DEAR BOB: Before I was married about five years ago, Ibought my house in my maiden name. After we got married, my husband moved intomy house. We never changed the title to add his name. Since marriage, I havebeen using his last name. When I sell the house, do I need a court orderbecause I took title in my previous name? –Suzanna R.
DEAR SUZANNA: No. Thousands of property owners took title inone name but for various reasons, usually marriage, they changed their legalnames before selling that property.
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When you sell your house, you will be asked to sign the deedusing your current name with the notation “who took title as” andthen your maiden name.
For example, suppose you took title as Suzanna Smith butyour name is now Suzanna Rogers. You would sign the deed in front of a notarypublic, so your signature can be notarized, as Suzanna Rogers, who took titleas Suzanna Smith. It’s that easy. For more details, ask a local title officer.
PROOF YOUR MORTGAGE WAS PAID OFF
DEAR BOB: We plan to sell our free-and-clear house in early2007. About four years ago, we made the final payment on our mortgage. Butneither my husband nor I recall receiving any papers from the mortgage companyproving we paid off the loan. The company has gone out of business. How can wecheck up on this? –Ruth R.
DEAR RUTH: You are very smart to clear up this problem nowbefore you are ready to sell. The first step is to pay a visit to your countyor city recorder of deeds office. Explain to the clerk you want to check ifyour lender recorded either a “mortgage satisfaction” or a “deedof reconveyance.” Most deed clerks are very helpful and will show you howto research the microfiche or computer records for your home. It will be veryhelpful if you have your home’s county parcel number.
If you can’t find evidence the loan was cleared from thetitle to your home, your next stop should be the office of the title companythat insured your deed when you bought your home. Explain the problem and seeif their records show the loan payoff. If not, then you might have to bring aquiet title action if the mortgage lender is out of business.
CONDO INSURANCE MIGHT NOT PROTECT SEPARATE RESIDENCES
DEAR BOB: Your recent advice to condo owners about insurancemight be misleading to owners or buyers of some condominiums. For example, Iown a condominium that is part of a development of freestanding houses. Eachowner must provide his/her own homeowner’s insurance. The master policy insuresonly the common areas and is primarily a liability policy for the association.As property manager of the development, I have to explain this to new ownersand even some escrow agents –Mike B.
DEAR MIKE: Thank you for that valuable information. Thesituation you describe sounds like a development of detached townhouses thatneed individual homeowner insurance policies.
The new Robert Bruss special report, “The 20 EssentialQuestions Smart Home Buyers Must Ask to Avoid Overpaying in a Buyer’sMarket,” is now available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road,Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant delivery atwww.BobBruss.com. Questions for thiscolumn are welcome at either address.
(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center).
Copyright 2006 Inman News