A Realtor and A Title Agency

Title First Agency works hard to ensure a seamless experience for Realtors and their clients. From contract to closing, Title First handles all the details to help your transactions run smoothly and close on time.

Access to property information:

Title First Agency can help Realtors by getting the names, addresses and phone numbers for properties that their client are interested in buying. Maybe the buyer wants to find a home of a certain age or in a particular area – whatever it may be, a Title First Agent has the ability to access a lot of data and can find the information needed. Buyers often drive around neighborhoods that they want to live in and see the perfect home for their family. A Title First Agent can look up the information of who owns the home and how long they have been there at the exact address. This will enable the Realtor and the buyer to put together a homebuyers letter to owner.

Advertising and marketing:

Title First can assist Realtors in promoting their business with our full line of marketing solutions. For your next listing, make a good first impression on potential clients and prospective buyers with a bound presentation of property information. We have the ability to help you design, print and mail your full-color glossy, postcards. Use our Net-to-Seller tool that will help estimate a client’s profit and present it in a professional format to be shared. Or, give our Title First Agent App a try to provide a higher level of service to your clients. This app will enable you to give quick and easy estimates to any real estate financial question. The app features net sheets, quick estimates, closing,costs, prorated taxes and much more. Finally, email us your MLS link, logo and personal photo and let us create a professional full-color info sheet for your listing.

Legal expertise:

Title First Agency has experienced real estate lawyers who have worked many years through settlements and closings. It’s an invaluable asset to always have legal experts on hand with a good title company. The buyer, seller and you, the Realtor, can have peace of mind that purchases and end-to-end processes of closing on a property are performed seamlessly and on time.

The Bottom Line: At Title First Agency, we measure our success by your success. That’s why we offer a variety of services to help you growyour real estate business. Beyond the above listed services, the issuing of insurance, and performing title searches, we can manage the escrow account for the home sale. We safeguard all money and documents related to the transaction for the parties involved, such as the deed to the home, closing costs, earnest money deposit and the down payment.

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Buying a House? Here’s What You Need to Know

Becoming a homeowner is one of the most thrilling next steps in anyone’s life. You’ve gained the financial independence you need to feel comfortable venturing into big commitments, and there’s truly no better feeling than entering the real estate market to find a home to call your own. 

We won’t be the first to tell you that buying a home isn’t a simple or easy process— it’s one that takes plenty of time, planning, and painstaking research. As one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, it’s well worth arduous labor. Using this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about buying a house.

Do Your Research 

As you venture into the homebuying process, it’s important to evaluate your own financial situation, examine the current status of the housing market and, of course, take stock of your desires, priorities, and objectives. Doing all of this upfront research will help lay the foundation for which you begin your house hunt and budget planning.

Naturally, part of this process involves checking your credit score, analyzing your spending habits, and studying online to find out the average going price of homes sold in the location you want to buy in. Finding answers to the following questions would also be incredibly insightful for you:

  1. What is compelling you to buy rather than rent?
  2. Do you have any financial roadblocks that could affect your ability to secure a mortgage with favorable terms?
  3. Do you have any large, outstanding debts that could make budgeting more difficult?
  4. What are your must-have amenities in a home? 
  5. What factors do you consider to be deal-breakers in a home?
  6. What factors are you flexible on? What factors are must-haves?
  7. Do you plan on hiring a real estate agent? 

Craft a property wishlist

Crafting a property wishlist is the most enjoyable portion of the home-buying process.  If you have been dreaming of a futuristic minimalist home in the middle of a massive metropolis or a spacious coastal hideaway with floor-to -ceiling windows, now’s the time to make good on those dreams and turn them into a reality. Working out those specifics early on will help you  narrow down your search and optimize your time spent looking.   

The better an idea you have, the simpler it will be for you to pare down your selection and speed up the touring process. Consider splitting your wishlist into two: the must-haves and the nice-to-haves.

Check your credit score

In order to purchase a home, most people will need to secure some degree of financing— so unless you’re paying in cash, you’ll need to do your fair share of research into your available mortgage options. But before you even think about weighing your options, you’ll need to first ensure that you have a good enough credit score to get approved for a favorable loan, especially for one with an attractive interest rate. 

You will need to build  a positive rapport with lenders and that begins with providing a clear history of paying your bills on time and maintaining a budget that exemplifies your ability to live within your means. We highly recommend checking your credit score before you start applying for any mortgage or home loan. Most traditional mortgage lenders require a 620-640 FICO score.

