The Role of Title Insurance in Real Estate

Are you ready for this new episode of Real Vets Podcast?  So are we!  This week our focus is on Title Insurance, and we have an amazing guest here to chat about this imporant aspect of Real Estate.  Click below to listen on Spotify:

On this exciting episode of the Real Vets Podcast, join co-hosts and San Diego Realtors Nait Schirmer and Brian “Big Dog” Britton as they welcome special guest Amanda Brown, a seasoned professional in the title insurance industry. Listen in as Amanda opens up about her journey in the industry, and the trio delve into the importance of authenticity in business, particularly when working with military service members and veterans. With an emphasis on the respect and gratitude for the commitment and hard work of military members, this conversation is one that will leave you inspired.

You’ll also gain an understanding of the ins and outs of title insurance and why it’s crucial in real estate transactions. We break down the preliminary title report and its role in maintaining checks and balances for buyers and lenders. Furthermore, the potential risks of not having title insurance are brought to light, underlining its importance in real estate transactions. But the real estate education doesn’t stop there; our discussions on the significance of property liens, easements, and buying land for construction purposes are packed with insights that could potentially save you from future pitfalls.

As the conversation unfolds, we explore the importance of having a trust in place, especially for military personnel. Learn how a trust can protect your assets and ensure they are distributed according to your wishes. We close off with a casual chat with Brian and Nait from the Tip of the Spear Real Estate Team, discussing current world problems and expressing our appreciation for connecting with Real Vets. So, buckle up for an enlightening journey through the world of real estate, title insurance, and trust planning.

Title Company Real Estate San Diego, CA

Prefer to read the transcript of this awesome podcast?  Here you go!

0:00:32 – Nait
Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. RealVets Podcast. I’m your co-host, Nait Schirmer, and we have Marine Extraordinaire, Brian, big Dog, Britton. What’s up, man? Hey, what’s up? It’s been a couple days since we’ve done one of these, yeah, so yeah, the last one was Marine Corps birthday, that’s right. Yeah, it was on the Marine Corps birthday, is that when we did it? Yeah, okay.

Let’s go man, let’s go. Did you hear the episode? Did you hear what I did? At the end I added the Marine Corps hymn, the old school version, like 1940s. I’m not supposed to do it.

0:01:20 – Title Insurance Rep, Amanda Brown
It’s pretty cool it could be a good fade-in, fade-out Right.

0:01:25 – Nait
I try to get a rock and roll version. Actually I found one, but I didn’t want to mess anybody’s copyright up or anything like that.

0:01:33 – Title Insurance Rep
I didn’t want to be sued. Yeah, no, got to worry about that, yeah.

0:01:39 – Nait
So I mean because, as you know, this country and this state is very litigious and actually, speaking of that, isn’t that kind of what you do. You help prevent a little bit.

0:01:52 – Brian
So that’s that why don’t we introduce who we have with us today.

0:01:56 – Nait
Yeah, who are you?

0:01:57 – Title Insurance Representative, Amanda Brown
What’s up? Veterans? I am Amanda Brown. I work at a title company. I work at Lawyer’s Title. It’s a title insurance company over in San Diego, California. I’ve been working with these fine gentlemen for probably the past what like I don’t know seven years. Seven years, whenever you start it, yeah. Yeah, yeah, since I first started, that’s been seven years yeah, walked in with flip-flops and like that’s the one, me, my kind of person, that’s awesome.

0:02:27 – Brian
That’s always so funny. I always think about that and like how many people don’t go and never sell houses and flip-flops. You need to have a shirt and a collar and a tie and wear a blazer and blah, blah, blah. When I first got into real estate and I was like I’ll show you.

0:02:42 – Title Insurance Rep
You guys are a bunch of nerds. Yeah, I’ll show you.

0:02:46 – Brian
Shut up and f*cking pair of freaking jeans and flip-flops and a black shirt one day and you’re doing whatever I want and it worked out pretty well.

0:02:54 – Title Rep
It is funny, like how demographic you know. Like you had to show up for a corporate job like suit and tie, the whole, like pink wind show, and that’s like how we as a society thought like that’s the only way you can make it. You have to like dress this like certain way. But it’s funny when a guy walks in with flip-flops and freaking kills it. You know it doesn’t have to be that way. Yeah, just be you.

0:03:18 – Brian
It’s a big thing too, like, especially with most of our clients being, you know, military service members, veterans here in San Diego, if I’m dressed to the nines right, if I’m wearing a goddamn three-piece suit and I pull up in a Mercedes Benz like, I guarantee every single person maybe not every, but for the big majority, most of the people are going to look at me and be like this is f*cking guy. You know what I mean? Like I’m a freaking scummy salesman trying to look all flashy and stuff like that. It doesn’t work out very well.

0:03:50 – Title Rep
No, you know your people.

0:03:51 – Brian
Well, you got to be yourself.

0:03:52 – Title Rep
Yes, you got to.

0:03:53 – Brian
Anyway, we’re not here to talk about it, we’re here to talk about Amanda Brown. I’m very excited about that.

0:03:57 – Nait
Yeah, you said you’ve been with us for seven years, but you’ve been in the title industry for how long?

