Relocating After the Loss of a Loved One: Saying ‘Yes” to Your Future

1Losing a loved one is at the top of the most stressful events you’ll ever experience, according to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. Moving to a new home is another stressor, but some find it to be a constructive way to move toward healing. While there is no escaping from the grieving process, moving can offer a sense of renewal along the way.


Below are some of the benefits of moving, along with tips to manage the actual move itself.


Moving On


An unknown author once said, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” Moving to a new home can offer a key to your own growth. While you will always honor the memory of your loved one, moving can be a way to honor yourself by saying “yes” to your future.


Deciding to Downsize


If you choose to downsize, there will not only be financial benefits, but by simplifying your life, you’ll also be able to focus more on your future. Also, moving closer to friends or family you grew up with can be very comforting. There is something to be said for not having to face painful places on a daily basis. What’s more, a change of scenery can bring with it a fresh new perspective and the hope of reinventing yourself.

Managing the Move


Relocating can be a very difficult process, even when you’re not faced with grief. With that in mind, it’s important to develop a game plan before you get started.

  1. Identify your goal. Is it to move closer to family? Is it to downsize for financial reasons? Grief counselors recommend that it’s best not to make any major decisions for at least six to 12 months after your loss.
  2. Get an idea of how much your home is worth by using a home cost calculator or consulting free websites that list your home’s value. While these websites offer great estimates, you’ll need to consult with realtors in your area for the best accuracy.
  3. Find a realtor you feel comfortable with who will market your home to get the most bang for your buck. You’ll also need to find a realtor in the area where you’re moving. Talk with several until you find one who clicks with you and understands your needs.
  4. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to hire help. You can start by hiring a cleaning service to give your home a deep cleaning before you move out. In the St. Paul area, a maid service charges $121 to $219 on average. Next, hire a professional moving service. What would take you weeks will take them only a few days, and your beloved belongings are much less apt to break due to insufficient packaging. Check online reviews before signing a contract (it’ll usually cost your around $25 an hour for each mover). offers tips on hiring a moving company.
  5. One of the most difficult challenges you’ll face is deciding what to do with your loved one’s belongings. Releasing some of these items is all part of the grieving process towards healing. If doing this on your own feels too overwhelming, enlist the help of your most supportive friend. This is a time to be extra gentle and patient with yourself. Unless there is a strict timeline for your move, go at your own pace.


Consider giving a few friends and family members some of your loved one’s treasures. Giving some items to your loved one’s favorite charity or one you feel he or she would like is another option. Some find the act of repurposing objects very comforting. For example, you could make a memorial quilt from your loved one’s clothes.
Whether your reasons for moving are for emotional, practical, or financial purposes, kudos to you for taking this important next step. Grief is a process; it is not a place where we are to stay forever. Just as God allowed the children of Israel a time of mourning but then eventually told them to get up and move on, He will guide you as well. In your journey through grief, remember that “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NIV) Right now, you may feel like you’ll never be happy again, but as a believer, you can have hope even in the midst of sorrow. While you will always carry your loved one in your heart, may you begin to create beautiful new memories in your new home.

Published in: on April 23, 2019 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  

HVAC Tips for Homeowners: How to Make Repairs and Troubleshoot

HVAC Article

HVAC systems can be difficult to understand for the average homeowner; even if you’re relatively handy, it can be overwhelming to deal with repairs and maintenance on a system that has so many complicated parts. Yet, it’s important to know what to do when your unit requires service, as in the dead of summer it can be very hard to get a professional out to take a look without a long wait. In some cases, there are simple things you can do to troubleshoot and possibly find an easy fix, such as changing the filter. It’s good to know how your specific system works, however, and how to stay safe when taking a look at any of the parts.


Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do to keep your unit running smoothly, and many of them just require a bit of preventative maintenance, such as keeping the grass and weeds cut short around the unit and keeping the filter clean. In some cases, you may want to consider buying a cover for the outdoor unit to keep leaves and other tree debris from falling inside after summer ends. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to your HVAC unit.