If your score doesn’t fit inside of that range, consider dedicating time to improve your credit score. The following steps can help boost your score:

  1. Setting up automatic payments to ensure you never miss a payment deadline
  2. Minimizing your credit utilization rate by paying off any outstanding debt
  3. Diversifying your credit profile by applying for a variety of credit types, including
    1. Personal loans
    2. Auto loans
    3. Credit cards

Get help from a realtor

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, it won’t be soon before long that you realize the real estate market can be a bit relentless and confusing without the right guidance.. Receiving assistance from a reputable real estate agent can help you get to know the many intricate details of home buying and can even help you narrow down the options that work in your best interest. 

At first, you may think it’s far out of your budget to enlist the assistance of a realtor to help on your behalf, however it is worth noting that the seller, not the buyer, pays for the fee imposed by realtors. One stipulation to note is that this is usually factored into the overall price of the property, which usually amounts to anywhere between 5-6%,

Ultimately, realtors are experts in their field, and if you’re new to the home buying scene, having a person in your corner who understands everything about buying a home is a responsible investment.

Compare your financing options

You will be better prepared to look at your borrowing prospects when your credit score is in tip-top shape. There are several distinct types of specialized home loans that could be better tailored to your particular circumstances. For example, if you’re classified as a low-income borrower, choosing an FHA loan might be the perfect funding option for you. Or if you’re an active duty military  personnel,  a VA loan may offer the best bang for your buck. There are even specialized options for those who work in the agricultural industry.

 Make sure to explore all of the alternative methods that are open to you before you settle on a traditional mortgage.

Key takeaways

Buying a house is nothing short of a big deal, so as you venture into this next chapter, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and unsure. To avoid the brunt of your inevitable stressors, be sure to take the proper precautions to ensure you make the right decision before signing your name away on a mortgage and taking your photo in front of the “SOLD” sign. You’ll gain the peace of mind that you deserve and a house you love with these genius home buying tips.

Did we miss anything? What are your best home buying tips for first-timers?

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Closing on a Home

Closing a real estate deal, signing the papers to make a home yours, can be stressful and long and it involves many steps and procedural formalities. Many things must happen before you arrive at the closing. Here are a few important guidelines that need to happen between the moment your offer is accepted to the moment you get the keys to your new home.


The process of being “in escrow” is what occurs between the time a seller accepts the offer and the buyer gets the keys to a home. An escrow account might be a title company such as Title First Agency or by a neutral third party on behalf of the buyer and the seller involved in the transaction. The money will be held and any documents related to the transaction until the closing. A contract or escrow agreement is drafted, which the closing agent reviews for completeness and accuracy.

Title Search is Conducted and Title Insurance is Obtained

A title report is required and a buyer wants this as it protects both parties. Once the title order is placed, a title company conducts a search of the public records. This should identify any issues with the title such as liens against the property, utility easements, and so on.  If a problem is discovered, most often the title agency will take care of it without you even knowing about it. After the title search is complete, the title company can provide a title insurance policy.

There are two kinds of title insurance coverage: a Lender’s policy, which covers the lender for the amount of the mortgage loan; and an Owner’s policy, which covers the homebuyer for the amount of the purchase price. If you are obtaining a loan, the bank or lender will typically require that you purchase a Lender’s policy. However, it only protects the lender.

It is always recommended that you obtain an Owner’s policy to protect your investment. The party that pays for the Owner’s policy varies from state to state, so ask your settlement agent for guidance before closing.

Closing Disclosure

Your lender must provide a Closing Disclosure to you at least three days prior to closing. Your lender may also have a closing agent provide the Closing Disclosure to you three days before you close your transaction.

If you or your lender makes significant changes between the time the Closing Disclosure form is given to you and the closing, you must be provided a new form and an additional three-business-day waiting period after receipt of the new form.

If the changes are less significant, they can be disclosed on a revised Closing Disclosure form provided to you at or before closing, without delaying the closing.


As the closing day approaches, your agent will order any updated information that may be required. Once the agent has confirmed with the lender and the seller, a final date, time and location of the closing will be set.

On the day of the closing, all the work is complete. You are clear to close. A good Realtor will have been managing and making sure all the paperwork is done and getting the closing process prepared for you.

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What’s Your House Worth?

Are you considering putting your home on the market? Are you wondering what your home is worth and what it will sell for? The most common mistake people make when selling their home is setting the asking price too high. After you interview with a few Realtors and you find the best one in your neighborhood, how does that agent come up with the price of your home to sell? There’s a lot of experience involved in the process. You may love your home but your personal feelings towards it and even how much you paid for it when you bought it play no part in the value of it today.

Realtors base their price opinions on comparable sales (comps). They look at sales that have closed within the last three to six months in your neighborhood. When looking at the comps to help determine the price of your home they look at several factors. These include your home’s condition, age, square footage, location, and the number of bedrooms and baths. The sale date is also important since it will reflect the most recent changes in your market.

