The Germans are NOT coming!

Title Insurance with First Title Real Estate, LLC

Some closings are just complicated, even if it's a cash sale.  In May, First Title Real Estate, LLC had the opportunity to close a property owned by 3 elderly heirs who are from and live in Germany.  I didn't think it would be a problem.  (first problem, "I didn't think"!)  In reviewing the purchase agreement, there was a signature by someone who is not on title.  Flag goes up! german flag  It turned out that it was a son who had power of attorney for his mother.  OK, I need to see a copy BUT, of course, it's in German.  Not gonna do any of us any good.  I  send  a specific POA for her to sign and assumed all would be well.  Sounds ok so far.  (I know, I ASSUMED)

I do some research on the requirements for notarization of the documents outside of the USA and learn they must be notarized by a US Consular notary, not a local German notary.  The US Consular's offices throughout Germany are few.  There is going to be some traveling necessary for all parties to sign the documents.  This does not make the heirs happy BUT it is the correct and only way to get this done and issue title insurance.

Further communication with the attorneys in Germany reveal that one of the heirs passed away last October.  No one bothered to tell the real estate agent or the local attorney who handled the succession (probate) putting the 3 heirs in possession of the property.  Now we have to open an ancilliary succession to put the deceased's heirs into possession of the property.  I can hear y'all groaning!!  I felt fortunate to have discovered his name was signed by one of his heirs.

clockTime inevitably passes and I get documents from one attorney and they are PERFECT!!  The documents from the other attorney are not.  They made the decision to use their German Power of Attorney and sent a translated copy.  Their Power of Attorney only allows for the managment of the heir's home and another specific piece of property, identified by its recordation information, in Germany.  Screeching halt!!


Immediately, I sent an email letting the attorney know the documents are not sufficient for the sale and it is imperitave that the heir either sign the POA I sent or all of the closing documents, before a Consular notary.  They did eventually travel to the Consular's office and send the properly executed documents to me.

All of the hoops we Title Companies require sellers and buyers to jump through is to ensure the purchaser(s) have peace of mind and confidence in the ownership of their investment.  Without all of the "I"s being dotted and "T"s crossed, I could not and would not insure this property.

The sale did finally close, international wires sent and everyone was happy!! 

Technical closings are truly my favorite.  I learn something new every time and they usually do close.

 Now, I'm off to the next challenge!


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Kelly Milligan, Notary Public

First Title Real Estate, LLC, your professional settlement service!





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Jim Palmer
Chipola Realty - Chipley Office (850) 638-2777 - Sunny Hills, FL
Washington County, Florida

Good job! My local Title Company screams every time I mention that the sellers are overseas. We are usually dealing with lot sales under $2000 and by the time they have to deal with the European Notary system, FIRPTA, wiring, etc., etc., it seems like a money losing deal.

But they sure can be entertaining!!

Nov 05, 2011 12:31 AM #1
David O'Doherty
Raleigh Realty Inc - Clayton, NC
Clayton NC Homes, Raleigh, NC

Yikes, Kelly the next one has to be easier....... maybe a Castle in Transylvania!!!

Nov 05, 2011 12:34 AM #2
Charlie Dresen
Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty - Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro

I'll say you learned a lot with that transaction! I'm sure with each new encounter you learn what to look for and ask for the next time. Even though each transaction has it's own nuances, having your radar tuned in to potential obstacles surely helps you stay out in front of any timeline. Congrats on that successful closing and let's hope you're rewarded with a few simple ones now!

Nov 05, 2011 12:43 AM #3
Jenifer Lower
Bozeman Montana Real Estate .net - Bozeman, MT
Your Dream. Our Passion.

Have one from France, same scenario.  Painful process for all involved!

Nov 05, 2011 01:43 AM #4
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

I've dealt with this first hand as well Kelly. Great post

Nov 06, 2011 06:53 AM #5
Kelly Milligan
First Title Real Estate, LLC - Slidell, LA

Thanks for all of your comments!!  It was indeed a great learning experience.

Nov 06, 2011 10:34 PM #6
John Mayer
Oikos Realty, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach Florida - Cocoa Beach, FL
Your Beach Area Expert

Kelly - It seems like nothing is ever easy in our business these days. I think that's why they call us professionals :-)

Nov 10, 2011 05:34 AM #7
Kwee Huset
Kwee Huset Realty - Venice, FL
Venice Florida Homes For Sale

Kelly, I had a closing yesterday with a Canadian buyers, things went smoothly. Thanks God.

Nov 16, 2011 12:53 AM #8
KanDo Organization
The KanDo Organization LLC - Tulsa, OK
Helping you find more time in your life!

Although this is an older blog post, the content is great.  Reminds anyone involved in a property transfer transaction to stay on their toes.

May 31, 2012 04:39 AM #9
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