Learn How to Troubleshoot


Most homeowners have to be researchers in addition to everything else they do, and owning an HVAC unit is no exception. When it comes to all the things that can go wrong with your system, it’s good to have some knowledge about how to diagnose it before you call in a pro; this way, they can come prepared with any parts or tools they need to give you the fastest possible service — which is important on those scorching summer days! In some cases, there may be things you can do to help things along; for instance, a frozen coil usually means the filter is dirty or that an exchange is clogged, and this is usually an easy fix.


Keep It Clean


Not only is it important to keep the filter clean, but it’s also imperative to make sure that leaves, grass, and other outside debris don’t fly into the unit and clog it up. Take special care when mowing the lawn or landscaping; use a mower that has a bag attachment, and use a weed trimmer for the areas directly around the unit. You can also place a cover over it in fall and winter, and create a barrier by using fencing or shrubs all around it. This will also help to keep animals and children from getting too close.


Make Safety a Priority


Your safety is of the highest priority when working on something like an HVAC unit, which can lead to electrical shock or worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. For DIY jobs or to clean the system, turn off the power first via the main breaker. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, it’s always best to call a professional for help rather than going through with a job yourself. You may need to spend a little money to do it, but in the long run, it’s worth it.


Learn More About Your System


There are many different kinds of HVAC systems, so it’s a good idea to learn more about the specific unit you have and how the parts work together. Being knowledgeable will help you make repairs on your own, and it will also come in handy when keeping things clean. Some units have ductwork that leads from the outside to the inside of your home, and these can become clogged; in some cases, they can even become home to birds or other small animals. When you understand how everything works, you’ll be better equipped to clean and make small repairs.


Your HVAC system may seem like a complicated assortment of parts, but it doesn’t need to be a big mystery. With a little research, you can figure out how best to keep the unit clean and working smoothly, which you’ll thank yourself for when summer rolls around.

Published in: on April 12, 2019 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Why Winter Is a Great Time to Sell Your Home


Photo by Nathan Wolfe on Unsplash

Everybody knows spring is the best time to sell a house. Or is it? Here in the Upper-Midwest, it might be easy to believe buyers aren’t as interested in trudging through snow and ice so they can look at homes. According to the National Asociation of Realtors, for the past three winters, existing home sales during November and December increased by an average of 4.5%. Here are a few reasons why winter might be a great time to put your home on the market.

Winter Buyers Are Serious Buyers

Not that buyers in other seasons aren’t serious but if you weren’t a serious buyer would you brave the weather just because? People who buy homes during the winter do so for several reasons. First, people move year-round. Leases come up for renewal. Jobs change and sometimes that includes transfers. Second, buyers have been told if they purchase a home in what many consider to be the off-season, they’ll get a better price. Whatever the motivation is, buyers are out there and they’re purchasing at a steady pace.

The Internet Doesn’t Go on Holiday Break

Most buyers begin their home searches online. You know how it is – when the weather outside is frightful, the fire is so delightful. And the internet doesn’t care about the weather. That could mean even more people will view your home online (at least for the first time). The internet has been one of the biggest players in the way home buying has evolved over the last several years. Take advantage of the internet and make sure your online listing and photos show off your home’s selling points. Consult with an experienced real estate agent for help maximizing the opportunity to make your home appealing to buyers even if you have 10 inches of snow on the lawn.

You’re the Big Fish in a Little Frozen Pond

Homes are listed for sale year-round but existing home inventory normally falls an average of 15% from November to December. When you list a home during warmer months you join hundreds of other sellers. In the winter, instead of being the little fish in the very large pond, you enjoy big fish status. When fewer homes are on the market in your area, it’s possible to sell at a higher price, especially if you attract a buyer who wants to move in quickly.

Don’t let a few snowflakes and chilly weather discourage you from selling your home. Take advantage of lower inventory and less competition for buyers. Work with a local realtor who can help you get your home ready. Then sit back and enjoy the winter wonderland outside your window. If you enjoy the view, there’s a buyer out there who will too!


