As most of you know, we recently opened an office in MHK. We had the opportunity to talk a little about our new adventure! Check out the video below!
As most of you know, we recently opened an office in MHK. We had the opportunity to talk a little about our new adventure! Check out the video below!
Last week we officially opened a Manhattan, Kansas office. This move follows requests from real estate professionals to locate an office to better serve their regional needs. You asked, we listened! Our Manhattan office (TGT MHK) is located at 210 N. 4th, Suite A in the Hartford Building. We are fully staffed Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00pm and are open over the noon hour. A drop box is located on the front of the building for after hours drop-offs. Both the Wamego and Manhattan offices are equipped to deal with closings, escrow deliveries, deed packet deliveries and notary services. Additionally, TGT MHK will continue to offer free courier service in the Manhattan area as well as mobile closings. We are here to serve your needs!
At Tallgrass Title, we love feedback about how we may better serve your needs. Feel free to speak with any of our title experts about your needs as a real estate professional.
We realize that many of you will probably not have to take a document to the county Register of Deeds Office. However, it is still helpful to know a little bit about the requirements. It makes filling out and completing the deed packet and other documents necessary for closing much easier.
This first thing to keep in mind is: Only documents with original signatures can be recorded. As of 2019, the Register of Deeds will not accept documents that have been signed electronically. What that means, is that each deed, mortgage, and affidavit must be signed in person in front of a notary. The original documents must be sent back to the title company for closing. (Remember, if you can’t drop it off to us, we will come to you!)
Don’t change the formatting of a deed or other notarized document. Let’s face it, technology is complicated. Your computer or printer might try to change the margins, font, font size, or spacing. Why is that a big deal?
It is the duty of the Register of Deeds to keep the real estate records legible and clear. In order to do this, there are strict guidelines to help make that happen. One of the rules is the size of the font. If the wording is too small, the documents can’t be scanned correctly into the archives. There are also rules in place about document margins. There needs to be plenty of space at the top for the filing information, as well as enough space on the sides so no information will be cut off. If your printer likes to cut off the top or bottom of a legal-sized document, you run the risk of losing important information. For example, part of a legal description or a signature line could be left out.
Also, it is very important to print the documents single-sided, not double-sided.
When will the recorded original deed be given back to the buyers after closing? This is a question we get asked on a regular basis. The answer? Usually within 30-60 days following a closing, we send out the recorded original documents with the Title Insurance Policy. Unfortunately, we cannot just pull out a magic number that fits all cases. This is because we have to wait until the commitment requirements have been met. For example, some banks take a bit more time than others to file mortgage releases. Rest assured though, that we will work to send out the policy and documents just as soon as we possibly can.
Here at Tallgrass Title it is our goal to help you successfully complete your real estate transaction as smoothly as possible. Reach out to us to let us know how we can help you make it happen!
Easements to real estate are simply an interest in some other person’s land for the limited purpose identified in the easement. In plain language, it is the right of another person to use your land for some limited purpose. Easements can be exclusive; meaning that the use is restricted to a certain person or persons. Easements can also be limited to a certain amount of time or can be perpetual and “run with the land.” As there are countless different variations of easements, it is impossible to explain all the law surrounding easements. The purpose of this post is to point out two of the most common types of easements and give a brief overview of common issues.
Some of the most common forms of easements are travel easements and utility easements. A travel easement is the right for another individual to cross real estate not owned by them. Usually this is for the purpose of accessing their own real estate. Commonly, a travel easement (otherwise known as “ingress-egress” easement) is granted to a homeowner who owns real estate that is only accessible by crossing another person’s land. With agricultural real estate, a travel easement is typically given to a farmer so that they may access their field or pasture as there is no direct access from a road. Most of these types of travel easements are perpetual or “run with the land.” This means that if the owner of the easement sells their real estate that is accessed by the easement, the new owner will have the right to continue to use the easement. When representing buyers of real estate, if there is not apparent direct access from a government roadway, it is wise to inquire as to whether there is a travel easement and whether it transfers to your buyers. Nobody wants to purchase real estate only to find out they cannot access it!
The other major type of easement is a utility easement. Based upon reading the first portion of this post, it should come as no surprise that a utility easement is simply the right to cross another person’s real estate with utilities. These types of easements range from a small water line running to a house all the way to high voltage transmission lines. The most important thing to take into consideration with utility easements is whether the easement will affect the planned use of a potential buyer. Utility easements commonly do not allow a person to build any structure over or under an easement. For example, if a Buyer had plans to build a garage, the location of an easement could affect these plans.
An easy way to determine whether there are easements on real estate being purchased or sold is to review the title commitment. This report should list all easements that are affecting the real estate being transferred. The easements will be listed under the “exceptions” section or following the legal description. Often the commitment will only list the existence of the easement and not specify the details. At Tallgrass Title, we happily supply the underlying document listed in our commitments upon request. That’s our job!
