Friday, March 20, 2009

working on a mystery, a title agent mystery that is

We're working with a consumer buying a commercial property who also planned to use their residence as collateral for a line of credit to make improvements on the new building. Routine process, their bank asked for a copy of the deed to their house and they can't find it. They called their mortgage lender who starting acting kinda weird and would only provide an unexecuted copy of a mortgage, so they asked me to look into the situation.

Guess, what? There is no deed on record for their residence or a mortgage.

Long story short, they were working with an out of state title agent who I'm not even sure was licensed in PA, who has since gone out of business and nobody, not even the seller has copies of a signed HUD-1 or any other documents from closing.

Thankfully, and for what reason I don't know, the seller's attorney had a copy of the signed title insurance commitment so this consumer has some basis for a title insurance claim.

Oddly, though this out of state title agent handled the entire transaction, including receipt of lender funds and disbursement, the unsigned HUD-1 has the name of a different company as settlement/title agent, supposedly a PA company that I can't find anywhere either.

In retrospect, these folks are kicking themselves for not being more diligent about getting copies and knowing who they were working with. They sort of went on automatic pilot and just trusted that they were working with professionals.

Please, folks, choose your title agent wisely. Know who they are and where they are and make certain you get a title insurance commitment to review prior to close, make certain you get a signed HUD-1 at closing, and then follow-up after closing to confirm receipt of the recorded deed and issuance of your title insurance policy.

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