Category Archives: FSBO

New Colorado Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate for 2019

This article is intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice.

The Colorado Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate which is mandatory for use by licensed real estate agents is typically modified every two years; however, if there is a change in the law through a statute, regulation or case, the contract is immediately modified to comport with the change in the law.  On March 7, 2019, House Bill 19-1098 was signed and passed which affects paragraph 13 of the contract.  Hence, the new contract that became mandatory 1/1/19 has been modified and is available for use now and mandatory 7/1/19.  There are new closing instructions for use by licensed agents also mandatory 7/1/19.

House Bill 19-1098 deals with deeds to real property and amends C.R.S. 38-30-113 regarding deeds.  In a nutshell, HB 19-1098 implies specific warranties in certain deeds without the necessity of enumerating them individually and implies many exceptions previously enumerated.  For instance, the words “warrants the title” in a warranty deed automatically now includes specific warranties that previously were typically individually listed.  Further, certain exceptions such as the current and future year’s property taxes; anything that would have been disclosed by an improvement survey plat and all matters of record in the county where the property resides are now all automatically included as exceptions to the deed merely by inserting the words “subject to statutory exceptions” (defined at §38-30-113(5)(a), C.R.S.) in the transfer of title paragraph.

In fact, title companies now are not allowed to insert anything other than “subject to statutory exceptions” in the exception paragraph of deeds they prepare unless the title company is instructed in writing by both the grantor and the grantee or their authorized agent.

HB-19-1098 affects just one provision of the Colorado real estate contract mandatory for use by licensees: paragraph 13, Transfer of Title.  This paragraph has been shortened significantly now that “subject to statutory exceptions” language is referenced in lieu of many previously listed deed exceptions.  It’s much shorter now and basically just requires the buyer to select the deed type.  A redacted version of the new paragraph 13 and discussion of this new contract change necessitated by HB 19-1098 can be found at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/division-real-estate-contracts-and-forms?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.    A link to the new contract and a redline version showing what was changed can be found near the bottom of the page.

Visit www.cherrycreektitle.com to view numerous articles I’ve written primarily on real estate legal topics (most specific to Colorado) and many are available in video form by visiting the Cherry Creek Title Services YouTube channel.

 

Selling Your Home “For Sale by Owner”

Cherry Creek Title Services logo in black and whiteCherry Creek Title has specialized in “For Sale by Owner” transactions for over 20 years. We have a well experienced staff including 2 staff attorneys to lend their expertise for you during every step of your closing so you can feel content with your choice to sell your home without a real estate agent. We also offer many articles containing helpful tips and resources specifically for “FSBO” transactions.

We make it a point to know our clients and customers, and our flexible approach is designed to meet each individual’s needs to the best of our ability. Clients value our common sense approach to underwriting and our dedication to accommodating everyone’s closing needs, including out-of-office and after-hours signings. we build lifelong relationships with our clients and look forward to assisting you in your next transaction.

Selling you home for sale by owner can be overwhelming! You can find may helpful tips to assist you in selling your home by owner at our page titled  FSBO Tips and Resources.

Preparing your Residential Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate is the first step on your way to the closing table.  You can download for free the purchase contract and other relevant forms  here:  Colorado Division of Real Estate Contracts and Forms.

Need help drafting your purchase contract? Check out this comprehensive step-by-step guide to draft your purchase contract written by our  in-house attorney and President of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.,  Michael Selinfreund titled Updated for 2019! Tips on Drafting the Colorado Contract to buy and Sell Real Estate.

at any time you have any questions, concerns or just want to know general information about your transaction, one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.  You can visit our office anytime between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday thru Friday located at 3600 South Yosemite Street, Suite 510, Denver, Colorado 80237.  You can call any one of our knowledgeable staff members at 303.333.9737 or email mail@cherrycreektitle.com. Once you have completed your purchase contract, we will review it free of charge to insure it has been correctly executed.

The most frequently asked question is “How much are your closing costs?” Many title companies charge a premium to close your transaction and make cumbersome and costly requirements such as attorney opinion letters for you contract simply because you have no real estate agent involved. Cherry Creek Title will provide you with both competitive pricing and VIP service. We charge the same low closing fee for your FSBO sale as we do for a real estate agent – assisted transaction. We do not offer a bundled purchase closing fee – we will only charge you for the services provided to you. Below is a list of our most commonly charged closing fees. Designation of which party pays the closing costs can be negotiated in the purchase contract. for general closing costs go to our page titled Basic Rates

You can request a more comprehensive quote on title insurance and fees by filing out the form located at the bottom of our FSBO page.

You can feel confident selling your home “For Sale by Owner” when you use Cherry Creek Title Sevices, ryour “FSBO” specialist!

 

FSBO Tips On Filling Out the Colorado 2019 Contract To Buy And Sell Real Estate (Residential) Form CBS 1-6-18; Mandatory 1/1/19 for Licensed Agents.

 

By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.,

Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity & First American

Please note this is a revised article written in 2016

2019 UPDATE on FSBO TIPS

The new Colorado residential real estate contract, which is mandatory for use by licensees as of January 1, 2019, contains some subtle language revisions for purposes of clarification as well as several new provisions and modifications.  Some of these changes are as a result in changes in federal and state laws since the previous contract it replaced.

DOWNLOAD NOW (Writable): 2019 Purchase Contract for Residential Property courtesy of the Colorado Division of Real Estate

This article shall cover just the Contract to Buy and Sell Rel Estate (Residential). All of these and many other useful forms can all be downloaded at no cost from the Colorado Division of Real Estate’s website:  https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/division-real-estate-contracts-and-forms.

The Colorado Division of Real estate replaced many of the mandatory forms for licensees effective January 1, 2019 including:

  •  Agreement to Amend/Extend
  • Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Residential)Contract to Buy and Sell Real estate (Income-Residential)
  • Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Land)
  • Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Commercial)
  • Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Foreclosure)
  • Counter proposal
  • Estoppel Statement
  • Notice to Terminate
  • Residential Addendum to Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate
  • Square Footage Disclosure (Residential)
  • Licensee Buy-Out Addendum to Contract to Buy & Sell Real Estate – Repealed January 1, 2019

Besides the sales contract, there is a wealth of very useful forms available for free through the Division of Real Estate when you follow that link. Examples are: Lead-Based Paint Disclosures and obligations; Seller’s Property Disclosure; Agreement to Amend/Extend; Addenda to Contracts, Square Foot Disclosure, Earnest Money Release and Form Notes and Deeds of Trust for use in transactions where the owner is carrying back financing and much more. Many are writable. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with what’s available.  There are many informative articles posted on the Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.’s website written by me covering a variety of primarily real estate related topics that you may find helpful.

Thankfully, the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate (Residential) is now writable (simply download to your computer and then open it). Just click on the document; download it and open it in Adobe (free version works fine) to enable you to fill it out directly on the document. Many/most licensed real estate agents have sophisticated e-contract programs that are writable and allow for e-signatures. If you’re selling your home with the assistance of a licensee, they’ll likely have access to an efficient system for the contract preparation, delivery and execution.

I would be remiss to begin by not first strongly urging you to seek competent legal counsel in the preparation of the contract and the ramifications of its many provisions.  This article is not intended as a substitute for hiring an attorney nor is it intended to be a comprehensive analysis of the Colorado Residential Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate. Rather, this article is intended to provide a general overview in filling out the contract and should not be relied upon in lieu of the advice of a competent attorney.  I’m not going to waste your time giving advice or tips on obvious blanks or paragraphs containing blanks or boxes where it’s obvious how to fill them out.

As you fill out the form Contract, you’ll find that there will likely be many provisions that are inapplicable. Some are ideal for just putting n/a in the blank, and some should be interlineated (line through the language). In cases where you line through provisions, I recommend leaving the language you lined through still visible. So, you could draw a diagonal line through a paragraph to strike it yet leaving the language still viewable. Similarly, you can just draw a line through the middle of every sentence you wish to strike since that will also leave the language you’re striking as visible. Leaving the language visible that you are striking may assist in resolving any ambiguities that may arise by completing deleting or redacting through such provisions.

