In St. Louis, Title Insurance will be required by your lender to insure that the party who is purporting to sell you the property has the legal authority to do so. It protects you and the lender from someone popping up after the sale to lay claim to the property.
Title commitments for single family residential homes are generally a few pages long, and they indicate what the title insurance company is willing to insure and the exclusions to such insurance.
In situations where there are multiple sellers, where the property is owned in trust or in the name of only one spouse, the title issues can get complicated and sometimes scary. In situations where there are a number of outstanding liens on the property or other clouds on title, the entire transaction may be in jeopardy.
Your real estate lawyer will help you quickly sift through the title commitment and advise you as to any problems, and will even negotiate certain portions of the commitment with the title company to make sure you get all the protection to which you are entitled without paying unnecessary fees. In addition, he or she can review the actual title insurance you receive in the mail after closing to make sure it says what it was supposed to say.
Land Surveys in St Louis are generally undertaken by engineering firms, who mark off the borders of the land using landmarks and markers that exist naturally or were placed on the property when the subdivision was formed.
The surveyor draws a plat, a type of map to scale that accurately portrays the property boundaries. This map includes encroachments on the boundaries they see when they visit the property, as well as easements and licenses in public record. The plat will be accompanied by a legal description of the property.
You will want your attorney to review the survey to make sure the plat drawing and legal description match up with the one in title commitment. Your lawyer will also use the survey as a check on the title commitment exclusions to the insurance policy.
For example, if the title commitment excludes from coverage an easement of record to your neighbor-to-be for the joint use of the driveway, but the survey shows that the neighbor has built his own driveway and no longer needs or uses the one on the property you are purchasing, under certain circumstances that easement may be extinguished and the value of the house you are buying will have just increased because exclusive instead of joint use of the driveway. In this case, your lawyer may be able to prevail upon the title company to remove the exclusion.
Title insurance and surveys are specialized instruments that provide valuable, necessary protection in a real estate transaction. You will want your attorney to review and explain these documents to you, especially if there is anything out of the ordinary because the lender’s attorneys are only protecting the lender and you have a lot on the line.
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