Published in: on December 6, 2018 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Tips for Staging Your Home for the Holidays


Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The holidays are a great time to sell your home! You may have less competition and buyers tend to be highly motivated (read our next post to find out why). Staging your home during the holiday season is a little different than other times of the year. Consider these tips when preparing your home for showings.

Curb Appeal

Keep the blow-up characters in storage. Santa and Frosty may be a distraction from the beauty of your walkway and lawn.  Dim the lights just a bit. Not the lights inside – the outside light displays. Now isn’t the time to compete in the neighborhood lighting contest. The entrance to your home should be simple. White lights for elegance create an elegant look. If you do decide on colored lights, use one color and choose one that plays up your home’s exterior colors. Bring nature into your outside decor with a miniature potted Christmas tree or a single pine wreath.

Turn on the Lights

Days are short and many potential buyers will use the evening hours for viewing homes. Turn all the lights on in every room. Lighting sets the mood and creates a warm, welcoming feeling. Candles, as long as they’re the flameless type add to the cozy mood. If you have an electric fireplace, fire it up for showings. For daytime showings, open curtains and blinds and let natural light in.

Use Seasonal  Décor

The two holidays most often associated with the holidays are Chanukah and Christmas. Because these holidays are closely connected with religious beliefs many people celebrate by using religious décor. Keeping religious decoration to a minimum this year helps your home appeal to a wider range of buyers. Use seasonal accents instead. Snowflakes. Evergreen. Reindeer. These are associated with the holiday season and add a tasteful splash of the season without going overboard.

The Christmas Tree

If you celebrate Christmas, use a tall and narrow tree. Place just a few wrapped gifts underneath. The reason? Floor space sells homes. A slender tree adds height without taking up precious square footage. Removing one of two pieces of furniture opens up space for the tree. Consider using white lights on the tree – they look elegant and really appeal to buyers.

Color Scheme Really Is a Thing

You may not realize that bright red clashes with light blue. It also doesn’t complement earth tones. Use silver and gold this year – they both go with any color scheme. If you love bright red and can pull it off with your current color palette, go for it but do take time to look at the effect with an open mind, or an open eye.

Remember less is always better when you have a home on the market during the holiday season. Enjoy decorating but keep it simple with a few pieces you love. Home buyers are interested in how their belongings might look in your home. Overcrowding with too many decorations makes it more difficult for someone to imagine living in a home. If you’re still not sure how to prepare your home for showing, invite your realtor to come by and give you some pointers. Join us next month for more winter selling ideas.


Published in: on November 27, 2018 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Minnesota Homestead Exemption Deadline is Just Around the Corner

Minnesota property owners have an important upcoming deadline!  

December 1, 2018, is the last day to own and occupy property to qualify for the homestead tax exemption for the current assessment year. Read on to learn how Minnesota’s Homestead Tax Exemption impacts property owners.


Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Homestead Defined

If you watch reality TV you’re familiar with those hardy people in Alaska who’ve made a life conquering land most of us wouldn’t be brave enough to visit much less live on. Fascinating stories for those chilly Minnesota nights when all you want to is drink hot chocolate, bundle up in a blanket, and watch an entire season of Below Zero or Alaska The Last Frontier.

For Minnesotans, homestead has nothing to do with living off the grid.

Homestead is a classification of property that is occupied by an owner or relative of the owner and is used as a primary place of residence. The State of Minnesota maintains the homestead program for residents who own and occupy their home or have a qualifying resident who occupies the home called the Homestead Market Value Exclusion. If you’re a qualifying property owner you have benefits under this program.

First, you can enjoy a  reduction in the taxable market value of the property (for properties valued under $414,000 only). As a result, your taxes may be lowered.

Second, you may qualify for the State of Minnesota Property Tax Refund.

How Do I Qualify?

The state has a list of guidelines to help homeowners figure out if they qualify for the exemption and/or the refund.