Let’s Begin.

Paragraph 2.1 gives three options regarding how the buyer is taking title. Most often, one of the first two is selected. If there is only one buyer, no selection needs to be made since it will be held in Severalty automatically. If there is more than one buyer, joint tenancy gives survivorship rights to the other joint tenant or tenants. It is the election made by virtually all married people as their interest in the property goes to the surviving spouse automatically when they die and does so outside of probate.   By electing to own as Tenants in Common, each owner’s interest passes according to their wills or intestate succession in the event no will exists. A classic example is two unrelated people investing in a rental property and owning as tenants in common thereby intending their interest to pass to their heirs rather than the surviving tenant in common.

Paragraph 2.3: The seller’s name can be easily ascertained by going to the website of the assessor for the county in which the property resides. Depending on the county, you’ll see other valuable and interesting information there such as the legal description, tax information, valuation, sales history and the present owner plus more depending on the county. You can also go to Zillow.com; type in the property address and see Zillow’s estimated value (Zestimate), photos and even comparable property sales.  You can always call Cherry Creek Title Services and obtain the ownership information and legal description. If you err in how you list the owner’s name or legal description, the title examiner at Cherry Creek Title will provide the correct information in the title commitment.

Paragraph 2.4: This is where you insert the legal description of the property. This can be found at the county assessor site; in the seller’s deed; in the seller’s title policy; and through a record title search.

Paragraph 2.5.3: After “except”, it should typically read “no exceptions”. This paragraph is dealing exclusively with personal property such as a refrigerator, and most buyers want the assurance that there are no liens against such personal property.

Paragraph 2.5.4: This is where you insert all other personal property items included with the sale. Being exhaustive and perhaps redundant is preferable to having a dispute later over whether specific personal property items were to be included. Examples to include here are appliances included with the sale that aren’t built in such as the refrigerator, washer and dryer. When in doubt, just list it to be safe.

Paragraph 2.5.5: The parking and storage facilities, if applicable, are both identified and disclosure is made whether they are Use Only or Ownership. These are tough questions for the buyer filling out the contract. Is the parking and storage part of the deed or are they limited common elements giving the owner of the property the exclusive right to use? The first place to start is to ask the seller who may or may not know. A review of their deed and the documents governing the common elements such as the condominium map, if applicable, and the declaration may be necessary to ascertain whether the parking and storage is owned by the Seller or not. When preparing the contract, this is when the management company can be very helpful as they likely know. There is always time after the contract preparation to verify these facts.

Paragraph 2.6: Exclusions should include items that would otherwise be considered as included such as  a light fixture which the seller is keeping, but it is also wise to list the unattached personal property such as the refrigerator, washer and dryer to avoid any misunderstandings.

Paragraph 2.7.1: If you are dealing with water rights being deeded, I’d highly suggest you hire an attorney versed in water law and let them determine the type of deed you should use.  They likely will recommend a bargain and sale or quit claim deed if you’re the seller.  This comes up rarely in a typical residential transaction. Water law is complex and beyond the scope of this article.   However, this will virtually never come up in an urban residential transaction so you will likely be putting “n/a” in this blank.

Paragraph 2.7.2: Same advice as above. If water rights are being conveyed, likely both parties will have attorneys involved, and the selection of the deed for water rights is better negotiated by experts.  Thankfully in the overwhelming majority of urban residential transactions, just put “n/a”.

Paragraph 2.7.3: If water is provided by a well, although seeking legal advice is again a wise path, at least visit the Colorado Division of Water Resources to review and verify the legitimacy of the permit. That’s the time to vigilantly look into any limitations, time frames, etc. regarding the well permit. Well issues can be complex, and obviously having water to the property is essential. The permit number can be obtained from the Seller and/or the Colorado Division of Water Resources. If you’re relying on a well for your water supply, I’d certainly advise employing an expert to inspect the well to ensure it will meet your needs.

Paragraph 2.7.4: Sometimes water rights will be transferred via stock certificates. Once again (thankfully), this is very rare in urban residential transactions. I’d highly recommend legal advice from an attorney with water law expertise in any situation involving the transfer of water rights.

Paragraph 3:

Item 1: If the earnest money isn’t being paid concurrently with the contract, insert the date it will be paid here. It should be within 24-48 hours.

Item 2: I recommend choosing a date 7-10 days after the contract acceptance date to give the parties time to select the title company; get them the contract, earnest money, payoff information, and any HOA information if applicable. Plus, the title company needs time to do the title search and prepare and distribute the title commitment and related documents.

Item 3: I recommend choosing a date 3-5 days after the date selected in Item 2.

Item 4: I recommend using the same date as item 2.

Item 5: I recommend using the same date as item 3.

Item 6: I recommend using a date 3-5 days after the date selected for Item 3.

Item 7: First rights of refusal are rare in Colorado. I’d fill this out as n/a. If it applies, the seller can counter and also provide the deadline since there’s no point putting in a deadline shorter than what is actually provided in the language of the first right of refusal if one exists. For example, all the existing owners in a complex may have 30 days to match the terms of your contract and usurp you as the Buyer. So in that situation, you’d want to pick a date more like 40 days out to give the seller/association/management company time to comply with the terms of any existing first right of refusal which of course begins with notification to all parties possessing any such right, and that likely won’t happen overnight.

Item 8: I’d choose a date 5-7 days after contract acceptance.  That’s plenty of time for the seller to get a full set of association documents from the property management company or association. An organized seller will have all of those documents on-hand at the time they market their home. If not, they should be able to procure them all from the management company within that 5-7 day time period.

Item 9: I’d choose a date 3-5 days after the date in Item 8.

Item 10: I’d choose a date no more than 3 days after contract acceptance. The seller should be ready to hand that to you along with the signed contract so same day as contract acceptance is not unreasonable at all. Again, the Seller’s Disclosure Form is available for free from the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

Item 11: Within 3 days of contract acceptance. The seller should have this available immediately.

Item 12:  Within 3 days of contract acceptance.

Item 13: Within 3-5 days of contract acceptance.

Item 14: 3-5 days after acceptance date if applicable or n/a.

Item 15: 3-5 days after acceptance date.

Item 16: This will virtually always be “n/a”. If it does apply, 3-5 days after acceptance date.

Item 17: This will virtually always be Another “n/a”. If applicable, 3 days after the date in Item 16.

Item 18: Likely n/a; however, if applicable, 4 weeks after acceptance date. Although an appraisal, survey and even a lender’s title policy may all be unnecessary, assumption approvals can still take significant time.

Item 19:  10-14 days after acceptance. If the seller is carrying back financing, read my article on the Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc. website entitled “Private Mortgages Post-TRID and Specific to Colorado.”  It is best to involve an attorney to at least draft the loan documents even if the seller has done 3 or fewer loans in the last 12 months. I’m not a fan of laymen drafting loan documents and especially since 2008. Both Colorado and Federal laws impose strict restrictions on owner carries. Always consult an attorney knowledgeable regarding owner carry loans post Dodd-Frank and in compliance with all Federal and Colorado laws.

Item 20:  Within two weeks of contract acceptance.

Item 21: Within 3 days of the date in Item 20 is reasonable.

Item 22: Within 3 days of the date in Item 21 is reasonable.

Item 23: Within 10-14 days of contract acceptance.

Item 24: Within 3 days of the date in Item 23 is reasonable.

Item 25: Within 3 days of the date in item 24 is reasonable.

Item 26: As with all the recommended dates for appraisal, survey or inspection deadlines, knowing how long these professionals will take to complete their tasks is obviously advantageous in filling out all of these dates. I am choosing dates that work in the majority of circumstances and certainly can be countered by the Seller or amended later. With that said, I’d expect the inspector to complete the inspection within 7 days of contract acceptance and provide the report within 2 days of completing the inspection at the most. So, choosing 10 days from contract acceptance for the inspection deadline would be reasonable.