A common cause for the sale of real estate is when an individual passes away. As a listing agent preparing to list and market the real estate, it is important to answer a few questions regarding the status of the real estate. You do not want to sign a contract with a buyer, only to find out that the seller does not have the ability to sell the real estate. Similarly, when representing buyers, it is important to determine whether the seller has the ability to sell the real estate or if there will be a delay in transferring title. The purpose of this post is in no way meant to be a guide for decedent’s estates. Instead, the purpose is to identify a few of the common pitfalls and items that routinely delay closings.
When a person passes away owning real estate in Kansas, that real estate will pass to the people identified by the decedent (a person that has died) in some written document. If no such document exists, the real estate will pass to the “heirs” of the decedent as directed by Kansas law. The three methods of passing real estate by written document are:
A Transfer on death deed or joint tenancy deed will automatically transfer the ownership of real estate to the person or persons identified in the deed. The filing of a death certificate at the register of deeds is all that is required to finalize the transfer. As a real estate agent, take a look at the deed or ask your title company to take a look to verify that the seller has the authority to transfer title.
The second method is through a trust. Typically, but not always, the trustee of the trust will have the authority to sell and transfer real estate. However, there are innumerable varieties of trusts with varying powers being granted the trustee. Therefore, it is wise to verify that the trust document grants authority to sell real estate to the trustee. Additionally, it is important to make sure that there are not special requirements in the trust document that must take place before a sale is allowed. For example “I grant the trustee the right to sell real estate….so long as my son does not want to purchase the real estate at the appraised value.” This example illustrates a potential issue that could delay a sale.
Lastly, if the decedent had a will or passed away without a will, a probate proceeding will be needed prior to a sale. Simply put, probate is the court process of transferring assets of a decedent to those entitled to the assets. The most important thing to remember with a probate proceeding is that it is not a quick process. It usually takes at least sixty days from the first court document filed until authority is granted by a judge for the sale of real estate. Based upon the buyer, this may be an unacceptable amount of time to wait. If you are unsure of where the probate process is, simply contact the attorney representing the estate and ask.
Decedents estates can be overwhelming and often times complicated. At Tallgrass Title, our attorneys have years of experience transferring real estate following death. We are happy to answer questions pertaining to your transaction. It’s our job!
Most of you have probably been in the real estate world long enough to know what title insurance is. However, we thought it would be helpful to provide a “refresher” course to help answer your client’s questions.
Let’s face it, most people closing on real estate don’t read through the details of all of their closing documents. However, there are people who look at the settlement statement and want to know what they are paying for. Also, suppose you have clients who are keeping a close eye on finances. If they want to save some money, they might ask if title insurance is necessary. Here are some pointers to help out your clients, or those professionals who are still new to the real estate world.
This is the simplest definition of title insurance. A title insurance policy insures that the property owner actually has full title to the real estate. When a real estate legal description or address is brought to us, we start an extensive search. Our search follows the “chain of title”, the deeds that show how the real estate changed hands over the years. Any mortgages filed against that real estate must have been properly released. Not only do we look at the records for that tract of real estate, but we also look for judgments against the buyers and sellers. We look for any law suits or claims that could potentially attach to the real estate as liens.
The title commitment is our promise to issue a title insurance policy once the requirements have been met. The title insurance policy is issued after closing, once the deed and mortgage have been filed, and the liens properly released. Once the new property owners receive their policy, they can be assured that they truly own their real estate. If a claim is made by someone challenging their ownership, they have the policy to back them up.
Here at Tallgrass Title we work hard to provide the information and assistance everyone needs for a smooth closing. Feel free to contact one of our agents today to help get your real estate questions answered.
When buying or selling real estate involving a trust, many questions can arise. Who signs the documents on behalf of a trust? What is needed to prove that a particular seller has the authority to sell property? Are there additional documents that require filing with the County Register of Deeds in order to transfer real estate to and from a trust? The purpose of this post is to help people involved in a real estate transaction to become more comfortable with these issues.
A trust is simply a contract between the creator of the trust and a person that promises to carry out the wishes of the creator. The creator of the trust and the trusted person, “trustee”, are often the same person. I know, it’s weird, but that is the basic arrangement. So, basically, in a real estate transaction involving a trust, land is deeded to the trustee to hold at the direction of the written contract or “trust agreement.” Oftentimes, people will state that property is “in a trust” or “held by a trust.”
When deeding property to a trustee, it is important for the buyer to understand how to properly title the deed. Most often, it will read something like “John Smith, Trustee of the John Smith Revocable Living Trust date 1-1-2018.” If you are buying real estate to be titled in the name of a trustee, you will need to provide this information to the title company. If you are uncertain, please contact your attorney that prepared your trust document or provide a copy to the title company. Often, the document will indicate how real estate is to be titled.
When selling real estate owned by a trust, the trust agreement must specifically give the authority of the trustee to sell or “alienate” real estate. The title company handling the transaction will require to see this portion of the trust document or have the trustee complete a “certificate of trust” document that states that the trust grants them the authority to sell property.
