance, you may have come across the terms “clear title” and “marketable title.” These are both terms that inform us as to the status of the title on a home. The first thing you should know is that both a clear title and a marketable title are a good thing. However, there are a few differences between the two that are worth knowing. Learn about clear and marketable titles in this week’s blog!

Clear Title

A clear title is a title to a property that has no encumbrances. An encumbrance is anything that detracts from the status of a fee simple title, which is the “maximum and best possible right of ownership of real property.” Essentially, a clear title gives you free reign over your property. You can build whatever you want wherever you want it on your property, so long as it doesn’t cross the property line. A clear title also has no financial encumbrances on it from previous owners such as unpaid taxes, mortgages, liens, etc.

Marketable Title

A marketable title is a title that may have encumbrances on it, but these encumbrances would not be cause for concern regarding litigation or sale of the property at a fair market price. Essentially what this means is that there are no financial encumbrances on the title such as unpaid taxes, etc., but there are land use encumbrances on the title. These include things such as zoning restrictions or building restriction lines. Or it may include a piece of property which crosses the owner’s property in some location, such as a public walkway to the beach at a beachhouse. It is understood that these land use encumbrances may limit what the owner can do on his or her property and may diminish its value, but overall the title is clear enough to sell at a fair price, and without fear of litigation as a result of financial encumbrances.

Unmarketable Title

An unmarketable title would be a title that is hindered by financial encumbrances or certain other encumbrances such as a violation of zoning restrictions. This title could not be sold, thus making it unmarketable.

clear marketable title

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings in Washington DC and the Delmarva area every year. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

Source

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/difference-between-clear-marketable-title-20408.html

 

The Facts About Encumbrances on a Property’s Title

What is an encumbrance on a property’s title? And how can you find out if there are any on the property you wish to buy? Why is this important in the process of buying a home? It’s important to know the answers to these questions so you don’t get stuck with a bad home title. Let’s get started!

What is an encumbrance?

To know what an encumbrance is, we must know what a fee simple title is. This is the “maximum and best possible right of ownership of real property.” Encumbrances are anything that detracts from the status of fee simple title.

What are the kinds of encumbrances?

There are two categories of encumbrances: land use encumbrances and financial encumbrances.

Land use encumbrances are things such as zoning ordinances, building restriction lines, subdivision restrictions, rights of way, easements, etc., that may affect the way the owner of the title can use the property. For example, the building restriction line prohibits the owner of the title from building a structure on the property past the point of the line. It’s common for at least one of these encumbrances to be present on the home’s title, but property owners accept this as they are a necessary part of owning real estate.

Financial encumbrances are things such as unpaid mortgages, liens or judgments against the property, unpaid taxes, etc. Essentially, any outstanding financial obligation which the owner or previous owner has not paid. Records of these kinds of encumbrances are kept on file in local land records.

Why do I need to know about encumbrances on a property’s title?

There are several reasons it’s important to be aware of encumbrances on a property’s title before you purchase it. With regard to land use encumbrances, it’s important to know how you can and cannot use the land on the property so you don’t violate any local regulations. In addition, if any land use regulations are currently in violation and you purchase the property, these violations become your responsibility, which you don’t want.

Financial encumbrances too become your responsibility if you purchase the property before they are taken care of. This means any party who is owed money by the previous owner of the property can now come after you. Filing errors, forgery, fraud, and other discrepancies at the land records office can also result in the discovery of encumbrances for which you will be held responsible as the current owner of the property.

How can I discover and protect myself from encumbrances?

The best way to discover encumbrances on a property’s title is to enlist the help of a title insurance company. The company will do a thorough search of local land records to find any encumbrances on the title, and will research any land use encumbrances that may exist. This way, you can decide whether or not you want to move forward with the purchase.

If you do decide to move forward with the purchase, it’s important to protect yourself from encumbrances that may be discovered as a result of past fraud, filing errors, etc. This is what title insurance is for. Title insurance protects you from claims on your property’s title due to encumbrances that could surface at any time. For more information about home title insurance in the Delmarva area, contact Colony Title Associates today.

property title encumbrances

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings in Washington DC and the Delmarva area every year. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

Sources

http://www.ctrealtor.com/unprotected/HtfdCourant_WhatIsThisThingCalledMarketableTitle.pdf

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/difference-between-clear-marketable-title-20408.html

What are Some Typical Home Title Claims?

