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How To Choose A Title Company

How To Choose A Title Company

Choose Wisely

How Do I Choose A Title Company? This is a question that many consumers ask. Many of them have never even heard of a title company until they were told they needed one. First of all let me say, Congratulations, the fact you are looking for a title company usually indicates you are buying, selling or refinancing a property. So, congratulations on your purchase sale or refinance. I am a former title rep for a national title insurance company in Phoenix Arizona, I helped real estate professionals get “found” on the Internet. How fitting that I now get to help or guide you in the direction of finding the right title company.

How Do I Choose A Title Company?

Just in case you Google’d “How Do I Choose A Title Company” OR “How Do I Choose A Good Title Company” before looking for what a title company is or does, let’s review.  In the United States, ” title insurance is insurance against financial loss from defects in title to real property”.  Yes I know that sounds like Latin. In other words, title insurance is meant to protect the owners or the lender’s financial interest in a property against loss due from liens or title issues.  The title policy will defend against a lawsuit attacking the title to your home.

Now that you have an idea of what a title company is or rather does you may be asking, “that sounds really important, how do I choose a good one, the right one?” Unless you are selling or buying a home For Sale By Owner (FSBO), you will have a real estate professional assisting you. There are many factors your real estate professional considers or rather should consider when choosing a title company, considerations that you should evaluate as well.  Section 9 of the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act or RESPA “prohibits a seller from requiring the home buyer to use a particular title insurance company, either directly or indirectly, as a condition of sale. Buyers may sue a seller who violates this provision for an amount equal to three times all charges made for the title insurance.” While there are exceptions to this rule (bank owned) most times the decision is up to the buyer, not the real estate agent, not the loan officer, not the lender.

In the Phoenix Metro area there are approximately 60 title companies. If each title company has 10 offices (and most have many more than that) there is 600 title company offices to choose from. Not all title companies or individual offices are created the same. Here are some factors you should consider when choosing a title company to handle what is often the largest financial decision most people make.

1) Company. The real estate boom of 2005-06 gave rise to many new title companies. Title companies that possibly work exclusively with 1 real estate company, one lender, one home builder. While this may make sense in some situations, it without a doubt can limit choice and possibly lead to higher fees.

2) Services. Do they offer mobile signings? Electronic recording? Courtesy signings?

3) Fees. Title company fees in Arizona are regulated by the Department of Financial Institutions or DFI, but the fees charged by title companies can be significantly different. In addition to customary escrow and title and endorsement fees, there are recording, reconveyance and tracking, courier fees, overnight delivery fees, wire fees, electronic document fees and mobile notary fees, Additional work fees are also not uncommon.

4) Experience: Has your escrow officer worked in the industry for 10 years or 10 days? Are they well versed in resale transactions, new home, builder, refinance, commercial, 1031 exchange, short sale, bank owned AKA – REO, Seller Carryback, assumptions and/or wraps? Or do they have one specialty, more importantly, is it the specialty you are hiring them for?

5) Communication: Believe it or not, the #1 complaint in the real estate industry is lack of communication. In a business that requires communication many people are poor at communicating. How does your escrow officer communicate? Phone, email, face to face, text, fax, or all the above? It doesn’t really help to have an escrow officer that only communicates via phone if you prefer email or even text.

6) Financial Strength: While many title companies have been around before prohibition, not all have. The purpose of a title company is to facilitate your escrow and provide title insurance for your most valuable asset. Will that title company be around in a few years to pay a claim that an escrow officer with no experience and poor communication skills messed up?

7) Location. The Internet has alleviated most of the challenges related to location.  Fax and email make signing easy when you are in one part of the valley and your title company is on the other. But what if you are on the west coast and your title company is on the east coast or out of the country? These are considerations that should be evaluated.

8) Escrow Officer. How long has your escrow offer been in the business? There is no state test, licensing or hiring requirements in the state of Arizona for escrow officers. Has your escrow officer worked in escrow for many years or did he/she just find their way  into escrow?

Regardless of what title company you choose remember that it is most times, the buyers choice. Not the REALTOR, lender or loan officer. Speaking of real estate agents, here are qualities to look for in a real estate agent

Choosing the right title company is imperative to a successful closing. There are many things that can and sometimes do go wrong in a real estate transaction, it is imperative that your title company and escrow officer escrow be well versed in all aspects of the closing process. After all, the mark of a good company is how they respond when things go wrong.

Need Help Finding A Real Estate Agent, Attorney, Lender or Title Company

Whether you are looking for a real estate agent to help you navigate the home buying/selling process or a loan offer to help you finance it, I can help. Please fill out the information below and I'll get back to you asap. Thank you, Stephen
  • Feel free to tell me ahead of time what you want help with. If you have a website that you want me to look at before we talk on the phone, please send it to me. I look forward to speaking with you.

Stephen

Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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  • http://www.gailkeithmarketing.com Gail Keith

    What’s really interesting is how little information there is about how/why a title rep is important. You nailed it with an easy check list approach!