A Cautionary Tale

Posted August 5, 2017 in Real Estate Trends

Scott Hogan, Clark County WA real estate agent

This is the story about Minnie the Moocher (with apologies to the late singer Cab Calloway):

Minnie heard from all her friends about the money to be made flipping houses. “Buy low, put some paint on it, and resell it for a mint,” they said. “It’s money in the bank!” So she found a house that needed some work, knocked on the door and met the seller. They signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement on the kitchen table. A week later, she gave the seller the purchase price, the seller signed a deed, and Minnie went to work on the house.

Two months later, work done, it was time to sell the house and become a big-shot house flipper like the people on that TV show “Felida or Flop.” Even though Minnie had forgotten about Clark County Title when she bought the house, she figured a buyer would want to see a title report before giving Minnie twice what she had paid for the house, now that it was all fixed up. That’s when the real surprises began, and it was more expensive than the dry rot under the sink! The title report showed that Minnie’s seller had several judgments against him. “Wait, he doesn’t even own the house anymore,” Minnie said.

That’s when the ominous “Jaws”-type music started in the background. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t the owner anymore, I explained. Once a court judgment is entered, it becomes a lien against any property that person owns in Clark County. If it’s not cleared up when you buy the house, you get the debt with the dishwasher. It didn’t seem to comfort her when I told her, “If you had title insurance, the title company would be responsible for clearing up these judgments.” Lesson learned (the hard way): don’t buy real estate without having title insurance — it’s the only way of knowing what you’re really buying.

We have two convenient locations. Let us know if there is anything we can do to be of service to you — that’s how we earn our business: helping people buy, sell and refinance real estate – all with a smile on our face! Thank you on behalf of the professional title and escrow people of Clark County Title!

Scott Hogan
Clark County Title
360.694.4722 | 1400 Washington St., Ste. 100, Vancouver, WA 98660
360.787.9197 | 3200 SE 164[th] Ave., Ste. 219, Vancouver, WA 98683