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Senate Bill 133 Is A Title Rep’s Best Friend. Here’s Why

Marketing TitleThaaaaat’s right, I said it. SB 133 is a California title rep’s best friend. And I mean it. Here’s why. Today I received a call from a title rep in California, smart guy, been in the title business for over 20 years, let’s call him “Doug”.

“Doug” like so many other title reps, title companies, attorneys and real estate agents found me online. He went to a search engine like Google and asked it a question. Like other consumers he did this for one of two reasons, 1). to gather information or  2). solve a problem. “Doug” needed both. He found MyTitleGuy.COM. He wanted to know more about what we do. “How do you help title reps and title companies get more business?” Naturally, we started talking about California’s Senate Bill 133 [SB 133] and how it drastically changed the title industry in California.

The idea behind SB 133 is to license title reps, to put an end to the practice of “buying” title business from REALTORS, real estate agents, loan officers, builders, etc. “Buying” title business with offers of free lunches, concert tickets, baseball, football, hockey tickets and other forms of entertainment, office equipment like copiers, faxes, car leases, cruises and other forms of compensation to do business with one title rep or title company over another. I thought AZ was bad but I have heard some AMAAAAAAAAZING stories of title reps run amuck before SB 133 existed in CA, craaaaaaaaazy!

I was a title rep in Arizona for 10 years, not California, SB 133 did not apply to me but it would have been awesome if it did.Whaaaaaaat? I hear you saying? YES. I would have loved SB 133 to come to Arizona and as I told “Doug” and as I will explain to you, if you are also a CA title rep you should be happy that it is in effect.

I’m paraphrasing here but, RESPA or the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act states that a title company cannot offer anything of value as an inducement to do business. We all know we “should” follow RESPA. Did everyone? HELL NO! If they did SB 133 would not have been in acted in CA.

Many title reps in CA are upset that they cannot even buy a cup of coffee for a REALTOR anymore, [literally, they can’t even buy a cup of coffee for a REALTOR in CA], they see it as a hinderance to doing business – a deterent. I don’t think it is. I believe title reps in CA are looking at SB 133 the wrong way. SB 133 forced a lot of the shady title companies and title reps out of the business, it’s a lot harder to be a rep, to provide value post SB 133 when your only value before was giving away bags of money, cruises, car leases, food and entertainment. So in that respect SB 133 helped the title companies & title reps still in business.

SB 133, like RESPA precludes a title rep or title company from giving away anything of value as an inducement to doing business. So tell me, what is value? Coffee, sports tickets, money, car leases, cruises are obviously of value. What about knowledge? Is knowledge of value? Is your intellectual property of value? YES. Can it be regulated? NO.

It’s been my experience title reps get a bad rap for not providing value, since leaving the title industry in March I can actually see how it would be hard for REALTORS to tell where one title rep ended and another began. Doesn’t every title rep SAAAAAY they have the best service and the best escrow officers?, I can see why many REALTORS would say “you are all the same”. SB 133 will force you to come up with your own value – your own Unique Selling Proposition or Value Proposition. What else are you to do since you can’t even provide buyer, seller or FSBO books. Post cards or flyers. Outdated software and CMS programs?

I told “Doug” SB 133 has put you and your title company in a position to capture a large percentage of the market in his area. Why? Because you cannot regulate knowledge and/or ideas. The market in California, like Arizona is recovering, from REO and short sale driven to traditional resale. Many California REALTORS are chasing short sales now, why? Because they can easily see who needs their services. What about when they can’t? What will REALTORS in California do then? Easy, they will try and go back to what they know, what worked in the past – direct mail, post cards, flyers, door hangers etc. And it won’t work. It won’t work because consumer behavior has shifted – online. When is the last time you responded to a postcard, flyer, door hanger on a large ticket item like a home, car or boat? Exactly.

So what will California REALTORS do then? Easy. They will look for other ways to market their services. That typically means the Internet. But most don’t know HOW. Knowing what I know about REALTORS, most will not want to pay an SEO thousands of dollars for top placement in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. So what will they do? They will look for someone to help them grow their business. And where will they look? Yep. Their title companies. They will look to “Doug”. Only this time, “Doug” can show them HOW TO get found online. WHERE TO get real estate websites that the agent owns – that work! HOW TO do keyword research. HOW TO identify your ideal client, HOW TO create engaging, unique and valuable content your ideal client is looking for online, HOW TO Identify consumers asking for HELP or talking about moving to or from California on Twitter, HOW TO Drive qualified traffic to a website or landing page using Facebook, HOW TO create videos of value, HOW TO Edit Video – which editing software should you use? HOW TO Optimize video, not just for Google but YouTube and YouTube’s Related Search. HOW TO do all the things REALTORS will need to learn.

“Doug” could be in a position where he has a clear and distinct value proposition in his market over his competitors, he can show REALTORS HOW TO Get Found Online, and he can thank SB 133 for eliminating some of his competitors that wanted to play dirty and really didn’t provide any real value to the title or real estate industry and most importantly  – the consumer. “Doug” and I spoke for about 45 minutes. To say his world had been opened to the possibilities would be an understatement.

I told him we build Title Rep Websites, made specifically for title reps. We train you how to use them. How to do keyword research, create content, optimize your website and your posts to get found online by your ideal client. We also give him access to loads of videos on writing content, making, editing, optimizing and syndicating video. “Doug” can then show his clients HOW TO do the same. We also provide ongoing training.

There are a lot of REALTORS, real estate agents and loan officers that would be better served shifting their real estate marketing. We will come out of this current market and return to a traditional real estate market, one based upon free will, where consumers can again CHOOSE who they want to do business with. For many real estate professionals this will be like landing on MARS. Imagine, everything you know has now changed. Direct mail works less and less, your database is in shambles, consumer behavior has changed and you can no longer see who needs your services. Yep, I would say “Doug” will be in a position to get a lot more of his unfair share of his market. So. . . .

Do you want to be “Doug”? You know what to do.

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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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