Profile picture for Confused58

looking into buying a property

how can I find or review its public record to make sure no property taxes were left pending and not become my problem. What other issue should I watch for or ask, please guide me to the best desicion, thank you
  • November 11 2010 - Boggy Creek
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Answers (18)

Profile picture for user91043913

Hello,

If you want to, you can do some of this due diligence research yourself. I do not want to make you any more confused, however I agree with Mark that when you buy in London you get a free and clear title. You can take help of reliable real estate firm to solve any queries related to property concern.  One of my friend also face this issue, but Plaza estate firm help him to clear all the issues related to property concern and now he also suggest me to take their services buy London Properties. A generic title search does NOT cover everything. It does not check for outstanding Code Enforcement Actions, Tangible Personal Property Taxes Due, Zoning & Building Violation matters, Open Permits, etc.

If not title insurance will take care of any issues, I have closed on properties with issues and the title insurance picked up the cost, from HOA liens to county liens. Most registry of deeds are automated these days and have public websites that you can use to find copies of the existing deed, mortgage, tax liens and many other public documents.    

There are various things that only someone competent will suggest  for example a Municipal Lien Search which covers: outstanding code actions not filed in the real property records, open and potentially damaging, building permits, tangible personal property taxes and any utilities due (such as sewer, water or electricity) that could attach to your property

If you are buying a foreclosure or short sale and using the sellers title company or a listing agents "affiliated" title company, there will probably be exceptions to the policy.

 




  • September 17 2012
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Profile picture for MiamiCondosandHomes
It is best to consult an attorney, as well as the tax records, which are public.
  • August 31 2012
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  • August 31 2012
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Confused58,

I do not want to make you any more confused, however I agree with Jennifer, Mark and Danielle when you buy in Orlando you get a free and clear title.  If not title insurance will take care of any issues, I have closed on properties with issues and the title insurance picked up the cost, from HOA liens to county liens.  Here in Orlando things are different, the bad companies have been weeded out and the good remain!  Find yourself a great agent and you will be very happy and feel comfortable with your purchase!  Best of Luck, don't be afraid we are on your side!
  • February 03 2011
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Profile picture for RemaxBetty

You can check the county website...but that is something that the title company searchs for...the make sure that there are no liens or taxes owed against the property.  If they are unpaid they subtract the amount owed from the seller's proceeds.  This will allow you to take ownership without any outstanding debt obligations.

I hope that helps..

Betty Simmons
Remax Best Associates

  • November 13 2010
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No hype, this is Florida where statistics show that 70% of title work has errors.  Last week I had an attorney review a closing package that had 17 mistakes.  This is not an isolated instance, it is the norm for this state.

Some errors are minor,...like 3 single men taking title as a married couple...the others more serious like title companies not paying off a $7000 HOA lien, not sending the deed, not recording a mortgage payoff, not transferiing title to designated parking and even not including a parcel of property on a 2 parcel sale....I could go on and on...

These things did happen  and is why about 40% of title companies in florida have closed their doors or changed their names in the last few years.

David Stern's office who closes the bulk of foreclosures for the state of florida is being investigated for forging signatures...that is where the "Robo signers" fiasco  comes in...human robots that sign 18,000 documents a week without reading or verifying...read the depositions...whichever employee could copy signatures the best got to do the job.

"Scary" fact for sure.

He has just laid off 70% of his 1,000+ employees and is now blackballed from fannie and freddie...read the newspapers or google his name.

So I stick to my original post, thank you... 

Eve in Orlando


  • November 13 2010
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Profile picture for Spina Realty
If you are really concerned and worried, hire a real estate lawyer. They are best qualified to help you in this situation. Good Luck.
  • November 13 2010
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Profile picture for Mark LeMenager
Nothing to be confused about although you'd never know it by all these conflicting answers.  I get questions like this all the time.  When you buy in Florida it will be free and clear and you'll get title insurance to cya.

I live just down the road in Harmony.  If you'd like some down to earth help without all the hype and scare tactics, just click on my picture and contact me.
  • November 12 2010
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Please get competent advice from an experienced title attorney and don't try to figure it out yourself.

Buying Title Insurance (while you should)  is not the  solution to sloppy  title work, and most title companies do inadequate checking. 

 A generic title search does NOT cover everything.
 

It does not check for outstanding Code Enforcement Actions, Tangible Personal Property Taxes Due, Zoning & Building Violation matters, Open Permits, etc.  

There are add on's that only someone competent will suggest.  Like for example a Municipal Lien Search which covers:

 

1) Outstanding Code Actions not filed in the real property records

2) Open, and potentially damaging, building permits

3)    Tangible Personal Property Taxes Outstanding

4)    Any utilities due (such as sewer, water or electricity) that could attach to your property

If you are buying a foreclosure or short sale and using the sellers title company or a listing agents "affiliated" title company, there will probably be exceptions to the policy.  In other words, instead of checking or solving the problem, title company will just exclude  that from coverage under the policy.

