I received a call from the wife of one of our clients.  She and her husband purchased a lot and built their home on it.  Her call was to ask if she needed to change her deed because they now have a house on the lot …

How would you handle this question?

A. “Whew, an easy call.”  Just let her know that she doesn’t need to do anything … and done!  On to the next task.  You did enough to resolve the situation.

B. “Oh boy, she doesn’t know much about this.”  Let her know how a deed works; how it grants an interest to real property (which includes air and surface rights, because that’s a cool way to illustrate it), and how that interest includes any structures that are permanently attached to the land.  Yes, it took a little more of your time than you had to spare, but you helped someone understand something they didn’t.  You did a good job.

C. “I have been waiting for this call!  Let me try something…”  Of course, you go through all of B, as mentioned above.  THEN, you talk to her about taxes; you direct her to the tax assessor to get information about how the tax assessor will value the property with the structure and how her taxes will increase accordingly.  THEN, you talk to her about title insurance; you remind her that when she bought the land, she likely purchased an Owner’s title insurance policy and you briefly explain the coverages afforded by this policy, and how she may want to consider increasing her owner’s policy coverage to an amount parallel to the value of the property with the new structure on it.  THEN, you follow up with an email and you attach 3 or 4 informational flyers (what is title insurance?; differences between standard and enhanced owner’s coverage; about the title search process; why do you need title insurance? … these are the ones I sent) and you send her your fees.  She replies asking you to proceed to order the title search because she wants to have full owner’s title insurance coverage.  You did a great job and you are a true title insurance agent.

We were taught that we sell our product through a home purchase or loan transaction.  That’s how we’ve always done it, right?  Well, those words are dangerously crippling.  We can see by trends, statistics, articles, etc., that there are many people who build their own houses.  If they happen to pay cash – which many do – how do we get them their owner’s policy coverage?  What about people who add on an addition – do they have someone who knows to call them to let them know they can increase their coverage if their property now appraises for a higher amount?  And let’s not forget the home remodelers – many times getting financing from non-banking lenders such as Home Depot or Lowes.  Kitchen upgrades are the most common, many times increasing the home’s value by tens of thousands of dollars – these are potential coverage dollars!  So, I invite you to be a true title agent at heart and think outside the box … because the possibilities are endless.