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Title Junction’s Christmas Angel Tree

Title Junction’s Christmas Angel Tree

We interrupt our regular blogging schedule to announce that Title Junction is partnering with the Salvation Army to host an Angel Tree this Christmas Season!

Angel Tree? What’s That?

The Angel Tree Program was created by the Salvation Army in 1979 to provide toys and clothing to children in need. In Lee County alone, there are over 28,000 children who live in poverty. Many of their parents don’t have the financial means to buy them any gifts for Christmas, so that’s where we step in!

Participating organizations and businesses (like Title Junction) hang Angel Tags from a Christmas tree, with each child represented by a numerical code along with information about their age, gender, clothing size, and what they want for Christmas. People can choose the Angel they want to adopt from the tree and then purchase gifts for their Angel. This year, Title Junction has been entrusted with 50 Angels who need to be adopted by caring souls…like you!

How Do I Adopt an Angel?

1. Pick your Angel from the Angel Tree.

2. Buy new toy(s) and/or clothing for your Angel.

3. Drop off the new, unwrapped gift(s) in a bag with the Angel Tag attached at Title Junction by December 10th. If you have more than one bag, make sure to label them with your Angel’s code as well.

Then What?

Once Title Junction receives all of the new, unwrapped gifts for the Angels, the Salvation Army will take the gifts and distribute them to the families. You won’t know the identity of your Angel, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve brought joy and hope to a child this Christmas season.


For more information give us a call at 239.415.6574 or email us at [email protected].

Title Junction Office Address:
6214 Presidential Court, Suite F
Fort Myers, Florida 33919

Business Hours:
Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

What is the Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval?

 

If you’re looking for a home you’ve probably heard the terms pre-qualified and pre-approval thrown around a few times. But what is the difference between these two concepts? How important is it that you obtain one or the other from your lender?

So What Is Pre-Qualification?

Pre-qualifying for a loan is a very informal way of calculating how much you may be able to borrow from your lender. Most lenders will allow you to pre-qualify over the phone as long as you provide a few items like your income, your debt, and how large of a down payment you are able to afford. From this point you will be able to have an approximate estimate on how much your loan will be approved for.

Then What Does It Mean to Be Pre-Approved?

A pre-approval is a much more formal commitment detailing the exact dollar amount that may be loaned to you. In order to be pre-approved your financial records will be analyzed and a document will be signed and distributed by your lender. Taking the initiative to get pre-approved shows both sellers and realtors that you are serious about purchasing a home and one that will fit your budget exactly.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Is A ‘Business Day’ For Real Estate Loan Disclosures?

What Is A ‘Business Day’ For Real Estate Loan Disclosures?

 

The definition of a “business day” is slightly different for Loan Estimates and Closing Disclosures.

For Loan Estimates, each day on which a creditor’s offices are open to the public count as a business day. Loan estimates must be delivered or placed in the mail no later than the 3rd business day after receiving your loan application. For example, if you submit a loan application on a Thursday to a creditor’s office that is only open Monday-Friday—you might have to wait until the following Tuesday to receive your loan estimate.

For Closing Disclosures, a business day is defined as all calendar days except Sundays and Federal public holidays, such as Labor Day. The Closing Disclosure must be provided to you at least 3 business days PRIOR to loan consummation.

So before you get too nervous about how long it’s taking your creditor or lender to send you information and forms, check your calendar to see how many business days it’s been. Chances are, asking for things too close to the weekend or a Federal holiday will slow down the process by a day or so.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Happened to My Escrow?

What Happened to My Escrow?

What Happened to My Escrow?

Before you can move into your dream house, a settlement has to take place. If all goes well, you are officially a new homeowner. But what happens when there is a bump in the road, like say…an escrow dispute?

When involved in a real estate closing transaction, an escrow agreement is usually required. During escrow, a deposit is held in an escrow account by a third-party, usually a Real Estate agent or Title Company, like Title Junction. The buyer and seller must comply with a mutual written agreement that ensures the procedures that must be met. This must happen before any funds can be released from escrow.