  • You must own the property, or be a relative or in-law of the owner (son, daughter, parent, grandchild, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew).
  • You or your relative must occupy the property as the primary place of residence.
  • You must be a Minnesota resident. If the occupant is a relative of the owner, the owner does not have to be a Minnesota resident.
  • You must file a Certificate of Real Estate Value for homestead status to be granted.
  • You can receive homestead status for more than one property if a relative uses a second home owned by you as their primary residence.

How Do I Apply?

Wouldn’t it be nice if the state could intuitively know that you’re a resident who qualifies for tax exemptions and refunds? Unfortunately, even if the state suspects that you might be eligible to get money back, they won’t arrive at your door with a check like the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Team. Hint: Even those winners had to fill out paperwork.

Before you apply take a few minutes and gather some required documents. If you purchased your property within the last three months, you’ll need a copy of your ownership deed. You may need a copy of your Certificate of Real Estate Value. If you don’t occupy the property but have a relative who does, there’s a special form you’ll need to submit with your application. Your application is submitted to your County Assessor’s office.

The good news? You only need to apply one time for each qualifying property you own.

Can I Get a Refund?

Who doesn’t get excited about a refund from the state?

The State of Minnesota administers two property tax refund programs for homesteaded properties. You may be eligible for one or both of these refunds.

The regular property tax refund is based on household income and the dollar amount of property tax you pay on your principal residence.

The special property tax refund is for owners who had an increase in their net property tax. The increase has to be at least 12 percent and at least $100. This refund is not based on income.

It can be confusing to figure out if you qualify and which program you qualify for, so instead of getting frustrated, or wasting time gathering the wrong forms and other paperwork, contact your county. They deal with homestead questions all the time and are happy to explain the program and help you figure out how to apply.

We’d love to hear your comments or questions below. Stay tuned for our next post on staging your home for fall listings.

*The content of this posts was copied or adapted from the Minnesota Department of Revenue Property Tax Fact Sheet 10.


Published in: on November 13, 2018 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Popular Apps for Realtors in 2018

Realtors have complex jobs, which require them to keep track of multiple tasks and people. As an agent you meet potential clients, show properties, attend closings, cover for fellow agents, take continuing education courses, and participate in community events. Whew! And that doesn’t cover everything you do. Technology can help. Apps are available for every real estate related task. Some manage the many documents required to complete contracts. Others keep track of your client list. If your job requires it, there’s an app for it! If you haven’t already discovered a favorite app or two, read on to learn about the top apps for realtors in 2018.


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


Evernote calls themselves “your second brain.” Known for the ability to help you take notes, Evernote is much more than a note keeper. This app can help you set up an automated system to save information, locate it when needed, and share it with colleagues and clients. Evernote helps you declutter and work smarter by creating notebooks that contain documents in any form, photos, and even audio and video clips. Everything you need stored in a searchable central location. Try the basic version for free and upgrade to the business version for purchase. The business version allows you to share notebooks and collaborate with team members and clients. One of the exciting features of Evernote is that it’s not limited to the people in your office. Realtors and clients can share notebooks, which can save time by getting photos and other important documents in front of each other quickly.

RPR Mobile™

If you’re looking for a robust a property research app designed exclusively for realtors, this one may be just what you need. The app works based on your location and lets you view listing and sales activity. You can also access all kinds of information about individual properties including, taxes, mortgage history, flood zones, school information, and more. From the app you can create, and email branded reports based on any of the information you gather. For example, put together a mini-property report for your client, or create a property flyer for your agency. You’re able to add text, photos, and audio to any listing you’ve saved. The caveat is that your MLS must be subscribed to RPR Mobile™ but it’s worth the investment.


Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash


Realtors and clients alike are very familiar with apps like Zillow,, and Redfin. These search apps work well if the buyer and realtor get connected. Consider trying this one, rated by the popular online financial advice site, the balance, as one of the top 8 real estate apps for 2018. It’s called HomeSnap and while it uses the expected MLS-powered search features, it also offers messaging and sharing within the app, which the others don’t. Imagine showing a home to a client. The client falls in love, but the spouse or partner is in another state. Using HomeSnap the client can communicate on-the-spot with anyone who they’d like to invite to the decision-making process. The in-app messaging allows sharing with anyone, even if they don’t have the app on their device. With real-time MLS updates, you and your clients get quick access to listings as soon as they’re uploaded to the system. This app could get your client from showing to offer in minutes.