0:04:03 – Title Rep
Yeah, so I’ve been in title for 15 years. It’s been a journey. You know. I started super young. I started at 20. I am oh sh!t, I just had my birthday, oh what Happy birthday. Thank you. I’m 36. So I started out super young. It was a fun journey. I started out with my mom. I was actually going to dental hygiene school. I thought it would be really fun to clean people’s teeth.

0:04:29 – Brian
Clean people’s growth yeah.

0:04:32 – Title Insurance Rep
So, like what can I do? You know, like you like graduate high school and you’re like, well, god, I have to like kind of think of grown up things Like how am I going to like afford you know, how am I going to afford life. So I started going to school and I was going for dental hygiene. I was working at a dental office for the past, for the few years, and I thought that’s like my path Okay, I’m like doing dental hygiene and my mom needed an assistant. She’s been in the title industry for I don’t know like 40 years. Now 30 years, Don’t even mark my words, but something around that right A long, a long time and she needed an assistant.

So I started out like literally just passing out notebooks to guys. So it’s been a fun journey to start. I mean, it’s not easy in sales, as we all know, especially like you veterans. I don’t even know how I mean just even getting through boot camp. Like you guys are freaking amazing. I just the stories that I hear about military and veterans. I mean you guys are amazing and I’m so thankful to have you and to work with all of your clients. So, thank you, I appreciate it. It’s definitely a privilege.

0:05:39 – Brian
Some of us had it a little bit easier.

0:05:41 – Title Insurance Rep
Oh, oh, army, okay, close call.

0:05:45 – Nait
Because they’re bad.

0:05:46 – Title Rep
Bad mamma jambas freaking boot camp like shit, running miles, doing pushups, that’s just like the first couple of months you’re in.

0:05:54 – Brian
What’s your done with boot camp?

0:05:55 – Title Rep
You’re in the military. Oh God right. No, how many pushups have you guys done Like what’s in one setting, what’s the max?

0:06:06 – Nait

0:06:07 – Brian
Actual pushups Yep, minutes or hours Shut up. I kind of got in trouble a lot when I was in the break. It was like, hey, you’re going to push until I’m tired. I’m like okay, yeah, I have no idea, damn.

0:06:22 – Nait
Yeah, it’s funny, though. I remember I questioned a chief once in Iraq and chief was like you’re going to do lunges until I’m tired of watching you do lunges.

0:06:35 – Title Rep

0:06:36 – Nait
I couldn’t walk right for two weeks.

0:06:39 – Title Rep
Oh shit See, I’d rather clean teeth. I’d rather just ensure his title policies for sure.

0:06:47 – Brian
But I forgot to shave one morning and showed up to work without a shave, even though I shaved, like you know, the day prior. Because that’s just how the military works 200 burpees was my payment for that one that was cool Hell yeah so good times I need to do that to my kids. Start making them do burpees and shit.

0:07:06 – Title Rep
Yeah, I mean, I tell them to brush their teeth and they’re like oh yeah, dad. And then I look and I’m like what the f*ck? Like nasty. Go 200 burpees, I was almost a dental hygienist.

0:07:14 – Brian
No, you’re too f*cking gross. I used to have my kids, if they screwed up bad enough, I just had them go pull weeds in the yard. Yeah, so I’m like here’s one bag for you. Here’s one bag for you. Don’t come back inside until they’re full.

0:07:32 – Title Insurance Rep
You know punishment. It’s okay to punish your freaking kids.

0:07:36 – Brian
Give them a shovel Like dig a hole, go dig, let’s go dig.

0:07:42 – Title Insurance Rep
I want to dig until I’m tired of watching you dig, because I know I’m going to have to have a huge ass mess in my yard. So started out as an assistant and then I’m like, okay, like I could do this. You know, talking to people all day long, that’s what I liked about dental Eight new patients a day, right. So I loved it. Like I started out just kept meeting new people, went to offices. That’s back when, like people had to work in offices and not from home Met a bunch of people thought it was cool and kept on going. You know, it’s a fun journey. It’s fun to learn, it’s fun to grow, it’s fun to help people. That’s why I do it. I’m just like you guys in military, like you guys bust your ass is trying to help people and save our country. So and that is no comparison to my title, let me just make that real clear.

0:08:33 – Brian
Well, you guys do a lot of good stuff too, so I’m I’m glad you brought that up, so I know there’s a lot of people that that we work with that not only don’t know what title is, but I’ve never even heard of it before. Yeah Right, so can you give us basically like a real, just a grunt version of what exactly is? That title what you do and title what it is that title does, who it benefits, how it helps, all that kind of stuff.

0:08:58 – Title Rep
Yes, okay. So title insurance. So when you are buying a property, refinancing, selling, you are required, through the car forms, to get title insurance. It is not required if you’re getting doing a trans cash transaction, however. Every single person gets title insurance and you’ll know why after our podcast. But so title insurance, we are ensuring the set a sale from a seller to a buyer, or, in a refinance, we’re ensuring the lender.

So there is two different title policies. There’s an owner’s title policy, which is paid for by the seller. And so, example you are selling your home, Nait is buying your home, and we run a report where it shows who currently owns the property and we will run out what’s called the chain of title, which is like we run out from the last time it was insured by another title company to the current. I do see, especially lately, you guys so many deeds from parent to child, child to parent, parent to whoever, like Aunt, susie and stuff, and when I say deeds I mean grant deeds or quick claim deeds, and that is when you start to give interest to your property to other people. So on the report, it will show ownership.

