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How to protect the biggest asset you own

Carmen Vinti, Corinthian Title Company

In over forty years of providing title insurance to prospective buyers, sellers and lenders, it’s been my experience that most buyers underestimate the importance and role title insurance plays in the purchase of their most important asset, their home. Our job is to be your offense and defense to find any and all defects before you sign on the dotted line. We are problem solvers and problem eliminators. Our most important job is the protection of your ownership, “The Protectors of the American Dream!”

​​​​​​​When purchasing a home, it’s in your best interest to do in-depth research on all facets of the homebuying process. One critical item to understand is how to best safeguard your rights and investment. Luckily, that’s where title insurance comes in! Title insurance assures that your rights and interests to the property are as expected, that the transfer of ownership is completed, and that you receive protection from any future title claims against the property. It is the most effective, most accepted and least expensive way to protect your ownership rights.

No property owner wants to inherit existing debts or legal issues that could interfere with their future property rights. It’s the job of the title insurance professionals to complete a thorough examination of the public records in order to check for any problems or defects that could cause you legal issues or limit your property rights.

As soon as the escrow transaction is opened, the title search is requested from the title company. When the research phase is completed, the Preliminary Title Report is issued and delivered to all parties in the transaction. Because land endures over generations, many people may develop rights and claims to a particular property. The current owner’s rights, which often involve family and heirs, may be obscure. There may be other parties who have rights to the property, like agencies, public utilities, lenders, or lien holders for example. These interests limit the title ownership of the property owner and potential buyer.

It is extremely important for all parties to review and understand the Preliminary Title Report. This is their opportunity to determine if the correct property is defined in the legal description, identify if there is access to a publicly maintained right of way and does the current owner actually have legal ownership and the right to sell the property. The report will also reveal all interests in the property, such as: unpaid taxes, easements, leases, loans, agreements, judgements and covenants, conditions and restrictions. These items may impact the ownership in a negative way.

One of the most common forms of title deficiencies are the HERO and PACE financing programs, which are collected through the property taxes, solar leases and power purchase agreements. These liens and agreements often present a problem because the seller is not aware that the HERO and PACE loans must be paid off in order to comply with the buyer’s lender requirements. Solar leases and power purchase agreements are different because the solar creditor will record a UCC-1(Uniform Commercial Code-1) lien and a notice of the power purchase agreement on the property. The solar companies do not consider the UCC-1 filing as a lien against the property. However, the solar panels are attached to the property being sold and the buyer’s lender will require the UCC-1 to be subordinated to the new loan or paid in full at closing. Also, the new buyer will be required to sign a new power purchase agreement with the solar provider. These matters could delay the escrow closing because the solar providers are short staffed due to COVID-19.

Other matters that can impact or delay the escrow from closing are unsecured liens and judgements against the seller. As a title protector it is our duty to make sure that recorded liens and judgements are paid and satisfied at the close of escrow.

What to look for in your Preliminary Title Report:

  • Owner’s Name: Are the names the same as shown on the Purchase Agreement/Deposit Receipt?
  • Type of Estate or Interest: Fee title or other (Fee and Easement, Condominium, Leasehold, Equitable Interest)
  • Legal Description: A method of geographically identifying a parcel of land, by lot within a subdivision, a parcel within a parcel map or metes and bounds.
  • Assessor’s Tax Parcel Number: It is a series of numbers that are used as a file number to inventory or identify property.
  • Printed Exceptions: Current taxes, supplemental taxes (due to recent reassessment), lien for future supplemental taxes, sale to State for unpaid delinquent taxes/bonds.
  • Easements: Understand the type and location of all easements.
  • Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions: Declaration by owners of any subdivision prior to sale describing property restrictions and agreements affecting said property and future owners.
  • Deeds of Trust: All existing loans against the property or the existence of any paid off loans which have not yet been reconveyed of record.
  • Notice of Default: Alerts all parties of an existing foreclosure proceeding on the property.
  • Notice of Power Purchase Agreement, Leases, Agreements and other notices.
  • State Tax Liens, Federal Tax Liens, judgements, bankruptcy or other court proceedings affecting the seller and/or the property.

(Source: Corinthian Title & Escrow Company)

Having a local professional on your side that understands the market and communities, which it serves, will help to facilitate a stress-free title transaction. Corinthian Title & Escrow is a locally owned company with its headquarters right here in San Diego and is currently licensed to issue policies of title insurance in 28 counties within California. We have attracted the best title and escrow professionals in the industry and as a result have developed a reputation for providing the very best customer service and products in the marketplace.

We are also proud to say that all products and services are produced here in San Diego. We do not offshore, unlike many of our competitors. This allows us to provide a fast and accurate quality product to our clients. It also, enables us to give back to our local community and economy by providing jobs throughout Southern California. Named “Top WorkPlaces” by the San Diego Union Tribune for the past seven years, Corinthian Title Company and its employees are committed to providing the very best customer service!


Lyle and Grace Caddell in collaboration with their select group of professional team members are local experts who excel at delivering an unprecedented depth of real estate expertise.

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