A claim against a home’s title is a claim from a third party that somewhere along the line of ownership of the property, a legal issue occurred and was left unresolved. Now that you are the owner of the property, this unresolved legal issue is, unfortunately, your responsibility. Title insurance protects you from these claims because your title insurance company will take care of the legal proceedings and associated fees for you. Without title insurance, you would have to take care of this matter yourself, which can be time-consuming and expensive. And because your lender also has ownership of your home until you’ve paid off your mortgage, a title claim becomes their responsibility as well. This is why you’re required to buy lender’s title insurance. So why not buy it for yourself as well? Get peace of mind and cover yourself from some of the following title claims with home title insurance in Maryland.

Typical Home Title Claims

Someone else owns an interest in the property

Unlikely as it seems, this can and does happen. If someone else claims a legitimate interest in the property, you’ll be very grateful that you purchased home title insurance in Maryland.

Forgery

Forged documents due to fraud, impersonation, duress, incompetency, incapacity, or undue influence are not considered valid. If discovered, this could lead to a claim on your title.

Undisclosed Liens

Undisclosed liens can come about as a result of a “deed of trust, unpaid taxes, special assessments or homeowners association charges” that were left unpaid by a previous owner.

home-title-claim

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings in Washington DC and the Delmarva area every year. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

Source

http://wallethub.com/edu/title-insurance-guide/892/

Reading Your Title Insurance Policy

Looking for title insurance in Maryland? You’re probably aware that having title insurance protects you from third-party claims against your home’s title and could save you a considerable amount of money if a problem ever arises with your home’s title. Reading over your title insurance policy will help you get to know the specifics of your situation, which will help you be a more informed homeowner. In addition, you may need to know this information well if at some point in the future a claim arises. Here’s how to read over your title insurance policy.

Reading Your Title Insurance Policy

Face Amount

This is the amount for which you’re covered. Make sure this amount is correct and matches what your property was appraised for when you bought it. Remember that your property’s value may change over the years, and you may need to work with your title insurance company to adjust this.

The Date

The date that the insurance goes into effect should match the closing date of the escrow.

The Property

The policy should describe in detail the property and interests that you are purchasing and that it will protect. This includes the boundaries of the property. Title insurance protects not just your home, but your entire property.

 

If you have any questions about title insurance policies, contact Colony Title Associates today!

title insurance facts

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings in Washington DC and the Delmarva area every year. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

Source

http://wallethub.com/edu/title-insurance-guide/892/

How Title Insurance Protects You From the Seller

Sometimes title insurance is thought of as protection for recording errors or unpaid liens that happened long ago and have been obscured by the passage of time. However, there are plenty of current problems with the property and its current owners that can make life difficult for a buyer. A title company can help you avoid unwanted situations with current property owners that could lead to extended court battles and expensive legal fees. Here’s how title insurance protects you from the seller.

How Title Insurance Protects You From the Seller

Fraud

Though we’d like to think the people we’re doing business with are honorable and upstanding, the reality is that this isn’t always the case. Fraud is a possibility in a real estate transaction, and if you’re on the receiving end, you can face some serious problems once the jig is up. A good example of this can be found here, in a sale of a property after divorce. Normally, this would not be an issue, but if one of the spouses moved to another state and filed for divorce there, there would be no record of the divorce in the state where the property is located. Tenancy records would not change, and the remaining party could conceivably have another party pose as the second rightful tenant in order to sell the property. The buyer, unfortunately would be stuck with a property that was not theirs, and if the estranged spouse returned, he or she would claim entitlement to the property. Title insurance would make this situation considerably less difficult for the buyer, who would have a legal defense prepared by the title company as opposed to having to seek legal counsel and fight the battle on his or her own.