Typically, the most important home feature to concentrate on is the number of bedrooms and baths. This usually plays a bigger role in valuation than square footage. For example, two-bedroom homes in a neighborhood of predominately three-bedroom homes will almost always sell at a discount despite the number of square feet. The same is true for a home with one bath since a majority of buyers look for more than a single bath. If most homes in the neighborhood have a certain feature – like air conditioning – the absence of that feature will drop the price.

If you are not ready to call a Realtor, home appraisers are highly-trained, licensed professionals who can determine a very accurate value for your home. You can hire them to get them to come and inspect and measure your house, noting its condition, amenities, and any issues that might impact its marketability – zoning, “offbeat” floor plans, environmental hazards, renovations, deferred maintenance, lot characteristics, and more.

A home appraiser will spend time completely looking over the exterior of the home to ensure it is structurally sound. They will look for any signs of water damage or other problems, such as a chimney that is cracked or leaning away from the home (which could indicate structural damage) along with a lopsided porch or stairs leading up to the home. 

The quality of the roof will also play an important role in your home’s sale value. Damaged roofs bring on infestation, leaking, and other problems, so the appraiser will assess the home’s roofing quality. The appraiser will also inspect the condition of the siding, garage, porch, deck, and any other exterior elements. 

Real estate agents and appraisers will gather and examine similar information, both will look at the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for information on comps. Appraisers have access to public records, but the key difference lies not in the information they gather, but how they use it.

Real estate agents promise to represent their clients’ best interests. They want the listing of the home to be the best possible and will use gathered market information to this end.

Appraisers are paid outright – not on commission – and they do not have a vested interest in serving the client’s needs beyond providing a thoroughly completed estimate. In fact, they must clearly indicate that they are third-party professionals and not advocates for either buyers or sellers.

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4 Tips for Designing an Accessible Smart Home

If you have recently moved into an accessible home — perhaps with the support of the title insurance experts at Title First Agency — you might be wondering how smart technology can benefit you as a homeowner with a disability. There are countless smart home devices on the market that can be especially helpful for people with disabilities. These tips will help you choose the right devices for your home while saving money.

Consider Cybersecurity

No matter which smart devices you choose to invest in, it’s important to think about cybersecurity before installing them. If you want to ensure your family and home’s internet safety, digital security should be one of your highest priorities. Coming up with a plan to protect your home and your network is critical. Consider how you can prevent issues like identity theft, viruses, hacking, and more. 

Video Doorbell

If you use a mobility aid, you might need a little extra time to greet visitors when they ring your doorbell. This is why video doorbells can be useful for people with disabilities — you can see who is on your porch before heading to the door. 

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus captures video before motion events, so that you can see exactly what’s going on outside your front door. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Tech Hive recommends the Toucan Wireless Video Doorbell for people working with tighter budgets. This model is battery powered, so you can mount it wherever you feel it blends in best.

Smart Speaker

Today’s smart speakers come with endless exciting features that will simplify your everyday life. But with so many choices available, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the variety. If you’re interested in a smaller speaker at a more affordable price, consider the Apple HomePod Mini, which is compact and easy to use. If top-notch audio quality is a high-priority consideration for you, EndGadget recommends the Nest Audio, which is a bit larger than the smallest models on the market, but still easy enough to tuck away out of sight. 

If you’re worried that your new smart speaker will clash with your home’s aesthetic, consider buying a speaker in a color that will match your existing decor. You can also place your speaker in a corner where it will be somewhat hidden behind houseplants and other knick-knacks — you’ll barely notice it!

Smart Refrigerator

There’s no denying that a smart refrigerator is a major investment. However, it can be a very worthwhile purchase for people with disabilities. With a smart refrigerator, it’s easy to keep track of everything you have in stock, and when you’re low on certain ingredients, you can often order them directly from your fridge. Plus, it will alert you if the door has been open for too long — if you take medication that needs to stay refrigerated, this feature can bring you peace of mind.

Do you have a large family? The Samsung Family Hub is a sizable smart fridge that might be the perfect choice for your home. But the LG InstaView ThinQ smart fridge is slimmer, which makes it a good choice for people with smaller kitchens. It’s a good idea to wait for deals at your local appliance stores to get the best price on this item. 

Today, smart home devices can be an integral part of accessible home design. From video doorbells to smart speakers to hi-tech refrigerators, smart technology can make it easier for people with disabilities to live comfortably and independently in their own homes. With these tips and product comparisons, you’ll be able to equip your home with the devices you need!

Are you in need of title or real estate settlement services? Title First Agency offers all of this and more. Get in touch today at 866-320-8400.

Photo via Unsplash

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