In the case of an escrow dispute, the release is determined by the third-party and the rules and regulations that it follows. Some agents may opt to freeze the escrow account if the dispute remains unresolved and may require legal actions. If such an issue arises, both buyer and seller will have to settle their dispute before a judge and present all evidence until a decision is made. However, legal action should be a last resort. Not only is a court dispute expensive, but the process is very long and burdensome. Who needs that kind of additional stress?

Here at Title Junctionany escrow funds that are in a dispute are first handled by our office with a courtesy letter. It will explain the process of the dispute, giving all parties ample time to think about the decision being made. All parties should refer to their contract and contact an attorney if necessary.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Is Earnest Money?

What Is Earnest Money?

 

Earnest money is money you put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price. However, the amount can vary depending on local customs and conditions. It’s a good idea to talk to an experienced real estate agent to get an idea of what conditions might apply. For instance, a competitive market could result in you needing to put down more money in order for the seller to take you seriously.

If your offer is accepted, the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the seller rejects your offer, your earnest money is returned to you. If you back out of the deal, you may forfeit the entire amount, so make sure you’re seriously committed to the deal before putting down your hard-earned cash.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Title Insurance: What You Need to Know

Title Insurance: What You Need to Know

Title Insurance: What You Need to Know

Buying a new home can be overwhelming, and once you’ve finally found the right one, closing is still a complex process. In addition to that, few buyers are aware of basic terms—and even fewer specifics.

Aspects of title insurance can mean the difference between a pleasing transaction resulting in ownership of a new home—or financial ruin.

What exactly is title insurance?

Title insurance is a contract used to reimburse loss or damage due to problems concerning the ownership of property, including title defects, undisclosed heirs, liens against the property, and more.

But before a title insurance policy can ever be issued, there is one crucial step:

The Title Search

A title search is the very first step in the real estate closing process.

A title searchis an examination of all available documents pertaining to the history, ownership, and financial condition of a property to identify any inconsistencies that could result in a loss. The examination includes any records the title search company can get their hands on, including reports on possession, name searches, chains of title, and tax searches.

Once identified, some of these issues can be resolved. Others can delay the sale. And in some cases, unresolved problems will never make it to the closing table.

Even the most thorough title search can fail to uncover a variety of issues.

That’s where your title insurance policy comes in.

Lender’s Policy

A lender’s policy is required by mortgage companies for them to issue a mortgage loan. The policy will cover the bank or lender for any legal fees or loss of payment due to issues with the title. You can see why lenders require this insurance.

Unfortunately, it will not protect the buyer’s personal finances.

That is what an owner’s policy is for.

Owner’s Policy

In the unlikely—but very possible—occurrence of a problem with title after the closing of a real estate transaction, an owner’s policy is the last line of defense for the buyer.

The owner’s policy will insure reimbursement for financial loss to the buyer in the event of a post-purchase complication with the title. In some cases, an owner’s policy might make it possible for the buyer to retain full ownership of the property.

As complex and overwhelming as it might seem, the entire real estate closing process can be relatively pain-free. Familiarizing yourself with the process is the main key.

However, the best way to decrease the worry that goes along with a real estate closing is to have a professional by your side. If you are looking to buy or sell and need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us today.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Cosmetic or Structural? Which Improvement Is Better for Your Home’s Value?

Cosmetic or Structural? Which Improvement Is Better for Your Home’s Value?

 

Buyers generally seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can handle. As such, you want to present a home that fits in the neighborhood but doesn’t stand out too much.

For example, if the other houses in the neighborhood are all 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and 3000 square feet, additions that turn your home into 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, and 4000 square feet will make yours harder to sell.

This is because buyers will look to other—likely more affordable—houses in the same neighborhood. Improvements should make a house show well and fit well in the neighborhood. Last-minute capital investments in large structural changes aren’t likely to pay off.

But cosmetic upgrades like painting and landscaping help a home “show” better and often do pay off. Same amenities (and price range) as the other houses but better style? Now that sounds like a winner!

Of course, all systems and appliances need to work if you want to get a top price. To give your home a competitive edge and attract buyers and bids, work with a professional real estate agent and start early.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: How Do I Pay the Title Company at Closing?

How Do I Pay the Title Company at Closing?

How Do I Pay the Title Company at Closing?

Can I bring my funds in cash? Can I pay the balance with my credit card?