Debts, Loans, and More

If the seller has unpaid debts, outstanding loan judgments, unpaid bills, or other “financial or legal obligations that can’t be satisfied at closing,” you could incur the burden of their creditors as any judgments against the property will pass on to you. Having title insurance ensures that you are protected against these and other scenarios.

title insurance

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings in Washington DC and the Delmarva area every year. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

 

Real Estate Settlement Services in Washington DC

Ready to settle? With real estate settlement services in Washington DC from Colony Title, settling on a property has never been easier. Our team conducts more than 2,000 real estate closings every year throughout the Delmarva area. How do we do it? Our closing process is carefully regimented to ensure it proceeds smoothly and efficiently and of course, to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

Real Estate Settlement Services in Washington DC

The first order of business is the title order. After the title order is placed, the title abstract is ordered in ordered to determine the history of the title. The title search is conducted in order to find and potential issues with the title that could hinder the process. If necessary, a location survey is also taken in order to determine the boundaries of the property.

After the title search and location survey are completed, the next step of real estate settlement services is securing the mortgage payoff and any other necessary figures such related to tax, water, and homeowners associations. Necessary documents including the deed, title insurance commitment, loan documents and settlement sheet are all collected and accounted for.

Once all of the documentation is in place, it’s time to close. We coordinate and conduct the closing and disburse funds as needed. Documentation of the deed and mortgage are filed in the county jurisdiction. The final title policy is issued, and the closing is complete! If you’re looking for real estate settlement services in Washington DC, contact Colony Title today for a smooth and easy closing.

real estate settlement services Washington DC

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings in Washington DC and the Delmarva area every year. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

 

Do Home Title Searches Find Anything?

A title search is the process of searching public records to assess the history of a home’s title. These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes. As we’ve written before, there are things that a title search can find and things that it can’t find. Title insurance serves as added protection against the potential problems that a title search can’t find, making it a valuable asset for your home.

But what about the things that a title search can find? Do title searches often find problems in public records that could lead to a claim against a home? It might seem counterintuitive that public records could be incorrect or that some problem could exist there that could lead to a title issue. These are public records after all, they should be correct, right? As much as we would like to think so, the fact is that this is often not the case.

Problems are frequently discovered during a home title search. According to Jeremy Yohe, spokesman for the American Land Title Association and quoted on Bankrate.com, “One out of every three searches reveals a title or public record defect that’s fixed before the transaction closes.”

To put this another way, if you and two friends each bought a home, one of you would encounter a problem during the title search. Gambling that there won’t be any problems with your home’s title isn’t a chance you want to take. For more information on home title searches and title insurance in Maryland, contact Colony Title Associates today.

home title search

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings per year in the central Maryland area. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

Source

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/6-questions-to-ask-about-title-insurance-1.aspx

 

Do I Need Title Insurance in Baltimore?

Title insurance is one of most important purchases you can make during the process of buying a home. And in fact, you’ll have to buy title insurance for your lender. While you’re not required to purchase it for yourself, it is very beneficial to have and may end up saving you a lot of money in the event that a discrepancy with your home’s title leaves it open to a claim. Here’s why you need title insurance in Baltimore.

Do I Need Title Insurance in Baltimore?

The purpose of title insurance is to protect your property against claims on the title by a third party. So how does this work? How could anyone claim to own a property that you bought? There are a number of different ways this could happen, all of which point back to a problem with the property’s title at some point during the history of its existence. The title could have been improperly filed, or a previous owner could have committed forgery or fraud to obtain ownership. The title may have changed hands improperly when the property was lost or sold. These are just a few of the possibilities, but essentially, there are many things that can go wrong with a property’s title.

When title problems occur, they can come back to be your problem when you gain ownership of the property. If the title is not clean, a third party can claim ownership of the property, costing you a considerable amount in legal fees and possibly even ownership of your house.

Title insurance protects you from these claims. If you choose to purchase title insurance for yourself, the Baltimore title insurance company will conduct extensive research into the history of the property’s title, called a title search or title examination. This will reveal potential problems with the title, before you even assume ownership. However, the title search cannot uncover all potential problems. Therefore, title insurance serves as protection against these problems, and protects you from claims against your title. Overall, while you might not be required to purchase title insurance for yourself, it’s highly advisable to do so.

title insurance Baltimore

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings per year in the central Maryland area. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

Source

http://www.zillow.com/home-buying-guide/what-is-title-insurance/

What is Tenancy By the Entirety in Maryland?