Item 27: Within 3 days of the date in item 26 is reasonable.

Item 28: Within 3 days of the date in item 27 is reasonable.

Item 29: Within 5-7 days of contract acceptance.

Item 30: Within 5-7 days of contract acceptance.

Item 31: Within 3 days of the date in item 30 is reasonable.

Item 32: Within 3-5 days of the date in item 31 is reasonable.

Item 33: Entirely up to how long the seller is willing to wait for the buyer’s home to sell.

Item 34: Within 3 days of the date in item 11.

Item 35: Obviously negotiable. Typically, 4-6 weeks from contract acceptance.

Item 36: When I purchase, I like possession on the “date of delivery of deed”. I do a pre-closing walk through the day of the closing so I see what I’m actually getting, and I provide for such a walk-through to take place in the Additional Provisions paragraph (paragraph 30). Many times the seller needs something like “3 days after delivery of deed” to move out. They want to make sure the house actually closes before moving. However, many a buyer has been disappointed with the condition/cleanliness of homes delivered after the seller has received their money, and although it rarely happens, some sellers actually do not vacate timely and must be evicted.

Item 37: Entirely up to the parties. If possession is on the date of delivery of deed, I’m going to choose a time that’s an hour after the closing time.

Item 38: I usually preferred to not pressure people while not giving them so much time they can go use your offer as leverage with other potential Buyers. 1-2 days is common.

Item 39: 5:00 p.m. is a nice time to choose for this blank.

I realize filling out the preceeding 39 items was tedious, time consuming, and not much fun. Especially if you took the time to look at each paragraph referred to by the items. The good news is the contract moves much quicker from here forward.

Paragraph 4.1: These 2 columns will balance when completed correctly. Assumptions are extremely rare since they all basically require the Buyer to qualify since almost every loan has a due on sale clause enabling the existing lender to preclude assumptions without lender approval. There is rarely Private Financing that isn’t seller financing. This is due to the many state and federal laws that do apply to non-seller private lenders making such loans virtually unavailable unless the property is for investment purposes. Even parents cannot provide their own children with financing without complying with complex Colorado laws. See my article entitled “Private Mortgages Post-TRID and Specific to Colorado” on the Cherry Creek Title website.

Paragraph 4.2: Before I filled this blank in, I’d verify with the lender if buyer Credit/seller concessions are allowed with the buyer’s intended loan and the limits to such concessions.

Paragraph 4.3: It will typically be in the form of a “personal check” although we see wires more and more often these days. Some sellers are willing to accept earnest money promissory notes although they usually only do so if they come due within 24 hours of contract acceptance. See Paragraph 4.3.1.  In the “held by” blank, insert the name of the title company you select. Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc. holds all such funds at no charge in a federally insured escrow account.

Paragraph 4.4.1: paraphrases the Colorado good funds law. Virtually all lender funds arrive via wire, and Buyers most often provide their funds to close via wires as many title companies will not accept anything but wires. However, the cashier’s check is still used and accepted at many title companies. If you use Cherry Creek Title Services and wish to use a cashier’s check, call to find out the procedure.

Paragraph 4.5.3: If the buyer is getting a new loan, the type of loan is checked here.

Paragraph 4.6: Assumptions are rare, but if one exists, the blanks are all self-evident and the answers obtainable from the lender holding the loan to be assumed. Like any paragraph that is inapplicable, you’ll normally just be drawing a diagonal line through that paragraph or interlineate each line. That still leaves the inapplicable language readable making it the preferred method of deleting inapplicable provisions since being able to read what was deleted can resolve a possible future ambiguity as discussed in the beginning of this article

Paragraph 4.7.1 applies when the seller is carrying back financing. Since I highly recommend utilizing a competent attorney to prepare any loan documents on behalf of the seller, I’d recommend they advise you on how to complete this paragraph.

Paragraphs 4.7.1.1 and 4.7.1.2: If applicable, each party has the right to terminate the contract based on dissatisfaction with the private loan terms as long it is done timely as provided in the contract.

Paragraph 6.4: Check the box who is paying for the appraisal. This is almost always paid for by the buyer, not the seller

Paragraph 8.1.1: I wouldn’t personally check this box.

Paragraph 8.1.2: I’d check this box electing to choose my own title insurance company, and of course I’d choose Cherry Creek Title Services. I wouldn’t let a seller pick my title insurer no more than I’d let them select my homeowner’s insurance. By reducing the offer price by the cost of the title policy, the seller is effectively paying for it via the price reduction, but the buyer is selecting who handles the closing and who is issuing the title policy of which they are the insured, not the seller. You wouldn’t let the car dealer pick your auto insurance, so why would you let the Seller or their agent pick out your title insurance? Title underwriters vary in strength, size, reserves and ratings. It does matter who issues your policy if you ever have a claim. At the time of writing this article, Cherry Creek Title is an authorized agent of the top two underwriters in the world, Fidelity (Commonwealth) and First American. We have been successfully helping “For Sale By Owner” sellers for decades and welcome their deals. The fees are absolutely no different than deals originated from real estate agents and no attorney opinion letter is required. Shop around and compare rates for closing fees and the cost of the owner and lender (if applicable) policies. Ask about whether a re-issue rate is available.

Paragraph 8.1.3: I’d check “Will”. I always obtain OEC for myself and recommend it for my clients. It covers many items that actually do result in claims and is inexpensive. In that paragraph you also select who will pay for OEC.

Paragraph 8.1.4: These documents are of public record and this paragraph is primarily definitional. All such documents are provided by Cherry Creek Title at no cost as long as they are of public record, which they virtually always are.

Paragraph 8.1.5: Copies of Title Documents: These are the documents referred to in 8.1.4, and Cherry Creek Title provides them at no cost.

Paragraph 8.1.6: This will virtually never apply. Abstracts are extremely rare. I would interlineate through the line so there is no ambiguity and all parties are aware the seller has no abstract to provide the buyer.

Paragraph 8.2 is self-explanatory. It summarizes the buyers right to review all title documents, commitments, endorsements, etc. and what happens when they aren’t provided timely and discusses termination and how the lack of the Buyer providing notice of termination is effectively an acceptance of the condition of the title.

Paragraph 8.3: This paragraph deals with off record items (not recorded so not discoverable by the title company). Sometimes parties enter into contracts during development or prior to construction knowing certain easement and other agreements will be recorded at the time of delivery of deed. Like 8.2, it provides that failing to object is effectively acceptance of any such items.

Paragraph 8.4 has been a mandatory disclosure in all capital letters for many years and many iterations of the Colorado licensed real estate agent mandated contract. It is a warning to the buyer to inquire whether the property they’re buying resides in a Special Taxing District. These Special Taxing Districts are vehicles used by the developer to finance such things as the cost of grading the land and the costs of building/installing streets, curb and gutter, utilities, drainage, and other improvements to the land. Sometimes there are off-site improvements as well.   If you’re an early buyer in an area subject to such Special Taxes and the development fails to sell well, you could be paying extremely high taxes since there won’t be enough other owners to share the costs. I think it’s highly risky to buy in a new community subject to a Special Taxing District. I wouldn’t.

Paragraph 8.6: Rights of First Refusal are rare. Some had racist origins/motivations. Many years ago, some communities reserved rights of first refusal to the other property owners in the community to match the terms of any contract and thereby keep out people they didn’t want to live there. They are rarely if ever created anymore, and when they do exist, it is important to comply with the terms of such first rights of refusal. It typically involves notification of all the affected parties with a time deadline to match the contract. Thankfully, first rights of refusal are very rare these days.

Paragraphs 8.7.1 through 8.7.5 discuss oil, gas, water and minerals. In platted urban property, zoning isn’t going to allow someone with mineral rights to your home to construct an oil well. However, that may be the case in rural, industrial and some other residential property settings. And, horizontal drilling techniques have adversely impacted homeowners.

