*An Interview with ... is my blog post series with different companies and small business owners that are all related to the Real Estate industry in Silver Spring, MD and beyond. Real Estate is a team sport - with this series I aim to introduce you to different team players that can/will help make your Real Estate transaction a successful one, turn your dream into reality, assist you with simplifying your life and lead a financially healthy one.*
An Interview with Sara Demb Goldstein, Capitol Title Insurance Agency, Inc.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about Capitol Title and the company's mission statement.
Sara: Since 1973, Capitol Tile has provided settlement services for clients who appreciate the value and assurances that only an attorney-owned, service-oriented company can offer. Our staff of experienced and professionally trained attorneys, licensed settlement officers and coordinators is devoted to the highest standards of service and shares the commitment to professional excellence. In each of the thousands of settlements we conduct every year, involving properties in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia, our goal is always - be prepared, be professional and be accessible.
Our practice is distinguished by our record in achieving these objectives and has earned us a most favorable reputation in the real estate community. This commitment to excellence has been rewarded by successful growth and the satisfaction found in exceeding our clients' expectations.
Q: Besides title searches and Real Estate closings, what other services does Capitol Title offer?
Sara: We have an affiliated law firm (Goldstein & Levy, P.C.) which provides legal support to Capitol Title and its clientele. We also offer educational seminars to thousands of real estate professionals in the tri-state area. We are active affiliate members of many of the area Realtor associations.
Q: What should clients know about the title search and title insurance?
Sara: Before a policy is issued, the title company conducts a title search of public records, maps and documents concerning the real property in question. Once the facts about the property, and people affecting ownership, are collected, examined and interpreted, the company issues a title policy insuring the condition of title.
Owning your property free and clear involves more than having a deed in hand. A deed does not cancel certain prior "rights" and claims that may go back in time, months or decades, to the earliest owners of your newly acquired property.
An owner's title insurance policy provides you with the peace of mind. It takes the risk out of acquiring property with a legal history unknown to you. Through the years, your new property may have changed hands many times through sale, inheritance, foreclosure, or bankruptcy. Each transfer is an opportunity for an error in title to arise. If an error occurs from previous transfers, and never comes to light, it puts your title in jeopardy. You could lose your property and the money you paid for it. Among the many risks against which title insurance protects you are: confusion from similarity of names, forged documents, signatures of minors or mentally incompetent persons, mistakes in recording legal documents, undisclosed or missing heirs, fraud, invalid divorces, misrepresentation of marital status, unpaid taxes, clerical errors in public records, wills not probated.
A one-time premium covers the entire cost, as long as ownership remains in your name or that of your heirs. The owner's policy is issued in an amount equal to the purchase price of the property. Of course, the greater the coverage given under a policy, the higher the premium charged.
Q: How frequently do you encounter title issues and are those usually easily resolved?
Sara: As a title company, we deal with title issues on a daily basis. Not all title issues are easily resolved, but Capitol Title always works toward finding the best solution for all parties involved and ultimately getting to the settlement table.
Q: When did you join Capitol Title and what prompted you to enter the field?
Sara: I joined Capitol Title almost 29 years ago (May, 1988). I was enrolled in a PhD program, working on my dissertation, and was working through a temp agency to make a little money. The agency placed me with a real estate law firm. One of the partners loved the fact that I was a graduate student involved in research so he taught me how to do title searched at the courthouse. They hired me as a full-time title abstractor, and the rest is history.
Q: How many settlements does Capitol Title conduct every year? How many have you closed in your career?
Sara: Capitol Title conducts thousands of settlements each year, both residential and commercial, and has 10 offices serving Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia. I would say I have conducted more than 10,000 closings myself.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a settlement officer?
Sara: I love meeting different people every day and teaching them about the real estate aspect of their lives. People typically come to my office very nervous and leave with smiles on their faces. That gives me tremendous satisfaction.
Q: Do you have a favorite success story?
Sara: My background is in psychology, so a success story to me is when I can help resolve conflicts between the parties in a transaction.
Q: In your opinion, how can sellers and buyers best prepare for their settlement? What documents should they bring?
Sara: The most important document to bring to closing is a government-issued photo ID. In fact, I'd bring 2. Many lenders are requiring 2 forms of ID these days so it's better to be safe than sorry. Sellers should also bring specific wiring instructions from their bank for the settlement proceeds.
Q: Any words of wisdom for First Time Maryland Home Buyers?
Sara: My most important words of wisdom for a first time home buyer anywhere is to make sure you are surrounded with very reputable providers. Select a REALTOR® and a title company that are professional, customer-service oriented and have been around for a long time. Make certain that they are known for dealing with all types of transactions and will be responsive to every one of your real estate needs.
Thank you so much for your time Sara! I look forward to seeing you again soon at the closing table!
*Logo and flyer are the property of Capitol Title Insurance Agency, Inc and were used with permission.*