When you buy or sell your home, or any real property for that matter, do you use an attorney you trust and know? Or do you leave it up to your real estate agent or lender to refer you to someone? If you chose the latter, did you know that there could be a financial relationship between the two parties or that you may be paying for a service, but not receiving the personal attention you deserve? Buying real property is probably the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. As the market begins to pick up, it is becoming painfully obvious to closing attorneys that attention to detail was not a huge concern in the past. Properties were selling so fast and all involved were so busy that errors from multiple sources are now surfacing.
I will share with you two painful examples that I have seen since starting the firm in March.
Client A went to borrow money from his preferred Lender, and he wanted to use property he already owned..or so he thought as collateral. It turns out that years ago, Client A sold one of his many residential lots to Purchaser. However, the warranty deed drafted by Purchaser’s attorney included property in the legal description that was to be retained by Client A. Technically, Client A no longer owns the property. Oops! Not only that, but Purchaser obtained a loan on property, which included Client A’s property. Bigger Oops! I have spent two months, trying to get the attorney who handled this closing to correct the mistake; he has to get approval from the Purchaser and his lender, which is taking too much time. Maybe the Purchaser doesn't want to give up its bonus property?? Client A could have had documents reviewed by his attorney prior to sale; instead Client A must now spend a lot more money trying to correct a problem that he did not create.
Client B loaned money to a business associate (“BA”) and took property as collateral. The promissory Note and Deed to Secure Debt contained a due on sale clause, which means that the loan was to be paid in full upon sale of the property. The loan deed was not indexed properly by the county clerk. When BA went to sell, the attorney, although he searched the title records of the County, did not find a copy of the Deed to Secure Debt in the records and therefore did not have notice of the recorded loan. BA fell on hard times and didn’t have any money to pay the loan at closing. BA sold the property and didn’t tell the closing attorney that there was a loan to be repaid to Client B. Client B can sue BA for nonpayment of debt and pursue criminal charges against BA, however it will now cost Client B time and money that it shouldn’t have to pay.
No matter how small the transaction, or how easy it may appear, make sure you have someone involved that you know and trust to protect your interests. Let Lisa Shippel Law, LLC provide you with the personal service you should expect.
Names and exact details have been omitted or modified to protect attorney client privilege.
Lisa Glauber Shippel