0:10:15 – Brian
Which is important to make sure that the person that’s selling the house is actually allowed to sell the house, right?

0:10:20 – Title Insurance Rep
Yep, and anytime you put anybody on title we have got to. We require them to sign a form, even if they record a deed to remove themselves, and I’ll get into that later. So our title report shows it’s called Vesting and that is when, like Nait or Brian fill out your listing agreement, it will have the owner’s name on there but say, like Nait’s selling his house, and he added Aunt Susie because he needed Aunt Susie’s signature to qualify. So Aunt Susie and Nait are on the property but we’ll just say five years or five years into it he removes Aunt Susie off his property because he’s like good right, like Nait’s, like good thanks, aunt Susie. Thanks so much for helping me.

Aunt Susie removes herself off the property but while Aunt Susie was on the property she had a federal tax lien. She didn’t pay her federal taxes. That attaches to the property. So anytime you put an owner on a property, all their stuff is now tied to that property. So federal tax liens, state tax liens, child support liens, judgments, that kind of stuff, construction, construction. So all that is on this beautiful report we call Preliminary Title Report. So any open loans, like I said, any type of judgments, liens, that kind of thing is on a Preliminary Title Report.

And why is that important? Because we don’t want to end up like other you know no offense about other countries where people just kind of own things but then there’s things attached right. So you want to make sure when you’re buying a property it is free and clear of all of those things and we insured that. So say we made a mistake, like you turn into claim to us. So that’s like a snapshot of what a Preliminary Title Report is. That includes easements. Sometimes people are scared of easements. Don’t be scared of easements, it’s just you want water, you want sewer, guess?

0:12:14 – Brian
what. I’ve never seen a single property that didn’t have at least a utility easement on it.

0:12:20 – Title Rep
Right, but some people get scared. So if you are a veteran and you’re listening to this, if you’re a military, you’re listening to this. Easements are not not your friend. Like you want water, you want sewer, you’re going to have an easement you know, for the most part.

0:12:32 – Brian
Yeah, for the most part. Power, power, yeah.

0:12:35 – Title Rep
Yeah, you want to watch that TV. It’s going to happen.

0:12:37 – Brian

0:12:38 – Title Rep
You know you need it. So that’s what’s called a Preliminary Title Report and that is when you so that is when you’re selling your home. But if you’re refinancing, there’s a snapshot of Preliminary Title Report we give to the lender and they just want to make sure that, like, they’re not in third position, that they are going to be in first position paying off a loan. So when you refinance a property, you are refinancing a loan, right? So you have to make sure the lender wants to make sure that there’s no other liens on there, because they don’t want to be borrowing money. They don’t want to be letting you borrow money if you owe a bunch of debt. So it’s just basically like a checks and balance system to make sure that, like, when you are purchasing something, that you are purchasing it with every like with a complete, clear title.

0:13:22 – Brian
So so basically in Ooh, I like it.

0:13:29 – Title Rep
What is that?

0:13:30 – Nait
What is that?

0:13:30 – Title Insurance Rep
I feel like you could hear it, like with your guys’ motor power and like just now, like oh, that’s a Harley.

0:13:37 – Brian
It says it’s a 2-stroke something, some kind of little mini bike yeah.

I’ve seen this dude ripping a little scooter down the road that had a weed whacker motor on it. No way he put this big giant expansion, take exhaust pipe on it, dude. He was going like 40 miles per hour. I was on my way to work one day and I was on my Indian right and I freaking this guy’s just what Like the thing’s screaming? It’s a 2-stroke, so he’s calling freaking smoke everywhere. I pull up next to him and I was like f*ck yeah, dude, that was so funny. Anyway. Oh yeah, that was 2-stroke, something.

0:14:09 – Nait
So going back to deeds, what happens if you can’t find someone that’s on?

0:14:15 – Title Rep
God, that goes to court. So this is like that.

0:14:17 – Nait
Has that ever happened or have you ever had anything?

0:14:19 – Title Rep

0:14:19 – Brian
Of course, yeah, actually, we’re dealing with it right now.

0:14:22 – Title Rep
Oh yeah, sure are with a bunch of those vested owners. Okay, so you are listening to this and you are. So you’re listening to this and you have deeded your. You’ve deeded Aunt Susie on your property and you want to take Aunt Susie off. Just take her off with, like, do the deed right, Call me, I’ll instruct you where to go. But when you start doing deeds by yourself, you guys like your properties are so freaking expensive. Like what’s the average home value right now in San Diego County? What is it Like? 800, still 700, something like that.

0:15:00 – Nait
Hovering around there.

0:15:01 – Title Insurance Rep
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, eight and nine. I mean that’s f*cking crazy, right, like that’s insane. So when you start doing these deeds by yourself on a $900,000 property, that’s crazy, like just pay the $200 and get it done, right, because okay. So Aunt Susie is on there. Aunt Susie has a federal tax lien. It’s for $60,000. Well, that has to be paid through your proceeds, like there’s no way around that. If she was on title during her judgment, or federal tax lien, state tax lien, that kind thing, like that has to be paid. Government wants some money.

0:15:35 – Brian
So essentially, title insurance, or having title insurance for your house is basically when you buy your house. It makes sure that you’re buying a house free of any debts from the previous owner. Correct, is that about right?

0:15:47 – Title Rep
Yep, yeah, so and that’s a.

