Real Estate

Title Insurance Protects Owners and Lenders

Q.: What is title insurance?

A.: A title insurance policy is a contract to indemnify, or protect, an insured (owner or lender) from certain losses or damages suffered as a result of unknown liens, mortgage or any other defects in the title to real estate. For example, let's say that neither you nor the title insurance company knows that your property's mortgage release was forged by a prior owner. Obviously, because no one knows about this forgery, your title insurance policy will not show such a title defect. Even so, your title insurance policy will protect you from a loss if and when the forgery is discovered.

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Tenant/Landlord Rights and Obligations

The following information applies to most tenants who pay rent for a place to live, although there are exceptions (including, for example, those who pay rent to live in nursing homes, hotels and motels, and university-owned student rentals).  Also, there is a different landlord-tenant law that applies to those who live in a manufactured or mobile home park.

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Reverse Mortgages Convert Home Equity into Cash

Q.: What is a reverse mortgage?

A.: Generally speaking, a reverse mortgage is a type of loan that may be used to convert the equity in a home into cash for a homeowner.  The amount of the loan is derived, in part, from the amount of equity the homeowner has in the home.

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Quitclaim Deed Transfers Property without Ownership Guarantee

Q.: My elderly mother wants to transfer ownership of her home to me, her only child. My attorney drafted a quitclaim deed. What is a quitclaim deed?

A.: A quitclaim deed is a written document that transfers the title (ownership) of real property such as a home or piece of land. A quitclaim deed offers no warranties or guarantees that the owner has good title or ownership, but simply conveys whatever interest exists when the deed is executed (transferred) and delivered.

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Mold: An Old Contaminant Creates New Concerns for Homeowners

Mold has been around for millions of years, and continues to travel in and out of our homes and work places through ventilation systems, doors and windows. Despite the fact that it is ever-present, mold has recently and increasingly become the subject of lawsuits being filed by homeowners against home builders, landlords, architects, realtors, building system manufacturers and insurance companies seeking property damage and bodily injury awards. Why this sudden attention to mold? In recent years, we have learned more and more about the health effects of mold, particularly with respect to mold as a cause of allergic reactions and asthma attacks. In addition, timelines for new construction have decreased because of competitive pressures, leading to carelessness with respect to roofing and drainage, the two leading causes of mold problems.

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Buying a Home

Q.: What should I watch for when buying a home?

A.: The purchase of a home is, to most people, the biggest single investment of their lives. The savings of years of hard work are invested in this one venture. It is, therefore, extremely important for a prospective purchaser to use the greatest caution in selecting a home that will not only provide comfort, but will cause as little worry as possible, both while it is lived in and when it is time to sell.

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Ask Questions When Using Title Insurance Agencies

Q.: Where I live in Ohio, real estate transactions usually seem to close at title insurance agencies. Why is that?

A.: The answer is mostly a matter of economics. It costs banks big money to maintain closing staff and to commit space just for closings (space that might be used for other purposes). Years ago, title insurance companies and their agents, who were doing the courthouse work anyway, offered to take on the closing responsibilities as well, and that tradition continues today. Generally, it works well enough. Also, there are those lenders who don’t have a local presence, but who do their business either online or through brokers; the title agency becomes their local connection with their customers.

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