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Appraisal Back but Settlement Delayed

by Chad Ludeman on February 22, 2008 · 3 comments

in Development,land acquisition

We passed another milestone yesterday, which was to get the appraisal on the homes back based on our plans. Since we are the first to build a new home in this up and coming neighborhood and there are few comparable new construction sales nearby, we were a bit nervous. We got the call late yesterday afternoon that both homes had appraised for $255K. This is great news as it will allow us to get the full loan amount that we need for our construction budget. This also supports our target sales price of $200K – $250K for the homes.

I spoke to our appraiser a few times on the phone from Croft Appraisal Services. He was very friendly and really appreciated both the modern and “green” aspects of the home. I think this helped a lot as there are some appraisers out there that would not see these aspects of our design as positives. Some may even penalize us for not being traditional enough…

Secondly, our settlement date on the land is today. The date has been delayed by two weeks for now due to an issue with the Title Search on the property. The current owner received the land for $1 from a relative that lives outside the country and has since passed away. The low price on the deed raises a red flag for our title company and they need to verify that the previous owner has actually passed away. They need a death certificate or similar proof of his death. So far the current owner has not been able to produce this and has hired an attorney to track down proof of death for the deal to move forward.

We are not too concerned about this at it will most likely delay settlement on the land but should not effect the construction timeline. The title company needs to verify the death of the previous owner to ensure that they will not come around after we have made improvements to the land and claim that they legally own the entire thing. Just another one of the joys of development.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve Segal February 25, 2008 at 3:18 am

That reminds me of a problem I had a few years back. I lady bought a house 40 years ago. After her last payment of her 30-year mortgage, she was probably mailed a Release of Lien from her mortgage company. Of course this never got recorded and when she went to sell her house, which was free and clear, it appeared to have a mortgage loan on the title. Since the lender no longer existed, there was no possible to get a duplicate Release of Lien from them. Since every one was pretty sure that no loan existed on the property the title/ escrow company, Chicago Title offered us what they called a “Write Around” policy. This additional title policy insured us that this specific issue would not coming back in the future as a problem. And if I remember correctly it was less than $200. Might be worth asking your title/ escrow company if this is an option in this case if the death certificate doesn’t turn up.

Keep up the good Blog!

And Chad, if you are ever in the Portland, OR area, you have to let me take you to lunch.


2 chad February 26, 2008 at 1:00 am


Thanks for the invite. I’d love to sit down at one of the Portland Microbreweries for lunch.

I’ve got my wife checking into your suggestion. She is pretty tight with the title company and thinks they would’ve offered such a solution if it were possible but you never know.

The problem is that the same issue will come up from whoever tries to buy the homes from us. If the deed was in fact bad and the real owner comes back around, he could take the homes from the new buyers or us… I am going to follow up with the seller’s agent tomorrow as they have been given many options by the title company that could be easily met by now.

3 Bryan T. Miller March 18, 2008 at 1:16 am

Hey Chad. I found your site surfing for green ways to build. I read the whole thing and I am pretty impressed on your detail of the whole building process. I wish I could say all my experiences have been as pleasant as yours. Good luck with the 100k house.

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