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Alternatives To Litigation

While there’s no concrete answer to how long a lawsuit process might take in court, US cases take over a year on average, and cases running 5 or more years are not unheard of. The load of cases before state courts has increased over time, while staffing has not. Statistically, most litigation is not completed by a court decision, but settled out of court.

How long cases take to reach settlement is also unpredictable. Mediation and arbitration are common routes to settle outside litigation. In mediation, the parties engage an independent 3rd party to facilitate settlement – but settlement is typically voluntary. In arbitration, the parties agree to be heard by an independent, qualified arbitrator, and to abide by the decision of the arbitrator.


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: Going Green: At Home and In Your Wallet

Hurricane Plans to Protect Yourself and Your Home

Hurricane Plans to Protect Yourself and Your Home

Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, we’re all in the same boat come hurricane season. So before any storms can appear on the horizon, it’s wise to make hurricane plans to protect both yourself and your home to the best of your ability. Here’s a checklist of things you can do to make preliminary preparations for any hurricanes that might crop up this season.

Plans to Protect Your Home

  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.
  • Obtain and prepare any materials you might need to secure your house, such a storm shutters, plywood, and sandbags.
  • Keep up on outdoor upkeep that can help minimize wind and flood damage, such as trimming tree branches and cleaning out gutters.
  • Check you insurance coverage – flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.

Plans to Protect Yourself

  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home and community for hurricane hazards.
  • Determine meeting places and escape routes from your home, work, and schools.
  • Keep an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
  • Create a plan for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Post emergency phone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.
  • Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its batteries every 6 months.
  • Take First Aid, CPR, and disaster preparedness classes.

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: Going Green: At Home and In Your Wallet

Going Green: At Home and In Your Wallet

Going Green: At Home and In Your Wallet

In this day and age, we hear about all sorts of promotions and catchy phrases such as “go green” in order to promote the idea of a healthier environment. We’ve made huge technological strides in a short time period and through our own amazement, we often forget that it takes a tremendous toll on our natural conditions. But the good news is, taking steps to save our planet can have the added bonus of saving our wallets! So what are a few things you can do to save energy?

Proper blinds and/or curtains – The more heat that radiates into your home, the harder your air conditioning system has to work. The harder your air conditioning systems work, the harder you have to work to pay that heftier bill! Keeping your windows covered, especially when you aren’t even home, can help reduce your monthly costs.

Lightened rooftop color – Though you may not be in a hurry to make this change to your current home, this is a wonderful thing to keep in mind when buying a home. The darker the rooftop, the more heat the house will absorb. This change in coloring can actually be a substantial game changer.

Energy-saving appliances – Is it about time you upgraded the fridge? Have those lightbulbs quit on you? When shopping, check out the products that pride themselves on conserving energy. These products work just as well while helping you save those dollars in the long run! It’s a practical investment that you would otherwise be tossing away.

Check on your plumbing – If your water bill has steadily climbed over time, it may be due to a faulty line. Why pay for water you aren’t even using? Fixing small pipeline defects will get you back on track!

These are just a few energy-saving ways you can contribute to the wellness of the world while keeping those runaway dollars inside your bank account!


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 You Should Know About Title Commitments

What You Should Know About Title Commitments

What You Should Know About Title Commitments

At some point during the process of closing on your new home, you’ll receive a stack of papers from your real estate title company. They’ll tell you it’s your title commitment, but here’s the question: do you know what that is and why you’ve received it?

A title commitment is the title company’s promise to issue a title insurance policy for the property after closing. The title commitment contains the same conditions, terms and exclusions that will be in the actual and final insurance policy.

For title agents, an essential part of the closing process is keeping you informed, and the title commitment is an important document that contains information specific to your transaction. So let’s have a look at the parts of your real estate title commitment. 

Schedule A:

The who, what, where, and how much. Schedule A discloses the seller (current property owner) and proposed insured (buyer), the title insurance amount (sales price), the lender and loan amount (if applicable), and the legal description.

Schedule B-I:

Schedule B-I are the requirements (to-do list) that must be cleared/satisfied in order to close and issue a policy covering the new owner and/or lender.

Schedule B-II:

This section notifies the lender and/or buyer of all the exceptions to coverage. These items will not be covered/insured in the title policy.

It’s important for all parties to review the real estate title commitment. If you ever have questions, make sure to call and speak with your title company so they can help you understand everything you need to know to have a smooth closing.


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 Limited Liability Corporation?

What is a Limited Liability Corporation?

In US law, corporations are organizations authorized to act as a legal entity. United States law also recognizes another legal status for a company, called a ‘limited liability corporation,’ or LLC for short. LLCs are not separate legal entities like regular corporations, but they do provide some legal protections for owners.

LLCs can be insured separately from owners, and they also limit the personal liability of owners. If someone sues an LLC company, their suit is against the company, not the company owners. Owner risk from the suit is commonly limited to the value of their investment in the company – with some exemptions and conditions.

Unlike corporations, LLCs are not taxed on their own. LLCs are ‘pass-through’ tax entities; profits and losses pass through to the owners’ personal tax returns. Creating an LLC is relatively simple, involving state filings and modest fees.


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 Homebuyers Should Care about Flood Plains

Why Homebuyers Should Care about Flood Plains

Why Homebuyers Should Care about Flood Plains

The area and land surrounding a potential home is something many homebuyers should check out before committing to a piece of property. However, what some home hunters fail to take into consideration are the varying outcomes when choosing land, such as whether the land is a flood plain.

A flood plain is an area of land near a body of water, usually a stream or river, that is known to experience flooding during periods of heavy rainfall. If you make the decision to buy a home that’s on a flood plain, your lender will most likely require that you obtain flood insurance, because until your home is paid back in full, it’s their money at risk. But if your home is simply near a flood plain instead of on it, you may be presented with the option of obtaining flood insurance, but might not necessarily be required to do so.

