Wyoming Real Estate Practices

Attorney Involvement

Please describe any requirements under applicable state law for attorney, abstractor or other special professional involvement, for example, in the search, examination, opinion of title, signing, closing, disbursement, recording, preparation of documents, and/or policy-issuance.

No person may act as a title agent in Wyoming unless licensed in accordance with the requirements of the Wyoming Insurance Code.  See Wyo. Stat. §26-23-316. No license may be issued or continue to exist for any person that is not a bona fide resident within the state or any other state which has entered into a reciprocal title agent licensing agreement with the commissioner of insurance. See id.

No title insurance as to property within the state may be issued unless it is based upon adequate evidence of the current condition of title certified in writing as of the date of the policy by a person who is authorized to conduct business as an abstractor who obtains a full and complete set of abstract records of title of all real estate situated in the county or unless an attorney authorized to practice in Wyoming provides an opinion as to the condition of the title following a review of the pertinent title records or abstracts. See Wyo. Stat. §26-23-308 and §33-2-101.

A title insurer or title agent may engage in the escrow, settlement or closing business provided that funds deposited in connection with any escrow are deposited in a separate fiduciary trust account or other financial institution insured by an agency of the federal government. See Wyo. Stat. §26-23-314.

To avoid unauthorized practice of law issues, attorneys should prepare documents affecting real estate issues including deeds and mortgages. See Rule 11.1 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Wyoming Providing for the Organization and Government of the Bar Association and Attorneys at Law of the State of Wyoming and Wyo. Stat. §33-5-117.

Cancellation/Commitment Fee

Does your state permit or require a cancellation fee or commitment fee upon cancellation?

The Wyoming Rate Manual establishes a charge for the cancellation of a commitment at 20% of the basic schedule of charges if cancelled prior to closing and at 80% of the basic schedule of charges if cancelled after closing.

Certificate of Release (of Mortgage)

If anyone other than the lender (such as a title agent, settlement agent, underwriter or attorney) has the authority to release the security instrument, please describe.

Wyoming statutes provide for the release or cancellation of a mortgage or deed of trust by the mortgagee or trustee. See Wyo. Stat. §34-2-113.

Provisions for the release of a mortgage or reconveyance of a deed of trust by a title company are in Wyo. Stat. §34-1-145 through 150.

Deeds

Please describe the kinds of deeds that are customary for commercial and residential transactions.  Please describe the kinds of deeds that are generally not insurable.

A warranty deed or special warranty deed is customarily provided in commercial and residential transactions. Underwriting approval should be obtained if an insurance policy is being issued based on a quitclaim deed.

Joinder of Spouses

If a non-title holding spouse is required to join in the execution of a deed or a security instrument, please describe.  Any analogous rights, such as those in a civil union or equivalent, should also be addressed. 

Every owner or occupant of a homestead must execute the deed or security instrument to properly encumber or convey the homestead right.  The document must contain the following language to release the homestead, “hereby releasing and waiving all rights under and by virtue of the homestead exemption laws of this state. “The document must be signed by the owner and any spouse of the owner of the homestead.  See Wyo. Stat. §34-2-121.

Mortgage Tax

Is there a mortgage tax in your state?  If yes, is it uniform across the state or does it vary?  If it is uniform, please describe.  

There is no mortgage tax in Wyoming.

Payment Customs

Who customarily pays for:
(a) Owner’s Policy?
(b) Transfer Tax & Recording Fee?
(c) Survey Charges?
(d) Closing/Settlement Fees?

(a)    Pursuant to the terms of the standard Purchase Contract, the seller pays for the owner’s policy.
(b)   The seller and buyer will pay for their respective recording fees.
(c)    Survey charges are negotiable.
(d)   The seller and buyer will pay for their respective closing/settlement fees.

Policy Countersignatures

What kinds of countersignatures, if any, are required to issue the policy? 

An officer of the issuing title agency who is licensed may provide any countersignature to a policy or endorsement.

Real Estate Taxes

Please describe the general tax year, due dates, and delinquency dates, including lien dates and payment cycle.

Taxes for the year are a lien as of January 1st of that year and are due and payable in two installments.  The first installment is due on September 1 of that year and is delinquent if not paid by November 10th.  The second installment is due on March 1st of the following year and is delinquent if not paid by May 10th. A single payment can be made by December 31st.

Search and Examination Fees

Is it permissible and/or customary to charge a separate search and/or examination fee, and under what circumstances?  If your jurisdiction is all-inclusive, please state that.