Paragraph 8.8: This advises all parties to consult an attorney. The need for an attorney increases with the complexity of the transaction; existence of title issues; oil and gas issues; owner carry financing; the existence of a special improvement district and many other possible circumstances.

Paragraph 9.1: In a typical residential transaction involving a new loan, the lender will require an ILC (Improvement Location Certificate). An ILC is a very basic “survey-like” document that shows the property boundaries and the location of the improvements, easements, and any encroachments.  Suffice it to say that in a residential deal with the Buyer getting a new loan, you’ll be checking the ILC box.

Paragraph 9.1.1 and 9.1.2: Since it’s for the benefit of the buyer and specifically their lender, I’d check the boxes where the buyer orders the ILC and pays for it.

Paragraph 9.1.3 has a blank which may be n/a or to add other parties to whom are entitled to a copy of the ILC, survey etc. Examples are the buyer’s lender or attorney.

Paragraph 10.7 is where you’d insert the address of a property that the contract was conditioned upon its sale. So, if the Buyer was only obligated to purchase if successful in selling a property first, here’s where you’d list it.

Paragraph 10.8 is important.  I prefer that the Seller readily has their Property Disclosure https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/node/95951  (Colorado Real Estate Broker Mandatory Contracts and Forms/disclosure documents/ Sellers disclosure document (residential) available to the Buyer so the Buyer can check the box they’ve received a copy.  Same advice for any Source of Water Addendum and the Well Disclosure when applicable.

Paragraph 10.10.1 and 10.10.2 require the seller to provide the buyer with a completed Lead-Based Paint Disclosure if the property being sold had its building permit issued prior to January 1, 1978 and gives the Buyer the right to conduct a risk assessment if appropriate.  The Disclosure form is available at the Colorado Division of Real Estate website. The applicable federal law, Lead Disclosure Rule and compliance requirements can be found on the internet through HUD and the EPA.  The applicable federal law, Lead Disclosure Rule and compliance requirements can be found at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes/enforcement/disclosure.

To find out more information on by the EPA “Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home”, Click Here.

Paragraph 12.2: I advise whoever prepares the contract to concurrently prepare the closing instructions which are also available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

Paragraph 12.3: “Mutual Agreement of Buyer and Seller” is very common.

Paragraph 13: This blank requires the deed form to be selected. Almost all residential deals involve general warranty deeds. Virtually all commercial deals, builders, and often Sellers represented by attorneys choose special warranty deeds. If you choose any other type of deed such as a bargain and sale or a quit claim deed, you’ll very likely run into issues with the title company being hesitant or unwilling to insure anything less than a warranty deed, and the Buyer may not accept anything less than a general warranty deed since that is the ubiquitous deed for residential conveyances.

Paragraph 15.2: These blanks are obvious. Most common is One Half by each party.

Paragraph 15.3: These blanks are obvious as well. Most common is the Buyer paying these charges since they are for the Buyer’s benefit.

Paragraph 15.4: Many are misguided and believe this always applies to the very small doc fee charge by the assessor (1 penny per hundred dollars as of this writing). But, many resort towns like Vail and even Glendale imposes a local transfer tax on the sale of property. These taxes can be substantial so being aware of their existence and amount is crucial. Once known, the parties can choose how they’re paid. Sharing this expense equally between Buyer and Seller is very common.

Paragraph 15.5: The Buyer usually pays the Private Transfer Fee. A common example is the HOA transfer fee that basically every association charges (a few hundred dollars) to transfer their ownership records from the previous owner to the new one.

Paragraph 15.6: This needs to be investigated by the seller and buyer but rarely applies.

Paragraph 15.7: Sales and Use Tax is rare in a typical residential sale transaction thereby triggering the None box virtually every time. An accountant should be consulted if a transaction involves sales and use tax. I’d check the None box, and if there was a counter that disclosed such a tax existed, I’d get the advice of an accountant and require the Seller to pay any such Sales and Use taxes.

Paragraph 16.1: Taxes:  For a typical transaction involving either vacant land or the sale of property with an improvement (e.g. house) that’s been there at least two years including any additions, alterations, modifications of any kind, I’d select the most recent mill levy and assessment. If the sale involves new construction or recent improvements were made to the property, I’d contact the county assessor to discuss the property. Here’s why: Typically, choosing the most recent mill levy and assessed value results in a fair proration and happy parties. Using last year’s taxes for proration purposes almost always ensures the new Buyer will not be given the seller’s fair share for the preceding year since taxes typically increase every year. Taxes are payable in arrears so 2018 taxes are payable in 2019. If you close late in the year, the amount becomes more significant. For instance, say you close at the end of November, and the seller gives the buyer a credit of 11 months of taxes based on the previous year to cover their part of the bill for the current tax year that won’t be due until the following year. Since residential tax settlements are virtually always final settlement, when the tax bill comes and the buyer sees they didn’t get the seller’s fair share of the 11 months they owned the property, they have no recourse. Using the most recent mill levy and assessed value is better since it will always be at least as current if not more so than the previous year’s taxes. There are special circumstances where it is worth making a more thorough inquiry regarding the taxes. See my article on the Cherry Creek Title website entitled “When Pro-Rating Property Taxes Using the Most Recent Mill Levy and Assessed Value is a Mistake & Important Contract Tip Regarding New Home Purchases. It discusses circumstances such as new construction and recent improvements made where it may be advisable to check the “other” box and choose a different solution to pro-rating property taxes.

Paragraph 16.2: The rent paragraph is obviously only applicable if the property comes with tenants. If so, the buyer and seller can mutually agree whether rents are based on rents received or using the accrual method. Typically, the buyer will want it based on rents received, and the seller would like to use the accrual method thereby getting credit for expected rents before they’ve actually been received.

Paragraph 16.4: This is a catch-all paragraph for anything being pro-rated besides water, sewer, propane or interest on a loan being assumed. It’s usually going to be “nothing else”, but there may be a storm sewer or other pro-ration item that may apply here.

Paragraph 16.5: All settlements of taxes, rents, security deposits, HOA fees and other Association related fees; water, sewer, assumption interest and anything else disclosed will be the Final Settlement of such pro-rations.  If the property taxes end up being higher than expected months later when the county assesses the property for a higher amount and/or increases the mill levy, the new buyer cannot return to the seller and demand additional amounts if the seller ended up paying less than the seller’s proportional share of the previous year that the seller owned the property. The contractually agreed method to prorate taxes in a Residential transaction is Final Settlement.

Paragraph 17: This paragraph addresses possession. Most residential transactions do not involve buyer’s taking the property subject to existing tenancies, but some do. That is addressed here. What is also addressed is establishing a daily rental owed by the seller for failing to deliver the property to the buyer at the promised possession date and time. Obviously this amount is negotiable and also typically varies with the value of the property. The daily rent for failing to deliver payment on a million-dollar home might be double the rent for a property selling for ½ that amount.  In this paragraph the buyer represents whether or not the buyer intends to occupy the property as the buyer’s principal residence. Additionally, there is a box that can be checked if the seller is going to rent the property back from the buyer in which case the parties agree to execute a Post-Closing Occupancy Agreement. There is a Post- Closing Occupancy Agreement available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

Paragraph 21.1.1: If the Specific Performance box is checked, and the buyer defaults, the seller has the ability to not only retain the buyer’s earnest money, but may also sue to compel the buyer to perform. Most/all buyers would prefer this box is not checked so if they default, the damages are limited to forfeiture of the earnest money deposit. When the box is not checked, Paragraph 21.1.2 will apply which limits the seller’s remedy to retaining the earnest money in the event the Buyer defaults.

Paragraph 30: This is where terms unique to the transaction may be inserted. Attorneys, buyers and sellers have much more leeway here than licensed agents. Licensed agents are severely restricted in their ability to craft custom contract language.

Paragraph 31: Attachments that are part of the Contract such as Addenda.

