Teresa Schudel | Virginia Attorney and Regional Director of RGS Title
About This Episode
“Easements Don’t Have to be Complicated!”
Easements are Complicated! Don’t worry…Teresa Schudel is joining John to make it “less” complicated. Teresa is a Virginia Attorney and Regional Director of RGS Title Company and specializes in residential, commercial, and real estate settlements. Teresa explains the importance of doing your homework and obtaining a full title report on your property before you make the final purchase. Tune in for this informative new episode, you don’t want to miss it!
RGS Title Website
[00:00:05] Speaker 1 So welcome to another edition of the Go with John Show. Today we have with us Teresa Schudel Welcome, Teresa.
[00:00:12] Speaker 2 Hi, John. It’s great to be here today.
[00:00:13] Speaker 1 Great to have you. So, Teresa, you’re in the title industry, but tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
[00:00:21] Speaker 2 OK, great. I am a Virginia attorney and I’m also the regional director of Archie’s title. We are a company that is has a footprint of the entire mid-Atlantic area. OK. I do settlements and I’m based in McLean,
[00:00:38] Speaker 1 Virginia, right? Real estate settlement.
[00:00:39] Speaker 2 Real estate settlements are residential as well as commercial.
[00:00:42] Speaker 1 OK. And so what did you do before you got into the real estate industry?
[00:00:48] Speaker 2 Well, I’ve been in the real estate industry for a very long time. In fact, when I was at law school, I put myself through by sitting at new homes in trailers for long
[00:00:57] Speaker 1 and thought, Wow, that’s amazing. That’s amazing. So, so I guess, tell us so we’re here today to talk about easements is the purpose of our of our discussion. And so give us a broad overview. I guess what is an easement when it comes to real estate
[00:01:15] Speaker 2 and easement is what we do as we do a title search. And when we do a title search, we see what is recorded in the land records for that property and what is attached to the property. So an easement that is recorded would be something like a utility easement so that the property has a utility service, right? Or it could be something that the Colonial Pipeline is running through and there is a recorded easement for that right or a common driveway. We hope has a recorded easement, right? And so what we do is once we get the title search done, a title report is done along with a title commitment, and it’s an outline of what is attached to the property in the land records. So when a property is sold, everything that’s in the land records like an easement goes along to the next buyer, whether or not that buyer knows that it’s on the property, right?
[00:02:00] Speaker 1 So you set a lot of things there. Yes. All right. No. No, you’re fine. So, so I. So what is a title commitment to?
[00:02:08] Speaker 2 What is that a title search is done? And then a title commitment is like a title binder that that shows the title insurance right? Or for the title insurance for the lender’s policy or the owner’s policy.
[00:02:21] Speaker 1 OK, so let’s back up a second. So what is a title search? How does that work?
[00:02:25] Speaker 2 Well, title search is where your settlement office, who is going to conduct the closing, sends an abstract or title examiner, right, used to be to the courthouse, but now it can all be done online. And that title examiner searches the property starting with a property address and goes back in time in the land record in the land records to see what is recorded right.
[00:02:44] Speaker 1 So you start with the title search and then you get a title report from the abstract. That’s correct. And then you get it. And now it’s interesting. So, so from my builder perspective, I don’t care about the title binder. And it’s and it’s funny when we when we tell people how to go through the process and they’re working with a title company that doesn’t really understand what we’re doing, we get title binders all the time. And as a builder, we want to see the title report so we can have an engineer review it for easements. So, so. So tell me again what the title you’re going to get the title report and then from from a real estate transactional perspective. When you’re buying an existing home and you’re not tearing it down and you’re not building a new home, you are providing really you want to provide a title commitment to make sure what
[00:03:31] Speaker 2 well, with a title commitment, that is the outline for us as the settlement office to see what needs to be done to pass on good and clear title to the purchaser. Right. So a title commitment would list if there’s a mortgage on the property that the seller has, or an unreleased mortgage that should be taken care of an equity line that needs to be paid off for the seller and also show if there’s IRS liens or judgments. It also contains easements, right? And that’s
[00:03:58] Speaker 1 right. So in your prototypical real estate transaction, you’re mainly looking at the financial leaves that are tied to that property through the land records.
