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Mexico vows to keep looking for ‘lost’ island: a reminder why you want title insurance

June 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Quick

Island in Mexico

“Isla Bermeja” appears on maps from the 1700’s near the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. But nobody knows where it really is, if exists at all. The Mexican government want’s to use it to establish the border to Mexico, and take ownership of some oil rich deposits, that otherwise lie in international waters. Title to these deposits is in dispute, and oil puts a lot of money at stake.

A house is typically the largest purchase a person will make in a life time. It would be distressing to find out that someone else claims ownership of your house. Maybe the sellers thought they owned it, but some technicallity proves otherwise. More typically, a shed or a corner of the garage might cross into someone else’s land. In either case, your quiet enjoyment of your home is in jeopardy. When you buy a home with a mortgage, the bank has you pay for a title insurance policy that protects them from such title worries. But, this does not protect your equity, only the portion still owed to the bank. Your title company will have offered you an owners policy. Not everyone gets one, since it is not required. It is that policy which will come to your defense when your neighbor says your home is on their property. Maybe you will be fine, but that lost island is a reminder why you might want your own title insurance policy.

Read more about the lost island.

Photo credit, Wonderlane.

80,000 Bees, $11,000 and a house in Ontario: it’s a reminder to get a home inspection

June 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Quick

Bees Bees Bees

Stan DiFruscio of Ontario discovered his house was infested with 80,000 bees back in 2007. He spent $8000 to get rid of them. He had a bee keeper move the queen to a new hive. The rest of the bees were supposed to follow. The problem was moving the wax. The wax broke and crumbled as he moved it, and that left sticky honey behind. So the bees, drawn by the honey which was left behind, have returned to a harder to reach spot. The story doesn’t have an update, but leaves us with a $3000 cleanup as pending. None of these costs were covered by his homeowners insurance.

Read about it at Canadian news outlet

Would you want to own this house? Would you want to know about the past bee problem even if they are now gone?

Sellers in Maryland are legally obligated to disclose latent (hidden) defects. If a seller doesn’t disclose a past problem even if they believe it is now fixed, and the problem returns, the seller may be liable for future damages. Buyers want to know a houses history, and most will be accepting of past problems, if the problem was fixed, and they have the details.

I recommend that my buyers should get a home inspection on a house as part of their offer. They should also check with their insurance agent about past claims on a house, and what their own insurance policy will cover. If this sounds like good advice, contact me for suggestions of home inspectors and insurance agents.

Photo credit, Alan Taylor.

A Victim of our Success and How I fixed it

June 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Quick


People are often telling me how much they like the website. I built the site upon the WordPress publishing platform. WordPress has thousands of feature add ons, and like a kid in a candy store, I may have added too many. And there are more that I want to add. The site looks pretty good, but page load times can suffer. I was living with the trade off, but more and more people are using the site. As sometimes happens in a crowd, you will find the one person who uses your site in a way it can’t handle. I am not sure what they are trying to do, but it is the equivalent of a thousand people visiting my site at once. The solution is to add one more feature to the site. If you care about the details, I have added the Hyper Cache plugin. The end result is my strange visitor is welcome to return. The site should be much quicker for everyone else too.

In addition, I have setup a system to call me on my iPhone any time the site slows to a crawl. I can diagnose and fix the problem right from my phone.

You can’t always prevent problems. Life is too complicated. But you can learn from the problems as you handle them, put systems in place to prevent the ones you can, and for the rest you gracefully deal with the challenges ahead.

Photo Credit, th.omas.

A local artist does vintage stained glass reproductions for Baltimore row houses

June 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Quick

Canton Stained Glass Example

Based on their online gallery, Vintage Style Stained Glass, looks like they do nice work. Using their own designs, or one of your own, they will make you an address transom piece like the example above. You can contact them at 410-335-7635,, or see their gallery at The artist, Robin, says she does this part time, and has been doing stained glass for about 10 years. If you have her do some work for you, or get a quote on a design, report back to me, and I’ll update this post with more information.