Taking care of last minute title “surprises” with efficiency and aplomb! Why a little patience can go a long way when buying a foreclosure.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Richard Weisser Realty

Title issues with foreclosuresIt seems that now, more than ever, the issue of clear and marketable title of real property is becoming more of an art than a science. As previously foreclosed properties change hands from asset holder to asset holder, the chain of title often develops a few weak links.

So it is not uncommon to uncover some defects in the abstract as the date of settlement approaches. And many times, correcting the problems can take some time, and often can threaten to postpone a closing indefinitely.

This is no time to panic. As title researchers become more and more experienced with out of the ordinary situations, the solutions are becoming more and more routine. The key point to remember is this:

Everyone wants the property to close!

So even if settlement is delayed, somebody somewhere will get the title into a marketable condition and settlement will occur.

Good deals often are fraught with some inconveniences, but in the end, it’s a win-win for all parties involved. The buyer gets a great price and the seller has one less property to liquidate.

Patience is a virtue … and it pays off in the end!


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Don Rogers
Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield - O'Fallon, MO
Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes


Very good point sir.  I have had only one instance where the closing was delayed and it came up a couple of days before close and it took about a week to clear up the issue, all over one signature missing.

The good news is it closed and all were happy.

Jan 11, 2010 11:05 PM #3
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Richard, you bring up an excellent point.  Title issues can normally be taken care of, but some times it does take time, especially when government entities are involved.

Jan 11, 2010 11:09 PM #4
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Richard.....I have to say that whenever I bought a property in the past, I always had my own attorney take a look at the title before I even submitted an offer....I wanted to make sure I wasn't spinning my wheels for nothing.....that would cost me more than a quick peak at the title....

Jan 11, 2010 11:15 PM #5
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Hi Richrd,

I like the patiene is a virtue... It does pay off in the end as long as we keep the fsith.

Jan 11, 2010 11:35 PM #6
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


Time and patience cures all things...even Title issues. Title problems aren't usually on my top three issues causing the most problems in a transaction.


Jan 12, 2010 12:01 AM #7
Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

Hi Richard, even though when things get rough, they always work out in the end. Patience from everyone is key. Have a great day Richard!

Jan 12, 2010 12:20 AM #8
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Richard, your post also brings out the importance that Buyers should purchase Title Insurance just in case something may have been over looked.

Jan 12, 2010 12:29 AM #9
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Richard...everyone wants to go to the closing...as you say, it just takes patience. 

Jan 12, 2010 12:40 AM #10
Tony Orefice
Wilkinson and Associates/www.TonyOreficeRealtor.com - Harrisburg, NC
Realtor/Harrisburg NC,Concord NC

Hi Richard,

About 3 years ago, I had the patience of a saint during a RE transaction. Long story short: my clients were selling a house. A buyer made an offer but things got held up because it was discovered that there was a title error when my clients bought the house. Now, in order for the deal to go through, we had to get anyone who was on the title when my sellers bought the house to sign off on the title again. Richard, there were 6 people I had to track down. Of course, they all lived miles away from each other. But...I got the job done and we had our closing.

Jan 12, 2010 12:48 AM #11
Frank Kliewer
Woodinville, WA

Hi Richard, good advice. I always tell my clients to keep their eyes on the ball when things get messy. The objective is to close the transaction, not get upset by the details, which are always at least a bit, and sometimes a lot different than we expected. Keep up the good work for your clients!

Jan 12, 2010 01:36 AM #12
Marian Goetzinger
Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000 - Pine Knoll Shores, NC
Crystal Coast Real Estate NC

Thanks Richard.  I'm afraid, we, as a society, have gotten so accustomed to instant gratification in all things that patience is not one of our strong suits.  Today's world requires it and certainly it is better to take a little extra time and get it right.

Jan 12, 2010 02:00 AM #13
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Richard, up here, the title attorneys sometimes are looking at he title report for the first time as they sit down at the settlement table.  I've starting to check up on them really early in the process to make sure they've actually looked at the thing early in the process.  Today there are a lot more opportunities for title issues.

Jan 12, 2010 02:10 AM #14
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

There are many problems with titles today.  I found out a title company (One that I did not work with)  were selling title ins to buyers and never had cleared a the title.  There are some real messes out there!

Jan 12, 2010 04:40 AM #15
JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

So far I have been alright with the titles for foreclosures, a couple of resales that had issues, but the banked owned properties I have lucked up on so far.

Jan 12, 2010 07:51 AM #16
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

It pays to prepare buyers for delays with foreclosure purchases.  Heck, I'm finding with appraisal issues it may pay to prepare private sale purchasers for delays.  I suppose for those of us in this business who make it through these "difficulties" we will be well educated when the dust settles.

Jan 12, 2010 07:55 AM #17
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Richard:  A lot of the issues I've seen in my own deals is that a previous refi during the boom was done, and the prior mortgage not recorded as satisfied, or paid.  That's a big one.  Guess when everyone was busy cashing out their equity, title companies weren't so diligent.

Jan 12, 2010 09:45 AM #18
John Walters
Frank Rubi Real Estate - Slidell, LA
Licensed in Louisiana

Richard patience is necessary.  My broker is always telling me to take my time and not be in a hurry.

Jan 12, 2010 12:02 PM #19
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


Right you are. Nothing is more important when closing a property!


Some times there are too many players involved. Glad to hear of your successes!


I'm glad to hear that you had a happy ending!

Jan 12, 2010 12:31 PM #20
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

I noticed a comment with mention of an attorney. It's odd, in Florida, very few buyers and sellers use real estate attorneys. The title companies handle the title work, and that's all most peopel are concerned with. However, I know of a couple of areas where title companies will frequently leave "exeptions" on th title policies. So I always ask, and clarify these areas with my clients sitting right there at the closing table.

Jan 12, 2010 03:56 PM #21
Mike Saunders
Lanier Partners - Athens, GA

Richard - changing conditions require changing tactics, have a great and prosperous year

Jan 12, 2010 11:42 PM #22
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Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional
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