Pending Home Sales 3-29-2017

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) posted the February numbers.  What is really impressive is the number of homes that are going under contract with the lack of inventory currently available.  Here is the article –

And as always, if you have any questions please let me know.

All the best,

Lee McLain

What is Title Insurance?

Here is a great article from that covers the what it is and why you want it on title insurance in your home purchase.

As always if you have any thoughts or questions, please let me know.

All the best,

Lee McLain

What Is Title Insurance? Peace of Mind When Buying a Home

| Jul 20, 2016

You’re forgiven for thinking that insurance is the least exciting topic related to buying a home. However, title insurance is critical to establishing peace of mind as a homeowner.

When you buy a home, you “take title” to the property and establish legal ownership—confirmed by local public land records. As part of the closing process, your lender will require a title search, and you’ll need to purchase title insurance that covers your property.

Potential title problems

Part of your settlement process will be to have a title search conducted by employees of your title or settlement company through local property records. Some of the issues they’re looking for include the following:

  • Liens for unpaid property taxes.
  • Liens for contractors who worked on the home but were never paid.
  • Clerical problems in courthouse documents: Believe it or not, a simple typo can lead to title claim problems.
  • Fraudulent claims against the property or forged signatures: For example, if a group of heirs can’t get a holdout to agree to sell the home, it’s possible that someone will forge a signature on a quit claim deed.

Lender’s title insurance and owner’s title insurance

Although as the buyer you pay for the lender’s title insurance premium, that policy only covers the lender in the case of a claim against the title. The policy pays for the expense of researching a claim and any court costs incurred due to the dispute.

Your title company will offer you owner’s title insurance in addition to the lender’s policy. In many states, owner’s insurance is optional. In most areas, it’s common for buyers to purchase owner’s title insurance, but in some areas it’s more common for the seller to buy the policy.

Owner’s title insurance is recommended, because lender’s insurance won’t protect you personally if the insurance company loses a battle over legal title. You’d be required to pay for the continued fight over the title and could lose your investment in the property.

You can purchase basic or enhanced owner’s title insurance, with the enhanced title insurance policy offering more coverage for things like mechanic’s liens or boundary disputes.

While your title insurance covers you for things such as mistakes in the legal description of your property or human error, be aware that your title insurance will have some exclusions—particularly in cases where violations of building codes occur after you bought your home.

Shopping for title insurance

Unlike other types of insurance, title insurance is paid with a single premium at your closing. If you’re buying a resale or refinancing, you may be eligible for a “reissue” rate, which could offer a substantial discount off the regular premium—because the title policy is already in effect, and the title research has already been completed.

In some states, title insurance premiums are the same no matter who you work with, but in the majority of states, you can save money by shopping around.

Get recommendations from REALTORS®, lenders and friends, and be sure to check out the license and reputation of different companies online. Always compare the features of each policy and get adequately covered for your situation.

You can also visit for more information on title insurance. While most homeowners never need to use their title insurance, its existence offers protection against a potentially aggravating—and very expensive—experience.

Michele Lerner writes about real estate, personal finance, and business news. She is the author of two books about home buying.

Why do appraisals take so long?

NAR Research conducted a survey to find out.  The results are in the article below along with the link to the article.  There is also a link to the survey.  The main challenges are the lack of training for anyone wanting in and low compensation – which is starting to drive those appraisers already in the business to look for new careers.  Read on and let me know your thoughts or questions.

All the best,

Lee McLain

Appraiser Survey Shows Challenges Remain for Practitioners

There’s been a lot of talk within the industry about appraisals lately, especially on issues like turnaround times, higher and/or “rush fees,” and the challenge of bringing new appraisers into the profession. The National Association of Realtors® just released fresh survey data from over 2,000 appraisers that offers some fresh evidence of what’s driving the conversation.  Here’s what NAR’s survey uncovered:

  • Training is a real issue. Few seasoned appraisers are doing it, and those who do often do so for no pay. One challenge highlighted is the unwillingness of lenders to accept appraisals performed in part by a trainee, as well as concerns with liability. Fewer than 20 percent of appraisers train others.
  • Appraisers are working to address turnaround time: But there’s less willingness to perform FHA/VA loans. Appraisers also complained of lower compensation from bank-owned asset management companies, or AMCs, as opposed to work done for law firms, lenders, and independent AMCs.
  • Dissatisfaction with the profession is high as challenges with FHA, others persist : The average tenure of an appraisal hovered around 22 years, but roughly 10 percent of respondents said they may leave the field within 5 years. Frustrations with regulatory burdens and insufficient compensation are the top two reasons cited for a desire to leave.

NAR has worked with FHA closely to address some of these concerns, and those conversations are ongoing. NAR President William E. Brown says improving the system is critical for to addressing challenges in the marketplace and noted that importance of appraisers in the broader home buying and selling process.

“The work of an appraiser is indispensable to our industry,” said Brown. “Appraisers provide the credible, outside opinion on a property value that agents, lenders, and ultimately the consumer depend on to guide them through a transaction. If the regulatory burdens holding appraisers back go unaddressed, the challenge of providing that timely appraisal will only get worse.”

Brown added that reducing the regulatory burden is not only good for business, but may help entice new appraisers into the profession.

“We have to work together as an industry to clear the way for appraisers to continue doing their good work while building an environment that encourages talented newcomers to get in the game.”