Bulletin: VA000014

Date:
July 31, 2000
To:
All Issuing Offices in Virginia
RE:
Shortened Search Requirements

Dear Associates:

In its never-ending quest to remain competitive with other underwriters in Virginia, Stewart Title Guaranty Company is pleased to announce new title search requirements for properties in the Commonwealth.

I. If you are issuing the Short Form Residential Loan Policy and/or the Short Form Residential Owner's Policy, the search requirements are those set forth in Multistate Bulletin 35, to wit:


You must perform a general index search of names of the current seller/owner for the time period of the statute of limitations on judgments in your jurisdiction and for the time period of the limitations on Federal judgments and Federal tax liens.

You do not have to check the name of the proposed insured purchaser.

You must check taxes, assessments of all types (such as known homeowner's assessments), and other governmental charges. They must be excepted by separate exception in Schedule B or satisfied.

You should be satisfied that there are no recent unpaid bills for improvements to the land.

You must search the title to the land for (1) one bona fide deed back if the grantee in that deed gave a purchase money mortgage to an institutional lender (e.g. not an individual seller); or (2) two bona fide deeds back if the grantee in the most recent deed did not give a purchase money mortgage to an institutional lender. A bona fide deed is a deed that appears to involve an arm's length sale (not gift) between unrelated people.

If you have or are given a copy of a more recent title insurance policy (owner's, loan or master/short form loan), you may search forward from that prior policy.

[Reprinted from Multistate Bulletin MU35, ( MM, Stewart Title Guaranty Company, All Rights Reserved]

II. If you are required by the lender, the buyer, or buyer's counsel to issue the long form policy, you may not use the above, one-owner-purchase-money search procedures. Effective immediately, however, in order to issue a long-form policy you are authorized to search the title back from the present for a period of thirty-eight years and four months to the next general warranty deed in the chain of title at or beyond that time. If, in the course of your search you find a general warranty deed in the time period between thirty-eight years and thirty-eight years and four months, you may call underwriting counsel for authorization to stop searching at that deed. This shortened search is authorized for residential property only.

III. For all non-residential property, you must search the title back for a minimum period of fifty-eight years and four months, to the next general warranty deed in the chain of title beyond that time. Mixed-use property must be considered non-residential.

Ever-diligent and eager to assist our agents in maintaining status in the record rooms of this Commonwealth, we hope and trust that these new search requirements alleviate concerns about Stewart's commitment to modernization.

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.