Realtors: Partner with Title First Agency

Realtors: We are your first title company partner. As a trusted partner of Title First Agency, you can expand your coverage and grow your business. We are licensed and do direct business in 30+ states and have strategic relationships in all of our non-licensed states.

JOIN OUR NETWORK

Through a partnership with Title First, you can maintain control of client communication, deliver exceptional service and realize potential revenue you have lost in the past – all while remaining fully compliant with RESPA regulations. By working with us, you can accept more title orders from your clients, expand your footprint, and not have to obtain additional licensing in states where your business does not justify the expense.

Benefits of partnering with Title First:

  • Grow your business outside of your footprint
  • Continue to serve your clients as they grow
  • Maximize your revenue
  • Customize your program with us to serve your client
  • Work with a single point of contact
  • Work through integration and automation
  • See all of your transactions 24/7 on our secured Transaction Center web portal
  • Have unlimited access to some of the largest Underwriters

Contact us at experts@titlefirst.com to learn more about how Title First can work with you to grow your business.

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The Closing: The Final Step in a Real Estate Transaction

Buyers and Sellers

You’ve negotiated for the price you want and qualified for a mortgage, and now the only thing standing between you and your new home is the closing, where you’ll sign the paperwork finalizing the deal. But, what happens at a typical closing? Expect many people to be involved, such as your real estate closing attorney, the seller, real estate agents of both parties, and representatives of the title company and lender.

Closings generally take place at the title company that has issued the title policy for the home. This is a neutral place that has access to technology. Documents can be signed, emailed or faxed, and verified. During closing, ownership of a property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. All funds are distributed by the escrow company, and the new deed is registered in the buyer’s name. The buyer also has to bring a check for all of the mortgage and title fees accumulated along the way. A quick rundown:

  • The buyer’s lender provides a check for the amount owed toward the purchase price of the home.
  • The seller signs the deed over to the buyer and hands over the keys to the home. This officially transfers ownership to the buyer.
  • The title company will register the new deed with the appropriate government office and the record will show the buyer as the new homeowner
  • The seller receives any proceeds earned from the sale once their mortgage balance and closing costs have been paid in full.

Once the huge amount of paperwork is signed, everyone in the room will experience a sense of relief. The worst thing that could happen on the closing day is a delay to a future date due to lack of preparation.

The Bottom Line: A good, experienced Realtor, will have made sure that on the actual day of closing, you are prepared with all of your real estate closing documents, a government-issued photo identification, as well as your form of payment to cover the real estate closing cost. This will usually be in the form of a cashier’s check or a wire transfer, but also bring along a checkbook in case any unexpected fees come up.

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NATIONAL REACH. LOCAL TOUCH

Title companies offer one of the most important types of insurance that one can buy. For most people, a residence or commercial property may be the most expensive asset they own. Title insurance in a real estate transaction has great value to the average consumer.

Think about it this way, what is the first thing you do when you go buy a car? You probably (hopefully!) pick up the phone and call your insurance agent to insure the vehicle. So naturally, insuring your real estate would be more pressing, since the value of it can be quite substantial.

So what should a good title company offer? Since the Ohio Department of Insurance regulates title insurance in the state of Ohio, and the Ohio Title Insurance Rating Bureau dictates all premiums, a title company can set itself apart by the customer service they offer along with the partner networks they share. Working with a large title company that does business on a national level has many advantages.

Title companies with the ability to write on multiple underwriter paper have the ability to provide more options and flexibility to their clients. For instance, Title First Agency is licensed in 33 states and can conduct business in all 50 states through its partner network and affiliations. Title First utilizes five of the leading title insurance underwriters in the business to issue title insurance policies to end consumers. (Check them out at https://titlefirst.com/underwriters/) This benefits the consumer in many ways, especially when a potential title issue arises and one underwriter is willing to take the risk while another may not be so willing.

Another benefit of a national title company is the increased level of protection of private information of both clients and consumers. There is a vast amount of private information necessary in conducting a real estate transaction. Some title companies have specific protocols as well as various checks and balances in place to ensure consumer privacy, which is paramount in today’s world. At Title First, we pride ourselves on achieving the highest certification for cyber security audits, without exception, known as SSAE 18. In addition, Title First is Best Practices Certified by the American Land Title Association. In order to obtain these certifications, Title First has participated in rigorous, outside, third party audits that test our systems and ensures the company maintains privacy at every level. What does this mean for you and your clients? It means that you can rest easy knowing your client’s information and financials are safe within our company.

