Making educated decisions about real estate

9 Steps to Video Marketing Success


Published: 1/22/2015

The link below is a great article on the use of video in marketing.  This venue is great for real estate.

I have a system and company that I use for video and its distribution through email and text.  Let me know if you would like to hear how I utilize video in my business.

9 Steps to Video Marketing Success




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Stage Set to Revive First-Time Buyer Market


Published: 12/12/2014

The link below is to an article that will be of importance to 1st Time Home buyers and those that would like to be a homeowner but are strapped for cash.

Take the time to read this and give me some feedback as to whether this is helpful. 

Please let me know if there is a real estate subject that you would like me to cover in one of my posts or contact me for one on one information.

Click Here to go to the Article






Why a title company is so important to the homeowner.


Published: 11/20/2014

As you enter into the purchase or refinance of real estate there is an entity that works diligently behind the scenes during the settlement process and even after the closing to protect and insure your ownership interest in what could be the largest single financial decision of your life.

Although Federal Law allows you the right to make the choice for this entity, very few home buyers know this entity as well as they should and all most all home owners have no idea what this entity does or how critical they are to their asset.

This entity is your title company!  You still don’t know who we are or what we do?

Meridian Settlement Concepts, Inc. is a Maryland title company that is dedicated to educating you about the settlement process and making sure that you fully understand the transaction that you are a party to.

 One of the most important aspects of the title company’s responsibilities is to guarantee clear and marketable title to your property.  How do they do this?  They accomplish this by first examining the land records in the county courthouse in which the property is located.  They also investigate all current owners of the property.  They start their investigation with the current owner and current date and they search back 60 years or more.

In this search they are looking for all liens on the property.  Which could be, but will not be limited to, any mortgages, delinquent taxes, water bills or any other delinquent utilities, homeowners or condominium association dues, mechanic liens and/or any current or pending judgments that could attach to the property as a lien.  They must also examine the court records for any recorded or pending judgments, order and review tax certificates or lien certificates, review the tax records, obtain payoffs for any current mortgages or liens, track down any unreleased mortgages, and obtain information from any appropriate association or other company claiming any financial or other interest in the property.

If they were to find a problem in this title search, also referred to as an abstract, they would take the  appropriate steps, if possible, to fix the issues so that they would be able to offer clear and marketable title to this property and continue on to settlement.

Is there any guarantee that they have done their job correctly?  There sure is! 

Once they clear title they offer you and your lender an insurance policy, which is called title insurance.

I’m sure the question going through your head now is, “What in the world is title insurance?”

Unlike other types of insurance that offer protections against future occurrences, title insurance offers protection against past occurrences which could result in a claim at a future date. Title insurance is a protection, available to purchasers and lenders of real estate, which places the underwriter in the position of defending, at its cost and its risk, up to the policy amount, any special claims against the property not excepted by the policy. The title insurance policy protects the insured against loss should the condition of the title to the land be other than as issued. Coverage continues in effect for as long as you have an interest in the covered property. 

There are two types of title insurance. One type of policy covers the lender. The other policy covers the owner or purchaser of the property.

The lender’s policy is a separate policy which protects the lender’s interest in the property, up to the outstanding balance of their mortgage.  The lender policy protects the lender against loss due to unknown title defects. This policy protects only the lender’s interest; it does not protect the buyer.

The owner’s policy protects the owner or purchaser of the property.  There is a long list of potential claims that could arise such as, but not limited to; a third party claims to have an ownership interest in your property, a document was forged in a prior transaction affecting your property, or a defect in the recording of your documents.  Even a hidden hazard can result in a claim against your ownership. Owner’s coverage provides for legal defense and any liability or loss that may arise.

You are going to be shocked to find out that all of this coverage, including the abstract and title clearing is usually about 1% of the contracted sales price.  The best news yet is that you don’t have to pay for this coverage ahead of time.  The one time premium for title insurance is collected right on the settlement statement and is included in your loan.

At this point they are in constant contact with your lender and both real estate agents gathering information pertinent to the upcoming settlement.  Once the lender is ready to proceed they will produce a clear to close document and forward to the title company  their instructions on how to prepare your settlement statement and any other documents that they need signed at the settlement.

They are now ready to gather everyone for the settlement and this will be the first time that you come in direct contact with that secret entity that has been working for you the whole time, your title company.  Meridian Settlement, as your title company in Maryland, will provide for you, a knowledgeable, Maryland State licensed, settlement officer that will go over in detail all of the specific aspects of your transaction.  They will go over each and every page of the loan package making sure that you have complete understanding of the loan that you are entering into.  They will confirm that you know the amount that you are borrowing, the terms of the loan, the interest rate, if that rate can change, the costs associated with your loan and the amount you will have to pay every month.  This list is an example of the items covered, but is not a limit to the actual items covered on settlement day.  The settlement officer is there for you, if you don’t understand something, stop them and ask them to explain it again. 

Once all the documents are signed and you have received the keys to your new home, Meridian Settlement continues to work and protect you in this transaction.

All of the original documents with the exception of the deed and deed of trust are packaged up and sent back to the lender for filing.  We hand deliver to the courthouse the original deed and deed of trust for recording and payment of transfer taxes in the land records.

The recording of these documents puts the public on notice that you are now the owner of this property.  Remember in the beginning, we said that we investigate the public records at the courthouse?  This is one of the items that we are looking for to tell us who is the actual owner of the property. 

And here the circle starts again if you refinance or sell your property.

If you have any questions regarding real estate title work or the settlement process, please don’t hesitate to contact me at info@meridiansettlement.com

Meridian Settlement is a Maryland title company that is dedicated to educating homeowners about the settlement process and making sure that they fully understand the transaction involving their home.

Don't let an uninformed real estate decision cost you money!


Published: 10/28/2014


Over the past couple of weeks I had two disturbing conversations with close friends where collectively they lost over $10,000!

I actually feel guilty because if I would have made it known to these two what I do for work, they wouldn't have been taken for this money or they would have made a more informed decision. 

I'm the founder and CEO of Meridian Settlement, a Maryland Title Company and have been involved with real estate or construction for the last 20+ years.  Meridian Settlement is the title company that works behind the scenes on your real estate transactions from conception to closing, but the only time that you see or hear from us is at the settlement when we show up with all those documents for you to sign.  

We do more than that to protect your ownership interest in what could be the largest financial transaction of your life.  We make sure that the person selling you a property has the legal right to do so, we prepare the documents that allow for that legal transfer of ownership (including preparing the deed), we record those documents in the county courthouse and we issue an insurance policy that says if someone knocks on your door and says they have ownership rights to your property you have a legal team that will fight for YOUR ownership rights.

Over the years I've seen it all!  I have seen a person look another person in the eye and blatantly lie to the
m about the details of their transaction.  I have witnessed someone explain dollar figures on a settlement statement so fast and unorthodox that the person signing the document didn't know whether they were giving money or getting money.

Over the years I have developed some trusted relationships with real estate professionals throughout the state.  These professionals are real estate agents, brokers and representatives from lending institutions and brokerages.  These people understand my commitment to my community of friends and family and they value as I do, the trusted relationship and the comfort level that someone needs when buying, selling or financing their home.

If you, a friend, or a family member are considering a real estate transaction and need some guidance, have questions, or don’t understand the terms being used, don’t wait until you have already lost the money, call me, email me, send me a letter.  I don’t care how you get in touch with me, just do it! 
 
The help is free……the information could be priceless.

Text Meridian to 87804 to get all my contact information.

P.S. I would like to use real life stories to educate everyone so if you have a real estate question you are willing to share please get in touch with me.