Help with my elderly mother selling her condo
May 28, 2011 10:50 PM   Subscribe

My mother just sold her condo. After looking at her closing statement I see she was ripped off for at least $600.00 maybe as much as $1000.00. I know this because I own a title insurance company and I know some of these fees were illegal. My sisters don't want me to say anything because they are afraid the sale will fall thru. I know that confronting the title company won't make the sale fall thru but still don't know what to do
posted by cellar to Human Relations (18 answers total)
Ask your mother if she wants you to say something. Don't rely on what your sisters say.

If she does, step up. If she doesn't, drop it.
posted by inturnaround at 10:51 PM on May 28, 2011

She is 91 and doesn't really know what is going on
posted by cellar at 11:00 PM on May 28, 2011

If the sale falls through and another one comes along, will she stand to lose the same amount if they can't get the same price or better for it?
posted by bleep at 11:25 PM on May 28, 2011

The sale shouldn't fall through, they are charging illegal fees
posted by cellar at 11:31 PM on May 28, 2011

Ir is the Title Company who is doing wrong here, they are doing wrong/
posted by cellar at 11:32 PM on May 28, 2011

In that case I don't see any reason not to confront them. You're the professional here, your sister should defer to you.
posted by bleep at 11:32 PM on May 28, 2011

Yes, I think I should call them tuesday
they are charging for title insurance twice and that is wrong
posted by cellar at 11:34 PM on May 28, 2011

It could also have been a typo.
posted by bleep at 11:37 PM on May 28, 2011

I think not a typo, cause the computer would not do that, they were charging both by mother the seller for title insurance and also charging the buyer
posted by cellar at 11:40 PM on May 28, 2011

They were charging double the legal charge.
posted by cellar at 11:41 PM on May 28, 2011

I would call and introduce yourself as your mother's son who owns a Title Company and you have some questions about the way they calculated the fees. Ask them to explain. They won't be able to. Ask them to refund the overcharge. If they refuse, ask how many other did they over charge. Mention that this will be sent to the attorney general. My guess is that they will refund the fee as soon as you point them in the direction of finding it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:43 PM on May 28, 2011 [10 favorites]

Maybe approach them on the basis that they have 'made a mistake', rather than attempted fraud. I did this approach with a real estate agent trying to overcharge me on a lease break, and suddenly it turned out there was a 'mistake' and the charges were revised.
posted by AnnaRat at 12:34 AM on May 29, 2011 [17 favorites]

You say your mother is 91 and doesn't really know what is going on --- was she represented by a lawyer in this sale, an experienced real estate lawyer? If yes, take it to that lawyer first, but definately yes, bring this up & get it corrected before the sale is finalized!
posted by easily confused at 2:53 AM on May 29, 2011

There are often two title insurance policies - one payed by the seller in the name of the title company or mortgaging bank, and one payed by the buyer in the name of the buyer. This was the case with my recent home purchase.
posted by muddgirl at 5:36 AM on May 29, 2011

I'll take your word for it that it's illegal. Not only do I think you should complain to the company this time, but I think you should carefully document the entire situation (the itemized bills showing the illegal charges, summaries of your conversations with them about it), and even after it is resolved, report it to your state attorney general and whatever your state's office on aging is, with your detailed notes and evidence of what occurred. There may be a way to report such things on the AG's website; otherwise find the address for the proper division/consumer complaints/real estate/whatever and send with a cover letter about how you're concerned they're taking advantage of the elderly.

If they're doing it to you, they've done it before and they will do it again, and they may specifically be targeting vulnerable elderly people.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:54 AM on May 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

Yes, there are two policies, an Owner's policy and a Lender's policy, but in Florida if the Lender's policy is less it should only be $25.00, simultaneous issue rate.
posted by cellar at 6:33 AM on May 29, 2011

I would point these out as "mistakes" that you, as a fellow title professional, just happened to notice. This gives them the opportunity to give you an explanation and then fix the problem, which I think they will do, since they will know that you know they are trying to rip your mom off and surely do not want to be reported. You can always report this to whatever body is appropriate afterward, whether they take off the bogus charges or not.
posted by Wordwoman at 12:35 PM on May 29, 2011

I agree, I think I will call them on Tuesday and tell them I think they made a mistake, then see what they do. Thanks everyone.
posted by cellar at 1:32 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

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