TITLE TIP | Homeowner’s Associations

By Sue Cragun | Marketing Director / Owner | Midvale Office

Realtors, make sure you are getting all the HOA info upfront, and lenders, you’ll want to do the same.

Here’s why: Many HOAs are charging huge transfer fees or reinvestment fees. These can range from $150 to thousands of dollars, and typically fall upon the buyer to pay. Also, some HOAs are requiring the entire next quarter in advance. If you have a buyer who is tight on funds, this can mean an extra $150-$400 upfront. Historically, many people would wait until we get this info which can be after the due diligence deadline. Don’t wait! Make sure you are getting all the info for your buyer or seller upfront. You don’t want to be near closing and find out there’s a 1-5% reinvestment fee.

TITLE TIP | Deceased Individuals

By Jake Sorensen | Escrow Officer | Draper Office

Sometimes we are involved in a transaction in which one or all the people on the title of a property have passed away. When this situation arises, there are some important steps we need to take, to make sure a clean transaction takes place. If you know or think that there may be a person involved with property that has passed away, it is important to notify your escrow team as soon as possible. They will verify how title was held and put together a plan of what will need to be done. If title was held as “joint tenants” it can be as easy as having an affidavit signed and recorded. However if title was held as “tenants in common” it can be a little more complicated, and in some cases even require going through probate. If your client says they have a Power of Attorney for the person that passed away, it is important to remember that the Power of Attorney is no longer valid after the person has passed away. Remember, there isn’t anything on a PR to notify us a party is deceased, so the sooner we know about these situations the better.

TITLE TIP | Disclosures!

By Britney Bown | Escrow Officer | Union Heights Office

DISCLOSURE! DISCLOSURE! DISCLOSURE! Such a popular word we hear in all aspects of our industry, right? There is one document to highlight that is very important in real estate transactions and that is the seller’s disclosures. In this document, the seller is obligated under law to disclose to buyers any defects in the property that could adversely affect the value of the property. For instance, if the property is part of a Home Owner’s Association then this section will provide the name and contact information. It is recommended that you call to find out beforehand if there will be monthly, quarterly, or annual dues. Most importantly if there are any upfront fees that need to be collected from the buyer at closing. It is good practice to provide these disclosures to the title agent as reference because once the seller signs these disclosures they can be used as authorization to request information from the association.

ROUTINE FOR SUCCESS | Values & Beliefs

By Louie Hamner | Owner

Our values determine how we make our decisions. The strength of our belief in a value determines how we allow that value to guide us when making difficult decisions. As we practice making decisions based on values it allows us to understand how that value helps us get the right outcomes.

Once our belief in a value reaches a high level, we begin to look for ways to become more congruent with the value. Why? Because we trust the value and know that as our understanding of it grows, so does the quality of our decision making. You begin to make decisions differently and the results you really desire begin to manifest. All results are based on decisions. The quality of the decision determine the quality of the outcome.

We have cultivated certain core values that have guided us in our decision making and have ultimately led us to the desired results. In no particular order, they are: Growth; Passion; Trust; Redemption; Care; and Loyalty. Here at Vanguard Title we strive to exemplify these values in our daily interactions on a personal as well as a professional level.

TITLE TIP | Foreign Investment in Property Tax Act (FIRPTA)

By Russ Nance | VP Escrow Operations

When does the Foreign Investment in Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) apply? FIRPTA concerns should arise when you are handling a transaction which involves a foreign seller. The IRS rules place the responsibility for withholding potential tax due in the amount of up to 15% of the purchase price on the buyer of real property from a foreign entity. If the IRS does not receive these taxes due to them, they can seize the real property of the buyer.

Here are some issues that are taken into consideration when determining if the withholding is necessary. Is the seller a U.S. Citizen, a Resident Alien with a Green Card, a Resident Alien, or a U.S. Entity? Is the purchase price less than $300,000 and does the buyer plan to use it as a primary residence?

We as title agents cannot give legal or tax advice, so if you find yourself in a FIRPTA situation, the parties involved should seek advice from legal counsel or a tax CPA prior to closing. To ensure all goes smoothly, we would prefer written instructions from the attorney or CPA prior to closing.

TITLE TIP | Escrow

By Randy Kidman | Escrow Officer | St. George Office

es∙crow /‘eskro/ noun –1. a bond, deed, or other document kept in the custody of a third party, taking effect only when a specified condition has been fulfilled.
verb -1. place in custody or trust

“I want to sell my house and you want to buy it. I want $X and you want to give me $Y. You want… I want… We finally agree and “open escrow” at Vanguard Title.”