The charge for the search and examination are included in the basic schedule of charges. An additional fee is charged if the property includes multiple parcels that are located in a different block, section or county or when the parcels are not under common ownership.

Search Requirements

Is there a minimum period of time for a title search required: (a) by state law, (b) pursuant to marketable record title acts, or (c) by any other applicable title examination standards (e.g., state bar association)?  Please respond to each category.  If a minimum search period exists for any category, please state it.

State law does not require a minimum period of time for a search. Instead, a title insurance policy is based upon adequate evidence of the current condition of title certified in writing as of the date of the policy by a person authorized to act as a title abstractor or based upon the opinion of an attorney authorized to practice law in the state. See Wyo. Stat. §26- 23-308.

Wyoming has a marketable record title act. See Wyo. Stat. §34-10-101 through 109.

Security Instruments (Deed of Trust vs. Mortgage)

Please describe the customary and permissible form(s) of security instruments used in your state. 

Who can be listed as the trustee on the Deed of Trust (e.g., residency and/or natural person requirements, etc.)? Can an underwriter or title agent be designated as the trustee, and, if so, is it customary?

A mortgage is the standard security instrument used.  Deeds of trust are permitted but are rarely used because mortgages may contain a power of sale and foreclosures of deeds of trust, like mortgages, are subject to redemption rights.

Standard Exceptions and Requirements

Please identify the standard exceptions and requirements that are customarily used in your state.

The following are the standard exceptions as filed in the rate manual:

1)     Taxes or assessments which are not shown as existing liens by the records of any taxing authority that levies taxes or assessments on real property or by the Public Records. Proceedings by a public agency which may result in taxes or assessments, or notices of such proceedings, whether or not shown by the records of such agency or by the Public Records.

2)     Any facts, rights, interests, or claims which are not shown by the Public Records, but which could be ascertained by an inspection of the Land or by making inquiry of persons in possession thereof.

3)     Easements, liens, or encumbrances, or claims thereof, which are not shown by the Public Records.

4)     Any encroachment, encumbrance, violation, variation, or adverse circumstance affecting the Title that would be disclosed by an accurate and complete land survey of the Land and not shown by the Public Records.

5)     (a) Unpatented mining claims; (b)
reservations or exceptions in patents or in Acts authorizing the issuance thereof; (c) water rights, claims, or title to water, whether or not the matters excepted under (a), (b) or (c) are shown by the Public Records. 

6)     Any lien or right to a lien for services, labor, or material heretofore or hereafter furnished, imposed by law and not shown by the Public Records.

State-specific Policy Variations

If there are state-specific changes to the provisions in the ALTA policies (e.g., Arbitration, Minerals), please describe.

There is no change to the ALTA policies required by the state.

Title Insurance Form and Filing Regulations

Please describe the form and/or rate filing requirements, if any, related to policies and endorsements.  Please describe any applicable rating bureau. 

Form and rate filings are filed with the Wyoming Insurance Department and must contain the company’s name, address, NAIC number and company phone number.  All documents need to be submitted in duplicate and contain a self-addressed, postage paid envelope to return the approved filing.  The filing needs to contain a subject line briefly describing the filing type and contain an itemized listing of each policy from and endorsement including the form number. A certificate of compliances needs to be signed by an officer of the company, attorney or actuary.  Filings through SERFF are accepted but not required. 

Transfer Taxes

Is there a transfer tax in your state? If yes, is it uniform across the state or does it vary?  If it is uniform, please describe.

There is no transfer tax in Wyoming.

Usury

Is usury coverage available?

Usury coverage is available through the ALTA 27-06 Endorsement.  Wyoming allows parties to contract for the payment by the debtor of any loan finance charge for loans other than consumer loans.  Wyo. Stat. §40-14-358.  For consumer loans, defined in Wyo. Stat. §§40-14-304 and -355, a supervised financial organization or one licensed to make supervised loans, defined in Wyo. Stat. §40-14-341, may not contract for a loan finance rate greater than 21% on the unpaid principal balance. Wyo. Stat. §40-14-348.  For lenders who are not supervised financial organizations or have no license to make supervised loans, a loan finance charge cannot exceed 10% per annum based on the unpaid principal balance.  Wyo. Stat. §40-14-310.

Withholding Taxes

What are your state’s requirements, if any, with regard to withholding proceeds from a sale, similar to but not including FIRPTA?

There are no state specific requirements regarding withholding proceeds from a sale.

Witness Requirements

Are witnesses required on a deed or security instrument?  If so, please describe.

A witness is not required on a deed or security instrument.