Jan 15, 2018

Texas Title Insurance Rates

Closing costs are expensive when selling a property. Fortunately, they are deducted from the seller’s proceeds at the time of the sale. So when the expenses are lumped into the pile of paperwork at the closing table, the cost of selling a home can be less evident.

How much are closing costs? That depends. How nice are you to the title company? Just kidding.

Closing costs vary depending on the sales price, county, type of property (single family home, condo, raw land, etc.), and other factors that have nothing to do with how nice you play. Who pays the closing costs – buyer or seller — are sometimes mandated, sometimes standard practice, and sometimes can be negotiated. In Dallas, it is common, but not mandatory, for the seller to pay the broker commissions, prorated taxes, recording fee, escrow fees, tax certificate, document preparation costs, HOA transfer fees, resale certificate and other miscellaneous negotiable costs (like a home warranty or survey).

One of the large closing expenses is the title insurance premium. In Texas, title insurance rates are established by Texas Department of Insurance and all title companies must charge the same for title insurance. In other states, consumers often shop around for title insurance like they would for auto or home insurance.

The following Title Insurance Basic Premium Rates are based on the sales price of the property. Premiums for policies $100,000 and over in Dallas County are:

Additionally, there are endorsements that can be added on to include coverage for survey deletion, leaseholds, condos, etc. Those are an additional charge. But the good news that unlike auto, home or health insurance, you pay this premium only once at closing. It’s not an ongoing cost like other types of insurance.

Title companies may charge different amounts for the closing costs outside of the title insurance policy. One may charge slightly more or less for the attorney review while another may charge more of less for the courier fees. But they are typically within a few dollars of each other when you look at the total costs.

It’s always a good idea to get title insurance and lenders require it to finance a purchase. Title insurance protects homebuyers from other claims of ownership, outstanding debts of previous owners, fraud, and other title potential problems. Before issuing a title insurance policy, the title company will check for problems with a title by researching public records, deeds, mortgages, wills, divorce decrees, court judgments, tax records, liens, encumbrances, etc. If there is a claim against your property after purchase, the company will defend you in court and will pay you for covered losses up to the amount of your policy.

Like any regulated service business, the difference between one title company and another comes down to service and reputation. If you’re not frequently selling a home, it’s unlikely you know which title companies offer the best service. That’s where a knowledgeable Realtor comes in. They generally can’t save you any money. But good agents have good relationships with title companies that can help make the process run smoothly.
[where: 75230]

Jan 5, 2018

Christmas is officially over tomorrow - 12 Days

Today - January 5th - is the 12th day of Christmas.

Time to take down the decorations this weekend. And drop off your tree to be recycled. In Dallas, you can drop off real trees at the McCommas Bluff Landfill or Northwest Transfer Station on Harry Hines Boulevard. Trees can also be placed curbside during brush and bulk trash collection.

The "Christmas Season" doesn't really begin after Thanksgiving and end on Christmas Day like we tend to think. It's actually almost the opposite.

The 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and last until the evening of the 5th January - also known as Twelfth Night. The feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th and the celebrations of Christmas come to an end. The Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the Magi - the three wise men - who visited Jesus.

So enjoy this twelfth night and final Christmas celebrations. And then your neighbors may thank you for getting your decorations down before the next holiday.
[where: 75230]

Jan 1, 2018

You'll need 'Good Funds' to buy that home

In my book, money is good. Cash is great. And when it comes to getting a good deal on a home, or making the transaction quick and easy, it’s been said that cash is king.

But did you know that buying a home with cash – actual cold, hard cash – is almost impossible in Texas?

The Texas Board of Insurance (which governs Texas title companies) dictates how a title company can accept funds for a real estate transaction. It requires that all title companies collect “good funds” at closing. The goal is to protect against fraud.

They define “good funds” as a wire transfer, cashier’s check, certified check, money order, personal check, or cash. The title company has the discretion to determine which good funds it will accept. No one wants the security risk of a bunch of cash on hand. If you find a title company foolish enough to take piles of cash, let me know. I’ll see if they’ll take my points-earning credit card, too.

And lest you think buying a property with cash will help escape the tax man, think again. Even if you had a suitcase full of cash and could find a title company willing to take it, all title companies are legally required to report any cash or personal checks used to close a transaction that total more than $10,000 to the IRS (per IRS Publication 1544). This is designed to discourage money laundering, tax evasion, drug trafficking and those sorts of illegal activities.

Despite rampant wire fraud (and that’s a whole different story), wiring funds is still considered one of the safest and most convenient ways to send funds to the title company. In order to finalize a transaction and disperse funds to the seller or mortgage company, the title company must have collected, deposited and confirmed the money from the purchaser. That means any checks received must have cleared. And that can take some time. For example, once a cashier’s check has been deposited for a purchase, the amount does not become “good funds” until it has been paid by the issuing bank. No one likes facing a closing delay waiting for a check to clear.

Buying a property is only going to be good fun, if you’ve got the correct good funds.

[where: 75230]