Skipping this Small Step Could Cause Big Delays in Selling Your Home

By: Sharon M. Green, Licensed Title Agent at Gulf Title Guaranty Agency, LLC.

You may be surprised to learn that there are nearly 200 important tasks that a home seller’s real estate agent must do in order to successfully complete a sales transaction. However, there is one task in particular that can save everyone involved a lot of headache. A pre­listing home ownership report from a title company can prevent a closing from being significantly delayed or losing a buyer altogether.

Value of a Pre­listing Home Ownership Report

Not all homeowners understand what information they need to disclose in order to sell their property. Worse, the property information available from the county property appraiser office can be vague. Both sources of information can be unreliable. Listing agents must have accurate information about the property owners so it is clear who needs to sign the listing agreement and eventually the contract when the parcel sells. A pre­listing ownership report from a title company such as Bonita Springs­based Gulf Title Guaranty Agency, LLC can be produced when a Realtor is listing a parcel to avoid allowing the wrong person or a missing person from signing the listing agreement. In addition to potential ownership issues, the pre­listing ownership report can help a listing agent determine if there are any lien issues.

Real Estate Listing Agents Require Accuracy

High performing listing agents set themselves apart by being proactive, not reactive and they take pride in their thoroughness and accuracy. A pre­listing ownership report may sound like a nice­to­have detail, but one small oversight or assumption can lead to big problems later in the home selling process. Even if a homeowner accurately identifies all owners on a property for sale, there could be other issues with the property that cloud the title, especially if remodeling or other improvements were made. Contractors, laborers, material suppliers, subcontractors and professionals such as architects, landscape architects, interior designers, engineers or land surveyors all have a right to file a claim of lien for work or materials. For example, if the seller built a pool, there’s a chance that there is still a construction lien that has not been cleared and a Release of Lien is needed to clear title on the property. Pre­listing ownership reports can help avoid unexpected closing delays or contract cancellations due to undisclosed judgments, federal tax, building code and other liens.

Deceased Owner Delays Closing

Another situation which can interfere with the home selling process involves deceased property owners. In one case, a father and son owned a house together, with each having an undivided interest and not with a right of survivorship. The father passed away and the son assumed he had a right of survivorship. Upon listing the house for sale, the son told the listing agent that all was in order for the son to convey the house to a buyer. The listing agent found a buyer and the seller entered a contract with a 45 day closing constraint. As the closing date approached and paperwork prepared, the title evidence returned the need for a legal probate case to divest the deceased father’s ownership in the property and convey to the new buyer thereby pushing the closing out 60­90 days! This nightmare scenario was avoidable if the listing agent had obtained a pre­listing ownership report. The need for a probate case would have been determined prior to the property being listed.

Learn More About Pre­listing Ownership Reports

Real estate agents in southwest Florida who have a relationship with Gulf Title Guaranty Agency, LLC may request a complimentary pre­listing property ownership report. This is a value­added service that is offered to our clients. To inquire about a report contact Sharon Green, Licensed Title Agent at 239­390­1217 or info@gulftitleguaranty.com for more details

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