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Why a Statement of Information Can Be Key to a Closing
By Barbara Pronin
Many title-related documents are recorded in county offices every day – judgments, liens, bankruptcies, and more. These documents are indexed by the name of the individual involved, but if the person named in the document is an owner of real property, the lien may attach to the property even though it is not identified in the recorded instrument.

Title companies are charged with ensuring that title in every real estate transaction is correctly transferred, so when they carefully search the public records, it’s important for them to confirm that they are searching for the correct owner; that there is no confusion with common names – e.g. John Jones, Jon Jones, Jonathan Jones, John J. Jones – or any other potentially confusing information could cloud the new owner’s title to the property or affect the nature of the title insurance coverage issued.

In order to conduct a thorough search of records and confirm the identities of all sellers so that data on the wrong John Jones does not affect or derail the transaction at hand, title companies will ask the seller to complete and submit some personal and confidential information.

The form, known most often as a Statement of Information (SOI), requests the full name, Social Security number, year of birth, birthplace, and citizenship information for each respondent and their spouse. Current residence and employment information are also requested, as well as proof of marriage and any data regarding previous marriages if divorced.

Failure to provide the information requested on the SOI, or to not provide the information early in the transaction, can hinder the search and examination of public records. At best, it may cause undue delay in the issuance of a title policy. At worst, it could bar the closing altogether and/or result in exceptions to the title insurance coverage that would be unacceptable to most lenders.

Respondents may be assured that the information they provide in the SOI is strictly confidential – used only by the researching title company to clarify and confirm the necessary data.

As your title partner, we are committed to ensuring the most seamless transactions possible. Agents may reassure clients that the more complete the information they supply on the SOI, the quicker and more efficiently title examiners can complete the search and provide the title policy and related services that bring about a timely closing.
Barbara Pronin is an award-winning writer based in Orange County, Calif. A former news editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism and corporate communications, she has specialized in real estate topics for over a decade.

This material is not intended to be relied upon as a statement of the law, and is not to be construed as legal, tax or investment advice.  You are encouraged to consult your legal, tax or investment professional for specific advice.  The material is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only.  Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, no representation is made as to its accuracy.

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