[00:04:06] Speaker 2 We’re looking to see what needs to be done to pass on good and clear title to the buyer and to make sure that the title insurance underwriter, let’s say, Chicago title first. American Fidelity is going to insure this property for the lender if there’s a lender involved in the transaction. And also for the buyer when owner’s title insurance policy.
[00:04:26] Speaker 1 Gotcha. OK, so now so from a builder perspective, so if somebody wants to tear down a house and build a new home, or if they’re buying vacant land, what kind of easements have you seen in or what kind of easement should the buyer be looking for?
[00:04:42] Speaker 2 Well, what the buyer should ask for is to see a copy of the title binder, as well as all of the background documents. Just like you say for your builders, you look at the documents and the documents would show the easements detailing what an easement is having Platts attached to that and then that information, they will see what they can do or cannot do with their property, right? What we also recommend is if, says, a feasibility study and only to request a title, a full title search. Right. And when I say that, I mean, going back 60 years.
[00:05:13] Speaker 1 So what are they? What are you typically get if you’re not doing a full title search?
[00:05:17] Speaker 2 If you’re not doing a full title search and we only do full title search in my office? Right? You would get what is called a two owner search. OK. So the title examiner for the settlement office is only going back to owners or to transactions. So that could be from, let’s say, 2019 was the last one prior to that was 2017. So you’re not going back very, very far right where the interesting easements I’ll call them are kind of hidden back, sometimes in the 50s or the 60s when the property was full farm.
[00:05:46] Speaker 1 Right, right, right. Right. So so what kind of easements do you proto typically come across?
[00:05:54] Speaker 2 It matters where the property is, but if it’s let’s say it’s going to be a transaction where someone’s building on an acre or two acres, five acres. We see such things as horse trail easements, right? Colonial Pipeline easements, one that I had in Great Falls, was a landscape easement. So what could a landscape easement be? Well, what it was is the property was a farm. Family owned it. They kind of split it up with all the brothers. One brother owned one large brother, one brother, two owned the lot behind right and brother number one, got a full landscape easement on the brother to his property, which meant he could plant it was put in writing could plant sunflowers, corn and anything he wanted on the whole width of the property and going back 100 feet. Mm-Hmm. And what happened in that transaction was we notified the buyer about that right. And what happened was you couldn’t see any easement being used at all. Right? I said, it’s OK. There’s nothing. There is never going to happen. Right. So what happens two years after settlement brother, no one starts planning the corn doesn’t look pretty. Yeah. Buyer. Very upset buyer gets ready to sue his real estate agent, right? Agent comes to me and says, Thank goodness that you had the buyer sign off a closing copy of that easement and getting the title binder. And he’s walked away and he’s not going to sue me, right? So that’s things that we see, right?
[00:07:15] Speaker 1 So let’s talk about the horse trail. So you buy five acres in Great Falls and you’re sitting out on your backyard and you’ve been there for three years and there’s a horse trail easement through your backyard. What can happen?
[00:07:25] Speaker 2 Well, the horses and the riders can start walking through the property as usually where we see this is at the very back of the property. A lot of times out in Great Falls are fences up, so it doesn’t even look like you have a horse trail easement on your property, right? And so you really need to know what’s going to be going through your back yard, whether or not you had to remove a portion of your fence so that the the horses and the riders can continue down the track.
[00:07:48] Speaker 1 So another way to look at an easement is it’s not really your property. That piece of your property that has a horse trail easement on it belongs to the horse riding club or whoever is filed the easement. Is that the right way to say it?
[00:08:02] Speaker 2 Or I would look at it as someone has the right to use the property that you own and they have a special use that they can use it and you can not stop them? Yes. And the easement just doesn’t go away because you don’t want it there, right? So it stays there because it’s in the chain of title.