0:15:49 – Brian
That’s a thing too. One of the properties that we’re trying to work on right now has to your point of hiring a professional to get you know to get deeds transferred correctly. One of the properties that we’re looking at has right now has, I think, six different people on title and like no, seven different people on title.

0:16:10 – Nait
Oh wow, five of them are dead.

0:16:12 – Brian
Yeah, and it is. It’s just a total shit show of a deal, and the only way that we’re going to be able to sell this thing, if it’s even possible, is by going to probate.

And that costs a lot of freaking money. So now, like what do you have? You got this property with a whole bunch of different people on it that somebody back in the 60s, you know, put a transfer ownership of this piece, of that piece, whatever you know, over time all those people pass away that were on you know, that were on title or that are on title still. Now the only way that the seller can even sell it is to go to probate court. Find all those people find their next to can make sure that they don’t have any vested interest in that property legally. Another whole, another shit show that properties got like six or seven different leans on it From like back taxes, from child support, from all this stuff that just I mean, I don’t know, man, I’m a little bit concerned that I was just going to go to tax sale.

So that’s another thing too, like if you don’t do it right and you get leans on your property that say maybe you know about, maybe you don’t, but you don’t pay taxes, or whatever the case may be, if you buy a property that has all that stuff, that thing might get sold out for money or tax. So that’s. It’s super important to have that stuff, and knowing exactly what it is, obviously, is equally as important. So you know you’re getting stuff into right.

0:17:36 – Title Insurance Rep
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and that’s what the preliminary time report is like if you’re listing a property, don’t wait and you guys are so good about this, you never wait to order that report because you work so hard. Like, getting a deal is not easy. It’s not easy, there’s so many moving parts to it. But so now you have this deal and then it goes in escrow and then we send you out your preliminary time report and it’s got all this stuff on it. And you’re like, well, who the hell is freakin Joe Schmoe? You know, and I’m like sorry, we can’t live forward without Joe Schmoes and it um, you know we can’t move forward without Joe Schmoes signing off. And you’re like, well, who the hell Joe Schmoe?

0:18:13 – Brian
well, we got to find Joe Schmoes so hopefully you can find them and hopefully they’re still alive, mm-hmm.

0:18:19 – Title Rep
I hope Joe Schmoe doesn’t want to have the proceeds now because Joe Schmoe was on title so yeah, so I think like the biggest thing is like if you want to deed somebody on to title, like make sure there’s a good reason for it.

I see like a lot of people adding girlfriends and no offense, not saying that your relationship is not gonna make it, but I mean put a ring on it first, yeah, at least. Then like it’s already, no, like we’re an enjoyed community state, so you just get married. If you’re gonna put someone on title on your property, but like having your girlfriend or boyfriend on, I would say pro tip, like make sure that you run, send me like what’s called a statement of information so I can run them for personal lanes to make sure that they don’t have any personal lanes before you attach their name to the property.

0:19:02 – Brian
That’s a good point, because if that person say, oh is a bunch of money and child support or something like that, yeah, then all of a sudden, yeah, that’s the house and that debt, or Finds out that that person owns real property, and then they put a lien on your property. Well, that sucks for whoever for you?

0:19:20 – Title InsuranceRep
that sucks for them.

0:19:21 – Brian
That sucks for everybody, especially if you go to sell it and then all of a sudden like that in order for a sale to go through, that has to be paid off.

Yeah right, like there’s no way around that that has to be free, that debt has to be free, clear of that property, and the only way to do it is to pay it off. So like say, if somebody’s got, you know, a lien on their property that’s for, say, $50,000, and they only have $40,000 in equity, they’re just unable to sell there. Just to be able to sell their house, they’re gonna have to come up with that other 10k somehow. Mm-hmm to get that debt because it won’t close. No, you can’t do it.

0:19:55 – Title Insurance Rep
No, and and people, and sometimes they hear like, oh well, we’ll just go to a different title company. It’s like well, these liens, I promise you, it’s not like we find them in our special computer, like these follow you with your social security number. So, like everybody, I mean, that’s what we run. So we run the social to make sure. So we’re running out, like the property it’s called the legal description, we run out the address. So when we do our search it’s not just based off of an address, it’s based off address, apn, legal description and social security numbers. So it’s pretty like it’s a pretty good in-depth search and we also get our engineers involved to plot those lovely easements that we were just talking about. And and you cannot. So let me go to plotted easements, because it is something that’s so big, especially like in rural areas. You guys love to, you know, you guys love to tinker right, like these guys in front of me, like their favorite thing is their bikes and Brian loves the color-coded easement.

0:20:54 – Nait
Yeah, you have to color coded.

0:20:58 – Title Rep
I just want to see if it looks like. I want to see all the colors, yes, and you guys. And what that means is, like it is, it’s a map and on that map it will have the easements Colored, so like it will show like a portion of the property, where that easement lies. And when I say like where an easement lies, you guys like the easements that are recorded. It is not like the pipe is right here, that’s not what I’m saying. Like it’s like the pipe is in this area.

Yes 10, 20, I mean. So when you’re looking these potted easements, don’t freak out like, oh my god, that is like the biggest damn pipe I’ve ever seen. It’s because that’s just the way that the easement is done, so um 22.

