First Land Deal - Title Insurance question

7 Replies

Hey folks,

I love being able to look through these forums, they have been a big help!

I am about to start a contract on my first deal. The seller lives in Florida and she inherited several properties in Georgia from her ex-husband. I negotiated a very reasonable price and offered to pay for the closing costs and back taxes. I am using a real estate attorney who I know personally and I trust. I am also planning on obtaining title insurance on both properties. I have four questions:

1. The current owner does not have title insurance on either property. Do you think this will be an issue at all considering that I do plan on getting title insurance?

2. I want to be able to sell these lots to someone who plans to build on them so I went to view these properties myself. One of them has quite a slope but it looks possible to build on it in my (unprofessional) opinion. There were some trees but no huge trees that would hard to remove. Adjacent to the lot I plan to buy there was a neighbor who built a house and the slope on their land is similar. I checked the zoning so I know you are allowed to build on it. Do you think I should get a professional opinion from a builder before closing the deal?

3. How long of an "inspection period" is reasonable. If I plan to close in three weeks can I make the inspection period three weeks long up until the day of closing?

4. Is there anything else I need to do myself? Land survey, ect?

Thanks,
Austin

Also, one other question... Do you know how to get deed information if I don't have a real estate license? I know how to drive to the clerk of courts office and look up a deed myself but for the sake of time I don't really want to do that. Is there a way to look up this info online or hire someone to do this for me?

The deed is recorded with the clerk of court and should be available online or if the clerk charges, should be able to send you a copy for $1 or $2 per page.  As for title insurance, the title search is one amount and the policy is another and they do a new title search every time it's issued, so it shouldn't make any difference in the cost.  I make my purchase agreement contingent on getting a title policy issued.  You should also be able to check the property appraiser's site to see which builder pulled the permit to build next door to your sloping lot.  I would just call the builder and ask if there was any additional permitting or expense because of the slope.

How are you financing the deal?

Marelyn, thanks for the information.

Jaclyn, I am financing this myself.

1. The current owner does not have title insurance on either property. Do you think this will be an issue at all considering that I do plan on getting title insurance? You do not need a prior title policy to get a new title policy but it does mean you will need to do a longer search (typically at 30 years back) because you cannot "tack" onto the prior policy (which allows a search forward from the date of the prior policy.) 2. I want to be able to sell these lots to someone who plans to build on them so I went to view these properties myself. One of them has quite a slope but it looks possible to build on it in my (unprofessional) opinion. There were some trees but no huge trees that would hard to remove. Adjacent to the lot I plan to buy there was a neighbor who built a house and the slope on their land is similar. I checked the zoning so I know you are allowed to build on it. Do you think I should get a professional opinion from a builder before closing the deal? Yes - if you intend to build make sure that is a viable option before you close.3. How long of an "inspection period" is reasonable. If I plan to close in three weeks can I make the inspection period three weeks long up until the day of closing? It is negotiable. The longer the better for you as buyer. 4. Is there anything else I need to do myself? Land survey, ect? As a general rule, I would recommended a survey.

One more question.

I offered to pay for the taxes. However, I don't want to pay for the taxes before the closing because what if something goes wrong? How should I handle this in the contract? Just state: "Purchaser agrees to pay taxes after the closing date?"

She is behind on paying the taxes but I know that neither of them are going on tax sale soon so I think I am safe with doing this.

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