Federal Title now a trusted & verified SSI agent

Federal Title is now a trusted and verified title agent, having completed a standardized risk management process through risk management firm Secure Settlements Inc.

We successfully demonstrated to SSI that we meet federal regulatory requirements. Our implementation of the American Land Title Association's industry best practices was also helpful in attaining this new distinction. 

Mortgage industry risk management is a relatively new market niche, and SSI is the first company to offer title agents a standardized risk management process. Increased risk management in the mortgage industry is also a byproduct of the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010, which mandated new consumer financial laws and created an agency known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

Banks are under the CFPB microscope, and they in turn are taking a hard look at third-party service providers to ensure business practices and services are on the up-and-up in terms of the new requirements mandated by Dodd-Frank. Because of the potential for regulatory penalties and legal damages 

We choose to view the increased scrutiny of the CFPB, as well as regulations mandated by Dodd-Frank, as an opportunity to improve our business and further distinguish ourselves from other title companies in the region.

SSI's "Trusted and Verified" seal of approval is a visual queue to our clients that we're looking out for the best interest of all parties involved in the real estate transaction. 

Close It!™ House of the Week: Spanish masterpiece with Potomac River Basin views

This week, we've stumbled across an amazing house in the Palisades neighborhood – a 1953 Spanish masterpiece according to the listing – that looks like it should be located in Napa Valley instead of Northwest Washington, DC. Sale price is $1.595 million.

The photo tour highlights several elegant features of this 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home, including a gorgeous deck off the main level and a private patio above it off the master retreat. The house has three patios in all. Other features include arched doorways, built-in shelving and a commercial kitchen. 

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $366,298.90. Monthly payments with carrying charges would then be around $7,072.99 per month. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app.

Headlines: Arts coming to Dupont Underground; How will DC fund new United stadium?

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate in and around the District of Columbia.

Housing gets more affordable: Why aren't more millennials buying?

The problem may also be geographic. Rent gains are cooling slightly, with a slowdown in 14 out of the 25 largest rental markets, according to a new report from Trulia, but high rents still plague the youngest adults. -CNBC

DC neighborhoods with best price appreciation on 2014

Using legal subdivision data provided by RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI), UrbanTurf dug into the neighborhoods where median sales prices rose the most between the first ten months of 2013 and the same period this year. -Urban Turf

Even in cold weather areas, winter is still a good time to buy and sell a house

Winter — officially Dec. 21 through March 20 for the upcoming season — can be a surprisingly advantageous time to list, shop, negotiate and buy. -Washington Post

Borrow it: How DC will fund its share of the DC United stadium

Two weeks after the D.C. Council adopted a stadium financing plan that he deemed "clearly unlawful," Mayor Vincent Gray has submitted his legislative proposal to generate the roughly $139 million D.C. will need to acquire the land and prepare the Southwest site for construction. -Washington Business Journal

It's official: The arts are going underground in Dupont

The Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground has signed a lease with the city to transform a vacant former trolley space under Dupont Circle into an arts exhibition hall and event venue, the coalition announced today. -Washington City Paper

What to do when the home seller has dementia?

A Power of Attorney allows a person with dementia ("the principal") to name another individual ("the agent" or "attorney-in-fact") to make financial and other decisions when the person with dementia is no longer able. 

As with any Power of Attorney, the decision in regards to who to appoint as the attorney-in-fact should be made after careful consideration.

In addition, a successor agent should be named in the event the original agent is unavailable or unwilling to serve.  

The Power of Attorney does not give the appointed person the authority to override the decision making of the person with dementia. The person with dementia maintains the right to make his or her own decisions as long as he or she has legal capacity.

However, just because there is a Power of Attorney, it does not mean that the title company will allow it to be used for the sale of the property. If you plan on using a Power of Attorney for an individual with dementia, be prepared to answer the following questions: 

  1. When was the Power of Attorney executed?
  2. When was the principal diagnosed with dementia?
  3. What is going on with the current transaction?  
  4. How are the funds to be disbursed?
  5. Who is the attorney in fact and what is that person’s relation to the principal?

When dementia is involved, there is always a concern that the principal may not have been competent at the time the Power of Attorney was executed. 

The best way to persuade the title company to use the Power of Attorney is to obtain an affidavit from the principal’s physician setting forth the approximate date that the principal was diagnosed with dementia and a statement that at the time of the execution of the Power of Attorney, the principal was mentally competent and did have the capacity to understand the nature and significance of the Power of Attorney that he or she signed.  

Without this document, most title companies will hesitate to allow the use of a Power of Attorney for an individual with dementia, based on a fear that the Power of Attorney might in the future be declared invalid if it was executed after the principal lacked the capacity to make decisions. In the event of a future challenge to the validity of the Power of Attorney, the title company will want to prove that it properly vetted the validity of the document. 

So what can be done if the title company will not allow the use of the Power of Attorney and the individual is no longer able to make his or her own financial decisions?  

A guardian or conservator will need to be appointed by the court.   

A guardianship or conservatorship is not common, but it can be granted by the court when it finds that a person is totally or partially legally incapacitated. 

Since the procedure for obtaining a guardianship or conservatorship varies per jurisdiction, you should consult with an attorney if you are considering this possibility. 

Close It!™ House of the Week: Sunny 1 Bedroom in Adams Morgan

This week we venture over to Adams Morgan, recently named one of the country's Top 10 neighborhoods, to check out a beautifully renovated 1-bedroom condo with fireplace. It's listed at $379,000.

The unit is located in an historic, full service building and features 10-foot ceilings as well as a renovated kitchen with stainless steel appliances and vintage hardwood floors. It's just steps away to the bustling 18th street corridor where plenty of restaurants and quirky shops await. 

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $89,213.17. Monthly payments with carrying charges would then be around $2,209.01 per month. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app.

Our blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. Rate tables and figures that appear on our blog are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For current rates & policies, refer to our Quick Quote and Consumer Guide. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on our blog.