The "Road Ends"... Or Does It?

By
Title Insurance with Fidelity National Title
http://actvra.in/CZ4

"Road Ends" street sign at the obvious end of a road

Recently I took my daughters to our city's library- a trip we make at least a couple times a month.  We were chatting in the car and I missed the street, so I pulled down the next road to turn around.  Since we'd never been on this particular road before, we drove down a bit to check out the houses.  At the end, we were greeted by the sight in the photo, above.  The paved road became dirt, there were logs across the road, construction barrels with blinkers, wires, weeds, grass, shrubs, a sidewalk and trees... and a street sign which very obviously pointed out that the "Road Ends."

My kids and I laughed out loud.  It was so obvious to us the road ended (where else could you go?), that even my 10- & 11-year old girls found humor in the superfluousness of the sign.  They encouraged me to go back later and take a picture.  When we were discussing the incident that evening, they asked me why the sign was there.  I opined that perhaps we have a local ordinance requiring such signs at the end of roads, even where it's patently obvious- probably to avoid liability.  Still, though, they thought it was silly.

So, with that incident still in mind, I gave a presentation for Stewart Title to a networking group about a week ago.  After my speech and slide-show (I have a lot to say about title insurance), there was a Q&A session.  One gentleman asked me whether he would need title insurance when he refinanced his mortgage, even though he had lived in his home for 20 years.  I answered yes, that the lender would require a mortgage loan policy because it would be almost impossible to sell the loan on the secondary market without it.  He wasn't happy with my response.  He told me, somewhat angrily, "But I've lived there 20 years- I know I own my house!"  Nonetheless, he- like just about everyone else who uses their real property as collateral- will have to purchase a title insurance policy.

Having the "Road Ends" sign fresh in my memory put his question in perspective, though.  I can see his point and understand his frustration.  Living in the same house for a couple decades, he certainly knows if he's ever had any blatant boundary disputes, and he knows if he has any current mortgages.  So, to him, having to get a title policy must seem as unnecessary as the "Road Ends" sign at what is so very obviously the termination of the road by my library.  And yet, the reasons for the existence of both are nearly identical: the idea of hedging against risk.

Despite the dirt, logs, grass, weeds, wires, trees and barrels, there is a possibility- however slight- that some lost soul might drive off the end of the road without that centrally-placed reflective metal "Road Ends" sign.  For the cost of the sign, property damage, injury or even the loss of life (with the resultant litigation) might be avoided.  And, despite having resided in his home since the early '90's, for the cost of a title policy, both the homeowner and his lender can enter into a transaction worth hundreds of thousands of dollars without having to assume the risk for liens, taxes, easements, use restrictions, special assessments, misplaced fences, misrecorded deeds or any of the other many issues that can adversely affect title to a property... even if the occupant "knows" it's good.  I suppose, using that comparison, the sign doesn't seem so silly after all- and, of course, neither does title insurance!

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Rainmaker
392,754
Nancy Laswick
Your Phoenix/Scottsdale REALTORĀ®
REALTY ONE GROUP

Andrew, excellent analogy metaphor simile! Well it's one of the three, and I like the photo, your daughter was right it was worth a return trip.

 

June 25, 2012 02:02 PM
Rainer
143,379
Andrew Capelli
Fidelity National Title

Thanks, Nancy!  And I get confused about those, too!  :)

June 25, 2012 05:03 PM
Rainmaker
567,444
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker
(808) 226-1095 or (831) 626-4000

Andrew: We are surrounded by the OBVIOUS everywhere, but unless it's spelled out, there is always someone who thinks this is not meant for them. And it's a liability issue. If there is a cliff with no guardrail, someone will sue if they go over.

June 25, 2012 05:35 PM
Rainmaker
1,030,124
Endre Barath, Jr.
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Andrew what a great post and a good illustration with the picture.Since I sell land manytimes  "the road continues" on paper:)

June 25, 2012 05:41 PM
Rainmaker
510,754
Jill Sackler
Long Island's South Shore Real Estate Agent
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. "Said and Done!"

It's like the directions on the back of the shampoo bottle. I suppose there could be someone who does something other than wet hair, massage to form lather, rinse and repeat. You never know.

June 25, 2012 06:02 PM
Ambassador
1,238,309
Toni Weidman
23 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL
Re/Max Sunset Realty

What if he's not aware of a lien placed on his property by a roof or a/c contractor. Sometimes these things go un-noticed until the road sign appears out of nowhere.

June 26, 2012 04:49 AM
Rainmaker
865,690
Joe Petrowsky
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709

For me, the best part of your post, was how you interacted with your daughter. It seemed like you used the opportunity as a teaching moment for both of you.

Thank you for sharing the post with all of us.

June 26, 2012 05:24 AM
Rainer
143,379
Andrew Capelli
Fidelity National Title

Hella: I agree- We live in a very litigious society, so it's best to "roll with it" and try to safeguard against liability- although at times that safeguarding may come across as excessive.

Endre: Thank you for the feedback!

Jill: True, I've laughed at those directions, too.  For example, It's a sad commentary, I think, that people must be explicity told not to eat liquid hand-soap.

Toni: Thank you, I agree- there is certainly a valid need for title insurance!

Joe: Those are kind words- Thank you!

June 26, 2012 06:02 AM
Anonymous #9
Anonymous
Phil Neuman (Nadis Neuman Law Firm - Farmington Hills, MI)

Andrew -- Excellent post!  You hit the nail on the head.  I've handled many title claims brought by lenders where the borrower had no idea that there was any sort of title issue.  Thanks for sharing your experience. 

June 27, 2012 06:34 AM
Rainer
143,379
Andrew Capelli
Fidelity National Title

Phil: You're very welcome- and thank you for the kind words!

June 27, 2012 06:40 AM
Rainer
5,593
Lisa Monti

Terrific analogy and I do love how you tell a story! Great to see you last week as well.

June 27, 2012 07:27 AM
Rainer
143,379
Andrew Capelli
Fidelity National Title

Lisa: Thank you, and it was great to see you, too!  :)

June 27, 2012 07:31 AM
Ambassador
801,493
Debbie Laity
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO
Cedaredge Land Company

Great work and a great analogy...now aren't you glad you went back and took that picture?

June 27, 2012 07:45 AM
Rainer
143,379
Andrew Capelli
Fidelity National Title

Debbie: Thank you and yes, I am indeed glad!  :)

June 27, 2012 07:52 AM
Ambassador
1,238,309
Toni Weidman
23 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL
Re/Max Sunset Realty

We saw a lot of road signs the past few days, Andrew, mostly they said "road closed due to flooding".  Just stopped by again to say have a great day.

June 28, 2012 02:28 AM
Rainer
143,379
Andrew Capelli
Fidelity National Title

Thank you, Toni- I hope you have a great day, too!  :)

June 28, 2012 06:17 AM
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Rainer
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Andrew Capelli

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