[00:08:18] Speaker 1 Right, right, right. OK. So so a lot of the things that we come across, we come across very often in Arlington and Montgomery County, and I know you don’t practice out in Maryland, but we come across utility easements very often, which which folks don’t necessarily realize how they impact the build ability. So if you have a 50 foot wide lot and you have a 10 foot utility easement, whether there are any utilities in that easement or not, you cannot build into that easement
[00:08:49] Speaker 2 that that’s correct. And we see a lot of problems like that where there might be a utility line where if you’re going to put a large home, you’re not going to be able to do that because of where the utility easement runs, right? When that happens, there’s some some times we see where people try to vacate that easement to take it away and change the location of the easement. So the home could be built. But that’s a long process, and sometimes it’s not right to do that right.
[00:09:13] Speaker 1 And and I think what we’re getting at here is easements are very complicated. Yes, they are very complicated. And at Stanley Martin Custom Homes, we have a process to to manage all that and I’ll talk about that later. But a lot of folks think you can look at a piece of property with your eyes and understand what it is. What am I? Most interesting cases that I ever came across was we had a a buyer in Fairfax City had bought a property that she intended to build on, and she bought the home, but she wasn’t going to be able to build for a few years. So when she came to us four or five years after she bought the home and she’d been living in it, we noticed that her property was actually two separate parcels. And we asked her, we said, Well, why is it two parcels? And she said, Oh, well, at one point there was a railroad. Easement across the back of my property. Long, long, long time ago. And the railroad never used it, so they eventually gave the the easement the property back to the owners, but it came back as a separate parcel. So we went to Fairfax City with her, and it turns out that Fairfax City was going to make her, they call it a subdivision process to actually assemble the two lots back together. And it took her about two years to go through this process to assemble the two lots together. So it was now one line because if she hadn’t done that, she would have only been able to build on the front part of the lot. So I think that’s one of my favorite stories because it’s pretty easy to to understand. But do you have any stories of things that have happened to folks with easements that that are interesting to you?
[00:10:51] Speaker 2 If we could, if we could write a book or have a reality show of what we’ve seen, nobody would believe it. Yes, but you know, we just see the good, the bad and the ugly, right? One that comes to mind right away is what happened out in Great Falls. And I have to say, when I tell you these stories, it’s not like it happens every day. I’ve done it probably over 10000 closings. So these are just like the bad ones, the one percenters. But most are really good because everyone does their homework right all the way through, right? And it sounds like you do too as well. So thank you for doing that. It was a situation where two houses next to each other in Great Falls and the property that we were going to go to settlement on had a pool. Mm-Hmm. And the buyers very happily wanted to get a survey done. Survey was done and their pool was 10 feet over the property line onto the neighbor’s property. Mm-Hmm. And you say, How can that happen? Didn’t the pool company have somebody check and do a survey? And what had happened was the pool company did have a surveyor go out, but the surveyor used the wrong rebar or corner markings. Right? And so it looked like it was on this property, but it was not. So everyone was up in arms like, how is this going to be resolved? And the buyer said what was going to happen is someone going to chop up my pool. I’m buying this house for X amount and I want that pool worked out because the listing agent on the property we were doing, the settlement happened to be best friends with the mother of the owner next door and the two mothers talked and the next door neighbor said, OK, this is what we’ll do. We will give you an easement for two years to keep your pool there. We won’t be releasing all liability of whatever happens for the season and then you need to move your pool. And the buyer said, OK, well, we want to enlarge the pool anyway. We agreed to it and went to closing.
[00:12:40] Speaker 1 Wow. Yeah, that’s crazy. Yes. So nobody realized the pool was built into the neighbor’s
[00:12:45] Speaker 2 yard because the serving company used the wrong rebar that was cemented into the ground. So we always like to find out why that happens. Like, how can you miss something like this bar is the cause? What happened was there was a rebar that was just put in the middle of the property as a site rebar, not as a corner marking.
[00:13:03] Speaker 1 Yeah, what do they call that? They call that a suspect location?
[00:13:06] Speaker 2 Location. Yep.
[00:13:07] Speaker 1 Yep, yep. Yep, yep, that’s crazy. Yeah, you see, there’s a little location marker, sometimes in the middle of a street, a little orange tag. And that’s how the surveyor remembers where he set up is his gear and marks the property lines left there.