Florida is well-known for the storms that roll in during peak hurricane season between the months of June and November, so it’s wisdom for any homeowner or potential buyer to consider how storm surge levels might affect the flood plain their home is located on or near. Areas located on or near flood plains have an increased chance of flooding past even what is considered to be normal levels during the rainy season. A good way to get a feel for potential flood levels is to ask neighbors how their houses fared during past hurricanes and storms.

Generally speaking, flood zones are determined by an estimation of the number of storms that will cause flooding in a year, such as hurricanes. High-risk zones start with either an A or a V, while Zones B, X, and C are the lowest risk. In some cases, your property could very well exist in multiple zones depending on the size and terrain.

You can find out whether your property is in a flood zone by visiting FEMA’s Map Service Center or your local county’s flood zone map if they provide one.


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: Sellers Closing Timeline: A To-Do List

Sellers Closing Timeline: A To-Do List

Sellers Closing Timeline: A To-Do List

Once you’ve accepted the buyer’s offer or negotiated a deal acceptable to all parties, you can expect to spend about 6-8 weeks working to get to the closing table. Fortunately you won’t have to do all of the work by yourself, but you’ll need to spend time completing specific tasks on your closing to-do list.

During this time period you can expect to be contacted by the home inspector and appraiser for the buyers to set up times when they can visit the property. You will need to be there when they come calling, so it will likely be in the evening or on a weekend unless you are home during the day. The visits are likely to take over an hour to complete each, and you would be wise to accompany both the inspector and appraiser as they go about their jobs.

You will need to also take care of the other end of your transaction: the steps needed to complete your move into a new home, whether you are buying or renting.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

  • Hire a real estate title insurance company immediately after reaching agreement with the buyer.

1-2 WEEKS AFTER SIGNING THE CONTRACT

  • Arrange for escrow through a title company and deposit the buyer’s earnest money with the company.
  • Be ready to give your information to the title company when they call or email you. This is important as they are putting all the pieces together. Some of this information may feel personal but there is a lot that will be needed to close the sale.

2-3 WEEKS AFTER SIGNING CONTRACT

  • Cooperate with the buyer’s home inspector and appraiser.

3-4 WEEKS AFTER SIGNING CONTRACT

  • Fix items that you agree to repair as soon as possible after the inspection.

4 WEEKS BEFORE CLOSING DAY

  • Set a closing date with your title company.
  • Hire a moving company.
  • Make sure to take care of details that need to be handled to get to the closing table, and when the closing day arrives, you’ll be all set.

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: Asset Division: How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce?

Asset Division: How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce?

When the legal state of marriage is ended by divorce, legal commitments by the couple – property, debts and more – must be resolved. Asset division can be complicated and emotional, and legal advice is frequently required.

While laws vary by state, the divorce process generally involves distinguishing ‘community property’ that was jointly owned by the couple from ‘non-community property’ owned by just one person. Property may mean real property, like a house, but also business, financial and other assets. Couples may divide their property and debts themselves; if they are unable to, the court presiding over the divorce may use state laws for the division.

While children are not ‘property’, divorce proceedings require addressing custody, visitation and financial support if there are children. If the couple owned a house, neither has an automatic right to evict the other until ownership of that is decided as well.


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: 5 Reasons Why Your Closing Should Be Insured

5 Reasons Why Your Closing Should Be Insured

5 Reasons Why Your Closing Should Be Insured

When you purchase a new home in Fort Myers or Cape Coral, your title company will give you the option to purchase title insurance. While it’s tempting to say ‘nah, I’m good’ and simply close on the house without a second thought, you should first consider what you’re saying no to. Here are 5 reasons why your closing should be insured:

1. For a one-time fee, it protects your largest investment for as long as you own your home. You protect your pets, life, and health. Why not your home purchase?

2. While your average homeowners insurance policy will reimburse you for damages to your house and belongings, title insurance protects your entire property from a defective title, covering both the house and the land it stands on.

3. It puts your name as owner on the records, and the history of your property is searched to determine that you are indeed the rightful owner of the property. Once documents are signed, title insurance assures that you are the current owner.

4. Title insurance on a closing means that if your title is ever defeated, you will have defense in court, in addition to being reimbursed for the amount of your covered losses.

5. Your heirs are covered for as long as you or they own the home, and your title insurance policy protects your property rights.


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 Seller Concessions Work

How Seller Concessions Work

How Seller Concessions Work

Seller concessions, seller contributions, seller credits and closing cost credits—what do these things have in common? Well, how about the fact that they’re all the exact same thing? Seller concessions are essentially monetary contributions the buyer asks the seller to put towards a variety of things, such as closing costs, escrows, etc. The money is deducted from the seller’s net proceeds at closing.

However, if a buyer plans to buy a home using a loan, they’ll want to check and see if their lender allows for seller concessions. Additionally, the buyer is basically financing whatever amount they ask for as a contribution from the seller, since closing costs will still be based on the original sales price. For instance, if you bought a $250,000 home but asked for an $8,000 concession, the rates would still reflect the $250,000 price tag rather than the $242,000 that the seller is actually netting.

Seller concessions are generally most useful because they can help the buyer pay the upfront fees associated with buying a house that might otherwise serve as a barrier to homeownership, and agreeing to concessions can help sellers sweeten the deal in order to make the sale.

That being said, it doesn’t pay to be greedy—asking for more money than is necessary to cover the costs associated with the concession will simply go right back into the seller’s pocket, so the buyer should consult with their lender in order to have a general idea of how much is needed to cover the agreed-upon expenses.


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 Does Bankruptcy Protection Work?

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