Buying and selling a home can be a tricky proposition. There are many moving parts that all must eventually come together in the precise manner that both parties agree to. Escrow is the tool, or perhaps better yet, the tool box that holds all the terms and conditions of a purchase agreement. Those items, such as, the fully executed REPC and Addenda, Earnest Money, Warranty Deed, Trust Deed, Lender Funds, Seller Funds, etc., are held in escrow by an impartial, third party to the transaction, until all the conditions of the sale have been met. Deeds get recorded, payoffs get sent, sellers get their proceeds. Another successful transaction… but wait! Not all transactions close or fund. What happens now? Call any of the Escrow Officers here at Vanguard Title and let us help you navigate your next “open escrow”!

ROUTINE FOR SUCCESS | Consider Your Dreams

By Louie Hamner | Owner

Our dreams inspire us and are what drive our passion. They provide a path for something that is possible. Our dreams excite us and make us feel alive! Consider your dreams. How do they make you feel? Are they what you would like to achieve in your life? Are you still actively pursuing your dreams or have you given up? I would like to share with you a thought on achieving your dreams:

While our dreams give us hope as we begin to work towards them, we need to remember that we will encounter some of our greatest challenges in the process. We often feel defeated and discouraged. This is because strong emotion surrounds our dreams. Although that deep feeling of discouragement is a natural part of the process, be careful not to let it defeat you. Challenges could mean you are getting closer to a solution or that your approach needs to change. They could also mean you are being tested to see if you have really qualified yourself for that dream.

Never give up on what you want! As you strive towards your dream you will learn and grow. Look to those around you who have already achieved your dream and seek their advice. Be open and teachable. Embrace the changes you need to make. Go get your dream!

TITLE TIP | Wire Fraud

By TeJay Rasband | Escrow Officer | American Fork Office

WIRE FRAUD—Fraudsters have learned to take advantage of the fact that most communication involving a real estate transaction is done via email. They use software that searches through email servers for any mention of real estate transactions, then sit back and monitor until just before title is ready to wire. They then send an email or make a call requesting last-minute changes to wire instructions and/or seller’s proceeds. You may be thinking that it couldn’t happen to you, but it is very real, and millions of dollars have been lost because of this scheme.

The protection of you and your clients is one of Vanguard’s highest priorities. Here are some of the safeguards we have in place to ensure your transaction ends the way it’s supposed to:

  1. Obtain all parties’ phone numbers up front.
  2. Verify all emailed wire instructions by phone.
  3. Double-check all emails that come from an unknown source.
  4. Obtain and verify all instructions at the closing table.

We thank you for your confidence and the business you entrust with us. If you have any questions, please reach out to your favorite Vanguardian.

TITLE TIP | Farm/Address Lists

By Jennifer Allen | Marketing Representative

While marketing toward SOI continues to provide the best ROI historically, according to the Division of Real Estate, some of the best Real Estate agents in the country can tell you there is still something to be said for developing a farming plan-of-action that allows one to increase their SOI with those they are actively farming towards.

Vanguard Title has resources that allow us to provide you with addresses filtered down to your desired target farm group.  Based on market conditions, or your Real Estate specialty, our filtration options allow you to narrow in on those your message is intended for.

Upon deciding you would like to create a strategic farm, what information do you need to provide?

  • The address you want a radius around OR image of a highlighted area from the MLS or other map, which you would like to farm within
  • Number of addresses needed
  • Type of properties

For more discussion about the possibilities of your successful farm, including additional criteria options, speak with your Vanguard Marketing Representative today.

TITLE TIP | Capacity & Competency to Sign Contracts

By Kim Foster | Escrow/Title Officer, Paralegal | Salt Lake Office

In order to enter into a legally binding contract the signer must be competent or have the capacity to enter into the contract. Capacity is the mental or cognitive ability to understand the nature and effects of ones acts. The most common reasons for incapacity are minor children (typically under age 18), permanent mental conditions (ex. Alzheimer’s), or temporary mental conditions (ex. under the influence of drugs/alcohol). Competency is defined as one who is “duly qualified: having sufficient capacity, ability or authority.” Often health professionals are required to perform a functional test to determine an individual’s competency.
If a party does not have the capacity or competency to understand the nature and consequences of an agreement (i.e. listing or purchase agreements), that agreement may become null and void. Please note this does not extend to an individual’s understanding of every detail in a contract. It is enough if they understand that they are entering into a contract, as well as the general nature of the contract.
If an individual seems confused about what is happening when a contract is being signed, use caution. Often we need to make a determination at the spur of the moment. Use your best judgement.

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