Paragraph 31.1.1: This provides that a copy of the Post-Closing Occupancy, if applicable, is attached. And again, there is a Post-Closing Occupancy Agreement available through the Colorado Division of Real Estate website.

The remainder of the Contract including the signature portion is all self-explanatory and won’t be addressed in this article. If no licensed agents are involved, I would interlineate (draw lines through) everything after line 881.

This article is intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice.

 

Tips to Protect Your Information During Your Real Estate Transaction

 

Real Estate Transactions are a Prime Target for Fraudsters!

When you buy a home you will be required to submit personal information to your lender and/or escrow agent. At Cherry Creek Title Services, we go above and beyond the industry standards to secure your personal information during and after your transaction. Here are some important tips to remember:

Always carefully examine the email address from which you receive updates on your transaction from your escrow officer to ensure it is correct. If an email seems suspicious, contact your escrow officer immediately.

Call your escrow officer  immediately if you receive an email requesting to change the wiring instructions for your transactions. DO NOT use the contact information provided in the email.
Carefully review your personal information on your transaction paperwork to ensure it is correct.Communicate or confirm any changes to the transaction with your escrow officer over the phone or in person.

Do not provide information about yourself or your transaction to any unknown or unnecessary parties.

Contact your escrow officer  if you suspect your email address is being improperly used or if you do not receive funds in a timely fashion.

Reprinted with permission of the American Land Title Association.
First American Title Insurance Company makes no express or implied warranty respecting the information presented and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. First American, the eagle logo, First American Title, and firstam.com are registered trademarks or trademarks of First American Financial Corporation and/or its affiliates.
AMD: 05/2017

CHERRY CREEK TITLE SERVICES IS AN INDEPENDENT POLICY-ISSUING AGENT OF FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

Protecting Your Funds From Wire Fraud During Real Estate Transactions

By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc., Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity and First American

Recently, the number of incidents of wire theft in real estate transactions has risen dramatically. Wires of buyer’s funds to close and seller’s proceeds are being hijacked all the time.

Here’s a typical scenario. The fraudsters hack into the real estate agent’s email and monitor the agent’s emails watching pending transactions.  Occasionally, they hack into the title company’s emails; however, it’s less common since it’s far easier to identify real estate agents that use public emails rather than private domain email accounts; lack sufficient firewalls; and are easier targets of malware than title companies.   However, title companies also fall victim to these scams. All it takes is the fraudster posing as the real estate agent and instructing the closer to change the wiring information for the seller or the closer opening an attachment with malware.

Sometimes the fraudster steals the buyer’s funds to close by hijacking the wire intended for the title company. The fraudster sends an email to the buyer (often that appears to originate from the title company) modifying the routing and account information for the buyer’s wire to the fraudster’s account. Since the fraudster knows when the transaction is closing by monitoring the email account they hacked, they know when to send such an email.  Many prefer to target the seller’s proceeds and wait until after the closing and then re-direct the seller proceeds immediately after the closing by posing as either the seller or the real estate agent for the seller.

These emails look legitimate since they either spoof the email address of the sender (looks like it came from a legitimate address) or they send t

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO PRESENTATION

he email from an account that is virtually identical to the sender’s by adding one character to the legitimate sender’s email and it goes unnoticed. That’s very easy to do when the sender uses public email accounts. That’s a common way title companies get duped. The closer receives an email from the fraudster that looks virtually identical to that of the agent, and instructs the agent to change the wiring instructions for the seller’s proceeds.  Some fraudsters go as far as sending a fake email from the intended recipient’s bank acknowledging receipt of the wire and that it was being credited to the defrauded party’s account. This gives the title company and defrauded party a false sense of security, and the goal is to delay them a day or two to confirm whether the wire was properly received. This gives the fraudster additional time to withdraw the stolen funds or wire them to another account from which they’re withdrawn before the funds can be frozen where they were initially diverted.

So, if you’re the buyer, here’s how to protect yourself. One way is to fund your deal with a cashier’s check instead of a wire.  If the title company has a wire only policy, tell them your concern about wire theft and offer to scan and send a copy of your cashier’s check in advance so the title company can call the issuing bank to verify its authenticity. That along with telling them you’ll close elsewhere if they will only accept a wire will likely change their position. If you cannot move the closing or choose to proceed and fund with a wire, make sure you call the title company closer at a phone number you independently verify belongs to them, and verify the wiring instructions directly with the closer. Many title commitments contain the wiring information where you send your funds necessary to close so be very wary if the closer gives you different information than what’s in the commitment.  No matter what emails or correspondence you receive ever attempting to modify that wiring information, you need to absolutely presume it’s an attempt to defraud you and divert your money to a criminal.  You’ll of course at a minimum want to call a phone number you procure independently (not off a potential fraudulent correspondence) and speak to the closer. I’ve never once seen the wiring instructions change in the middle of a transaction that wasn’t fraudulent so you need to be on high alert.

Protecting yourself as the seller from your proceeds wire being hijacked also requires a little diligence. You’ll want to insist that the title company signs a written document at the closing that confirms the correct wiring information for you and provides that the wiring information cannot be changed under any circumstances. Or you could choose to add a sentence that they can only be changed if the seller (you) returns to the title company; speaks directly to the closer that knows what you look like; you prove your identity again; and you sign a modified written document changing the wire destination. I’d prepare that document myself; send it in advance to the title company closer insisting that it be signed at the closing so it comes as no surprise, and if they refused to sign it, I’d go elsewhere. You have every right to make the party handling your money follow your strict instructions regarding the wiring instructions.

I also recommend notifying the title company prior to the closing that you want your wire sent immediately following the closing while you are still present, or make the title company get you a cashier’s check. Aggressive attorneys virtually 100% of the time successfully make the title company initiate the seller proceeds wire right after the closing, and the attorney waits in the lobby until a wire confirmation is received that the bank sends virtually immediately after a wire is sent. A thorough attorney verifies on the confirmation that it went to the proper account and takes a copy with them. A common issue that arises with getting a cashier’s check in lieu of a wire is that your bank may put a hold on it. If you’re turning around and purchasing another property or need immediate access to your funds for any reason, a cashier’s check might not work for you.

The sad reality is that once wires are stolen, they are rarely recovered. It’s a devastating loss to the victims, and their recourse at that point is to sue the real estate agent and/or title company for negligence.   Not only is litigation extremely expensive, you are forced to incur that cost right after losing a huge amount of money. And, getting a judgment means nothing unless you can collect. The parties responsible may lack the money to pay the judgment or may file for bankruptcy protection.  It’s far wiser to take appropriate precautions so you are never a victim of wire theft.

*This article is intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice*

Visit our YouTube Channel for helpful tips and educational videos!Cherry Creek Title Services You Tube Channel

Protect Your Money From Wire Fraud When Buying a Home

Wire Fraud is Real – learn how to prevent wire fraud happening to you by watching this video presentation by First American Title

Protecting Your Purchase Funds and Sale Proceeds from Wire Fraud in Real Estate Transactions

 By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.,

Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity & First American

Recently, the number of incidents of wire theft in real estate transactions has risen dramatically. Wires of buyer’s funds to close and seller’s proceeds are being hijacked all the time.

Here’s a typical scenario. The fraudsters hack into the real estate agent’s email and monitor the agent’s emails watching pending transactions. Occasionally, they hack into the title company’s emails; however, it’s less common since it’s far easier to identify real estate agents that use public emails rather than private domain email accounts; lack sufficient firewalls; and are easier targets of malware than title companies. However, title companies also fall victim to these scams. All it takes is the fraudster posing as the real estate agent and instructing the closer to change the wiring information for the seller or the closer opening an attachment with malware.