[00:13:21] Speaker 2 And that’s what the polls survey.
[00:13:23] Speaker 1 Wow. Wow, that’s crazy. So what other information can you share with us on easements?
[00:13:28] Speaker 2 It’s, as we were talking, is always good to get a full title search. If you’re getting ready to buy a home or have a feasibility study, yeah, please do the feasibility study right. What I’m starting to see in this market, which is a very fast moving market that we are seeing buyers put in contracts saying they want a feasibility study and they will have it for 10 days. But it’s more of a cooling off period where they don’t know whether or not they want to buy the home or not. And they do nothing during the feasibility study. No survey knows full tidal surge. You don’t talk to a civil engineer or builder and then they decide I want to buy this property. The feasibility study expires. They buy the property and then they realize they can’t do what they want to do with the property.
[00:14:10] Speaker 1 I unfortunately meet a lot of people like that. Yeah, and I think another interesting thing is with a feasibility study, a lot of people will get a 45 days feasibility study and then they call me and they say, Oh, I have a property under contract. I’ve got a feasibility study. Can you help me get it done? Great. When does it expire? Oh, I’ve got 10 days left, you know? And that’s really borderline not enough time to get a feasibility study because when we do a feasibility study, we have to get the full tidal report, which usually takes what how long does it normally take you to get a full
[00:14:44] Speaker 2 title in this market? It’s, I’d say, about a week or more. I mean, if needed, we can speed it up in 24 hours. But you know, not only the tidal surge, but you want to get a survey or have the engineering company go out and get the survey right. And with this market being so busy, there’s a lot of backlog.
[00:14:59] Speaker 1 Yeah, there is. So, you know, in in in a cool market, it would take three days. Is right. To get a title search bag or title report back now, it’s taken about a week, I agree two weeks. Yeah. And then then from a builder perspective, we want to get that full titles to report over to an engineer so an engineer can review it and the engineer may find something in there. I, you know, maybe 90 percent of the time nothing comes up, maybe 10 percent of the time, the engineer says, Hey, there’s some things in here that’s kind of above my pay grade, and you may want to have an attorney look at this. So then you have to have time to get it to an attorney and have the attorney review it. So there’s a lot of things that you need to do with that title report, and it’s nothing you can see. There’s nothing on the land that shows up at all. It’s all in the legal documents behind that property.
[00:15:44] Speaker 2 That’s that’s true, right? And, you know, not only have the title work but getting that survey, so it’s easier to see what’s going on with a blank property where you see where the surveys are right. So what we do is when we get the title work in, if we know someone’s going to get ready to buy a build or maybe put a pool in the backyard, we always ask, What are you going? Why do you want to survey this if we’re going to put a pool? So then we asked the surveyor to locate all of the easements on the property to see if whether or not the pool can actually fit where the buyers want it to fit right. And that is not just a typical survey that is an added survey service, but our surveyor will do that right now.
[00:16:21] Speaker 1 I will. I will say I absolutely agree that everybody should get a survey, but I but I also know that a lot of our new home buyers that want to build on vacant land, a lot of them don’t want to spend the money up front because they’re going to have to pay for the survey when they get their grading plan prepared and their their their topography survey when you get all that. So a lot of times they’ll push that off until later. But best practice is absolutely to get a survey. But I know not everybody does.
[00:16:50] Speaker 2 And you’re absolutely right. I’d say when someone’s just taking raw land, they’re going to build a home. They have a builder helping them. We usually say, Who are you going to be using for that? And have the civil engineers get involved and just give them all the information instead of paying for two surveys because it’s a waste, if it’s a resale property we can or the survey, we know what’s going on. But when there’s someone else involved, it’s probably better to have it done one time right with the civil engineers in that whole group. Right?
[00:17:14] Speaker 1 So it’s Stanley Martin custom homes. We would normally have the engineer who’s doing all the engineering review the title report. They wouldn’t necessarily prepare the survey upfront, but they’re looking at everything and they’re going to notify us about any easements or other encumbrances that might be in the way. So that’s that’s a kind of like a half survey without actually going out and doing the field.