These are just three of the popular apps designed to help realtor and customers have a better home buying experience. You may have others that you use every day. Comment and tell us about your favorite apps.

Published in: on October 16, 2018 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Awesome Real Estate Tools & Apps for Buyers and Sellers



Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

Savvy buyers often use the internet first when they begin the search for their new home. New tools and apps pop-up frequently. Not all are useful, and not all provide entirely accurate information. Learn more  here about a few popular real estate tools available for today’s technology driven market. Once you’ve located a home you’re interested in, contact your realtor. They have access to even more details about those listings and will help streamline your next steps.

Zillow and

Whether you’re shopping for a home to buy or you’ve shopped online for a rental, no doubt you’ve at least heard of Zillow. The same goes for Both have some of the most humorous and heartwarming marketing campaigns. Both tools offer benefits for buyers and sellers. For example, each provides estimated home values, sale prices, tax rates, and even a snapshot of the neighborhood, including school ratings. Homeowners who aren’t sure about listing their home can track their home’s estimated value over time. Zillow and offer an app to use on your phone, which is especially handy if you’re driving through a particular part of town and want to see current listings. Not a substitute for a real live realtor, but a good place to begin your home search.


Are you an aspiring investor?  Look at BiggerPockets. This real estate tool focuses on helping real estate investors learn about nurturing their investment, doing their own repairs and renovations, and earning the maximum return on their investment. If you’re not sure about joining the world of real estate investing, you’ve come to the right place. Bigger Pockets gives access to a ton of free resources including blog posts, podcasts, eBooks, guides and forums. They also have a paid subscription service, which opens a whole world of investing tools.


If you crave the thrill of an auction, explore Xome. Like other real estate tools, Xome offers one unique feature – access to auctions. Homes up for auction come from both the MLS and Xome’s proprietary platform. Investors can look for deals on bank-owned properties, foreclosures, and short-sales. Xome also features standard listings. Xome is one tool real estate investors won’t want to miss!

Think Letgo is just used to sell the kid’s old toys? You’ll be surprised to find out that this free app has grown and is now a great resource for all kinds of services. It’s an excellent on-line garage sale – something that might come in handy when you’re ready to move to your new home. It’s a snap to use. Simply take a photo of the item you’d like to sell and post. Those dishes you’re tired of looking at could be just what someone else is looking for.

Don’t forget – starting your home search online is great but bring your realtor in on the fun as soon as possible. Realtors know how to navigate the sometimes confusing home buying process. They’re able to get you in to see the homes you’ve fallen in love with quickly and an offer on the table before another buyer comes along. They also put you in touch with the other important people who work hard to get you to closing day.

Next month we’ll feature ideas to get your home ready to list. Stay tuned!

Published in: on September 30, 2018 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Get Your Backpack Ready…It’s Time for School

Back to Scho

Late August in Minnesota is a special time of year. The weather pretends like it’s getting ready for the arrival of Fall. Apple orchards are just about ready for picking. And perhaps one of the most exciting events takes place – the back-to-school frenzy. The excitement of a new school year isn’t just enjoyed by the kids. Adults get their backpacks ready too! The Fall semester ranks as the busiest time for college admissions staff. The second busiest enrollment period is the first semester of a new year after people are inspired by their New Year resolutions. Adults face some of the same challenges that younger students deal with but also have a few unique to adult students. Here are few tips to help you have a successful start to your new adventures in education.

Don’t Worry about Picking a Major

The first question most people are asked when they enroll in college level coursework is, “what is your major?” Maybe you’re one of the many adults who’ve been out of school for an extended period of time and you really aren’t sure what you want to do now that you’ve grown-up. Don’t feel pressured to pick a major immediately. Instead, take a few general education courses first to help you acclimate to the college environment. You’re required to take those courses anyway and it gives you time to explore your career options.

