Today I want to share a video with you about economic development and title clearing that I posted to my YouTube channel this week. I actually posted an article last week on the same topic, but it’s one that I find particularly interesting and that I think you will find interesting too…
Economic Development: How Title Clearing Helps Build Wealth
You can read the transcript of this video below…
So, I’m a title attorney and for years I’ve been fascinated with this issue of blight and the effect that title has on blight. And one of the things that I discovered a long time ago was that the key driver of blight, in fact, I would say the primary driver of blight is the failure to clear title within communities.
Now, I’m gonna share a screen here and show you one of the things that really brings this point home. What you’re looking at right here is a title report and what this title examination shows is what blight is. Think of this like an x-ray – you want to understand what the problem is this is the title mess that exists on a piece of property that I’ll detail in just a minute…this piece of property right here…but understanding how this title mess creates blight and becomes the primary driver of blight within the community is a key concept that. If communities across this country understood, we could attack
blight and as I continue to present, there is one critical proven, immediate way to address blight and bring economic vitality back into communities in a very fair, straightforward, and honest way and give back into communities.
But…so, what you’re looking at here is a title report. What you see happening is – going all the way back to 1974 – we tried to do a complete title search to understand exactly what happens. You see this house is bought 1974, in 1976 a mortgage is put on it. There’s a series of transfers…these would be…probably good transfers…a buyer/seller.
This is a healthy neighborhood. This is a healthy functioning real estate market because we’ve got property deeds being issued, mortgages being issued on top of that…so, probably a clear title. But then, when you see in the late eighties is where the title starts to fall apart, and here we are in 2020 and we’re paying the price for that now and these problems here are the reason why blight exists within this
neighborhood. Because of the blight that exists on this property.
So what happens is you start getting mortgages that are left off and transfers that are not done properly, such that you had a cloud on a title back in. So what would happen is even if someone wanted to buy this
property, you’ve got all these problems of the “junky title” that prevent the property from being sold. So, let’s take a break from looking at the title examination…as you see it goes on and on for four pages here…and let’s look at the property that we’re talking about…right here.
So you see, it’s currently owned in Land Trust – and again many of these properties that we have problems with blight are land trust or absentee owners or estate properties that the owner has died many years ago in many cases…and in the case of corporations in a land trust like this, oftentimes they are long gone. You’ll never be able to find them and then you just kind of look down here…
Here we have a lot that shows a value of twelve thousand dollars…now that’s gone up pretty dramatically over the last couple of years if you look at taxable history and see where it’s gone up from lower…but the bottom line is that you look down here at the transfers and this is the problem…you see all these transfers
occurring year after year for less and less and less. Umm, I suspect that this one…13…there would have been houses on that property so that at least explains some of the value. But what happens is – and again we see it from the card-is that by 2016, the property had to get demolished. Undoubtedly these transfers that occurred resulted in the inability of somebody to refinance or the unwillingness based on the title that wasn’t clear to want to do anything about it and invest in. And this is a story that’s repeated over and over again.
Again, if you look at any neighborhood and you see vacant lots, vacant lots are the primary drivers of blight that exists within the communities and if we want to be serious about revitalizing communities, we want to be serious about economic development, all the community needs to do is to say that we are going to adopt proactive strategies to get houses on vacant dirt and you know when cities do that effectively you start to see what is happening in this community which is collectively more and more sales – better sales, increasing values and that’s a fantastic thing for the neighborhoods!
But you see in any neighborhood, where you’ve got vacant dirt, the key to success, the key to economic development and revitalizing that neighborhood exists right in front of us and that’s simply encouraging our elected officials to take action to address blight and title. It’s a bit of an esoteric topic, I know, but I think when you look at it visually and you just understand this very simple concept…this excruciatingly simple topic….and that is – clear title is the way that we address economic development. Clear title is the way that we bring economic activity back into communities and the way they do it quite simply is by
addressing it through code enforcement, quiet title, and lien enforcement activity.
So I’ll stop this now and stop this video and I encourage anyone to just reach out to me if you’ve got elected officials that want to understand this. This is very simple, share this video with them and then ask them what can be done to address the naked dirt that exists within your community