0:21:48 – Brian
You need to know, if you’re you know where those easements are, because if you’re planning on adding any building to your property, we just ran through that with that place in uh, san carlos remember.

0:21:58 – Nait
Oh man, what a shit show. There was an old that was. That was interesting. We did a lot of research. Yeah, we did. That was a doozy.

0:22:06 – Brian
There was an old water pipe on the back end of the property that hadn’t been used since. What was it like? 1967, we figured out.

0:22:13 – Title Rep
It got the it was wild or something like that, but the easement was still there.

0:22:17 – Brian
The problem is that the jacuzzi, the house of the backyard had a pool, jacuzzi, pizza, grotto, a big sitting area, all this really cool stuff, but all of it was over top of the easement, all of it. So if anybody was to find out, I will never share that freaking property address on this podcast.

But, if anybody was to find out, like, say, a government, a government official, like a city or county official or something like that, found out that was there, they could tell that homeowner to rip all that shit out. Hey, that’s an easement, that’s ours. You can’t build on it, you have to make that all go away. You know what I mean. And the for that property, specifically the jacuzzi, was attached to the pool. So that’s big, big problems. That’s big, big money to demo all that so expensive.

0:23:00 – Title Rep
It’s so expensive and it’s sad because we all think like, okay, this is our property, right, like this. We just bought this piece of land, like, let’s Like, I want to do so much with it. Like this is our land. But unfortunately, like you have, you can’t build on an easement. If you do, like they are able to, they meaning whoever that easement was granted to Is able to come onto your property, and if they have to drill to get to whatever it is, they need to fix or maintain. That’s what has to happen. So, if you pour a concrete slab over it, like, but, but let’s like, also think about it. If it’s like a super pipe, that or a water and it’s leaking, you want them to be there, right?

So, it’s a two-part thing. Like you, you need them, they need access.

0:23:39 – Brian
So well too, though easements don’t have to be just a government right. It could be that somebody’s got a right to access easement. Let’s say, your property is you know somewhere where there’s. You know somewhere where somebody’s got a piece of land behind you that’s landlocked. There’s meaning there’s no roads to it. Right, the only way that they can get to that property might be through yours, so they might have an access easement on some portion of your property. Obviously, we need to know that you know, especially in like rural areas like Far East County, san Diego, out in like Hummel or Discanso, papatul or Campo or Pine Valley, or even Ramona, like all these, all these places shit.

Valley Center, Falbrook, like all these places in the outer line areas of San Diego that a lot of you know, military people like to buy real estate. That’s nice. That you need to know who else has access to your property, that’s huge.

0:24:33 – Title Rep
And that’s where those easement maps come into play.

0:24:36 – Brian
You know, if there’s a, if there’s somebody that’s got, you know that needs to access their property, the only way to do it is through your property. They say like the I don’t know northernmost 10 feet of your property is that other owner’s access point. You can’t do shit with it. You can’t block it off, you can’t build anything there. You got to just leave it as is.

0:24:57 – Title Rep
Which is kind of a part of, like, our problem. Where we’re at here in San Diego like there’s nowhere else to build and like the land that’s there, it’s a lot of it’s landlocked. You guys, I know that if you’re on Zillow and late night, like you know, looking through all the things that are available that’s affordable here I mean it’s land, and so what landlocked means like to Brian’s point is, if you don’t have access legal access, with that pretty beautiful, like color coded map to a county maintained road, your property is worth nothing. Really, I mean it’s you can’t legally go over other people’s land, right, like you can’t walk onto someone’s house if they’re not giving you permission.

0:25:35 – Brian
You mean, you know, just do cannibals.

0:25:38 – Title Insurance Rep
Just can’t do it. I mean, I do think you could maybe make some friends, but Very good.

0:25:44 – Brian
to make that property worth anything, you have to get these mints in. There’s no saying that a property owner has to grant it to you.

0:25:52 – Title Rep
It’s not already there.

Yeah. So that’s a big problem here in San Diego County is a lot of the land is landlocked with, which makes it pretty much like not worth anything. The value is just not there. There’s no building permits when you’re landlocked, so the county’s not going to give you that. And if you ask the neighbors for access over the land, if you get a good engineer involved and like work it all out, I mean that’s awesome. But that usually comes with the price, not only for the engineer but like for the piece of land that you’re crossing over to get to your parcel. So there’s a couple things that go into that and then also lovely legal lot status, which I don’t want to bore you guys with all that. So you guys can always call me, I’m always happy to help, but land’s kind of a different animal in that way.

0:26:42 – Brian
Well, that’s, I mean the land’s like. You’re talking about zoning status right the property zone for it. So that’s a big thing too, because now, especially nowadays that a lot of you know military service members in San Diego County, because of what’s going on with the market, a lot of people are trying to look at, you know, construction loans, all that kind of stuff. So that’s, let’s talk about that a little bit because that’s, that’s huge.

That’s something that we’ve, you and I’ve been working on a bunch of times in the past. Right, people want to buy our property so that they can build a house on it. And there’s all these big giant like I mean, freaking tens of acres of land property out in East County where you’re like, dude, that’s awesome, I’m going to build a house there. Nope, no, you’re not.

