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My Real Estate Closing Was Delayed! Am I Homeless Now?

My Real Estate Closing Was Delayed! Am I Homeless Now?

There are many reasons for why closings can be delayed. Maybe the home inspection turned up something concerning. Or perhaps your title company found an undisclosed lien on the house. Either way, it’s bound to be an inconvenience when people buy or sell in a simultaneous transaction. And for those who have already moved out of their previous home and hedged all of their bets on moving into their new abode right after the closing, the inconvenience is automatically upgraded from minor to major.

Individuals with a flair for the dramatic tend to jump straight into the assumption that they are now “homeless.” While that’s certainly an eye-catching post to shock Facebook friends, it’s not necessarily true. True homelessness is vastly different from not being able to close on your home for a few days.

According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, “A homeless individual is defined in section 330(h)(5)(A) as an individual who lacks housing (without regard to whether the individual is a member of a family), including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility (e.g., shelters) that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing.”

In other words, if you have the means to put a roof (temporary though it may be) over your head without the help of non-profits or the government, you’re not actually homeless.

There are a number of solutions that can help ease the temporary discomfort of not owning home prior to the completion of your closing transaction. You could opt to pay for hotel accommodations, take a mini vacation, or stay with relatives or friends until the house is ready. Just remember that unless you end up staying in a homeless shelter or sleeping on a park bench, the term “temporarily displaced” might be more suited to your condition than “homeless.”


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: 6 Pieces of Information You Need to Apply for a Home Loan

6 Pieces of Information You Need to Apply for a Home Loan

 

So you’ve found the house of your dreams at a price point that seems doable for your long-term budget. Great! Hopefully you’ve already been pre-qualified for a loan, but either way, you’ll need these 6 pieces of information to successfully apply for a home loan:

  • Name
  • Income
  • Social Security Number
  • Property Address
  • Estimated Value of Property
  • Mortgage Loan Amount Sought

You can apply or submit your information in writing or orally. So long as your live conversation or phone call is backed by a written record, your application will be legitimate.

If your loan is approved once the 6 key pieces of information are submitted, a creditor MUST supply a loan estimate within 3 business days, meaning you’ll get your results much faster if you apply earlier in the week.


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 Title Insurance Even Do?

What Does Title Insurance Even Do?

What Does Title Insurance Even Do?

Title Insurance is an enigma to many homeowners, leaving you to wonder “Do I even need it?” Homeowner’s insurance obviously covers you if anything bad happens to your new home like a fire, so what’s the use of title insurance if your home is already protected?

While your home might be protected from physical damage, homeowner’s insurance does nothing to protect you from outright losing ownership to your home. That’s where title insurance kicks in—it insures the title to your home. There’s a reason you’re required to have lender’s title insurance when you take out a mortgage; your lender is completely aware of the risk of problems occuring that could challenge your claim to the title.

However, lender’s insurance only protects the lender against title challenges; it doesn’t insure you or your heirs in the event of a defect in the title (including but not limited to unpaid bills for labor and material, forgeries, missing heirs, unpaid mortgages, unpaid taxes, etc.).

If you want the same protection for yourself, you’ll want an owner’s title insurance policy, which is a one-time fee and is good for as long as you or your heirs own the property.

Ask yourself these questions:
What if the people signing the deed are not really the owners?
What if someone claims to have a lien on the property and demands that you pay it?
How much will it cost in legal fees to defend your rights?

How can owner’s title insurance protect me?
Some common examples of problems covered by title insurance include:

  • Forgeries and fraud
  • Undisclosed or missing heirs
  • Unpaid taxes and assessments
  • Unpaid judgments and liens
  • Unreleased mortgages
  • Mental incompetence of grantors on the deed
  • Refusal of future lender to provide financing based upon condition of title
  • Refusal of potential purchaser to accept title based upon condition of title
  • Improper execution of documents
  • Mistakes in recording or indexing of legal documents
  • Impersonation of the true owners of the land by fraudulent persons

Ultimately, it’s your choice whether or not to get owner’s title insurance. But one thing is for sure—it certainly never hurts to have an extra layer of protection on one of your most expensive investments.