The simple answer? No.

There are a few ways that payment can be made. However, with an array of fraud on our door steps, some companies have tailored what will be accepted at closing. Even more so since the most current Florida Realtors/Florida Bar-1 2010 contract has some new clauses that specify what can happen if certain payment methods are used.

What Form of Payment Is Accepted

Typically an escrow deposit (or earnest money) is made and will be accepted in the form of a personal check. This is acceptable since there is usually plenty of time from when the check is deposited to the closing date so that the check has time to clear the bank.

The two normal methods of payment at a title company are a wire transfer and a cashier’s check, which is sometimes called a bank check. These are funds that are generally considered immediate. When a closing happens, the seller’s proceeds and the payments to be made have to be able to be disbursed on available and collected funds.

What the Contract States About Funds

Page 1, line 25; it states in regards to initial deposit…
(checks subject to COLLECTION)

Page 1, lines 37-38; in regards to balance to close it states…
by wire transfer or other COLLECTED funds

Furthermore line 39 then reads…
NOTE: For the definition of “COLLECTION” or “COLLECTED” see STANDARD S.

On page 10 you will find the STANDARD S clause on lines 547-550…
COLLECTION or COLLECTED: “COLLECTION” or “COLLECTED” means any checks tendered or received, including Deposits, have become actually and finally collected and deposited in the account of Escrow Agent or Closing Agent. Closing and disbursement of funds and delivery of Closing documents may be delayed by Closing Agent until such amounts have been COLLECTED in Closing Agent’s accounts.

More importantly, know and realize that there are laws that pertain to “good funds.” We just don’t make this up.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Refinancing? Yes…You Need Title Insurance

Refinancing? Yes…You Need Title Insurance

Refinancing? Yes…You Need Title Insurance

So, I have often been asked the question, “Why do I have to pay for title insurance again? I thought I was told it’s a one-time fee for as long as I own my home!”

Well yes, it is. However, what you are now buying is a lender’s title policy for the new lender, but your owner’s title policy is good for as long as you own the home. If you already have an owner’s policy, you can often get a “reissue credit” on any future lender’s title policies that you may be required to purchase when you refinance. Also, if you refinance your loan with the same lender, they may provide additional discounts. A mortgage policy is only good for the life of that loan, hence the reason for a new policy on a new loan, even if it’s with the same lender!

Believe it or not, entities can put liens against you and your property without you knowing (i.e. identity theft). This new policy when you refinance will protect the bank and you, considering that you are now aware of what may have happened since you purchased the property. Since the time that the original loan was made, you may have taken out a second mortgage on the home or had mechanic’s liens, child support liens or legal judgments recorded against you – events that could result in serious financial losses to an unprotected lender. Regardless of the time since you purchased or refinanced your home, a myriad of title defects could have occurred. While you may not have any title defects, many homeowners do. The only way for a lender to adequately protect itself is to get a new lender’s policy each time you refinance your home.

The ONLY time you may not be required to get a new title insurance policy is if the current mortgage loan was re-written by that lender, changing terms or interest rates, but NOT the loan amount.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Getting a Visual on Closing Costs

Getting a Visual on Closing Costs

 

Purchasing a home is exciting. Finally, all of your house hunting and negotiating has paid off! However, once escrow begins the excitement can change to frustration, particularly if you are not ready for the closing costs that quickly accumulate. Watch this video to have a good mental picture of the costs that you’re likely to incur.

Closing costs simply refer to the fees related to various things associated with the escrow process in a real estate transaction. In the excitement of having an offer accepted for your dream home, you can easily lose track of the fact you are going to need to have some serious cash on hand to pay them. Many people make the mistake of only assuming they need the down payment money and have to rush around town trying to come up with money for the closing fees. There are three kinds of costs to keep in mind when purchasing a new home:

Loan Costs

  • Loan Fees
  • Interest
  • Insurance
  • Reserves

Title Costs

  • Title Search Fee
  • Title Insurance
  • Closing Fees

Records Costs

  • Recordation
  • Stamps
  • Taxes

Do yourself a favor and discuss closing costs in advance with your real estate or mortgage person.

At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Does My Closing Date on a Contract Mean?

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