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Broken Priority - how low is the threshold?


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By Tom in Yosemite, CA on 11/16/2004



I've seen warnings that say that even trimming brush on your lot could constitute broken priority as far as your lender is concerned. I'm assuming that this is because you can't go in there and do anything while the lot is in escrow.

In my case, I own my lot so I don't see how any lender can tell me whether or not I can cut trees or clear brush, but yet I keep reading the warnings all over.  At the same time, one could argue that I need to clear brush on my lot because local fire codes require it.  In that case, who wins?

Do I really need to worry about broken priority if I'm just cutting trees?  Presumably you have a right to take firewood off a lot you own without destroying your chances of getting a construction loan, or am I wrong?

Tom

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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 11/16/2004


When you obtain a construction loan, the bank wants to be in the first position with its lien. To assure that the bank is in first position, they will buy (or make you buy) title insurance that protects them. To get a title insurance committment, the title insurance company will likely inspect the property. If they see any construction -- which is basically any work on the land that could result in a mechanic;s lien or material man's lien ahead of the bank's you will have some issues.

A good construction loan officer and a good title insurance representative can explain the details.  Broken priorities are somewhat common in construction lending, particularly when the owner is working with a lot of capital beforre obtaining a loan.

 


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By Tom in Yosemite, CA on 11/17/2004



Okay, that makes sense.  So basically, if I'm in an area where pretty much everyone goes out and thins brush (it's required by law if you actually have a structure on the property) and that's all I'm doing, I shouldn't run into any problem.

If, on the other hand, the title officer goes out and sees fill dumped on the lot or any signs of excavation or major tree work, he might be afraid that the work might result in a mechanic's lien.

If I'm just going out there by myself with my pruning shears and axe, I should be fine though right?  I'd better be, since my neighbor was recently out there with his chainsaw taking some of my downed wood for his fire, and I can't really control that.

Tom

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