[00:17:37] Speaker 2 And look, it’s like that’s a foundation because everything that is needed is right in the title search. Whether or not you need to see it on the survey is one thing. But when you have all that work, that’s more than half that. That’s a whole battle, right?
[00:17:47] Speaker 1 And I would say, you know, for the folks listening when you get a survey in your hand, the first thing I look for on a survey is a line that I see all the time. And it says this survey was prepared without the benefit of a title report. And if you see that on a survey that tells you right away that whatever easements are recorded on that property are probably not documented on the survey,
[00:18:11] Speaker 2 that that is true and because what the surveyors normally do is they just go ahead and look at the recorded plat. Yes, and there can be a lot of we call them hidden easements. Yes, prior to that, after that. And so when we know and we ask, like, what are you using the survey for, then we can assist by adding or having the surveyor add the the easements on their right.
[00:18:30] Speaker 1 So it’s really tricky. It’s really tricky. Yes. And you know, if you’re working with professionals, you’re in good hands, you’re real estate professionals going to help you through this. Your title company is going to help you through it. But the you know, I think the bottom line for the topic here on surveys is you really have to know what you’re looking at. You really have to know what documents were used when the survey was prepared. And if you see that line on a survey that says this survey was prepared without the benefit of a title report, it’s not really going to tell you if there are any easements in the properties. It’s fair to say that that’s
[00:19:01] Speaker 2 fair to say, except for anything maybe like utilities that may have been recorded on on the way the plant, right? But you’re right to be on the safe side because once you’re spending all this money to build a home, you don’t want to have something as an easement in a place where you can’t build. And we see that,
[00:19:15] Speaker 1 yeah, we see that. Yeah. And I would add also, even if you’re not planning on building a home, you don’t know when you saw that home one day, is some future buyer going to want to tear it down? I think you should at least be aware of what the parameters are within your within your property,
[00:19:30] Speaker 2 and that will help you when you sell later. Because if you say, Oh, I don’t care that there’s a horse trail easement in the backyard, but then you try to sell the home and someone says, I don’t want that. Just keep that in mind. Right, right, right. But the good news with the horse trail easements was that the very back in a country setting and a lot of people want to have homes so they can just take the horses and ride the trails, right?
[00:19:48] Speaker 1 You may have a horse yourself and you want to use the trail, right? Not a big deal. All right. We’re going to take a quick break and then we’re going to be back more with Teresa Shu Del. All right, so we are back with Theresa Shutdown’s. Theresa, thank you again for coming in today. I really appreciate you taking time. I love being
[00:20:08] Speaker 2 here. Thank you.
[00:20:08] Speaker 1 Thank you so much. So, so we’re talking about easements today, and let’s let’s talk about a couple of other things that may come up. But I think especially in Arlington, you know, one of the things you and I have talked about offline are the common driveways that are very common in Arlington. So what happens? And this is not exclusive to Arlington, so I just want to make sure I’m clear there. So what happens when you have a a driveway or a common driveway easement? How does that work?
[00:20:36] Speaker 2 What were the common driveway easement is like a shared driveway where more than one property gets to use use the way the driveway right, get in and out of their home. Right. Where these common driveway easements sometimes are easements where they have like a maintenance agreement. So everybody who has the right to use that common driveway knows who’s responsible for snow removal. We asphalt in the the road and how you maintain it. I will say and a lot of transactions we see, there’s common driveways on the Platte, right? But with no explanation, no recorded easement talking about how to maintain right. And in those situations, sometimes we hear of issues where there might be one neighbor of five on the driveway who says, I’m not going to do anything. You want to be asphalt this, remove the snow the rest of you pay, right? So it’s very good to know upfront that you have a common driveway. And normally we’re talking about whether or not you walk the property. Normally you can tell when you go to the property and you have to go five deep to get into your driveway that there is something shared there.
[00:21:41] Speaker 1 Yeah, they’re also called the pipe stem pipe stem.
[00:21:43] Speaker 2 Yes, very common pipe stem.
