By: Merideth Nagel, Esq.
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What Should a Good Title Company do for You?
Our company, Concierge Title, has the benefit of being owned by a tried and true real estate attorney – Merideth Nagel, Esq. It gives us a unique look into the title industry and provides us with years of experience from an outsider’s perspective. While this is a great boon to us, it also means that we understand what a good title company can, should, and sometimes can’t do within the regulations of the industry. We are not the only title company in our area that provides excellent service, not by a long shot, but we think it’s incredibly important to know what services and opportunities a good title company should provide to you and your clients.
First and foremost, a good title company should help you get a listing. Now, you might be thinking, “how can a title company help me get a listing?” There’s actually a couple of ways.
Prior to going on a listing appointment, call your title company and get what we call a “Net Sheet”. This document allows you to show your sellers what the closing costs will be, what the documentary stamp taxes will be at different price points that you might suggest, what the lien search fees will be. Basically, you can provide them with a rough estimate of their net proceeds right at the beginning of the process. If you have this in an excel spreadsheet, that number can be pretty darn close to accurate! We, and other title companies, can actually provide the formulas to calculate all of those different fees.
The second way that a title company can help you get a listing is by assuming some of your marketing expenses. Before we delve into what expenses a title company can cover, it’s important that we make a clarification here: no title company is allowed to pay you for closing with them. That’s sometimes called a ‘pay for play’. They aren’t legally allowed to send you a percentage of the title insurance or a flat fee per closing. They can’t do this even if they call it another name, which some do. Many companies may try to get around this rule is by starting a company with a realtor and then giving them pay out based entirely upon how many and what type of closings the realtor sends their way. That’s not really legitimate at all. There are lots of things they can do, however, that are legit! One of the most common ways of making themselves useful is by participating in any advertisement for your listing. They can help cover your marketing costs, help you design presentations, or even help you host events (like broker opens and open houses) as long as they are also featured prominently in all of the marketing material and initiatives they contribute payment towards.
Obviously, getting the listing isn’t the only concern you should have and a good title company will have the resources to continue to support you throughout the process. One of the most important things a title company should be able to do is complete the title work early. A lot of problems can be headed off at the pass, so to speak, if you can get the title search completed before the property goes under contract. Most of the time, when there’s an issue with title, the seller doesn’t even know it. Finding out about these problems early not only impresses your client but also allows everyone ample time to correct these issues. A good title company will also have recommendations for real estate attorneys or other professionals that can work to resolve any of these issues in a timely manner. Showing your clients that you are prepared to handle any of their issues not only means that they are more likely to keep that listing with you, but also means that they are more likely to return to you in the future or give recommendations to their family and friends that need realty services.
Ultimately, one of the most important things a title company should do for a realtor is simply making that realtor look good. A good title company will understand that they are ultimately just an extension of a realtor’s business. If a realtor makes a recommendation that their client use a particular title company, the title company needs to understand that so far as the client is concerned, they are a part of the client’s experience with their realtor. What that means is that if there is any kind of problem – they drop the ball, they don’t do what they’re supposed to do – it’s going to fall back on the realtor that made the original recommendation. By the same token, a good title company already knows this and knows they’re a part of the realtor’s team. Unfortunately, sometimes it can feel like a title company is your worst enemy – they throw up road blocks or try to blame things on you instead of assuming fault. It’s a state of mind that is absolutely unacceptable. They should know that their success is largely dependent on your success.
At the end of a closing, a good title company will also provide excellent follow up. This means timely owner policies, document recording, and all of the behind-the-scenes things that finalize the transaction. Unfortunately, many title companies drop the ball here because they assume that since the file is closed, keeping all parties happy is no longer a priority. While it is important that a title company keep the closing in mind by doing things like offering flexible methods of signing, it is no less or more important than making sure the transaction is completed in a timely, sufficient manner.
Outside of directly working with clients, a good title company will also provide educational opportunities to help you grow. One of the most familiar ways to do this is by providing what the industry calls a ‘lunch and learn’. We’re sure many of you have been to those. They are short classes where a lunch is provided during a presentation on a specific topic. These can come in many variations (coffee instead of lunch, zoom instead of in person) but the goal is always the same: keeping you educated so that you can be the best that you can be.
Other than being wary of ideas that might violate RESPA regulations, you should never be afraid to ask your title company what they can do to help you succeed. They should always be flexible and ready to not only service your business, but help grow your business, too.
If you have any questions about anything we have covered here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (352) 241-8629.