Most popular articles of 2011

By December 22, 2011 Uncategorized

Our blog is one of our best tools for communicating with our clients. We use this space to answer commonly asked questions and address industry changes that may impact you, the homebuyer (or the homeowner who wants to refinance). It’s where we write about what we know best: the closing process.

The following is a list of the Top 10 most popular articles on our blog in 2011. Please feel free to leave suggestions for future blog posts in the comments below. 

Shopping for title insurance services in the District of Columbia could save homebuyers up to $1,180, according to a recent study, while shopping in Maryland or Virginia could mean a savings of over $900.
 
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” Ben Franklin once famously said. Yet when it comes to taxes on real property – especially for first-time homebuyers – we find much uncertainty and confusion exists.
 
You just signed a contract to buy your dream home, the one with the white picket fence, the game room and the custom kitchen.  The only issue is that the sale of your property is taking place on June 20, while this house will not be ready until June 25.  Immediately you call the buyers of your property, and while they have no problem waiting to move into the property, the lock on their loan expires on June 20.  Now what?
 
In the world of real estate closings and title insurance lurks an oft misunderstood concept we call the “Reissue Rate.”  Simply put, a reissue rate is a homebuyer discount on the cost of an owner’s title insurance policy.
 
As a result of a $10 million settlement in a class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Atlanta, Georgia, Wells Fargo will issue refunds of $175 to approximately 60,000 military members and veterans who refinanced VA loans through Wells Fargo, Wachovia and SouthTrust between January 20, 2004 and October 7, 2010.
 
In the vein of “Affiliated Business Arrangements = Bad Business,” I bring to you yet more evidence of the same.  In an effort to maintain their government-sanctioned kickbacks, proponents (i.e., RESPRO, et. al.) of Affiliated Business Arrangements (ABAs) made a specious claim in a recent meeting with the Federal Reserve Board. 
 
An insured closing letter, also called a closing protection letter, is issued for an agent by the title insurance underwriter to your lender prior to your closing. This letter is for lender purposes only and is not issued to individuals for owner’s title insurance.
 
Effective January 1, 2011, the rate of withholding taxes to be withheld and paid to the Clerk of the Court on the sale of real estate by non-residents in the state of Maryland has been lowered from 7.5% to 6.75%. The rate of withholding for non-Maryland entities has remained unchanged at 8.25%.  
 
Editor’s note: State legislators voted to raise the withholding for nonresident individual sellers from 6.75% to 7% effective June 1, 2012. The rate of 8.25% for nonresident entity sellers remains unchanged.
 
You will still need to meet the guidelines and supply proper documentation. You must have met the property purchase price threshold, used the property as your principal residence and be domiciled in the District of Columbia.  
 
Cash buyers are often reluctant to buy title insurance since it is not required when paying cash for real estate.  Title insurance is viewed as an esoteric commodity that’s imposed by lenders but doesn’t actually serve a purpose.  

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