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  • Writer's pictureCohen Closing and Title

Scary Stories: Title Claim Edition

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Spooky season is here, and as title professionals, the only thing we can think of that's scarier than a house with ghosts is a house with title defects! If you've heard about title insurance before, but never really knew about the horrors it protects you from, read on...if you DARE!

These spooky stories are the stuff of nightmares - they keep us up at night! And each one is terrifyingly TRUE (with a few creative liberties!). So the next time your buyer asks if they really need an owner's title insurance policy or questions what it covers, we hope these stories of the buyers who weren't so lucky will come to mind. If these stories aren't enough to send a shiver down your client's spine, send them to the team at Cohen Closing & Title so we can answer their questions about owner's title insurance!

Harvey & His Harley

There once was a man named Harvey, and Harvey loved his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He loved it so much that he sought out a new home with a pristine garage to house his precious bike. At first, things were great for Harvey and his Harley. The garage was everything he hoped it would be, and he'd ride the motorcycle everywhere and every time he could. Until, one day, Harvey's new neighbor Jack could be seen unhappily lurking in his window, less than thrilled with the noise of Harvey's Harley.

As it turns out, Jack had hired a surveyor who found that Harvey's garage encroached upon Jack's property by two feet! Jack filed for forced removal of the garage - the one true reason why Harvey wanted this property!

Unlike most scary stories, this one comes with a happy ending for Harvey and his Harley. Fortunately for Harvey, he bought owner's title insurance which covered forced removals - the insurer paid for mediation, a lot line adjustment and soundproofing for the garage. Now, Harvey & his Harley live happily ever after.

The Bankrupt Builder

Steve and Sarah were newlyweds with a baby on the way! Thrilled with their new addition, they realized they'd need more space. They worked with their realtor on purchasing their dream home - a beautiful new construction colonial with enough bedrooms for their family to grow. Things couldn't have been better until construction started taking a bit longer than expected and the costs of all their upgrades began to pile up. As their due date AND closing date quickly approached, they chose to save some money by opting out of their owner's title insurance policy, a decision that haunts them to this day.

A few months later, once the baby has arrived and the ink on the closing package has dried, a letter comes to Steve and Sarah in the mail. The letter is from a subcontractor - the plumber - who worked on their home as it was built, demanding a $15,000 payment for the work he performed that was never paid by the builder!

Steve and Sarah called the builder to have him pay and to their dismay, their builder - just three months after closing - had filed for bankruptcy and was insolvent. With no owner's policy to protect them, Steve and Sarah now have to pay the debt to remove the lien from the property themselves.

Nightmare at Anne Place

The year was 1954. And Megan West was proud of her purchase of a sprawling 55 acre farm in Cobb County, Georgia. Eventually, when Megan passed, her daughter Katherine West inherited the farm. Katherine no longer lived in Cobb County, and rarely got to see the farm, creating the perfect conditions for a scammer to be hiding in the shadows, waiting to pounce!

And that's exactly what happened when Katherine's brother's ex-wife, Ms. Barbra West, impersonated Katherine and sold the 55 acre farm to a developer. The developer, believing they had free and clear ownership of the land, built the beautiful Anne Place Subdivison, a 102 property subdivision that was then sold to 102 new homeowners.

For some, it was not the ghost of Megan West that haunted them, but the decision against purchasing title insurance when Katherine returned and filed a claim of ownership in court! Eventually, the case was settled and the owners in Anne Place who had owner's title insurance had their portion paid to Katherine West for them, while those who did not had to pay their portion out of pocket - a $25,000 nightmare!

Buyers, if you want to avoid being the victim of a scary title claim story, reach out to the team at Cohen Closing for more information on owner's title insurance.

Agents and lenders, if your clients are asking you why the need the policy or want to skip out on it, share these stories or reach out to us for more information!


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