Sometimes the fraudster steals the buyer’s funds to close by hijacking the wire intended for the title company. The fraudster sends an email to the buyer (often that appears to originate from the title company) modifying the routing and account information for the buyer’s wire to the fraudster’s account. Since the fraudster knows when the transaction is closing by monitoring the email account they hacked, they know when to send such an email. Many prefer to target the seller’s proceeds and wait until after the closing and then re-direct the seller proceeds immediately after the closing by posing as either the seller or the real estate agent for the seller.

These emails look legitimate since they either spoof the email address of the sender (looks like it came from a legitimate address) or they send the email from an account that is virtually identical to the sender’s by adding one character to the legitimate sender’s email and it goes unnoticed. That’s very easy to do when the sender uses public email accounts. That’s a common way title companies get duped. The closer receives an email from the fraudster that looks virtually identical to that of the agent, and instructs the agent to change the wiring instructions for the seller’s proceeds. Some fraudsters go as far as sending a fake email from the intended recipient’s bank acknowledging receipt of the wire and that it was being credited to the defrauded party’s account. This gives the title company and defrauded party a false sense of security, and the goal is to delay them a day or two to confirm whether the wire was properly received. This gives the fraudster additional time to withdraw the stolen funds or wire them to another account from which they’re withdrawn before the funds can be frozen where they were initially diverted.

So, if you’re the buyer, here’s how to protect yourself. One way is to fund your deal with a cashier’s check instead of a wire. If the title company has a wire only policy, tell them your concern about wire theft and offer to scan and send a copy of your cashier’s check in advance so the title company can call the issuing bank to verify its authenticity. That along with telling them you’ll close elsewhere if they will only accept a wire will likely change their position. If you cannot move the closing or choose to proceed and fund with a wire, make sure you call the title company closer at a phone number you independently verify belongs to them, and verify the wiring instructions directly with the closer. Many title commitments contain the wiring information where you send your funds necessary to close so be very wary if the closer gives you different information than what’s in the commitment. No matter what emails or correspondence you receive ever attempting to modify that wiring information, you need to absolutely presume it’s an attempt to defraud you and divert your money to a criminal. You’ll of course at a minimum want to call a phone number you procure independently (not off a potential fraudulent correspondence) and speak to the closer. I’ve never once seen the wiring instructions change in the middle of a transaction that wasn’t fraudulent so you need to be on high alert.

Protecting yourself as the seller from your proceeds wire being hijacked also requires a little diligence. You’ll want to insist that the title company signs a written document at the closing that confirms the correct wiring information for you and provides that the wiring information cannot be changed under any circumstances. Or you could choose to add a sentence that they can only be changed if the seller (you) returns to the title company; speaks directly to the closer that knows what you look like; you prove your identity again; and you sign a modified written document changing the wire destination. I’d prepare that document myself; send it in advance to the title company closer insisting that it be signed at the closing so it comes as no surprise, and if they refused to sign it, I’d go elsewhere. You have every right to make the party handling your money follow your strict instructions regarding the wiring instructions.

I also recommend notifying the title company prior to the closing that you want your wire sent immediately following the closing while you are still present, or make the title company get you a cashier’s check. Aggressive attorneys virtually 100% of the time successfully make the title company initiate the seller proceeds wire right after the closing, and the attorney waits in the lobby until a wire confirmation is received that the bank sends virtually immediately after a wire is sent. A thorough attorney verifies on the confirmation that it went to the proper account and takes a copy with them. A common issue that arises with getting a cashier’s check in lieu of a wire is that your bank may put a hold on it. If you’re turning around and purchasing another property or need immediate access to your funds for any reason, a cashier’s check might not work for you.

The sad reality is that once wires are stolen, they are rarely recovered. It’s a devastating loss to the victims, and their recourse at that point is to sue the real estate agent and/or title company for negligence. Not only is litigation extremely expensive, you are forced to incur that cost right after losing a huge amount of money. And, getting a judgment means nothing unless you can collect. The parties responsible may lack the money to pay the judgment or may file for bankruptcy protection. It’s far wiser to take appropriate precautions so you are never a victim of wire theft.

*This article is intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice*

Insuring Beneficiary Deeds in Colorado – How This May Affect Your Next Real Estate Transaction

When providing title insurance on a property where there is a Beneficiary’s Deed involved, there is now a waiting period of 4 months after the date of the death of the grantor of a Beneficiary Deed is because the real property is subject to claims.  There would be no coverage under the owner’s policy for these types of claims and since we will not have issued a new owner’s policy, these claims are matters for the estate to address.

A waiver of  the four month period may be granted if the underwriter is provided a letter from the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing indicating that the Department does not have a claim nor will be asserting a claim.

 

“Beneficiary Deed” –  C.R.S. § 15-15-401 et seq.

During the 2004 legislative session, the Colorado Legislature enacted House Bill No.04- 1048, also known as the “Beneficiary Deed” legislation. The new law establishes Part Four to Article 15 of Title 15 of the Colorado Revised Statute to include Section 15-15- 401 through 15-15-415. The legislation, which becomes effective August 4, 2004, also includes minor revision to existing Sections 15-11-706, 15-15-101 and 38-30-113.5 so they are consistent with terms of the new law. The new law is accessible on the internet at: Colorado Revised House Bill 04-1048

The purpose of the new law is to provide a mechanism for a non-probate transfer of real property that enables an owner of real property to convey by deed an interest in real property to a grantee that will become effective upon the death of the owner. The new

law, in part, reads as follows:

“Vesting of ownership in Grantee-Beneficiary. (1) Title to the interest in real property transferred by a beneficiary deed shall vest in the designated Grantee-

.Beneficiary only on the death of the owner. (2) a Grantee-Beneficiary of  a beneficiary deed takes title to the owner’s interest in the real property conveyed by the beneficiary deed at the death of the owner subject to all conveyances, encumbrances, assignments, contracts mortgages, liens and other interests affecting title to the property, whether created before or after the recording of the beneficiary deed…  [C.R.S. § 15-15-407]

During the lifetime of the owner(s), the Grantee-Beneficiary shall have no right, title, or interest in or to the property and the owner(s) shall retain the full power and authority with respect to the property without the joinder, signature, consent, or agreement of, or notice to, the Grantee-Beneficiary for any purpose.

The new law provides that the form of the Beneficiary Deed should contain the words “conveys on death” or “transfers on death”, or otherwise indicates the transfer is to be effective on the death of the owner(s). A beneficiary deed in substantially the form attached to this bulletin as Exhibit “A” may be used. [C.R.S. 15-15-404]

The new law provides that a Grantee-Beneficiary interest may be terminated by the owner(s) with an instrument that revokes the beneficiary deed prior to the death of the owner or the execution and recording of a new beneficiary deed prior to the death of the owner(s). The joinder, signature, consent, or agreement of, or notice to, either the original Grantee-Beneficiary or the new Grantee-Beneficiary is not required for the change or revocation to be effective.

As to a revocation instrument, the statute provides that a form of “Revocation of Beneficiary Deed”, substantially in the form as set forth in Exhibit “B”, may be used. [C.R.S. 15-15-405].

