Thursday, October 29, 2009

Listing Agents: Ask for Seller's Title Policy at Listing

As a listing agent, you likely have a checklist of items to gather or pull from various sources, including basic information from the seller. Here's a thought which could save time and money later down the road: Ask the seller to produce her owner's title policy (if she has one) at time of listing.

Here are just a few reasons why this simple step could prove so valuable:

- If a prior-owner unreleased lien surfaces during the title search, you'll know exactly which title insurance company to contact, and they should expedite the clearing of the issue.

- The policy should disclose any matters that a prior survey or location drawing has revealed.

- The policy should disclose if the property is subject to ground rent.

- The buyers may be eligible for a "reissue rate" of title insurance premium. While benefitting the buyer, this cost savings can be an inducement thereby aiding the seller.

- Asking at time of listing rather than several days before settlement could be the difference between the seller having it available and it being packed away in a moving truck.

Some sellers won't be able to find it. In that case, a copy of the HUD-1 from their purchase can also be very helpful as it tells which title insurance company the policy was written on so a copy can be obtained directly from them.

Make sense?