What information does Schedule C of the title commitment contain?

Schedule C of the title commitment contains matters that the title company closer, with the assistance of the parties, must satisfy prior to or at closing in order for those items not to appear as exceptions to the title policy, as well as the disclosure of additional information relevant to the chain of title to the property and the rights of the parties to establish an interest-bearing account for funds being escrowed by the title company.  The language in items 1 through 4 of Schedule C is promulgated by the Texas Department of Insurance, so it is standard in any title commitment.

Beginning with item 5 on Schedule C, specific matters affecting the transaction will be listed.  These items may include the payoff and/or release of liens affecting the property, the payoff and/or release of any judgments affecting the buyer or seller, requirements regarding the documents establishing any entity (Trust, Partnership, LLC or Corporation) involved in the transaction, compliance with court orders affecting the property or parties, etc.  The title company closer will have experience in addressing these matters, but much of the information is in the possession of the parties, so the cooperation of the parties is essential in getting the file ready to close in a timely manner.

 

If you would like to use a knowledgeable and reputable title company conveniently located in the Heights, please give us a call.

Fidelity National Title, 1512 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008 (713) 529-8800.

 

Schedule B

Schedule B of a Title Commitment lists exceptions to, or things that will not be covered by, the Title Policy.  Much of the language on Schedule B is promulgated by the Texas Department of Insurance and are standardized exceptions to title insurance coverage.  Specific exceptions to the property being insured are typically listed under item number 1 and item number 10 on Schedule B.

Item number 1 on Schedule B shows the recording information for deed restrictions and other restrictive covenants that are applicable to the property.  Deed restrictions can be found on the map or plat that established the neighborhood where the property is located, as well as in subsequent documents pertaining to the neighborhood or that are specific to the property and that are recorded in the Real Property Records.  These restrictions may, among other things, establish building set-back lines and easements, establish a homeowners’ association, require the payment of dues and/or maintenance charges, limit the use of the property, or set architectural guidelines for structures built on the property.

Schedule B, item 10 typically sets out any specific exceptions that are applicable to the property.  The exceptions set out under item 10 may refer back to the recording information contained in item 1, or may refer to additional documents.  The title company will also review the current survey of the property and may make additional exceptions based on the review of the survey.  Ownership of minerals is typically an exception to the title policy and will appear on Schedule B as well.

What is an Abstract of Judgment?

            An Abstract of Judgment is a short statement of the result of a lawsuit that is filed in the Real Property Records to give notice to the public that an individual or entity owes money to another as a result of the lawsuit.  The Abstract of Judgment will list the cause number for the lawsuit, the names of the parties to the lawsuit, the creditor (winning party) and debtor (losing party) and amount that is owed to the creditor by the debtor.  Abstracts of Judgment attach, or become liens against, any non-homestead property that is owned by the debtor and must be paid at the time the non-homestead property is sold or conveyed.  The creditor holding an Abstract of Judgment can request that the court allow the Judgment to be Executed, a process by which the property is sold at an auction to the highest bidder.  Execution of a Judgment will divest the debtor, and any subsequent owners, of title to the property – subject to any liens that predate the Abstract of Judgment.

If you would like to use a knowledgeable title company conveniently located in the Heights, please give us a call.

Fidelity National Title, 1512 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008 (713) 529-8800.

Is My Title Policy Transferrable?

Owner’s title policies are not transferrable when you sell your property. A title policy is issued based on the status of title to property as of a particular date. When an owner purchases property and receives a title policy, the policy insures that the owner is the owner, subject to any mortgage the owner may have taken to purchase the property and any other matters (deed restrictions, easements, etc.) that may affect title to the property.

During the ownership of the property things may change.   The mortgage may be refinanced or paid off, a homeowner’s association may be established, abolished or deed restrictions may be amended. The owner may grant an easement across the property, or an easement may be abandoned. Additional structures may be added to the property or existing structures may be increased in size. Because of these potential changes, title insurance companies must research the status of title even after a short period of ownership.

If you would like to use a knowledgeable title company conveniently located in the Heights, please give us a call.

Fidelity National Title, 1512 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008 (713) 529-8800.

 

Clouds on Title

A “cloud on title” is any matter that prevents the owner from having or conveying fee ownership of a piece of real property.  Some matters are relatively common and can easily be taken care of by a payment made at or before closing.  Other matters can be much more complicated, such as a missing deed in the chain of title or a random conveyance by a person who does not otherwise appear in the chain of title.  Title insurance is a great way to protect yourself against clouds on title.

Contracts for Deed

Contracts for Deed, which are also called Executory Contracts, involve a person contracting for the right to receive title to property upon the completion of payments to the owner of the property.  Executory Contracts are specifically covered by statute (Texas Property Code 5.061 et seq) and there are a number of rules that must be followed when a real property transaction is handled by Executory Contract.  Because Executory Contracts do not involve the actual conveyance of title, title insurance is not available at the time an Executory Contract is executed.  Title insurance is available at the time the conveyance of title is finalized, such as when the final payment requirements under the Executory Contract are completed.

What is a Living Trust?

A Living Trust is a type of trust that is used to hold the personal assets of an individual during their life and then distribute those assets after their death without the necessity of a probate proceeding.  In a Living Trust, the assets of the person creating the trust, known as the Settlor, are placed into the Trust to be managed by a Trustee for the benefit of the Settlor.  The Settlor may name themselves as the initial Trustee and someone else as a Successor Trustee to manage the assets following the death or incapacity of the initial Trustee.  In order to retain the homestead exemption for tax purposed, language must be included in the Trust that the Settlor retains the right to occupy the property as their principal residence.

 

If you would like to use a knowledgeable title company conveniently located in the Heights, please give us a call.

Fidelity National Title, 1512 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008 (713) 529-8800.

 

HCAD and Real Property Accounts

We often get calls about why the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) shows someone other than the actual owner of the property as the owner in HCAD’s system.  HCAD is an agency created by Texas statute that has the responsibility of determining the value of property for taxation purposes, as well as any tax exemptions that may apply to the owner or the property.  HCAD does not determine the ownership of property.  By law, documents affecting title to real property must be filed in with the County Clerk in the county in which the property is located.

HCAD updates their records based on “Request To Correct Name Or Address On A Real Property Account” forms that are submitted to HCAD or by conducting a separate search of the real property records.  In instances where no form is submitted, any change in HCAD’s records is dependent on the frequency with which HCAD searches the real property records and the accuracy of the person transcribing the information.  Based on the potential delay and/or transcription inaccuracy, purchasers of real property are encouraged to provide HCAD with a completed form in order to have HCAD update its records with correct information.  The form should be completed and submitted to HCAD shortly after the change in ownership to allow the new owner to receive any notifications sent by HCAD or applicable taxing jurisdictions.

If you would like to use a knowledgeable title company conveniently located in the Heights, please give us a call.

Fidelity National Title, 1512 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008 (713) 529-8800.