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Should You Use an Attorney or a Title Company for a Real Estate Closing?

Jun. 25, 2020

Realtors and mortgage providers: Have you considered encouraging your clients to utilize a real estate attorney for closing? We understand you want closings to go smoothly for your clients – after all, property purchases are likely their biggest investments. Here are a few reasons why encouraging your clients to use a real estate attorney can help facilitate a seamless transaction: 


  • Costs are comparable, often less
  • Can provide legal advice throughout the entire process
  • Can identify and help remedy issues, simple or complex
  • Have the client’s best interest in mind

Title Company

  • Costs are comparable
  • Cannot provide legal advice
  • May be able to address minor issues, but not complex ones
  • Have the insurance company’s best interest in mind

Blethen Berens has a full service title company within our firm; Blethen Berens Title Services. You can trust our trained attorney’s to do an in-depth review of title histories. Give Blethen Berens a call for more information at 507-345-1166.

Is Title Insurance Right for You?

Jun. 16, 2020

If you’re buying a home, you may be thinking about square footage, if your furniture will go with the walls, or if the garage is the right size. Don’t overlook title insurance, though.

Around one-third of property titles have errors. Those errors can leave buyers vulnerable to liens, defects and encumbrances. If the title is deemed “unmarketable,” you could be stuck with property that’s difficult or impossible to sell. Before signing closing documents, a thorough title search and title insurance can protect you from the financial burden of a clouded title. If you have questions about your property purchase, Blethen Berens can help you navigate your options. Contact us today!

The Home-Buying and Refinancing Processes

Jun. 10, 2020

By Jared Koch

Buying or refinancing a house can be an overwhelming process, especially if you haven’t done it before. Here is a helpful overview of the process from start to end to help you along the way:

Home-Buying Process

  1. Hire a Realtor or Attorney. You are not required to work with a realtor to find or purchase a home. But realtors can do a lot of the hard work for you—finding property listings that match your needs, arranging for home viewings, negotiating with the Seller or Seller’s realtor, and more. Most Realtors work on a commission-based arrangement and charge a percentage of the purchase price of the home. Alternatively, an attorney can help you negotiate purchase terms and prepare to buy a property if you can handle some of the practical house-hunting yourself. Attorneys typically work for an hourly rate, so depending on the property, working with an attorney is often a more affordable route to take.
  1. Search for Houses. Now it’s time to go house hunting. If you are working with a realtor, he or she can help find houses you might be interested in and arrange showings. For each house you are considering, you should also review the disclosure documents that each Seller is required to provide to prospective buyers so that you can identify any potential problems with the house that you might have to deal with yourself or negotiate with the Seller.
  1. Sign a Purchase Agreement. When you find the right house, your realtor or attorney will help you put together an offer for the Seller. The offer is more than just the amount you are willing to pay for the property—it includes all the terms of a Purchase Agreement, including the proposed closing date, and any contingencies you may need to include (such as requiring that you are able to sell your current home before you can buy the new one). The Seller may counteroffer with a different price or changes in other terms. When you come to an agreement, you and the Seller will sign a final Purchase Agreement that you agree to buy the house and the Seller agrees to sell it to you.
  1. Prepare for Closing. After you and the Seller have signed a Purchase Agreement, it’s time to prepare for the closing. During this time, you will have time to have the property inspected, lock in your mortgage, and take care of other contingencies. You will also select a title company to review the property records, issue a commitment for title insurance, and prepare the closing documentation.
  1. Closing. At closing, you will sign all of the documentation to formalize the purchase. This includes receiving the deed from the Sellers, executing your mortgage documentation, and signing a variety of other documents to receive title insurance. Once the closing is complete, you get the keys, and it’s time to enjoy your new home!

Refinancing Process

  1. Prepare for Closing. For a refinance process, you’ll skip most of the process outlined above. Once you have qualified for a loan, the only work you’ll have to do is prepare for closing. The title company you select will review the property records and any previous title insurance policy for your property, issue a commitment for title insurance, and prepare the closing documentation.
  1. Closing. At closing, you will sign all of the documentation to satisfy your previous mortgage and establish the new mortgage on your property, as well as some additional documents to receive title insurance.

Blethen Berens routinely helps clients in each stage of the home-buying and refinancing processes. We have attorneys who are experienced in drafting and negotiating purchase agreements, and handling unique issues that come up along the way. We also operate a full-service title company that can provide title insurance and handle the closing process. Contact us today to talk to one of our real estate attorneys.

Are You Considering Refinancing Your Home?

Jun. 08, 2020

Interest rates are low, and many homeowners are considering refinancing their mortgages. Refinancing raises questions such as: 

  • Will refinancing reduce the overall interest paid for the loan?
  • How will refinancing affect your net worth?
  • Does it make sense to roll closing costs into the new mortgage?
  • Will refinancing reduce my monthly payment and term of the loan? But if so, by how much? Is it enough to make the cost of doing so worthwhile over the life of the loan? 

Blethen Berens can guide you through your refinancing decision. Call us today if you need help with these considerations and others: 507-345-1166


Thinking About Buying or Selling Property?

Jun. 04, 2020

Thinking about buying or selling property? Whether you’re buying or selling, our real estate attorneys can help you feel secure in your property transaction. We can assist with:

  • Title searches and examinations
  • Conducting closing
  • Maintaining escrow accounts
  • Drafting documents from purchase agreement to title transfer
  • Filing documents with counties

Contact Blethen Berens for help today.


Landlords: Are You Considering a Pet Policy?

May. 26, 2020

Allowing pets on your property can be attractive to potential tenants, but you may have concerns. What about the tenants that don’t have pets? What kinds of pets are acceptable? What about property damage? Blethen Berens can help you create a pet policy that protects your tenants, your property and you. Call us today for assistance at 507-345-1166.

Pet Policies


Landlords: In this time of change, does your lease do what you need it to?

May. 18, 2020

It’s a time of change for all in a variety of ways. Does your lease do what you need it to for you and your tenant?

Landlords: When Was Your Lease Last Updated?

May. 12, 2020

Are you a landlord? When was your lease last updated? It’s good to get a fresh set of eyes on your lease every few years to make sure you are protecting yourself and your tenants to the best of your ability. We can help. Silas Danielson and Alyssa Nelson have 30 years of combined experience working with landlords so contact us today!

Landlords: Do You Have Questions About Security Deposits?

May. 07, 2020

Landlords: Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes the busy move-out season. Blethen Berens is here to help!

Have You Talked to Your Parents About Estate Planning?

Apr. 27, 2020

As we wrap up honoring National Healthcare Decision’s month we want to ask one last question. Have you talked to your parents about their estate planning? Do you know their wishes? It’s a tough conversation to start, but if not now, when?