[00:21:45] Speaker 1 Yeah, yeah. So that’s when you have a public road and then you have what looks like a driveway and you go up this driveway and there’s four houses back there.
[00:21:55] Speaker 2 Yes. And that and that pipe stem and common driveway is a private, yeah, private roadway.
[00:22:00] Speaker 1 Right? And so as a real estate professional, I’ve seen many of these over the years, and sometimes you come across one that’s just completely destroyed and fallen apart. And that’s usually because you have somebody that won’t participate in the maintenance so that everybody says, Well, I’m not going to pay extra because this person’s not paying. So that can be an uncomfortable place to be. Yeah. So, so are the are the comments. So that’s an easement. Yes, OK. And then there’s a document that you would get from the title report that would explain how that would work.
[00:22:36] Speaker 2 You hope? Yeah, because some of these older common driveways or pipe stems, there’s nothing recorded it just on like when the subdivision was formed. Yes, showing the public road and then showing the pipe stem right and the shared driveway, as we call it, but with no other verbiage of how it’s maintained
[00:22:53] Speaker 1 a maintenance agreement. So what you hope to find in the land records is some kind of a maintenance agreement that at least calls out what everybody’s responsibility is. That’s correct. Right. And then if somebody doesn’t pay, the rest of the folks can pay and then potentially lean the other parties home? That’s correct. And then when that party sells their land home, that line will come up in the tidal surge
[00:23:14] Speaker 2 and has to be paid off in order for that homeowner to sell the
[00:23:18] Speaker 1 property. So that is a great example of how this whole thing works. Full circle. Yes. Yes. Yeah. You know, another interesting thing that comes up often, Teresa, is that there are sometimes if you have water, a creek or a stream or something like that in your backyard, you could have an RPA easement. So that’s another item that an engineer would discover. It may not necessarily be in the tidal surge, but a good, well qualified engineer will find that information in the public records. So, so there are other. So another interesting easement that you came across one time. Tell me about what a builder did.
[00:23:57] Speaker 2 Oh, there was a situation where we did the tidal search and an easement came up and the easement was I called a swap easement where probably no one had an easement on that property from property number two, where nothing could be built in the backyard. A property No. One property number to also put up by the same builder had an easement saying that nothing to be put up in their backyard, right? So I asked the builder why. And the reason was is that these were smaller lots and they wanted to have the people be able to look out their kitchen window in the back and not see a tennis court with lights on or a swimming pool for the neighbors and just keep it as an open space. So this builder decided this was the best way to have open space forever with a recorded easement,
[00:24:46] Speaker 1 right, unless both parties agree to vacate the easements.
[00:24:49] Speaker 2 Yes, and if both parties agreed to vacate the easement, they, of course, would have to go to a real estate attorney. Right. Because if there is a loan on the property, the lenders have to sign off the lender’s trustees. Yes. Is a whole list of of signatures that
[00:25:03] Speaker 1 we’ve already agreed, that’s a whole nother episode.
[00:25:05] Speaker 2 Yes, it is.
[00:25:07] Speaker 1 Right. So I keep coming back to, you know, folks are looking at a house and they’re walking through the house and they love the backyard and they say, Oh my gosh, I’d love to put a pool out there one day. And if you don’t do the title search and you don’t have somebody review it, you would never know that was there. So if you just follow standard operating procedure and you’re working with your real estate professional and you’re working with a title company, you’re going to issue a title binder, but you’re not going to necessarily dig into that easement and notify the seller, would you? Or how would you handle that as a standard operating procedure?
[00:25:40] Speaker 2 We see the title search, we see the easements Binder is given to the purchaser if they’d like to see it right, but as well as a settlement office. Our role is to go over the contract and just make sure that all the terms are met. We don’t then, you know, go to land use for Fairfax County, for a buyer or find a civil engineer for them. Right? That that’s something that they need to do on their own. So it’s very important for a buyer who’s interested in doing something like this to have the best team available, right? Especially when we talk about the builder and the civil engineer, right? And a survey.