For title insurance purposes, a conveyance or a transfer by an owner to a third party purchaser for value will be, viewed as a revocation of a Beneficiary Deed. [C.R.S. 15-15- 407]

The most recently executed beneficiary deed or revocation of all beneficiary deeds or revocations that have been recorded prior to the owner’s death shall control, regardless of the order of recording.  [C.R.S. 15-15-405 (3)]

Other incidents of the new law include but are not limited to the following:

  • Multiple Owners: Grantors that hold the property as joint tenants (a person who owns an interest in real property as a joint tenant with right of survivorship).  The “Beneficiary Deed” does not take effect until the death of the last surviving owner /grantor.
  • The “Beneficiary Deed” is only valid if the last surviving owner is one of the parties that executed the deed. For example, if A and B own the property as joint tenants and only A executes the beneficiary deed, the deed is invalid and the grantee takes nothing if B is the sole surviving owner of the property.
  • Multiple Grantees: One or more persons or entities capable of holding title to real property may be designated as Grantee-Beneficiaries in the “Beneficiary Deed” to receive an interest in the real property upon the death of the owner.
  • Successor in interest to the grantee: A “Successor Grantee-Beneficiary” is a person, persons, or entity designated in a “Beneficiary Deed” to receive an interest in the real property if the primary “Grantee-Beneficiary” does not survive the owner(s).
  • Termination of the beneficial interest:
  1. The beneficial interest may be terminated by the owner(s) during their lifetime by recording an instrument revoking the “Beneficiary Deed”. (Please See Exhibit “B”
  2. The beneficial interest may be terminated by the owner(s) during their lifetime by recording a new “Beneficiary Deed” to another Grantee­ Beneficiary.
  3. The beneficial interest may be terminated, for purposes of title insurance by the owner(s) during their lifetime by a conveyance or a transfer by an owner to a third party purchaser for
  4. The “Grantee-Beneficiary” may disclaim or refuse to accept the real property upon the death of the original owner(s)/grantors.
  • Purchaser from grantee-beneficiary protected. [C.R.S. 15-15-410)

Subject to prior rights or interests of others in the land before the owner died, a bona-fide purchaser for value or a bona-fide lender for value in its dealings with a Grantee-Beneficiary shall take title free of the rights of an interested person in the deceased owner’s estate and shall not incur personal liability to the estate or to any interested person. [C.R.S.15-15-407(2))

Any recorded instrument evidencing a transfer to a purchaser from, or lender to, a Grantee-Beneficiary on which a state documentary fee is noted under the provisions of C.R.S. 39-13-103, shall be prima facie evidence that the transfer was made for value. [C.R.S. 15-15-410(2) (Note: any such sale or loan by the grantee-beneficiary does not relieve the grantee-beneficiary from obligations to other creditors and claimants under the estate of the decedent owner.)

  •  Rights of creditors and others [C.R.S. 15-15-407)

If other assets of the estate of the deceased owner are insufficient to pay all claims against the estate, then a transfer of real property resulting from a beneficiary designation is not effective against the estate of the deceased owner to the extent needed to pay all claims against the estate. A proceeding to assert liability against a Grantee-Beneficiary may be initiated under the provisions  of CRS 15-15-409.

Further, under the provisions of Section 15-15-403 the interest of the grantee-beneficiary shall be subject to any claims of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing as a “countable resource” for recovery of medical assistance payments pursuant to section 25.5-4-301 or 25.5-4-302 and may be enforced in accordance with Section 15-15-409. [C.R.S. 15-15-407]

Rights of Creditors provided under C.R.S. 15-15-407 do not affect the protection provided by Section 15-15-410 to bona-fide purchasers or lenders for value, with respect to claims of the personal representative or estate of a deceased owner against a Grantee-Beneficiary.

policy of title insurance

Rules of Title Practice 

Sale of property: If a “Beneficiary Deed” appears in the chain of title, the deed should be shown as an exception in Schedule B of the commitment. The exception should read substantially as follows:

The interest of [state name of grantee(s)] created by “Beneficiary Deed” from [state name of grantor(s)/owner(s)] recorded            , 20_, under Reception Number                     Official Records under.the provisions of§§ 15-15-401, Et Seq., Colorado Revised Statutes.

 

An exception for rights under a beneficiary deed, may be eliminated from Schedule B of a policy, by the recording of a transfer by all the original owner(s)/grantor(s) to a third party purchaser for value or the recording of a “Revocation of Beneficiary Deed” by the original owner(s)/grantor(s).

If a transfer by the original owners(s)/grantors under the “Beneficiary Deed” appears in the chain of title to the real property, assure the following is confirmed:

  1. That it has been executed by all the original owner(s)/grantor(s) that executed the original Beneficiary Deed”.
  2. If the transfer under the “Beneficiary Deed” has been executed by less than all the original owner(s)/grantor(s), the termination of the beneficial interest will not be effective until such time as there is a transfer executed and recorded by the last surviving owner who also executed the original “Beneficiary Deed”.
  3. Refinances and other loans: If the transaction is for a loan only, the exception for the beneficiary deed may be shown in Schedule B, Part II, or an appropriate endorsement may be issued to the lender (Such as a modified Form 110.2 Endorsement).

Elimination of a beneficiary deed as an exception. You may rely on:

  • A properly executed and recorded transfer to another third party purchaser by all the original owner(s)/grantors under the original “Beneficiary Deed”.
  • The recording of an instrument revoking the “Beneficiary Deed” by all the original owner(s)/grantor(s) under the original “Beneficiary Deed”. (See Exhibit “B”.)

You are required to run the general index (GI) to determine whether a” Beneficiary Deed” may have been posted to the GI. There exists the possibility that the plant may post the “Beneficiary Deed” interest to the GI, especially if the “Beneficiary Deed” was recorded without a legal.

You may rely on a “Beneficiary Deed” to pass title to the named Grantee-Beneficiary if:

  1. The record does not disclose a transfer by the original owner(s)/grantor(s) to another Grantee- Beneficiary and the owner(s)/grantor(s) have passed away.
  2. The record does not disclose a “Revocation of Beneficiary Deed” signed and recorded by original owner(s)/grantor(s) in their lifetime.

If multiple owners/grantors appeared on the “Beneficiary Deed”, you must determine that the all the original owners/grantors including the last surviving member of the original owners/grantors that signed the “Beneficiary Deed”, have passed.

Evidence of the death of the original owner(s)/grantor(s) is For purposes of title insurance, evidence of the death of the original owner(s)/grantors may be evidenced by the recording of a certified copy of death certificate attached to an affidavit of death (similar to an affidavit of death of joint tenant). [C.R.S. 15-15-413]

You may rely on a “Beneficiary Deed” to pass title to and insure the named Grantee-Beneficiary if:

  • The matters described in “a.” through “d.” of paragraph “6.” herein above have been completed or
  • An exception in Schedule B of the commitment and policy is included for:

 

Any claim of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing for Recovery of Medical Assistance Payments Pursuant to Section 26-4-403 or 26-4-403 .3 by reason of the death of the decedent named below who was a former owner/grantor of said land under “Beneficiary Deed” recorded——-

Decedent:                                  _

An exception in Schedule B of the commitment and policy is included for: The lien of any Colorado Estate Tax (C.R.S. 39-23.5-101 et. Seq.) by reason of the death of the decedent named below who was a former owner of the land. Decedent [state name of decedent owner(s)].

An exception in Schedule B of the commitment and policy is included for: The lien of any Federal Estate Tax (Title 26 USCA- I.R.C. 2037) by reason of the death of the decedent named below who was a former owner of the land. Decedent [state name of decedent owner(s)].

You may rely on a “Beneficiary Deed” to pass title to and insure a bona-fide purchaser or lender of the named grantee-beneficiary if:

  • The matters described in “a.” through “d.” of paragraph “6.” herein above have been completed or
  • A requirement in Schedule B Section I of the commitment is included for:

the release, satisfaction, or evidence of non-applicability of: The lien of any Colorado Estate Tax (C.R.S. 39-23.5-101 et. Seq.) by reason of the death of the decedent named below who was a former owner of the land. Decedent [state name of decedent owner(s)].

  • A requirement in Schedule B Section I of the commitment is included for the release, satisfaction, or evidence of non-applicability of: The lien of any Federal Estate Tax (Title 26 USCA- I.R.C. 2037) by reason of the death of the decedent named below who was a former owner of the land. Decedent [state name of decedent owner(s)].

