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Is REO title safe?  I contacted Equity Title of Nevada and asked this exact question and here is what I have to report.

Yes.  Provided you have title insurance.

Then why these reports about REO, and foreclosure?  These indictments you hear about from the Attorney General are discussing the ‘procedures’ that some limited persons used in filing foreclosures.  The Attorney General is not representing the consumer in attempting to unwind any sales.  The question really is, will a former owner arrive and demand to be reinstated on title?  Well, since that would come with the debt also, let’s just say, I doubt it.

But if there is a claim about the foreclosure process that affected my home (literally my home is listed as one of those with potential previous foreclosure defects) am I safe?  Yes, again. The odds of there being a claim on your title are very remote.  If there was one, you have title insurance, and you are going to be able to get title insurance in the future.  So it is a non-issue for the normal consumer.

Let’s discuss title insurance.

On residential purchase transactions, there are three primary forms of title insurance that are currently available to buyers.

  • The Homeowners Policy (most recently revised in 2010).
  • The ALTA Residential Policy (1987 form).
  • The ALTA 2006 standard coverage owners policy.

All of these policies provide coverage against loss or damage sustained by reason of title defects which exist as of the date of policy.  Imagine a hypothetical scenario in which, after the date of policy, a former homeowner files a lawsuit which seeks to set aside the prior foreclosure as defective.  If this former owner is successful and ultimately obtains a final, non-appealable court order which rescinds the foreclosure and reinstates his ownership interest then he will have established that the insured’s title was in fact defective as of the date of policy.  Even though the filing of the lawsuit itself was a post-policy matter, the outcome is a court determination of a pre-policy title defect, i.e. an invalid foreclosure.  In this scenario, a title defect or a marketability claim tendered by the insured under any of the above listed owners policy forms would presumably be determined by the underwriter to be a covered matter which must be defended.

There is however, a new law that went into effect on October 1, 2011.  This new law may cause some discussions.  Title companies may not be willing to insure post-foreclosure without a special exception for any claims that are based on an allegation that the foreclosure did not comply with the provisions of AB284.  An REO buyer must simply object to not receiving this coverage.  This is not happening now.  The coverage is being granted.  We need merely watch the field and see if the industry changes.

Equity Title of Nevada recommends to any residential buyer that they consider obtaining the Homeowners Policy. There are many additional benefits to this form of policy which are worth a buyer paying the additional 10% premium.

Any questions, email me darren@dwelshlaw.com or call me 7022451787.

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