[00:26:13] Speaker 1 Yeah, or even if you’re not building, you know, so so I think to me, that’s where I think most people kind of get disappointed in life is because they think they’ve hired the right real estate professional. They get the title search, they’ve got the title binder, they go to settlement and then five years later, they want to put the pool in. And all of a sudden they realize there’s this easement in there, like, why didn’t anybody tell me? And I would say there’s a step kind of missing in that having somebody review that title report for you who is either a real estate attorney who you’re hiring specifically to review the title report or have it have an engineer prepare a plat with the benefit of a title report?
[00:26:53] Speaker 2 Absolutely.
[00:26:54] Speaker 1 And I think that’s probably the easiest way to go.
[00:26:57] Speaker 2 I think doing your homework before you need to do the homework is the best thing to do.
[00:27:00] Speaker 1 Yep, yep. Yep. So is there anything else you can think of that we should add to the conversation about easements that we haven’t mentioned yet today?
[00:27:09] Speaker 2 I would say just know your property and by knowing your property, get the best team together to help you go to the experts, get the title search done. Let your settlement office know what you want to do with the property. Write what you plan on doing, thinking of doing in the future right, and then get the homework done. Get all the title search done and have your good team write.
[00:27:28] Speaker 1 And and I would say if you’re in doubt, you know, consult a real estate attorney about to run it by them. If you know, I think a lot of folks buy a house and they’re going to live in it for a long time, just you get caught up in the excitement of the transaction. There’s a million things coming at you all at once. I find a lot of people can’t really think clearly because they’re they’re grabbing, they’re getting a lot of new information and a lot of new terminology that they’ve never had before, and they get overwhelmed. And then and then unfortunately, I meet way too many people that have bought a property that they can’t do what they want to do with it.
[00:28:03] Speaker 2 So and that’s very disappointing to surround yourself with the best team you can get.
[00:28:08] Speaker 1 Absolutely. So in summary, from my perspective and you know, is giving you the perspective of the global buying community, my perspective, obviously is is from building a new home. We always advise people to get the full title report. If you’re working with Stanley Martin Custom Homes, we’re going to get that title report over to one of our engineers. There are different levels of quality of engineers, so we only use really reputable firms. We want to have it reviewed to make sure you’re protected before you buy the property. So, so, Theresa, tell us a little bit about ARG’s title, and I know you don’t like making sales pitches. I know you well enough to know that I do know you so so. But tell us a little bit about ARG’s title and what makes your company so great.
[00:28:54] Speaker 2 Well, thank you for give me that opportunity. Sure, I’ll go way back to when artist title was was owned by me and a number of partners. And then we did sell the company and the company now is owned, and I’m very happy to say we’re part of the Berkshire Hathaway family. And so we have that strength behind us. We are in mid-Atlantic, a gigantic footprint in the Virginia area alone. We have over 20 offices were in Maryland, D.C., New Jersey, all the way down to southwestern Virginia. Wow. So we pride ourselves on doing the residential settlements. We do commercial settlements here, at least I do out of the McLane office, right? And we’re the largest privately owned company. Mm-Hmm.
[00:29:40] Speaker 1 So, so when folks work with Argus, what kind of experience do they have?
[00:29:45] Speaker 2 Well, with with my office, we feel that every transaction is our own and my staff. Most of my staff has been with me over 20 years, which is a long time in this business. It’s really in any business. And when we get a sales contract in, we see who the buyers are in the sellers. We contact their agents if they have agents, so we contact them directly and say, What can we do for you? Is it it’s an estate transaction or are you going through a divorce for the sellers? What can we do to make this a good experience? And for the buyers? We asked, Is this your first purchase? How involved do you want us to be with you in contacting you? Do you want us to just deal with your real estate agent? So every case is, is it’s its own case, right? Nothing ever gets boring. And we feel like we are the ones in the shoes of the sellers and the buyers. And we want this to be a very positive experience for everybody. Right?