0:27:26 – Title Insurance Rep
You guys oh my gosh, military I mean veterans like you guys like it’s wild because there’s land, like I was just working on something last week and when my clients was going to build, it was like I was like this is too good to be true, right? So I was just saying, like how a lot of land here in San Diego County is landlocked. So he had, like he found this piece of land and it was listed on the MLS and started working on it. I’m like this is just awesome, like there’s legal lot status, meaning that it’s on a parcel map or a subdivision map and what that means is that it was cut properly and approved by the, the county of San Diego City, San Diego. So I’m like, okay, wow, this is great, there’s legal access. Awesome. Like freaking great, you know. And then, moving forward, like here we are, we got legal access, we got like legal lot status, like all the things. I’m like I know I’m such a nerd. And then he talked to the county and they’re like yep, like he. Just so, when you talk to the county, you’re not doing like a deep dive, like you’re talking like somebody no, and no offense to any county workers but like you’re working, you’re talking to someone, just like at a kiosk, real quick, right, they’re plugging in the parcel number and they’re like, oh, the zoning is whatever, rs seven, you know. And you’re like, okay, great, like I can build, that, you know I can build what I want. Like it sounds great. So, but you start doing deeper dives.

There was a historical home that was disclosed at the last second in disclosures, an historical home that you can’t, so you can’t build, can’t build it’s under a historical, so they would have to move. Yes, it like became a whole thing and like, not only that, but like the land is like Indian preserved land, like it was like a whole thing. But if you were just looking at it and you don’t know what you’re doing and how would you like, honestly, you guys like if that seller didn’t disclose that there’s no way to, until you’re like, already far and into the building permits, so, so building isn’t just super easy, like there’s a lot that goes into it. There was another, another parcel in the La Mesa area I was working on and I was like, wow, this is great too.

All the things, all the boxes were getting checked off and and then the septic guy went out before close of escrow. So they went out, wanted to see, like what it would take, like how many house, how many rooms they could build for this piece of land. It was huge, it was like two acres in the Mesa. It was like great, a two bedroom house. But so you can build the two bedroom house on this huge parcel of land, because how much land was that the seller wanted? It just didn’t make sense, right. So like you don’t want to buy like a $700,000 piece of land for a two bedroom house, Hoping that you’re going to put a McMansion on it Exactly.

0:30:08 – Brian
You can only do not much. We just did that to one of my buddy’s, one of my Marine Corps buddies, from around the community the better community, I should say we didn’t start together but wants to, wants to do exactly that. I want to buy a piece of dirt, build a house on it. We found one up at the up in the hills in Poway.

0:30:28 – Title Rep
That’s a what was it like?

0:30:30 – Brian
30 acres or something like that.

0:30:32 – Nait
You guys remember Anyway it was huge, for sure.

0:30:36 – Brian
But like if it was 30 acres, like 29.8 of those acres were not buildable, just because it’s all like preserved land you own the land but you can’t do anything with it. So luckily we’re able to catch that Before we wrote an offer on that property we actually went to the county or to the planning building there in Poway and talked to them there and they pulled maps and showed us all this stuff and we’re like, yeah, you guys, I mean you can build a house there and there’s a spot that you can put a septic tank. And they had plans approved at one point for like this big giant, like 6,000 square foot McMansion up on top of the hill and stuff like that.

0:31:14 – Title Rep
But that’s only space that you got, like you can say oh yeah my land goes way, you know, way, way down there.

0:31:22 – Brian
Just you can’t even walk in there Like you can’t. There was talking to the lady at the at the building office. You can’t cut any of the brush, you can’t build anything, you can’t even walk. Like you own it, but you’re not even allowed to walk through. It Isn’t that insane? So 30 acres, that just turn into like 0.2 acres of usable anything. You know what I mean.

0:31:44 – Title Insurance Rep
And the seller, like rice, have property taxes too. So you’re paying property taxes on this legal description, like on all these 30 years, but like there’s your little then you only get to use a tiny little portion.

0:31:53 – Brian
Yeah, so that kind of stuff’s important. That’s why you know us doing our due diligence before we even get into something is always a big thing. So that’s. That’s been a lot, a lot lately, especially with land deals, and we all know that lands the the part of real estate that people get sued for the most. So that’s why a lot of agents don’t even like messing with land, right? Because right really good.

There’s a much, I should say there’s a much higher probability that something’s going to go wrong if somebody buys a piece of dirt and then, once they build on it, then once they own it, they find out that they’re not able to build because they didn’t do their due diligence during escrow. And getting that prelims apart of it, getting finding out where plotted easements are, figuring out zoning all that stuff’s a part of it.

0:32:36 – Title Rep
Absolutely, and as a buyer. So any veterans, military out there that are listening, being your own advocate, we could do a lot, but it is. I will say, and this happened to me. I had an agent call me. This was a few years back. This is when I learned this lesson.

So this was a few years ago. An agent called me. They were selling a deli or something somewhere. I wanna say it was a deli and it was in downtown San Diego, so commercial spot selling it. The agent asked me hey man, did you think this business blah, blah, blah can go in? And I was like okay, let me see what the city says. Right, I’m just trying to help. The city told me that. They just told me, yes, right. So I’m telephoning, I’m in the middle of this and I’m like, oh, yep, I spoke to them like they said it was fine, right, I didn’t get anything. I’m writing.

