How Complicated Can It Be?

Posted June 10, 2018 in Real Estate Trends

Scott Hogan, Clark County WA real estate agent

Summertime at Clark County Title is not all lemonade and sunscreen! We spend our days figuring out who owns real estate, and then closing on sales or refinances of that real estate. Sounds pretty straight-forward, right? In theory, yes. But there are enough twists and turns to keep even the most-experienced title and escrow people on their toes. Here are some examples:

Death. When an owner of real estate dies, who becomes the owner? Who can sign a deed to a new owner? That depends on what their Will says or state statute if they don’t have a Will. Even if they have a Will, the Will needs to be given effect in Court (probate) to allow a Personal Representative (executor) to sign a deed on behalf of the estate of a deceased person. With or without a Will, Clark County Title can, in some cases, close a sale by the heirs of the deceased person without requiring probate.

Divorce and other Court actions. If a dissolution or boundary line dispute lawsuit is in Clark County, and the Court Decree or Order awards the property to one or the other of the ex-spouses or neighbors, no deed need be recorded—the Court order itself acts as a deed. And, just because one ex-spouse gets the property, unless there is a refinance, the other ex-spouse often remains a debtor on the home loan they took out together. If that loan goes unpaid, the non-owner ex-spouse will get named in the foreclosure that results. Ouch!

Tax liens, Child Support Liens, etc. In addition to loans and deeds, we search for liens filed against the name of the owner and former owners. If you don’t pay your state or federal taxes or child support, liens get filed that become an encumbrance on your real estate in the same way a loan does.

Loans and judgments without proof of payment. Sometimes, debts get paid but no document gets filed or recorded to show that it’s paid. Not only do we clear up debts that our escrow department pays at closing, we often need to track down proof of satisfaction for debts paid long ago—just to make sure the person getting title insurance is protected.

Best wishes for a wonderful summer from the professional title and escrow people of Clark County Title! Let us know if there is anything we can do to answer any questions you may have about real estate in Clark County. We’d be happy to assist you!

Scott Hogan
Clark County Title

1400 Washington St, Ste. 100
Vancouver, WA

3200 SE 164th Avenue, Ste. 219
Vancouver, WA 98683