Walking the Line: The Importance of Reviewing Disclosures and Title Reports

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TOPIC: The importance of reviewing Disclosures and Title Reports

In this  very fast paced market and use of electronic signatures, it is important to slow down and remember your basic fiduciary responsibility to our client. Reviewing Disclosures, Title Reports and all other important documents in every transaction is essential. Recently, we have had several situations that could easily have been avoided had the agent read the document(s) and advised their client to do the same!

DISCLOSURES

We will spend more detailed time on this for each State and specific forms but as an overall reminder a couple of important things

  1. Dates on disclosures- when was the disclosure completed and does it need to be updated based on when it is delivered to Buyer?
  2. Does the disclosure require further explanation and has that been provided to the Buyer to their full satisfaction?
  3. When is the disclosure being provided to the Buyer? If it is a material fact and could impact the Buyer’s decision to purchase the property the Buyer may, in certain circumstances, have an additional time period in which to cancel the contract with no consequences.
  4. If the Seller is questioning the need to make a specific disclosure the advice is always to disclose ( with explanation if necessary). The question the Seller should always be asked ” Is this something you would want to know if you were purchasing this property?”.
  5. Agents are never exempt from disclosing what they may observe or know about a property regardless of Seller disclosure or not.

GOLDEN RULE……WHEN IN DOUBT DISCLOSE!

PRELIMINARY TITLE REPORT

  1. Who is showing as the legal holder of Title? Is this who is signing the contract documents? If not you may need additional documents showing capacity to sign.
  2. Financial Liens- recently we had a situation where the liens against the property on the report exceeded the purchase price! Big Red Flag? It could be simple matter of a former loan that had not been reconveyed and removed from public record during a refinance or a much more serious issue. You need to start asking questions!
  3. Unusual filings, these could include Bankruptcy, Mechanics Liens, Court Judgements.
  4. Unpaid property taxes.
  5. Easements – many are standard such as utility easements but in some cases the presence of an easement can have an affect on the enjoyment of the property by the buyer. If you or the buyer are not able to tell where these easements are located, ask the escrow company to provide you with a color coordinated map of the easements, there is NO extra charge for this service!

Bottom line, if you read it and ask questions you will be providing the service required by your license and fiduciary duty. Our clients deserve no less than our best!

 

Written by Linda Kaneko, General Sales Manager, Select Group Real Estate. For questions or  further information email Linda.kaneko@selectgroupre.com.

  What would YOU like to see in the next edition of Risk Management? Let us know what we should cover in the comments below!

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