 

 

Get it in Writing! Real Property Ownership Co-Tenancy Agreements including Video Presentation

 

By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.,

Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity & First American

When people typically think of co-tenancy agreements, they think of them in the context of leasehold interests.  The lack of co-tenancy agreements in many ownership scenarios leads to unnecessary disputes and costs.  This article addresses the benefits of having a co-tenancy agreement when two or more unmarried parties take title to real property.  These same issues can be addressed in a well drafted LLC Operating Agreement so owning via an LLC is another sensible way to hold title and address these same issues.  Of course, partnerships, corporations, limited partnerships and other artificial entities with their related governing documents can also be used in lieu of an LLC.  One big advantage of holding title via an LLC or other artificial entity is eliminating the individual liens (e.g. judgment, taxes) of an owner attaching to the property.  But, this discussion will be limited to people taking title in their individual names as tenants in common since that is often the case.

co-owner

Real Property Ownership Co-Tenancy Agreement Video Presentation

 

There are many scenarios in which non-married people acquire real property.  Besides unmarried couples, many people acquire real property with others for purposes of joint occupancy, vacation homes and as investment/rental property.  Merely taking title in the deed as tenants in common fails to address many possibilities that may arise.  The use of a co-tenancy agreement can avoid disputes by addressing possible future issues.

 

Let’s look at two common scenarios.  In the first one, two friends decide to buy a rental or investment property together.  They’re intent is for their interest in the property to pass to their heirs and not to their co-owner/friend so they take title as tenants in common.  Getting the loan was only possible in their individual names, and forming an LLC just for one property seemed like a lot of hassle and expense to the parties.  Besides the LLC formation and maintenance related expenses, the property would have to be deeded into the LLC; a statement of authority prepared and recorded; and a 107.9 additional named insured title endorsement should be acquired to assure the LLC is covered by the owners title policy issued in their individual names.  Both friends have excellent credit and are not concerned with liens attaching to the property attributable to the other owner.  With not a very long list of issues to address, the friends opt for leaving title in their individual names and entering into a co-tenancy agreement.

 

 

Here are some sensible issues to address in the co-tenancy agreement: the right or lack thereof of the owners to occupy the property; rules regarding when and which portions of the property the owners may occupy, if allowed; the logistics of how any partner can trigger a sale of the property; preclusions against any owner from securing their interest voluntarily or involuntarily; how the repair and maintenance costs will be paid (ongoing retention of reserves or assessments as things arise); the rights of any owner covering any shortfalls by one owner against another for failure to make their share of any mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, maintenance or other property expenses; any rules regarding loaning or sub-letting the property; and the agreement should discuss what happens upon the death, bankruptcy or divorce of one of the owners.  This list is not exhaustive as every situation is unique.

 

In scenario two, two or more friends acquire a vacation home for personal use.  Perhaps it will be in a rental pool for a portion of the year.   Besides addressing the same issues described above, additional provisions regarding an agreed schedule of rights to occupancy/use; time periods the property will be in a rental pool, if any; and the ability to loan to friends or family can all addressed in the co-tenancy agreement.

 

Of course, many of the times that one co-tenant wants to sell, the only practical solution is to sell the entire property.  Provisions can be added to the co-tenancy agreement granting a first right of refusal to buy out the interest of the owner wishing to sell and then providing for the entire property to be sold in the event the first right of refusal is not exercised.  Let’s face it, if 2 people each own 50% of a vacation home; one wants out; and the other doesn’t, agreeing in advance to sell the property in such circumstances can avoid arguments and preserve friendships.

Finally, I can’t end without sharing a bit of case law. While tenants in common generally have the common law right to possess, use, and enjoy the entire property, they can contract otherwise. See Keith v. El-Kareh, 729 P.2d 377, 378, 380 (Colo.App. 1986) (involving contract between tenants in common giving one co-owner exclusive possession of the property and responsibility for upkeep and repairs). Indeed, the “general rules [of tenancies-in-common] will not control where there is a contrary agreement.” Butler ex rel. Butler v. Rafferty, 792 N.E.2d 1055, 1058 (N.Y. 2003) (alteration in original) (quoting 13 Warren’s Weed, New York Real Property, Tenancy in Common § 3.01[1]); see also Keith, 729 P.2d at 380; Cleveland Tr. Co. v. Hart, 131 N.E.2d 841, 842 (Ohio Ct. App. 1955) (“During the existence of the lease their rights as tenants in common were suspended, and the unity and right of possession had become severed, and, for the time being, abrogated, by their signing of the contract.”); Niles v. Carlson’s Estate, 75 A. 266, 267 (Vt. 1910) (“These parties, though tenants in common, were at liberty to make such special contracts regarding their joint property as they pleased. And such contracts, when made, would bind them to the same extent and be enforceable in the same manner as similar contracts between strangers.”).

This article and video presentation are intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice.  To view more educational videos like on real estate and other related subjects visit the Cherry Creek Title Services Channel on You Tube.

 

FSBO Tips! Requirements for The Sellers Residential Property Disclosure

 

By Michael Selinfreund, Esq.,

President/General Counsel of Cherry Creek Title Services, Inc.,

Agent for Commonwealth/Fidelity & First American

 

Colorado state law requires certain disclosure requirements in a residential sale which include at a minimum, the following:

  • if true, that the property is part of a common interest community, which the buyer will be obligated to become a member of and pay assessments to.  C.R.S. 38-35.7-102
  • if true, that the property has been used as a methamphetamine laboratory, unless it has been fully remediated (C.R.S § 38-35.7-103)
  • the home’s source of potable (drinkable) water (C.R.S.§ 38-35.7-104)
  • any proposed transportation projects (such as a light rail project) that may affect the property (C.R.S. § 38-35.7-105), and
  • that the property may be in a special taxing district, and where the buyer can go to find out whether the property is, in fact, within such a district (C.R.S.§ 38-35.7-101).

Federal law requires sellers of any property built prior to 1978 to disclose the existence of lead-based paint on the property. (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 4851-56.) Download now:   Lead Base Paint Disclosure Compliments of Colorado Division of Real Estate and Obligations of Seller for Lead Base Paint Disclosure.


Sellers property disclosure document with a pen laying on topImportantly
, a seller (and their broker) in Colorado has an obligation to disclose known defects regarding the property.  Colorado’s requirement to disclose is limited to actual knowledge. Disclosure of any defects would likely be made within the Seller’s Property Disclosure Form for Residential Property courtesy of Colorado Division of Real Estate or visit the Colorado Division of Real Estate website and click Contracts and Forms.  This is overwhelming the most common property disclosure form used in Colorado.   This form must be filled out truthfully, and checking the “I don’t know” box regarding a known defect is equivalent to fraud.  And such obligation to disclose exists regardless of whether the item is included in one of the categories listed in the Seller’s Property Disclosure and regardless of whether the purchase contract requires the sellers to make such disclosures.  See Gattis v. McNutt, 2013 COA 145 (November 7, 2013) in which the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that sellers have an independent duty to disclose latent defects to buyers, and that the failure to disclose may give rise to a tort claim.

Regarding circumstances psychologically impacting real property, C.R.S. 35-35.5.101 provides no duty for a broker or salesperson to disclose facts or suspicions regarding circumstances occurring on a parcel of property which could psychologically impact or stigmatize such property are not material facts subject to a disclosure requirement in a real estate transaction. Such facts or suspicions include, but are not limited to, the following: that the occupant of real property is, or was at any time suspected to be infected or has been infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or diagnosed with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), or any other disease which has been determined by medical evidence to be highly unlikely to be transmitted through the occupancy of a dwelling place; or that the property was the site of a homicide or other felony or of a suicide.

Energy efficient house with green leaf stemming from chimneyThe Green Disclosure (Energy) Form is a recent addition to the list of Colorado disclosure forms, and it states specifically that it should be completed by the seller, not the seller’s broker.

The purpose of the Green Disclosure form is to inform the buyer about the seller’s current, actual knowledge of the energy-related features of the property. For example, the form lists options regarding sustainable materials, indoor air quality, construction type, and ENERGY STAR appliances, among other things. By filling out this form, the seller is completing one of the steps which will allow his or her broker to market the property as “Green” on the Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”).

This article and video presentation is for educational purposes only and not intended as legal advice.  To view  educational videos on real estate and other related subjects visit us at the

Cherry Creek Title Services Channel on You Tube