Don't shortchange yourself, pay for expert advice.

Eve in Orlando

  • November 12 2010
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If you want to, you can do some of this due diligence research yourself.  Most registry of deeds are automated these days and have public websites that you can use to find copies of the existing deed, mortgage, tax liens and many other public documents.

Use google to find the location of your county's registry of deeds and see if you are able to find this information yourself.


Good Luck,

Tom Schwendler
Colby Real Estate, Inc.
Warner and New London NH
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  • November 12 2010
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Not all title policies are the same.  When buying the home, you have the option for the different title policies.  If you are really worried about it, choose the more expensive coverage with the title company as it will cover more items if they should not be disclosed prior to closing and appear later.
I agree with the others in regards to a real estate attorney looking over the documents to help you understand them and the potential obligation you may have.  This is always good advice!
What I think Jennifer failed to mention is that in the Purchase and Sale contract, you do have an option to select that the buyer is not responsible for such items.  But like she said, the banks may require you to pay them or the other options she mentions.
One item that may not be on the title report is a pending lawsuit with the Homeowner's Association (HOA).  That should be disclosed on another document.  If there is a pending special assessment, you might as well run away unless you have enough cash to purchase the home.  I have not found one lender recently that will loan on a property that has a pending special assessment.  The other issue that comes to my mind is if sewers are being installed in that area soon.  This will be an assessment that you have to pay and could be several thousand dollars that may not be disclosed.  This is where your homework comes into play.  You will need to research all of this so that you are an informed buyer.  How much time do you put into researching a TV, couch or other purchase?  Multiply that time by the factor between purchase prices and you will have a good idea of what it takes.  For instance, if you spend one hour on a $1,000 TV then you should spend 200 hours on a $200,000 house.  Fortunately you can get professionals that will help you out and reduce your actual time spent, but I think we all agree that you should spend time doing "homework" so that you are an informed buyer.
  • November 11 2010
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
There is a lot to consider when buying a house. If you look at the blogs below they will give you some good questions to ask or consider.

Generally speaking a seller has to pay for their part of the taxes due and the buyer has to pay for the taxes forward for the year. It is part of closing.

This blog shows the basic buying process. It is simple and easy to understand.
"Its your first home and you are looking for something but are not sure where to start to look or about loans."

Below are a lot of things I have found that could be issues when buying any property. If you consider 1/2 of what is inside you will have a lot to consider.
"Questions I would ask when purchasing any property."

If those were of help look at my profile. There are more blogs there that could be of help. I am not a professional real estate agent but this is solid information.
  • November 11 2010
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Jennifer is absolutly correct. The title policy will insure that the title is clean. Your lender will order the title policy for you and the underwriter will also research the property to any types of liens.
  • November 11 2010
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Hi,

Once you are under contract it is the job of the title company to do a title search.  They will research the title for liens and encumbrances for the past 30 years.   This will include things such as past taxes, past HOA dues or contractor liens.  Once they conclude this search and it comes up clear they will issue a title commitment to you which states that the title is clear and they should also issue you a title insurance policy to insure the clean title and insure you against any claims should any come up after the title is transferred to you.

Often times when it is a short sale foreclosure being purchased, I have seen that there are back taxes and HOA dues that have been unpaid buy the seller.  Sometimes the bank will cover these back fees sometimes they will ask the buyer to cover them or split them.  Often times the discovery of these back taxes does not come up until the title search is done.  When they are disclosed and if the bank does not choose to cover them you have the option to renegotiate or cancel the contract.

This is information that your Realtor should go over with you.  Also, when looking for a home or making an offer you should have a Buyer's Agent that means a Realtor that represents only you.  Not a listing agent that primarily represents the seller.  A buyers agent will not cost you anything more as the seller pays the buyer's agent at closing.

Sincerely,

Jennifer De Vivo
Realtor
The De Vivo Team
Charles Rutenburg Realty
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  • November 11 2010
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Profile picture for Mills Realty
Your question is exactly why you get title insurance when you purchase property.  Buying property without title insurance is simply crazy.
  • November 11 2010
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Taxes will be paid at close of escrow. As Jim said, your Realtor should be able to provide you with that information or you can always do a search on the internet for your county assessor and they usually have a page where you can research properties by Tax ID numbers, addresses or owner's name.
  • November 11 2010
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 There are many different kinds of liens that are not part of a generic title search and title insurance underwriters are rated just like car insurance.

I would recomment hiring a real estate attorney to review the liens and title work, who would be working on your behalf and not just trying to get some paperwork to closing.

Erika in Orlando
  • November 11 2010
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Your realtor should be able to provide you with a copy of the public record. At the closing of the sale, you should be issued title insurance. Prior to the title company issuing a the policy, they will check to make sure all taxes have been paid and that there are no other liens or encumbrances on the property.
  • November 11 2010
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