What is an Easement and Why Should I Care?

property easement

You’re out shopping for property and may have just found your dream home when your Realtor® informs you that “the driveway easement to the street runs over the neighbor’s property over there.” Great! Huh? Is that a problem or what? In this case it’s not a problem at all. The copy of the title report that the listing agent provided confirms that the easement is included in the legal description and is therefore “ok”.

In our scenario the dream home property benefits from the easement over the abutting neighbor’s property. That same easement burdens the neighbor’s property.

So, what exactly is an easement? One definition that I like a lot is: “the right to use someone else’s property for a specific purpose.”

Appurtenant:
adj. pertaining to something that attaches. In real property law this describes any right or restriction which goes with that property, such as an easement to gain access across the neighbor's parcel, or a covenant (agreement) against blocking the neighbor's view. Thus, there are references to appurtenant easement or appurtenant covenant.

The dream home property has an appurtenant easement over the neighbor’s property. Its owners and/or guests have the benefit of coming and going over the driveway area without needing permission from the neighbor to cross over their land. On the other hand the neighbor that is burdened by the easement must not impair or restrict the use of the easement area on their property.

If a piece of property does not abut or “touch” a public road it will be necessary to establish an easement over the parcel(s) of land that lie(s) between the nearest public road and the property. Without a valid easement a property owner may not have the legal right to go over their neighbor’s property and that could cause big problems down the road (pardon the pun). Without legal access a property is said to be landlocked or having lack of access.

Not to worry! Once you purchase your dream home you can rest assured that your Ticor Title policy insures that you the owner have access rights.

If you have an active transaction with Ticor Title  and would like to review the preliminary title commitment with us, please contact your Ticor Representative or call our headquarters at 425-255-7575.

Donation Matching & Food for Pictures… Get more mileage out of your donation!

Ticor Gives Back Bringing Joy to FamiliesOur Ticor Gives Back campaign is in full swing with our staff rallying to fill the boxes in each branch and our giving spirits are high. On Monday alone, our Renton branch filled 11 boxes (200 food items). And the emails back and forth on our team are so positive and full of gratitude as we work together to get involvement. It is a great thing to be a part of.

Now, I mentioned in my last post that there are a few of us who have offered to donate extra under certain circumstances. So to make it easy, we’ve put together a couple videos to explain:

Denise Eider, our South King County representative has offered to match every can that her clients bring in! Way to go Denise!
I (Matt Sweet), the tech. man on the sales team, have committed to donating a food item for every picture or video we receive of someone participating in the drive.

If you would like to get involved, please email us, call 425-255-7575, or stop by one of our escrow branches with a donation of any amount.

Achieving Higher & Greener Standards in Real Estate

Uniform property informationQ: Is there an organization working on standardizing and streamlining the property records & transaction process in the United States so that we can have more efficient and greener real estate transactions in the future?

A: Why yes! In fact PRIA (Property Records Industry Association) is devoted to working on such things!

And we have had the privilege of having a brief phone interview with one of PRIA’s advisory council members, Mark Monacelli. In 2007 Mark was recognized with the PRIA Carl R. Ernst Award for Unique Industry Leadership. In the interview below, Mark explains what they do and how they are working to create higher and greener standards in the Real Estate industry.

PRIA is a non profit that develops standards and best practices on specific subjects within the Real Estate Industry. They create standards for a wide range of things including document formatting, eRecording standards, and a uniform set of standards from loan origination to closing for all states in the US.

If you have ideas, questions, or feedback on how you think the Real Estate Records process could be more efficient, please chime in by commenting below.

Ticor Gives Back – and has a little fun in the process

This week kicks off our “Ticor Gives Back” initiative.  We’ve formed a committee, done our homework on local organizations, printed up fliers, and rallied our staff with a little incentive to give a little extra this year.  And sure enough, the announcement to the sales team that we were having a community support-drive spurred on a bit of healthy competition.  Here are the challenges we have so far…

1 Picture = 1 Can. As an incentive to get the word out, I pledged to donate one can of food for every picture sent to me that relates to a client or employee making a donation.

The first to get 5 people involved. Our county manager (Marci) and sales manager (Ryan) challenged each other thusly:

The first person to get 5 clients to donate at least 1 can of food wins.  The loser has to donate 10 cans and $20.