[00:30:32] Speaker 1 So as a real estate professional, so I’ve done a lot of real estate transactions over the years. It’s very typical for people to not even think about the title company. You know, I’m working with a buyer. We’re driving around and I when I used to work with buyers, I would always go over the sales contract with buyers and I would say, Well, we’re going to have to choose a settlement company and they’ll say, Oh, well, which one do you recommend? And I would I would say, yes, obviously. And so the point that I would be trying to make with my buyers is that you want to do your research on the title company at the very beginning because what’s going to happen is you’re going to get in a situation where you’re writing a contract and you’re not going to have time to start calling title companies and finding out what their fees are so people can call you in advance. Write and ask you, how does the process work? How much do you charge? I mean, what kind of information would you recommend that a prospective buyer would ask a title company?
[00:31:26] Speaker 2 I think, John, you’re absolutely right to do the homework before you need to have a title company. And so what we would do is we would walk through the process with the potential purchaser. He’d give our fees. We’d also give estimates for them so that if they’re looking at house prices, let’s say in this market right now, it’s a million dollars, maybe million point three with the escalation clauses in, you know what the fees would be, the recording fees. So they have all their information upfront right now because you’re right, no one has time to say, who am I going to go to settlement with when you’re trying to negotiate a contract? Right? We’ve been in business for over 30 years. So we do not disappear overnight, meaning we are here at all times even after the transaction.
[00:32:06] Speaker 1 So one of the things that is going to happen for everybody who’s out there getting into a transaction when you get a contract ratified, you are going to be if you’re building a new home, you’re going to be in the middle of getting through your feasibility study. You’re going to be reading tidal reports, talking to engineers, you’re going to be talking to soil scientists. You’re going to get all this stuff that you’ve never been through before, and you’re not absolutely going to have time to figure out which title company you want to settle with. So it is really, really important, whether you’re buying, even if you’re buying a regular home, that you’re not tearing down that you want to live in. Now you’re dealing with home inspections and appraisals, and you’re dealing with your lender. Trust me, your lender will make you nuts and you do not have time to research title company. So I think for the folks listening, if you want to learn more about the settlement process and the fees, I would absolutely recommend that you get in touch with Teresa to learn more and do your shopping in advance. And if you if you get a title company that has fees that are lower. Ask Teresa what’s going on with these fees here with this title company? Maybe there’s something. What would you do in a situation like that? You want me to edit that whole thing out or know
[00:33:16] Speaker 2 that that’s OK. We would like the opportunity to work with all buyers and sellers, and we just ask that they give us a call or even stop by to visit us. We do have potential buyers, especially in the higher end brackets, right? They want to come by and say hello and meet the staff, meet me, see what the office looks like. Right. And so we, we we love that opportunity or just a quick phone call. And what we’re here to help. We we love what we do and we’d like to work with with buyers and sellers.
[00:33:42] Speaker 1 Yeah, it’s funny. It’s it’s a very serious moment when you walk into the settlement room and you have to sit down and settle the transaction. Most of the time, the settlements go very smoothly. But if there’s if there are any complications, you want to know who’s going to be supporting you and representing you and getting that problem solved. Is that a fair way to say it?
[00:34:02] Speaker 2 Yes. And we look at as if there are any problems are all resolved prior to anybody coming to the settlement table. OK. We like settlements we call not boring but quiet, because when we have agents, real estate agents having to make phone calls, are sellers leaving the room or buyers upset means no. The job has not been done correctly. Right, right, right. So smooth is good.
[00:34:24] Speaker 1 Smooth is good. All right. So how? How do we find you?
[00:34:28] Speaker 2 You can contact me. I can provide my information right now, if you’d like. Sure. My my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s for Teresa Schudel or feel free to give me a call at the office at seven zero three nine zero three 9600.
[00:34:49] Speaker 1 Yeah, and when you call or contact Teresa, make sure you let her know that you heard her on the go with John show.
[00:34:54] Speaker 2 Yes, please do.
[00:34:55] Speaker 1 Fantastic. All right, Teresa, thank you so much for coming in today. Is there anything you want to add or we solid at the. The great thank you, so, Teresa, thank you for coming in today, we enjoyed having you and this concludes another episode of the Go at John show. Please go out there and build something extraordinary.