Lastly, if the original trustee has passed away or resigned as trustee, the role of the trustee passes to a “successor trustee.” Again, in order to prove that a successor trustee has authority to act on behalf of a trust, the trust agreement or some documentation of the transfer of authority will be required.
As real estate transactions involving trusts may require additional information, it is important to timely provide documentation as required by your title company. Additionally, here at Tallgrass Title, our closing agents and title examiners are knowledgeable in how to handle transactions involving trusts. If you have questions, feel free to contact our office.
With the continuous technology development going on right now, advisors in the title industry have been encouraging title companies to go paperless. Going paperless is not a new idea for us. We have been talking and planning for this for some time. We have already started uploading certain search and closing documents for new files. When someone sends or gives us a document, we scan it and publish it as soon as possible. However, we intend to officially go paperless in the next couple of weeks.
Our search documents will be uploaded to Paperless Closer. This is the program we use to securely store documents with a portal that you can access. Access the portal through our website using the “Client Login” button at the top of the page. We already upload the contract, receipts, closing statements, and invoices during the closing process, but you will be able to view even more information. You will be able to see the deeds, restrictive covenants, plats, etc. that we researched during the search process. This should make it easier, especially for realtors, to see which documents have already been given to us, as well as help you collect the documents you need to keep for your records.
A tip for cutting down on paper: we only need originals of notarized documents back in our office for closing. In the deed packet, a seller may sign all of the non-notarized documents electronically. Just be sure to send us a copy od the completed documents and we will add them to paperless closer. As a reminder, please do not send documents with personal information through email without making sure it is protected. Scammers and hackers are becoming more and more common, and none of us want to see our clients’ identities stolen!
If you (or an auditor) are going through your files and notice a missing document, look for it on paperless closer. For older files, if you don’t see it, just send us an email or quick call and we can publish it immediately. You won’t have long to wait since it is a very quick and easy process for us to pull something from our electronic archives.
For those who are not as familiar with Paperless Closer, just let us know and we can get you some training. It only takes minutes to create a new account if you don’t have one. And, it is a simple, user-friendly program that won’t take up much of your time.
As always, please call or email if you have any questions or need any assistance with Paperless Closer. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!
Towards the end of the Title Insurance Commitment, you will find a list of “Exceptions from Coverage”. This list appears in Schedule B – Section II. The Standard Exceptions are general and appear on every commitment. However, many of the Additional Exceptions are specific to your tract of real estate. Here are some common types of documents that show as Additional Exceptions:
A plat is a picture of a subdivision. It is basically a drawing that shows the shape of the lots, and where the roads are. Many also show utility lines and easements originally planned by the developers.
Restrictive Covenants list any restrictions on lots located in a subdivision. The purpose of these is to ensure that the owner of each lot can enjoy his real estate without causing annoyance to his neighbors. Many of these documents also contain rules concerning the upkeep and appearance of the subdivision. For example, these may include specific guidelines on what materials or color(s) are used for your house. They may also contain rules about fences, additional structures, or vehicle parking. These documents may include information about setting up a Homeowner’s Association (or HOA).
In certain parts of Kansas there is active exploration and production of oil, natural gas, and other natural resources. In the past, there were many oil and gas leases given, but a good number of them did not result in any actual activity. Additionally, many of them were for a certain number of years and the terms have already expired. Most of the leases we see on property searches today can be dropped off from the policy by a simple affidavit signed during closing. For more information on oil and gas leases, click here to view a blog we posted earlier this year.
An ordinance is a public declaration made by the city. These may have some effect on your real estate, depending on what type of ordinance it is. For example, the document may provide for the installation of water lines or sidewalks.
Easements give other persons the right to use your real estate for a specific purpose. A very common easement is an “ingress/egress easement”. This allows someone to travel across your real estate usually to access real estate they own adjacent to yours. Another very common easement is a utility easement. These agreements allow electric, natural gas, or other specified companies to construct or maintain utility lines. Most easements contain language saying that the easement will “run with the land”. This means that when you sell your property, the new owners will have to honor the easement. As mentioned above, an easement is for a particular purpose. As the owner of the real estate, you do have the right to make sure that the person using the easement isn’t trespassing on or causing damage to another part of your real estate.
As you review your title insurance commitment, please remember that you can ask for copies of the documents that are listed. At Tallgrass Title we are happy to answer any questions to help make your transaction as smooth as possible.
Following the closing of your transaction, you will receive a “title insurance policy.” This document looks a lot like the “commitment” you received prior to closing your transaction. As you remember from the previous post, the commitment legally binds the title company to issue a title insurance policy if the requirements of the commitment are met. Now that the transaction is complete, and the requirements of the commitment are met, as a buyer, you will receive an “owners title insurance policy.”
Once you receive a title policy, put it in a safe place. It is what insures the fact that you own your real estate.
Again, here at Tallgrass Title, we love to answer questions about title insurance. Feel free to call or email anytime. That’s what we do!