You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

by Susan Higgins, ILTA 2nd Vice President

I can just imagine that everyone reading this article has been in a position where they are posed with questions like these: Is title insurance really worth the money? Does anyone really ever have a claim on their title insurance policy? Is title insurance really necessary, as I have owned this property for over 40 years? Take into consideration the following situation…

An order was received from a local electrician that was in conversation with the “owner” of a house in the quarter section that he was interested in buying and renovating. Our title company had worked with him on previous transactions so he came to us to prepare a title commitment for him. The seller had prepared a purchase agreement but the buyer just wanted the assurance that our title policy would provide.

A file was set up, searched and when it was sent to the examiners they determined that something was awry. The legal description provided with the order did not describe the location of the house the buyer was trying to purchase. That legal described a parcel located in the middle of a pasture with no building in sight. The family had convinced a local attorney to utilize their “stepped off” legal description for the previous inter-family conveyance. The county assessor’s office also embraced that legal description and even pictured an entirely different home for this parcel in their records.

If this buyer had proceeded to buy this property, spent thousands renovating the property and then eventually sold it to another party, he would have been “on the hook” for rectifying this mess. He would not have even owned the home! The sellers could have been long gone! Because the potential buyer was proactive and sought the assistance of title professionals, this catastrophe was avoided.

So, ask this buyer if title insurance is worth the money…YES! Ask this buyer if the seller had owned the land for 50+ years…YES! Ask this buyer if seeking an ILTA member title company saved him his reputation, money and a claim…YES!