Here’s a blinding flash of the obvious, Fallbrook and much of North County is rural country, and rural areas have different concerns than do coastal and other developed “lot and block” neighborhoods.
In established neighborhoods, there isn’t much concern about encroachment since the structures and lot lines will have been approved by reviewing authority when the real estate development map was created and approved.
To make the point, my partner and I have two active escrows at the date of this writing (June 30); one on the buyer side and another on the listing side. In both cases, the opposite agents are out of area Orange County-based.
After our buyer offer was accepted and Escrow was opened, it took 11 days to get escrow instructions and the title report. The significance is we only had 14 days by the contract to review and approve contract documents. Our local escrow provider will have escrow instructions and updated title information by the afternoon if the contract is received before noon, or the next morning if they received the contract in the afternoon prior.
Plotted easements in the title report title. In San Diego County, the local title reps automatically order plotted since the verbal descriptions can be quite confusing. In Orange and Riverside counties, plotted easements are a special order which costs more and takes extra time primarily because they are lot and block areas, so plotted easements are of lesser importance.
Local agents also know to order the Preliminary Title report as soon as they take the listing so there is no delay when they get into escrow.
Local realtors will often attach the title report to the listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so interested parties can see the report and know governing Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions (CC&R’s), Road Maintenance Agreements (RMAs), and plotted easements even before they submit an offer.
Insurance agents can provide fire danger ranking on the phone because this is their sandbox. Any number below a “3” can be underwritten without undue concern. For ranking of “4” and above, the California Fair Plan might be the only alternative to fire insurance. By the way, do you have to get fire insurance? Yes, unless it’s a cash purchase but loan companies will require fire insurance if there’s a mortgage.
Local loan officers in the rural areas know that properties with income producing crops can be problematic to get a loan. They also deal with HERO and PACE solar liens (if you are approached by someone selling that program, turn and run away) which sound great because there is no upfront out of pocket fees, but they’re expensive and end up being a tax lien. That tax lien must be paid off by the seller when the house is sold because new mortgages will not subordinate a new loan to a tax lien.
Local real estate agents attend our weekly marketing meeting and share “wants and needs” with our real estate professionals. Attended by the areas most active real estate professionals across all disciplines which make up the real estate industry, all attendees exchange information about their upcoming listings, buyer requirements and how their transactions are proceeding, plus programs and services their companies offer.
It’s a great networking and information exchange forum which benefits our respective clients. Since 2008, when we first started this format and frequency (weekly), I personally have closed three transactions on properties that were never listed in the MLS which proves this weekly Marketing Meeting is of great service to our real estate clients because agents are more aware of the issues that affect or influence rural real estate transactions.
These issues include but are not limited to wells (productivity, purity of water, salinity), encroachment (fences, irrigation systems, driveways), septic systems (certification, legal installation, leech line set-backs), propane (leased or owned tank, remaining gas at time of transfer for seller credit), easements (does the parcel have legal access, are there beneficial and or burdening easements, have any easements been vacated), fire (insurance availability, defensible areas, weed abatement) and many more items that coastal agents and/ or those from built-up metro areas might not have awareness or appreciation of these concerns.
Real estate is a relationship business and of course, we all want to work with a friend or a relative who might be a Realtor. But the local real estate community lives in and serves the rural areas, so these concerns are what we know about because we live with these concerns too. In short, it makes sense to employ the local real estate professional community so they can better serve you.