Commercial Real Estate Blog by Madison
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Museum of Title Insurance – An Idea Long Overdue!

By: Sam Shiel, Esq., Director of National Title Services and Senior Underwriting Counsel – Vice President, Madison Title Agency

I’m going to be brutally honest. I am tired of friends and family asking me for stories about the world of title insurance. I know their intentions are good and I appreciate the curiosity. But enough is enough. The straw that broke the camel’s back was this past Thanksgiving. It’s become a tradition in my family that the youngster’s sit me down after dinner to share tales of the title year that was. But this year, when the dinner discussion turned to the history of the industry, I was done. Folks, I am a title professional – not a tourist attraction. And so I put my frustration into action and came up with an idea that is long overdue, “The Museum of Title Insurance”.

I’ve narrowed down location to two possibilities, Chicago, Illinois or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Each location is based on a real estate transaction that led to the establishment of the title insurance industry. Continue reading

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Another Legal Scam!

Is title insurance a legal scam? A lot of people think so. Title insurance is one of the most misunderstood aspects of any real estate closing. Most buyers don’t fully understand how title insurance works or why title insurance is required by any lender financing a property. More importantly, most real estate owners don’t view title insurance as something desirable. Click here to learn more about how title insurance differs from all other kinds of insurance and why anyone buying real estate should want “peace-of-mind insurance.” Continue reading

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11 Tips for a Smooth NY-style Commercial Real Estate Closing

Being a Title Closer for a good number of years, I’ve observed many closings where there have been delays, arguments, and bad feelings in situations that could have been easily avoided, had those involved prepared properly. Here is a checklist of things that can be done prior to closing to make things run smoother. Continue reading

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Getting A Property For Free: Present or Problem?

What would you do if someone offered you real estate for free? I know everyone reading this probably thinks “Why the heck not?” Before accepting this gracious offer from a close friend, colleague or family, it would behoove you to look at the circumstances carefully. While a gift of real property may seem perfect, there can be hidden or unforeseen dangers that may make the gift more trouble than its worth. Continue reading

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Seven Tips To Make NY-Style Closings Go Smoothly

For readers not familiar with the term “New York-Style Closing”, let’s start with a brief explanation. At a NY Style Closing, buyers, sellers, their attorneys, bank attorney and title closer are almost always present. Sometimes, even the real estate brokers attend. But, what really makes these closings unique is that many of the details needed to close the transaction are determined at the closing table. Continue reading

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Why Buy Title Insurance?

I am often asked by individuals why they should purchase title insurance. Title insurance insures a homebuyer against loss resulting from title defects. The owner’s policy assures a purchaser that the title to the property is vested in that purchaser, and that it is free from all defects, liens and encumbrances. Continue reading

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The Case for Ordering a New Survey

In my 25+ years in the title business, I have noticed what seems to be an infatuation by purchasers’ attorneys with using an existing survey instead of ordering a new one. This is especially true in residential transactions. The motivation is admirable….to save the client money. However, it is analogous to a doctor not taking x-rays to diagnose a broken bone in order to save the patient a few dollars on the cost of the x-rays. Continue reading

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