Talk to Your Employer

Many companies offer education benefits to employees, so make sure you’re aware of what benefits are available to you. Benefits could include tuition reimbursement, scholarships, and in some cases, internships if your coursework is industry related. Most employers like to promote from within and enjoy supporting team members who further their education. It’s always a good idea to talk with your manager and let them know you’re taking classes. You need all the support you can get.

Schedule Study Time

Adult students have the unique challenge of fitting school in with work and family. While it’s a challenge, it’s not impossible. You may need to get up earlier than usual or stay up a little later at night. Instead of going to lunch with co-workers you might spend your lunch hour working on assignments. It doesn’t matter when you study. What matters is that you keep those appointments – no cancellations. The time you sacrifice for school work will pay off at graduation.

Learn How to Enjoy Learning

Adults go back to school for a variety of reasons. For some it’s about learning new job skills. Others need the degree or certificate to get a promotion. Don’t get so wrapped up in getting the diploma that you forget to enjoy the process of learning. The pressure is off now that you’re not answering to parents for grades. You don’t have to worry about peer pressure either. It’s just you and your goals. Why not make a point to have fun learning? If you’re taking an art course, go on a family outing to an art museum. Go outside and look at the stars – then talk about what you’re studying in your astronomy class. Let your excitement rub off on your kids, or vice versa.

Remember, it’s never too late to go back to school. Whether your goal is to be able to get a promotion, purchase a home, or be an inspiration to someone else, you’ll never be sorry you furthered your education. Time to hit the books!

Published in: on August 28, 2018 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kolacky Days – Celebrate Summer in Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of Kolacky Days

If you don’t have anything planned for the upcoming weekend, be sure to include Kolacky Days in Montgomery, MN. Not far from the Twin Cities, Montgomery captures what visitors and long-time residents love about small towns in Minnesota. Kolacky Days takes place July 27-29,2018. Don’t miss out on this fun and tasty celebration of Czech history in Minnesota. Whether you’re a new resident or are getting ready to relocate to the Twin Cities, you may not realize what a rich cultural history is enjoyed by people who live in and visit our state. Summer welcomes all kinds of events and festivals, so whether you’re an avid fishing fanatic or a dedicated foodie, Minnesota has something interesting to do just about every weekend.

Kolacky What?

If you’ve never experienced kolacky, it’s never too late to wander down to Montgomery and visit Franke’s Bakery. The bakery has been in business for 99 years and is a popular spot to eat kolacky. Kolacky is a Czech specialty made of sweet dough wrapped around a sweet filling. Popular fillings are prune, poppy-seed, apricot, apple, and raspberry. Montgomery just happens to be known as the Kolacky Capital of the World. It doesn’t matter that the town created the moniker for itself, it’s the quaintest place to enjoy the world-famous kolacky.

Isn’t Montgomery in Alabama?

Montgomery, AL is a beautiful city to visit, but don’t put it in your GPS or you’ll be way too far south to eat kolacky. This is Montgomery, Minnesota, a small town of around 3000 located 55 miles southwest of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. If you love visiting and exploring small towns, Montgomery is one you won’t want to miss. The town has a deep Czech heritage but is also representative of rural and patriotic America. The downtown area includes historic buildings with flags lining part of the main thoroughfare. Developers are building new subdivisions but there are plenty of homes that have been in Montgomery for over 60 years. If your job requires you to live near the Twin Cities, Montgomery may be a quieter alternative to living in the middle of the hustle of a big city. If you just enjoy a ride through Minnesota farm country, it’s a wonderful place to visit for a day.

Kolacky Days
Photo Courtesy of Kolacky Days

Don’t Miss Kolacky Days!

