I’m really confused about the title to the property I’m buying. You sent me the title report from the title company, but it looks like pages of disclosures and stuff about what they won’t cover and aren’t responsible for. The rest of it is “exceptions”. I don’t know what any of that means and there are some things in these exceptions that look confusing and even could be a problem.
Most buyers never look at the title documents and therefore lose the chance to discover issues and problems as well as benefits to the property they are buying. You will sign off on this report so if you don’t understand it you need to ask. I am not a title officer, but I read every word of these reports and call the title company with questions.
I’ve read hundreds of title reports, so some things are virtually identical in all of them. You are right that there are disclosures and the usual disclaimers. The point is that as the buyer, you are solely responsible for reading and accepting what is written in that report. Easements, government requirements, covenants, and any extraordinary exceptions should be well understood before you move forward.
I always use the title addendum when I write an offer. I’ve seen enough problematic title issues to believe that having the buyers totally happy with the title report is important. Real estate brokers are encouraged by our industry not to even read the title. We are told that since we are not expert at understanding the documents we should refrain from interpreting them for buyer. We are not attorneys.
That may be true, but if I see that a neighbor has the right to cut down your trees for a view or build a road through your property or require you to pay into a maintenance agreement I will call it to your attention. You have just a few short days to be satisfied with the report so use your time wisely. Ask me specific questions and talk to the title officer or to your own attorney.
Our lender has just approved us for a higher price than we told you we were prepared to spend when we started looking to buy. It will be a stretch, but it gives us more options. None of the places we’ve seen really excite us and we keep hoping something better will come up. So, please keep sending us new listings but go up to a higher price.
I’d be happy to do that, but I also want to caution you that as hard as it is when you are excited about buying a home, it’s only prudent to purchase something well within your means. You have kids and that means you need a college fund. Education is getting more expensive and you want to be sure the money is there when they’re ready to attend college or a trade school.
I’ve seen families spend their last dime to get a “nicer” house, only to be totally strapped for years. We also had a deep recession just a few years ago and those with no deep safety net sometimes lost their homes. I’m not trying to stick my nose into your financial business, nor am I suggesting that you are not financially savvy and good planners. I know that the house hunting process can affect the way people act and it is sometimes counterproductive to their best interests.
Another reminder I’d like to share with you is that no one gets exactly what they want here. With only around 200 houses a year to sell on Vashon it’s not likely that you will locate your “dream home”. Most buyers end up happy and satisfied with something different than what they started out hoping to find. It’s really the beauty of the island, the peace and quiet, the good schools, the safe community and the wonderful people here that really matter.
Last, but not least, so many of our homes are going for over asking price, so you need to work under your top price so that you have some wiggle room if you have to bid higher.
I’ve been thinking seriously about becoming a real estate broker andfriends have recommended that I talk to you since you’ve been in the business so long. I signed up for a class that’s required but I don’t know what else I should be doing.
This is a very challenging business and it has become more complex with each passing decade. That isn’t necessarily a bad think if you like to be challenged, love working hard and look forward to lifelong learning. The best thing you can do, after you get your license, is to interview with local real estate offices. This very much an “on the job training” sort of business. The classes you take to get a license will give you only the most limited and basic information.
A good real estate office should have an on-going educational component. You should be assigned a mentor who can show you the basics and be available to answer questions. It’s common these days for Realtors to work in teams. Often one of a team is far more experienced and you can learn a great deal from them. Ask questions and do research. Learn to be comfortable with county records and maps, the multiple listing service, the legal forms we use and real estate terminology.
You will be required to become a member of the multiple listing service. They offer many classes to help you get started with their various systems. You should also join the King County Board of Realtors. They also offer classes all year long to keep us up to date on the latest trends and most recent changes in the law. They also adhere to a code of ethics that is critical to understand. Those brokers who are successful over a long number of years, with repeat clients and referrals from former clients, are the ones who have learned to treat everyone in a transaction ethically and with respect. I learned a great deal just listening to those around me when I first started in a traditional real estate office 30 years ago.