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: Questions to Ask When House Hunting

Questions to Ask When House Hunting

 

House hunting is an exciting undertaking. After all, you’re choosing the place your family is going to call home! However, the process is a bit more complicated than shopping for a new pair of shoes, so you’ll want to make sure you’re asking all of the right house hunting questions to get the information you need.

Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues. For example, you can ask questions like whether anything needs to be replaced, or what things require ongoing maintenance like paint, roof, heating and AC, appliances and carpet. Also ask about the house and neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues, like whether there has been any recent crimes in the neighborhood. Be sure the seller’s or real estate agent’s answers are clear and complete, and ask questions until you understand all of the information they’ve given.

Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive. Using an online house buying scorecard can help you develop your question list and keep a record for each potential home.


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: Why Am I Learning About Escrow at the Closing Table?

Why Am I Learning About Escrow at the Closing Table?

Why Am I Learning About Escrow at the Closing Table?

At Title Junction we strongly encourage consistent and concise communication between all parties involved in each individual real estate transaction. It’s important to maintain communication not only to reach the preferred closing date but to make sure that you are aware of what you’re agreeing to, whether you’re buying or selling.

Although all involved parties do their best to provide you with the best information, you may still reach the closing table confused about impound accounts. An impound account, also referred to as an escrow account, is set up by your lender. This account pays extraneous property-related fees on your behalf. These fees may include things like your homeowner’s insurance or property taxes. These bills can be inconsistent with both timing and amount due. To help with this, homeowners can choose to pay fees in small payments with their monthly mortgage through an impound or escrow account. This way the bills are spread out while payments are made on time.

This information is extremely important because if your loan does not include an escrow account then it is up to you to plan to pay these fees on your own without the additional help and management that impound/escrow accounts offer.

Furthermore, if an escrow account isn’t featured in your loan then don’t be afraid to request one from your lender. Keep in mind that this account may make things easier financially for you and your family. The purpose of an impound or escrow account is to increase predictability. If the payments increase, then they will increase in installments rather than a huge unexpected bill that puts you behind.

Not sure if your lender has included it or how it works? ASK YOUR LENDER!

At Title Junction we want our buyers to sign their final documents with confidence in their financial status. When we reach the closing table and buyers are unaware of these fees that could have been tied to an impound account, we have to take a step back and enhance the communication that should have already been established between the lender and buyer.


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: Your Closing Disclosure: Making Sense of Closing Costs

Your Closing Disclosure: Making Sense of Closing Costs

 

On the second page of your Closing Disclosure, you’ll find details about the specific closing costs, divided into different sections.

Section A includes: Origination charges collected by the lender Origination fees paid to brokers, loan officers or other parties and Discount Points – prepaid interest. These figures should match your original Loan Estimate.

Section B covers services for which you could NOT shop. The total of these should be within 10% of the total from your Loan Estimate.

Section C covers services you could shop. If you chose providers from the lender’s written list, costs should be within 10% of Loan Estimate. The set of services you can shop may vary on different loans.

The Recording Fees in Section E should be within 10%; other costs in sections E, plus F, G and H, may vary from your Loan Estimate without tolerance limits.

This page will also break out the costs YOU will pay, before or at closing; the costs the seller will pay, any costs paid by others, and any credits from your Lender.


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: Buyers Beware: Scammers Are Targeting Your Inbox

Buyers Beware: Scammers Are Targeting Your Inbox

Buyers Beware: Scammers Are Targeting Your Inbox

Searching for a new home can be a challenge; you have to make sure the house has all of the features you need, obtain financing, negotiate with the sellers…the ever-growing list can seem daunting. But with the help of your trusty real estate agent, it’s nothing you can’t handle. That is, until you find out your personal information or finances may have been compromised by cyber criminals somewhere along the line.

Cue panic attack.