The signature Minnesota event to celebrate Czech heritage is Kolacky Days. For 2018, the celebration takes place July 27-29. The weekend will be packed full of fun including a coronation of the Kolacky Queen, a prune spitting contest, tractor pulls, music and entertainment of all kinds, cultural displays, and of course, plenty of opportunity to sample kolacky. Now, it’s possible to find kolacky in certain bakeries in the Twin Cities, but you won’t find any as authentic or delicious as those in Montgomery. You might love the town and its pastries so much you’ll decide to relocate to Montgomery. If you do, you’ll have a warm welcome!
Whether you’re looking for a new home or contemplating a relocation to the Twin Cities and surrounding area, you will find a welcome committee that includes some of the top real estate services in the country. You’ll find answers to everything from finding a lender to things related to your real estate closing. Welcome to Minnesota!

Published in: on July 23, 2018 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Do you really need a Title Company?

Congratulations! You’ve fallen in love with a home and are on the way to packing and scheduling movers. Over the next month or so, you’ll provide more information than you ever thought possible, and sign what feels like reams of documents. In between you’ll get various communications from people who play a variety of roles in this production called real estate. One of those communications will be from a person who works for the title company. If you’re not sure what a title company has to do with you buying a home, read more to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about title companies and real estate. Well, at least everything that can fit in a few short paragraphs – if you have more questions you can always call your real estate agent, or the person who sent you the email in the first place.

Why Am I Getting a Message from the Title Company?

Shortly after signing the real estate purchase contract, you’ll get an email or phone call from the title company regarding your preliminary closing date. The title company plays a critical role in getting you from purchase contract to receiving the keys to your new home. Their role is very much behind the scenes but without the work of title officers and examiners, there is no closing date. You may get more than one message from your title company. Always read those communications carefully. Ignoring an email from your title company could delay closing!

Why Do I Need a Title Company?

Imagine for a moment the beautiful home you’ve chosen. Can you see yourself relaxing on the pretty tiled patio? Or pulling into the roomy garage – the one with enough space for 2.5 cars? Over the years, previous owners also loved your home, putting their own personal touch in the yard and on the walls. Sometimes a previous owner leaves more than just their decorating style. Maybe they never paid a contractor or owe back taxes to the IRS. They could have left you a lien on the home, which is a big problem. A previous owner also might have left behind an heir who has a claim on the home. The title company employs specialists who comb public records looking for any information that might prevent, or at the least, delay you getting those front door keys. Of course, the title company also gathers the information about easements, leases, or other restrictions on the property. If you’re still not convinced, just ask your mortgage company. They won’t approve your loan without a clear title.

Someone Said I Have to Buy Title Insurance

Talk to your lender. Most mortgage companies require the buyer to purchase title insurance that covers the amount being borrowed. Maybe you’re a cash buyer. In that case, it’s optional unless your state has its own requirements. Check with your title company – see, one more reason you need them. If you’re feeling a little resistant to being told you need yet another insurance policy, don’t stop reading now. Just like homeowner’s insurance protects you, title insurance is also designed with your best interest in mind. Title insurance protects you from any possibility that any previous owner did not have free and clear ownership of your property. Now, it’s a remote possibility, but are you willing to risk losing everything you’ve put into this home you’re buying if in a few years, some forgotten owner pops up and tries to lay claim to your investment? Didn’t think so. Borrowers typically don’t have a choice, but if you’re paying cash, just get the policy and hope you never need to use it. Are you wondering what this has to do with everything you want to know about title companies? Title companies issue the title insurance policies. They really are essential players, aren’t they?

It’s Closing Day!

Bet you thought you’d never get to closing day, but here you are, sitting at a big table with your realtor waiting anxiously for the moment when someone hands you the keys. The title company is here too! Say, “hello” to your closer.  This person sits at the head of the closing table. You and your realtor sit on one side, and the seller and their realtor sit on the other. The closer explains each process and collects the required signatures on the large pile of documents. Your closer does more than supervise signatures. If you haven’t realized it yet, buying a home is a complicated process. You won’t see most of the process because so much of it is taken care of behind the scenes. The closer ensures that all funds, including closing costs and down payments, are taken care of properly.

One final job that your title company does for you is to get all those papers you’ve just spent the last hour signing legally recorded. This includes the deed to your new home. You’re free to go home now and pick out paint colors, and garden plants. Welcome home!


Published in: on May 24, 2018 at 2:53 pm  Leave a Comment