This one was settled within 48 hours when Marci sent the following picture to the sales team, simultaneously winning the challenge and being the first to submit a picture, requiring me to donate 1 can!  Way to go, Marci!

canned foodImage by shooting brooklyn via Flickr

In all seriousness, we truly feel blessed and want to share with our community.  A little healthy competition on our team is sincerely intended to generate more relief in a shorter amount of time for people in need in the Puget Sound area.

If you would like to get involved, please email us, call 425-255-7575, or stop by one of our escrow branches with a donation of any amount.

Even one can of non perishable food can make a difference in someone’s day.  And remember every photo of someone participating in Ticor Gives Back will help a family!

Happy Giving!
Matt Sweet
Ticor Title

*All donations will be delivered to Northwest Harvest, Helping Hand House, Hope Link and the Humane Society.

Is someone using my photos without permission? Find out who!

Is someone using my photo without permission? Have you ever wondered this?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a quick tool for finding out?

Thieves

Tineye.com can help!

Tineye is a reverse image lookup tool (and it’s free). What does that mean?  Basically, you can show tineye your photo and it will show you where it found that photo or similar photos elsewhere online.  Very cool!

So if you have a prize winning photo of a real estate listing or sunset photo of Mt. Rainier that you don’t want anyone to use without your permission, you now have a tool for finding photo poachers!

Why do I need Title Insurance? The Tale of the old Utility Agreement…

Water and Sewage pipes of a Jerusalem ~1930 bu...

Image via Wikipedia

Why do we need title insurance? Let us count the ways…  Below is a scenario that came about in an older, well established neighborhood with a rich history of utility technologies (i.e. a variety of plumbing and utility technologies from the last 80 or so years).  Needless to say, in this case a title issue arose when plumbing and utility upgrades became necessary.

The Old Utility Agreement Rears its Head

The Old Agreement
In 1975 an agreement was recorded between Bill Home Owner and the local utility company.  This agreement allowed a sub-standard temporary hook-up to utilities (a water line).  The agreement stated that the owner would pay a fee at a later time to connect to the water system when the utility company installs / upgrades their system.

Fast forward decades…
The property had been bought and sold several times since the agreement was established.  But, when the utility company completed their upgrade, this triggered the need for the homeowner to upgrade their connection to the utility per the 1975 agreement.  The cost of this upgrade in today’s dollars is approximately $5,000, a substantial amount that the current home owner did not anticipate when purchasing the home.

The Resolution
Jake and Susan, the present home owners, tendered a claim to Ticor Title with whom they are insured.  And in this particular case, it was determined that the matter was covered under their title insurance policy.  Ticor coordinated with Jake and Susan and the utility company to pay the outstanding amount owed to the utility company per the agreement.  Ticor also received a release of the 1975 agreement from the utility company and recorded the release in order to remove the cloud on title.

Ticor Title is backed by the nation’s largest title insurance claims reserves, giving us a strong financial position and unsurpassed ability to pay claims for our insured. If you are unsure of your current title insurance company’s solvency or ability to pay claims, or have questions about your coverage, please contact us.

Best Regards,
Ticor Title
425-255-7575
facebook.com/myticor
@myticor

This story was provided by Gregg Colbo, Senior Underwriter, Ticor Title.  This story is based on real life circumstances.  However, the names of the people in this story are ficticious and were chosen randomly.  The intent of this article is to illustrate the value of title insurance.

Ticor Pocket Profile App – Property Profiles on the go

Hello iPhone-toting Real Estate professionals!  Have you ever wished that you could look up a property profile from your iPhone or iPad?  Well hot off the press is the new Ticor Title Pocket Profile app that provides property profile information and more.

Here’s a full list of information available via the App:

  • Property Profile – With Legal Description, Property Characteristics, Sale Loan Info, Assessor / Tax info
  • Transfer History
  • Comparable Sales Report
  • Area Sales Analysis
  • Nearby Properties
  • Neighborhood Demographics
  • Public Schools Report
  • Private Schools Report
  • Plat Map

*Note that some usage charges may apply  and a Ticor Express account is required to receive property data to your mobile device.

We’re anxious to hear your feedback.  Based on the quick overview, is this an app that you would use on a regular basis?  Yay or Nay, please let us know either way by leaving a comment below.