I called and that buyer went to sue the agent because they went to go pull building permits and the architect was like they just said no, because we can’t build, we can’t put this what we want in here. So you do have to be your own advocate. I’m super big on emails with the county and city, but at the same time, even though you’re talking to Susie or whoever, rachel at the city or Rachel at the county, and she says yes, that doesn’t mean it’s fully yes. Like you need to really do a deep dive and be your own advocate, because you can hear one thing and we want to help you, but we can’t do it all like we just can’t with liability, because we don’t want to put ourselves in a bad situation where we’re putting you. We don’t want to put you in a bad situation, we’re here to help you. But that one really I felt bad, like that one hurt me into the core because I remember trying to help, making that call and it wasn’t right, it didn’t work out Well, and that’s one thing too.

0:34:24 – Brian
Like we always all go to the county building office with people. But I’m not gonna do it without them. I’m not gonna go myself, unless it’s for a piece of property that I’m specifically interested in buying myself. I’m not gonna mess with that stuff. You know what I mean. So that’s a big thing. People gotta go to the county themselves to do diligence. But so on that note, what kind of? Let’s say somebody wants to buy a piece of land so they can build whatever they wanna build on it and we tell them go to the county, go talk to them. What kind of questions? Who should they be talking to at the county? What kind of questions should they be asking? What kind of things do people need to go to the county for to set themselves up for success?

0:35:05 – Title Insurance Rep
I almost think that they shouldn’t. I think that their first person that they should be talking to is a GC, especially depending on what they wanna build, like an architect, because those people already have relationships. This is what they do every single day. So I want so if it were me and I’m like okay, I see this half acre parcel, I wanna build a four bedroom, two bath house, I wanna pool and I want it to be 3000 square feet, right, like this is my wish list, I wanna take that to an architect and be like can you make this happen on this APN number and you do all the work and run it through the county? Because they’ll do the initial consult with the county, which is, I think, like 1200, it’s probably more now like 1200 or $1,500 or something like they’ll go through all of that with them. Because when you talk to someone again at the county, you’re just talking to like a kiosk person, you’re not talking to the actual decision makers, like you know what I’m saying.

0:36:01 – Nait
So I think like and you needed them writing right.

0:36:03 – Title Rep
You need the map and everything, yeah, and that’s like their whole job right Is like to do that. So I would say like, talk to an architect, talk to GC, like and that would be my first one for sure like if I’m serious about a piece of land, like I’m going straight to them and having them like do all their due diligence, and I’m not saying like at architect or GC that like does this part time. I’m saying like an actual legit company that like does this all the time, you know, yeah, yeah, licensed, insured.

0:36:31 – Brian
So don’t even bother going yourself, just get a guy having to do it for you.

0:36:36 – Title Rep
I would. Yeah, that’s exactly who I would go to, because you’re gonna get someone behind the counter that says pulls up, something I could do. You know, and you could too, if you’re listening like. You can go to self services at thesandiocountycom website and you can plug in an APN and the sister parcel number and it will tell you the zoning. However, it won’t show you all the other things, right, and if you’re serious about making that huge investment because it’s so expensive, you might as well do it the right way, right? Yeah, dumb as round, just go straight to the professionals. That’s what I would do personally. There you go, okay, cool.

0:37:10 – Brian
Yeah, that’s good info. That’s real good info, because I know we have a lot of folks that have. I always hear people talking about it back when I was in the Marine Corps in the veteran community. People wanna just buy a piece of land and build their own house on there, and that’s awesome. American dream yeah dude, that’s huge, but especially out here, and it’s different state by state. We’re just talking about California and so, for people listening, if you’re in Tennessee, or something like that it’s probably not as big of a deal but out here at least there’s f*cking California.

There’s always a lot of different checks, balances, red tape, all that kind of stuff that you gotta work through. So definitely talk to a professional first.

0:37:51 – Title Insurance Rep
Yeah, absolutely so. I mean especially on the title end of it, and I hate to. I don’t like being the capa full or anything like that, but I just kinda see people getting into bad situations where they buy a piece of land and they pay. It’s expensive, it’s not cheap. You pay a couple hundred thousand dollars for a piece of land and then you can’t do anything with it, so it’s too bad. So doing your own due diligence, being a good advocate for yourself in that way and you can call us like you know, I’m here to help you, so pick my brain anytime.

0:38:27 – Brian
Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s wrap it up. You’ve gotten cool stories for us.

0:38:34 – Title Rep
Oh man, yes, there’s always fun stories, the best ones or not the best ones, and I don’t even they’re not good. But if you are listening to this and you are in California, I know every state is different, but here in California if you own a piece of land or a parcel anything house, when I mean parcel, means like anything where like you own a house, a condo, whatever please make sure that you get a trust. I cannot like scream it loud enough Like a trust is so freaking huge, you guys, because you spend all this money right Like American Dream to Own Something. It’s so freaking hard already and you pass away, or you are in an accident and now you’re mentally incapacitated, whatever it is, whatever like sad situations going on which we are all gonna die, by the way.

0:39:25 – Nait

0:39:25 – Title Insurance Rep
We’re gonna die. I’m gonna die, right, we are. I’m sorry to be so morbid, but we are all gonna pass away. So, like, let’s set our errors up for like the best success, because when you don’t have a trust and you pass away, and if you’re the only person on title or you have, you want your proceeds to go to the next level or just something that’s incredibly special fund um um nonprofit or something, Any type of nonprofit.

