Welcome to Wednesday. Can someone pass me a cold beverage? All kidding aside, it's hot out there folks, so take precautions, wear light colors, drink plenty of fluids, etc.
As a Buyer of a home, a Seller of a Home, a Real Estate Investor, a Real Estate Agent, etc, there are some terms you need to know before you step into a deal. We have provided a concise list of the most important terms that we need to know.
The list is not in any specific priority order, as they are all quite important. Always remember to consult a local Real Estate Attorney before getting involved in any and all types of Real Estate arrangements.
1. Quitclaim Deed - This is a document that is used to, "clear up issues involving possible multiple owners of a property", per Sophie Martin, MBA, from the UNM School of Law, who says that with this special form of deed, "someone who might have an interest in your property agrees to hand it over to you."
2. Fee Simple Absolute - Per Martin, this is the, "best and most common ownership of property: full right to possess the property now and into the future."
3. Tenancy in Common - "When you and a partner (or partners) go in on a piece of land, you each own a portion of the whole which you can will or sell to others.", per Martin. Additionally, it means that, "each owner has a fee simple title to his or her share and that title can be sold or willed to someone else.", says Rick Snow, Broker/Owner of First Choice Realty. Snow adds that Joint tenancy commonly has, "rights of survivorship", where multiple parties may own property together and, "if one dies the remaining owners absorb the deceased parties share."
4. Title insurance - Snow describes Title Insurance as, "indemnity insurance against financial loss from defects in title to real property and from the invalidity or unenforceability of mortgage liens." Basically, a form of protection.
5. Escrow - "An arrangement made under contractual provisions between transacting parties, whereby an independent trusted third party receives and disburses money and/or documents for the transacting parties", as defined by Snow.
6. Default - Defined by Snow as, "the failure to comply with some aspect of the contract and either seller or buyer can find themselves in default under the provisions of the contract. Remedies to the non defaulting party should be spelled put on the contract."
7. Easement - A "permission to cross someone else's land.", which is referred to as the proper definition, per Mike Arman, a Real estate salesman and Mortgage Broker for over 20 years. Arman says that the easement holder does NOT own the land, "and cannot cut so much as one blade of grass without the owner's permission.". He also says that they cannot be unilaterally revoked or blocked (Arman says, "next stop is court."). Arman says he *specifically* suggest, "NOT purchasing ANY property which relies on easements or a chain of easements for access". Sophie Martin adds that the most common easements are held by utility companies.
8. Flood Zone - Deemed quite important, per Arman, who says that you need to be, "1,000% sure of the flood zone your prospective property is in - homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, and flood insurance will be expensive and WILL be required by your lender.". Arman says flood insurance comes from NFIP, "which is administered by FEMA (of Katrina fame), which is now a division of DHS".
9. Subject to availability of suitable financing - This is "Hand written on the contract for purchase and sale", says Arman, who says that this phrase can, "save the buyer's good faith deposit if suitable financing is not available - and the buyer defines "suitable financing", so it can also be used as an "out"". Arman says, however, that the problem is that, "sometimes decent financing simply is NOT available - and 99.9999% of buyers go looking for financing AFTER they've signed the contract and put up a (big) deposit. Lenders often won't waste their precious time on pre-approvals, come back when you've signed a contract so we know you are serious." Additionally, he adds, "Bingo - someone is going to be out five or ten grand when they can't get a loan because of a credit bureau error from 1937."
10. AS IS. - As described by Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A. Division of Economics & Business Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, "In an era of bank foreclosures and generally falling prices for real estate of all types, many properties are being sold "as is."". Wiedman says that Buyers should view the term as a, "warning to be cautious, and property being sold "as is" should be professionally inspected _before any commitments are made." He points to a a court case that can provide guidance, which is "Prudential Insurance Company of America v. Jefferson Associates, Ltd." which, he says, went to the Texas Supreme Court in 1995. Wiedman says that "When property is sold "as is," the buyer _may_ get a great deal. On the other hand, the buyer may later discover defects that will be expensive to correct -- and have _no_ ability to recover damages from the seller."
I hope these terms have been helpful. I cannot stress this point enough: Always remember to consult a local Real Estate Attorney before getting involved in any and all types of Real Estate arrangements. Do you have any important Real Estate Legal Terms to add to this list? we'd love to hear from you.
Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
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