Best Regards,
Matt Sweet
Ticor Title
@sweetmd
@myticor

See you in the Harbor, Part II – Gig Harbor Escrow Team Goes All In!

Well, since Jannae Mitton Jolibois went to great lengths to make a splash when she Joined the team at Ticor in Gig Harbor, the bar has been set pretty high. So naturally when it came time for us to announce our new and spacious Escrow location in Gig Harbor, we decided to continue with our “See you in the Harbor” theme.

So, picture your favorite Gig Harbor escrow team cordially introducing themselves and announcing their new location as they’re standing on the bow of a yacht just in front of the famous “Tides Tavern” dock. The sun is shining, the harbor is calm, and the stately evergreens on the hill peer down in anticipation as the entire Escrow team says, “See you in the Harbor.”

Thank you Gig Harbor and surrounding communities for choosing Ticor for your title insurance and escrow needs!

Click here to order title and escrow.

For questions about our new location in Gig Harbor, please call:  253-686-1976

We’re having a Luau! Announcing our new Gig Harbor Escrow location!

Our Gig Harbor Escrow branch has moved and we’re very excited about the new location!  For those familiar with the Gig Harbor area, we’re right on Soundview drive across the street from the Harvester Restaurant.  The new office offers more spacious escrow signing rooms, a comfortable waiting area, and plenty of windows for more natural light.  It’s a brighter, cheerier office which suits our bright and cheery Gig Harbor sales and escrow team to a “T” and makes for a warm experience at the Real Estate closing table!

And to celebrate our new Gig Harbor Escrow location, we’re going to have a Luau! So please stop by and share in the Aloha spirit with our fabulous escrow team as we savor the fun, sounds, and genuine flavors of the islands!

Here are the Luau details:

Thursday September 23rd, 4-7PM

5775 Soundview Drive
Suite 204C
Gig Harbor
(See Map Below)
RSVP: Jannae (253) 686-1976


View Larger Map

The Anatomy of a Non-Judicial Foreclosure in Washington State

Real estate loans (usually in the form of deeds of trusts) can be foreclosed through court proceedings (a judicial foreclosure) or outside of the court’s involvement (a non-judicial foreclosure) in the State of Washington.  If a deed of trust contains a clause which provides “power of sale” to the trustee (a designated party listed on the deed of trust) and a statement which confirms that the property is not being used principally for agricultural purposes it may be foreclosed non-judicially. Otherwise it must be foreclosed judicially.

Here’s what happens in a non-judicial foreclosure:

  • Loan payments are not made and a default occurs.
  • Once a default has occurred the lender (or the trustee) sends a written notice of default to the borrower by first class mail and either registered or certified mail. The lender must also post a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place on the premises or personally serve a copy to the borrower.
  • If the borrower does not pay the outstanding amounts (i.e. cure the default) within 30 days of the issuance of the notice of default the lender may authorize the trustee to issue a notice of sale. The sale may not take place less than 120 days from the issuance of the notice of default.
  • If the borrower does not cure the default the trustee sends a written notice of sale to the borrower by first class mail and either registered or certified mail. The notice is also sent to parties with recorded/filed monetary encumbrances (i.e. deeds of trust, mechanics liens, judgments, etc…) and the plaintiff(s) in any filed court action and any party who has recorded a request for notice as specified by law. The trustee must also post a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place on the premises or personally serve a copy to any occupant. The notice is also recorded with the county auditor and must be recorded at least 90 days prior to the sale date.
  • The sale (i.e. trustee sale) may be halted up to 11 days before the sale date if the default is cured or the loan is fully paid. After that time the lender does not have to agree to accept payment.
  • If the sale is not postponed (by the borrower filing bankruptcy) the trustee will “cry” (i.e. conduct) the foreclosure sale in the public place at the time and location specified in the notice of sale. The sale is usually held on the front steps of the county courthouse but it could be held in any location. The sale must be held on a Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. If the Friday is a legal holiday the sale will take place on the following Monday.
  • Once the sale takes place the deed of trust is foreclosed. A Trustee’s Deed is recorded soon afterwards and the successful bidder becomes the owner.

Best Regards,
Gregg Colbo
Sr. Underwriter
Ticor Title