Yeah, I like your money doesn’t have to go to a person. You guys like it can go to the wounded warrior project, like whatever’s special and important to you. So if you have a trust and you can set it up, um, and, and the trust is so cool, like it’s special, it will specify, like even um, healthcare derivatives and all of all the things. So if you own something in California, please get a trust, vest your property into the trust and if you’re not sure about that, um, you can always call me and I can check for free. Please don’t pay someone just to check that for you. Um, and what that does is it avoids probate and I know that Brian was talking about probate a little bit earlier and how expensive it is. But people, especially like air siblings I have seen, get in the gnarliest fights, breakup families, all because of money. Because mom said that I could have that necklace, dad said I could have that or whatever it is, and, um, kids start fighting and money, oh, money just gets tears people Sure no that greed man.

It’s wild and it’s expensive. I mean, probate is like not a long, it’s not a, it’s not a small process, it’s a very long process, it’s expensive.

0:41:01 – Brian
Um, there’s no guarantee it’s going to work.

0:41:03 – Title Rep
That’s not going to work the way that you wanted it.

0:41:05 – Nait
The deceased wanted it, right Like when you guys have said or discussed probate several times, but I don’t think the listeners they may not know what that is.

0:41:14 – Title Rep
So probate is. So Nait and I are married and we own a home as joint tenants. Okay, so, Amanda Brown, Nait Shimer, um, husband and wife as joined tenants. I passed away and now my, now my interest is not Nait’s interest. Okay, for example, so, um, Nait like lives a couple more years and he’s doing fabulous, and then Nait gets in the car accident. So now Nait’s passed away and there’s. He never added anyone onto a deed. Which, god, I can go into this, sorry.

0:41:45 – Nait
And you don’t want to do that to invest it into a trust.

0:41:47 – Title Insurance Rep
He never invested it into a trust. It goes to what’s called probate and that is where the courts decide what happens to that estate. The estate of Nait, just not even like the house, but the whole estate like so the estate of Nait right. So like Nait’s bank accounts, Nait’s, Nait’s 401k, Nait’s military, like all the things right that Nait my motorcycles his price his fricking podcast equipment. Like where’s this beautiful stuff going to go?

So I’m stealing it, yeah, and Nait wanted it to go to Brian. You know, like Nait wanted it to go to Brian and he also wanted it to go back to the um, to what wound, a warrior project he wanted it to go to, like his brothers that he served with right, and none of that happened because the the courts decided that Nait’s estate would go to his estranged cousin he didn’t even know about, like that lives in whatever Mississippi and, uh, he’s never even spoken to her before. You know. So, like um, probate is where the courts take your estate and they decide where it should be and where it should go, and and they do that because people come forward. It’s not like they’re just pulling people out hats. People come forward, especially when money’s involved, as we all know, people will come forward for that.

So, um, so that’s what probate is. So if you can avoid it by getting a trust and I know it sounds like an expensive like thing right off the bat, but remember how we were talking about the beginning, where your house is worth like $900,000 and you’re doing deeds by yourself houses worth $900,000, just get a trust, you know, cause it helps so many things, not just your house.

0:43:22 – Brian
Well, and that’s I mean. That helps out. You know whoever’s your, whoever you want to have your stuff after you, you know, after you leave this earth too. That helps them out, cause I mean, you spend what? Maybe a couple thousand dollars having a trust attorney right up on trust for you, right and sure it’s a couple thousand dollars. That’s not a pretty penny, but probate court.

0:43:44 – Title Insurance Rep
Ooh yeah, I’m gonna say it’s like three to 5%, it’s like something crazy off the top of the estate, you guys More.

0:43:52 – Brian
Yeah, many people have that yes.

0:43:57 – Title Rep
And, like the value of the home through the probate courts, has done by an appraiser through the probate courts, it’s not done like by Brian or Nait. Here you go, so it’s um, it’s expensive, it’s expensive. So, if you can, um, if you’re listening, or I know you’re listening because this podcast is so bad at but get a yeah, get a trust, um be, that would solve all the problems.

That would solve all the problems for for a lot of listeners here, especially because you are military and what you guys do is so badass and so dangerous and I pray for you Absolutely Like. What you guys do is incredible, but it’s dangerous and things can happen and shit can happen and, um, it can probably benefit a lot of listeners here.

0:44:43 – Nait

0:44:44 – Title Insurance Rep
Awesome, yeah, good words of advice.

0:44:46 – Nait
Great information. Thank you, thank you guys and to think you, you’ve been ducking and dodging us for like a year trying to get you on and it’s like natural my palms are a little sweaty.

0:44:58 – Brian
I don’t know how you guys do this it’s just like we say, we’re sitting around bullshitting yeah.

0:45:05 – Title Rep
We’re just here solving problems, kicking ass and solving problems, no, the world’s problems, right.

0:45:10 – Nait
Okay, all right.

0:45:11 – Brian
Thank you for having me, I appreciate it.

0:45:13 – Nait
Thank you.

0:45:14 – Title Rep
Thanks for coming on board, Nait. Sign us out, dude.

0:45:16 – Nait
On behalf of Tip of the Spear Real Estate Team. We are Real Vets and we’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening in on this episode – we hope you enjoyed learning about Title Insurance and the role it plays in Real Estate.  Are you looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate?  Are you service connected?  We can help!  We are Tip of the Spear Realtors – San Diego Military and Veteran Real Estate Team!

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