ARCLand Title Commented on UT Findings from The Contract for Deed Prevalence Project

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CEO of ARCLand Title commented on The Contract for Deed Prevalence Project as “evoke thinking and push not just the government but all title insurance companies in Texas to do something about the situation.”

Professors and graduate students from University of Texas (UT) presented key findings of the Contract for Deed (CFD) Prevalence Project on Oct 19th. This project by UT explores titling practices and general methods utilized in land acquisition in Texas colonias as well as similar areas on the Texas-Mexico border. Randy Camacho, CEO of ARCLand Title, later commented on this project as “evoke thinking and push not just the government but all title insurance companies in Texas to do something about the situation.”

A research team at UT carried out the project. The team was co-directed by Prof. Peter M. Ward, Prof. Heather K. Way and Prof. Lucille Wood. The project obtained data mainly from the county clerk records, interviews with key informants, household surveys and assistance from local title companies, etc. Through extensive research and study on numbers and trends, the project targeted to explore and study the following areas: (1) a complete examination on homeownership acquisition methods in Texas colonias and the correlation of these methods with the “clouding” of title; (2) when owners die and pass on their houses without recorded contracts and formal title insurance, what do people do with the ownership interests (3) what are some key issues that stop homeowners from getting clear title to their house.

“By examining the report of the project, we have noticed some interesting findings. One finding that interests us the most is on titling and informality in the land transaction process and the lack of information in these areas.” said an escrow officer from ARCLand Title, LLC, “A large number of sellers and buyers do not know where to access information throughout the process. They don’t have necessary knowledge on laws to protect their interests. Many of these transactions do not have attorneys or real estate agents involved. Nobody told them the necessity of checking the title before buying a property. Buyers don’t know how to record documents and aren’t even aware what kind of title they are getting.”

“This is astonishing to us, but sad at the same time.” said an escrow officer from ARCLand Title, “In my opinion, our government still has a long way to go as far as assisting low-income homebuyers to protect their own interests in the house purchasing process. As a Texas title company, we feel sad seeing some of the numbers the report has revealed.” ARCLand Title currently has their Houston title company and Austin title company set up. They also provide closing services in Arlington, closing services in Colleyville, closing services in Southlake, etc. “Obviously, the Texas colonias that the project covers are not our normal coverage areas, but we feel obligated to at least educate people in these areas on the importance of having documents recorded and getting title insurance when purchasing a house. I think a large percentage of homebuyers don’t go through these processes because they don’t see the necessity. It is us, title company professionals, that need to educate them and help protect the interests of low-income homebuyers.”

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Cathy Li
Compass Solutions International Limited
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