It’s become common practice for cyber criminals to hack into email systems and attempt to steal personal information. Unfortunately, many of these scammers see real estate transactions as a gold mine, and rightfully so; there’s a ton of money changing hands and personal information galore. These criminals collect private information by sending emails to buyers prior to their closing, pretending to be their real estate agent or title company.

It’s important to practice extreme caution when you give out any sort of financial or personal information, even if it seems to make sense at the time. These scammers are skilled at deception—it’s what they do for a living.

Avoid becoming a victim of these online con artists by making sure you know exactly who you are communicating with and contacting your professionals directly through phone numbers you’ve previously established are safe. Emails that tell you there’s been a last-minute change or demand immediate action are red flags, and you should exercise caution when clicking on links or opening attached pdf files. Hover your mouse over links before clicking to make sure they are from trusted websites or navigate to the website yourself.

At Title Junction, your security and comfort are of the utmost importance to us. If you don’t feel comfortable giving your information via email, we’ll be more than happy to accommodate you on the phone. Still not comfortable? Stop by our Fort Myers office and speak to us in person to verify any needed information. When you close with us, we will always give you the real estate/closing relationship you deserve.


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: Understanding Loan Fees and Their Origins

Understanding Loan Fees and Their Origins

 

Loan application fees. Yuck. Nobody likes to shell out money just to apply for a loan, but it’s a necessary evil. The loan origination process does involve work on the lender’s side, and the application fee pays for the costs of underwriting the loan, the home appraisal, a copy of your credit report, and any additional charges that may be necessary.

To give you a bit more perspective, here’s a basic overview of the loan origination process:

Application Processing – The lender has to process your application by reviewing the information for accuracy and completeness. If there’s any faulty or missing information, they will send it back to you to correct or fill out.

Underwriting – This is where the lender pulls together provided information like employment information and credit scores, which are taken into consideration along with the information on your application. Once the underwriting process is complete, the lender will decide whether to approve or reject your file.

One Last Check – If it’s approved, your file will go through one last round of quality control, which is essentially a last minute check to make sure everything is in order before they fund your loan.

Keep in mind that application fees are generally non-refundable, so make sure to get pre-qualified before you submit any loan applications.


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: Help or Hassle: What’s Your Title Company Giving You?

Help or Hassle: What’s Your Title Company Giving You?

Help or Hassle: What’s Your Title Company Giving You?

As a home buyer, seller, or real estate agent, you’ve probably seen the odd advertisement about the importance of title insurance and choosing the right title company for your closing. And with a wide selection of horror stories featuring fraud, liens, miscommunication, and even lost investments, it’s understandable why you’d want to shop around for a reliable title company in your area. However, if you’ve already selected a title company and are in the final stages prior to your closing, consider these questions:

  • Has the title company sent a settlement statement?
  • Were wiring instructions sent?
  • Has the title company consistently communicated with you?

If your chosen title company hasn’t provided you with these basic considerations within a timely manner, you might want to reevaluate how reliable they really are. Do you feel confident that everything is being done correctly? Are you sure your closing will even take place?

With Title Junction, you’ll never have to wonder about the status of your closing. We keep you informed every step of the way, from contract to closing table. Choose the title company that will give you the real estate / closing relationship you deserve.


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: PMI? What’s That?

PMI? What’s That?

 

If you type PMI into Google, the first result that pops up will likely be for a non-profit organization. But if you scroll down a few results, you’ll see the meaning that makes a lot more sense within the context of buying a house: Private Mortgage Insurance. Or in some cases, Private Mortgage Insurer.

In either case, these are privately-owned companies that provide mortgage insurance. They offer both standard and special affordable programs for borrowers. These companies provide guidelines to lenders that detail the types of loans they will insure, and Lenders use these guidelines to determine borrower eligibility.

Most mortgage lenders will require that you have mortgage insurance in order to obtain a loan. PMI’s usually have stricter qualifying ratios—like having a good credit score—and larger down payment requirements than the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is another option for mortgage insurance. But PMI premiums are often lower and they insure loans that exceed the FHA limit. In other words, PMI’s give you more options if you qualify.


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: Beginners Mini-Guide to Real Estate Investments

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