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President’s Corner: September 2018

Investors Title Company CEO Joe CrutchfieldWinston Churchill famously said, ” I am always willing to learn, although I do  not always like being taught.”  I suppose one way to interpret that statement is that Churchill was aware he didn’t know everything but didn’t like admitting it.  I think that’s true of many of us.  It’s sometimes hard to learn something new because that requires admitting ignorance on that particular subject.  Of course, the more years you have in the business, the more you find that you don’t know, right?

Anyway, I was speaking with an agent who does a lot of business and is very experienced, who was representing a buyer.  She was very upset because the closer was not charging the seller on the deal for the full amount of the “special assessment” as she was calling it.  I checked into it and found that the “special” was really a NID or Neighborhood Improvement District Assessment, which according to line 176 of the Board Contract, is not charged in full to the seller (like a subdivision assessment) but prorated between the parties.  A NID is a type of special assessment that generally is levied to fund public improvements as opposed to a subdivision or condominium special assessment.  I got quite an argument from the experienced agent until I pointed out that the contract changed several years ago to provide that “district improvement assessments for the current year” be prorated between buyer and seller and “buyer to pay thereafter”.  Meaning going forward, the NID Assessment would be the buyer’s responsibility.  Prior to the change, the contract simply required the seller to pay all special assessments (including NID’s) levied prior to the closing in full, which of course is what the agent was basing her opinion on.

I think that it is important to always be open to learning something new. This, of course, may entail admitting that we were wrong.  Or maybe we just had a “misconception” about an issue.  Or perhaps the particular issue is one we have not dealt with previously.  Whatever the case, it’s more important to get the right answer to a question than to just prove that you’re right.  One of Investors Title Company‘s missions has always been to help educate realtors and we will continue to do that in the form of seminars on various topics, Mock Closings and program sponsorships.  In any case, here’s to keeping an open mind.

Finally, something you may run into is a property that has been sold at a Tax Sale.  St. Louis County held its annual Tax Sale the last week of August and it was pretty huge.  Keep in mind that most properties sold at St. Louis County Tax Sale can be “redeemed” for 1 year following the sale, which includes what the tax sale purchaser paid for the property and other costs as determined by the Collector.  Payment of the Redemption Amount, as it is called, takes the property out of the sale so it can be sold to a 3rd party in the typical fashion.  Redemption can be done by the owner that lost the property at the sale or a lender that has a mortgage on the property.  If you run across this situation and have questions, let us know.  Have a wonderful September. Joe.