After the steps have been taken to sell a timeshare interval, and the deed is recorded at the appropriate courthouse, the resort database needs to be updated with the new owner’s contact information. This sounds simple, right?
The phrase, “don’t try this at home,” long popular with science experiments, applies to deed transfers, too.
If the deed is not updated properly in the resort owner database, the new owner will not receive their welcome packet with their new identifying owner ID and contract numbers, the maintenance fee bill, will not know how to reserve the week, and will not be able to bank the week for exchange. Furthermore, the resort will not have accurate inventory for sales or rentals. This has been an issue with resorts who did not have the proper procedures in place to transfer deeds and update the database. At a flex-use property, for example, overage in the high season and under in the low season will contribute to reservation problems. At resorts where deed transfer files have been misplaced, an owner may arrive for their week and their unit is occupied by a renter because the interval may have no owner of record or the incorrect owner. Or, a resort could sell the same interval twice if the deed was not recorded and then sold to another owner. The consequences can be costly to an association.
Having dedicated professionals handling deed transfers ensures the association’s database contains accurate owner information for the correct intervals.
There is more to a deed transfer than simply adding the new owner’s contact information to a database.
Meet Hope Baker and Marie Collison, our deed transfer experts, who have more than 19 years combined timeshare deed experience. In the past eight years, they have handled more than 32,000 deed transfers. They describe the detailed process used to make sure all of the proper steps have been taken before updating a resort’s database with the deed information.
“Once the deed is received by the deeding department, we ensure the deed has been recorded at the appropriate courthouse,” explains Marie, “and then we review the deed for obvious errors.”
What may be obvious to the people who handled more than 5,000 deed transfers in 2015 may not be so obvious to an individual who does not have the same experience. Prior to recording, the deed must be properly signed/dated by the Grantor(s), witnessed/dated, and signed by the Notary with the required seal. Hope adds, “In some cases, the ROD’s office also requires a Grantee’s signature. In addition to ensuring that all of the paperwork and signatures are complete, we also review the deed to make sure the unit/week is correct. If there is a deceased, we double-check that a Death Certificate accompanies the deed or is recorded as part of the recorded deed. If we do find an issue, we notify the new owner, transfer company, or attorney of the errors.”
Once the deed information is verified as accurate, the account is checked to make sure there is not an outstanding balance. If all is up-to-date, a welcome packet with a letter and/or statement is mailed to the new owner with details about their interval, including how to make their reservation. The owner information is added to the resort database, paying close attention to essential details such as completing all required fields, inputting payment entries with the specific date of submission for deposit, entering the deed derivation/date of deed recording, and tracking invoices.
Marie notes, “Extreme care needs to be taken to determine whether the new deed is for an already existing owner, in order that accounts may be linked.” The SPM owners’ portal allows owners to check their account balance, update contact information, and make online payments all in one place. Checking the owner information first and adding the owner in a specific way makes it seamless for the owner to be able to access all of their timeshare information in one central place if the owner owns multiple weeks.
During this entire process, Hope and Marie are in communication with the buyer and seller of the week. Sometimes, issues need to be resolved such as who is responsible for the current year’s maintenance fee, or when the buyer will have access to the week. Marie says, “We do not dispense legal advice, but we can answer basic questions for owners about the deed transfer process. Each state and area has different contact information, regulations and procedures and our department supplies all of the right information to owners so they can get the process started.”
Fixing prior management’s title issues, like intervals that were sold to two different owners, is also handled by the team. “In order to keep these dues-paying owners, we search and prepare new deeds giving them comparable intervals,” says Hope.
Having dedicated experts handle deed transfers is one way SPM’s management services are a huge asset to an association. SPM makes it easy for owners to get the information they need to correctly transfer their deed. Having a Deed Department like this can help to prevent owners from going to the scam companies to transfer their deed. While we do not handle the legal process, we can refer owners to affordable and legitimate attorneys.