Tenancy by the entirety is one of the options you have to title your home in Maryland if you are married and own a property with your spouse. In fact, unless the deed specifies otherwise, the state will presume that you are holding your property by tenancy by the entirety. Maryland is one of a relatively small number of states that allow married couples to hold residential property as tenants by the entirety, and in recent years the protections that this status afforded residential property owners have been waning. Nevertheless, it is still a viable option for titling your home, and offers all the protections of joint tenancy with the addition of more protection against creditors.

Tenancy by the Entirety in Maryland

The basic premise of tenancy by the entirety is that the married couple own the residential property as one unit, not two people. This has several consequences. First, if one of the spouses passes away, the other will receive full possession of the property without it having to pass through probate. Second, both spouses must consent to sell the property together in the event they wish to do so. Essentially, the main benefits of tenancy by the entirety are the same as those of joint tenancy.

The main difference between the two is the additional protection tenancy by the entirety offers against creditors. If one spouse has problems with debt, defaults on a loan, etc., the creditors cannot come after the house because it is not owned by the one spouse but by the two together as a unit.

However, this immunity from creditors is not as strong as it used to be. A 2002 Supreme Court ruling held that “the IRS can go after tenancy by the entirety property even if only one of the spouses has an unpaid tax debt.” And of course, if the spouses hold a joint debt, the property is not protected against creditors.

It’s important to go into your real estate closing knowing the pros and cons of each option for holding title to your home in Maryland. Colony Title Associates can answer all of your questions about home title’s, title insurance, settlements, and more, as well as provide you with title insurance and real estate settlement services. Please contact us today for more information.

tenanacy by the entirety Maryland

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings per year in the central Maryland area. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

 

Sources

http://www.houlonberman.com/faq/what-is-tenancy-by-the-entirety-2/

http://estateplanninginfoblog.com/2010/08/tenancy-by-the-entirety-ownership-between-spouses/

How to Ensure a Smooth Real Estate Closing

In a perfect world, every real estate closing would go off without a hitch. The last pieces of business would be taken care of, and the process would take under an hour. In the real world, however, this isn’t always the case. Unforeseen problems throw snags into the proceedings, and suddenly a closing takes hours, or worse, has to be canceled and rescheduled. While there’s no way to absolutely guarantee that this won’t happen, there are several steps you can take in advance to increase the likelihood that your real estate closing will go smoothly.

How to Ensure a Smooth Real Estate Closing

Review Documents

If the information on any document is found to be incorrect, even a simple misspelling, it can delay or even necessitate the rescheduling of a closing. Ask to see all paperwork in advance and check and recheck every piece of information until it is verified.

Down Payment

Transfer the down payment to the closing agent a few days in advance to eliminate the possibility of a last minute problem at the bank. Don’t worry if you send too much, you’ll get a refund. An alternative to transferring the funds is to bring a certified or cashier’s check to the closing.

Expedite Loan Documents

If the closing agent doesn’t receive the loan documents in time, this will put a major snag in the proceedings. You can avoid this by asking the closing agent and the lender in advance if they have everything they need including bank statements and tax returns. Call again on the day of your closing to confirm that everything is ready to go.

Title Trouble

To avoid last minute title trouble, get your own copy of the preliminary title report (completed after escrow opens) to review. Your title company will inform you of any problems they find during the title search, but there are some things that can’t be found, making it important to purchase title insurance at the time of closing.

Final Walk-Through Problems

If you find any problems with the home during your final walk-through, tell you agent immediately so he or she can work towards a solution with the sellers agent.

Enlist a Real Estate Settlement Service

A real estate settlement service can take care of many of these pre-closing tasks for you and coordinate parties and documents so that the closing can go smoothly.

real estate closing

About Colony Title Associates:

Founded in 1995, Colony Title Group handles in excess of 2000 real estate closings per year in the central Maryland area. The founder Tee Tillman has over 23 years experience in the title and real estate law fields. Colony handles closings for several lenders, including banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Colony is the preferred choice for many real estate brokers in the Baltimore area. If you have any questions concerning issues that Baltimore title insurance protects you from, feel free to contact us at 410 884-1160 or visit ColonyTitle.com today!

Source

http://www.zillow.com/home-buying-guide/closing-issues/