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Get title insurance when you buy real estate or do a thorough title search yourself

Posted by John Reed on

I found a REDDIT question from a real estate investor that could help my readers. But bought a row house in Philly fixed it up and sold it. But the title company won’t provide title insurance claiming the prior seller was not the owner and that there are $33,000 in unpaid property taxes. He says his purchase settlement statement said $31,500 of the sale proceeds was going to pay off that much delinquent property taxes.
Generally, if you get title insurance when you buy, they are guaranteeing that the seller is the seller. But the policy limit would not pay more than your purchase price so any fix-up cost would be lost.
So the title insurance company he used when he bought should take care of the seller being the owner issue.
I recommend only using one of the top three title companies if you use a title company: First American Title, Old Republic National Title and Chicago Title.
Making sure the property taxes are current can easily be done at the tax collector’s office.
Some parts of title searches are trickier, like IRS liens or personal judgments. But neither of those were mentioned in this case. And it is no great trick to learn how to search for IRS liens and personal judgment liens.

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  • Whether full service or fewer services, the total commission should not exceed around $2,000 to $3,000. There is no basis whatsoever for tying the commission to the sale price. Selling a house is paperwork and showings. the amount of paperwork and showings is about the same regardless of the sale price.

    John T Reed on

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