Larger, national title companies, such as Title First, have a strong network of contacts in the real estate industry. Whether it be lenders, national vendors, realtors, or private attorneys – national title companies have access to all of these partners and more, which provides consumers and clients with access to any resources they may need during their transaction. This access creates the best overall experience at the closing table for the consumer and their realtors! Some lenders will only work with certain title companies – some have a “preferred vendors” list. Title First has built these affiliations and relationships over more than 60 years in the business. A trusted partner can provide you with peace of mind so you can make it to your next listing appointment or showing, on time and without a worry.

Why not use a company with a proven history, and a large network of providers to ensure you get the most for your client? Title First does just that – “National Reach, Local Touch” – at every step of the way.


By: Angie W. Sherry, Esq.

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Title Insurance Protection

Having title insurance from Title First Agency will protect you from the possibility of a claim to ownership of your home by someone. It’s hard to believe this can happen, but it is more common than people think. It’s not usually a plot to steal your home but a confusion with the deed. The laws regarding property ownership are complex and when liens come into play, someone may believe they still own a house that was technically taken over by a bank.

Title problems appear when parties want to be repaid loans and bills outstanding by the same property. There is a lender that made the first mortgage; the lender that opened the home equity line of credit; contractors whose unpaid bills resulted in liens on the property; taxing districts; and even homeowners’ associations all lining up to be repaid from the proceeds of the house, it’s easy to see how they might not agree on who gets paid what, and when.

Without a title search, the buyer buys all those problems along with the house. The problems don’t go away just because there is a new owner. There have been examples of homeowners having to sell the house just to pay the bills.

Title searches are required by all lenders to be sure that title problems are cleared up before a home is bought. It’s not for you. It’s for them. If the lender makes a mortgage with another that already has claims against it, that lender is going to lose that money.

The Bottom Line: The title is proof that a piece of property is legally owned. It’s an extremely important document. Without a clear title, you are taking a tremendous gamble in purchasing a house or other property. The experts at Title First Agency oversee and perform thousands of closings each year. When using Title First, you can sign confidently on the dotted line knowing that all the details of your title transfer and closing are in proper order. We are here to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home, and our team will guide you through the entire process.

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Selling Your Home Steps to Take

1. Prepare your home for maximum earnings There are simple steps you can take to maximize your home’s appeal.

2. Enlist the help of a Realtor® to market and sell your home When selling your home, a Realtor® can provide expertise in valuing and advertising your home, qualifying and screening potential buyers, and negotiating contracts. If you are not able to enlist help from a Realtor®, Title First can provide you with assistance.

3. Negotiate a contract When you receive an offer for the purchase of your home, it must be in writing, generally on a preprinted real estate purchase contract from your local bar association or board of Realtors®. You may modify or alter the offer in any way you, your Realtor®, or your attorney wish. Offers and counter offers are made until the terms of the contract have been fully agreed to by all parties. When assessing offers and making counter-offers to the seller, don’t feel pressured to accept less than the value of your home.

4. Close on the property Before your home is officially sold, you must sign all appropriate documentation at your closing.

The closing will typically be held at a Title First office, the office of your realtor, lender or attorney, or sometimes on-location. Because your home represents one of the most significant investments you will make throughout your life, it is important that you feel comfortable with all the information being presented to you during the closing procedure.

Title First is dedicated to walking you through this important process with care and attention. When it’s time to set up your closing, don’t hesitate to tell your realtor or lender to call Title First, or feel free to give us a call if you’re working by yourself.

Be prepared for these seller’s fees commonly seen at the closing

Fees: Current loan payoff Conveyance fee, Title insurance examination, Title insurance commitment/premium for owner policy

Documentation to provide your Realtor® with: Tax receipts, Utility bills, Mortgage Payment

Information to provide to Title First: Your mortgage company name, address and account number. Any existing title insurance policy.

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Guide to Closing a Real Estate Deal

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.

Open an Escrow Agreement

An escrow account can be held by a neutral third party on behalf of the two principal parties involved in the transaction. They will hold all the money and documents related to the transaction until all is settled. 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

Once the title order is placed, the 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.

Obtain a 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.

Be Ready to Close

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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Get Your Home Ready to Sell in the Spring Market

Spring is right around the corner and while we are in the cold, gray days of February, now is a perfect time to get your home ready to put on the market to sell during the Spring market!

Start purging and packing. Go through your closets, attic, garage, basement, junk drawers and decide what you can throw out and what you want to save but don’t need and can box up. Reducing the amount of clutter will help potential buyers visualize how they might use the different areas. Plus, the less you have in a closet – the bigger it will seem.

Make improvements especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. It doesn’t need to be expensive. For instance, how do your kitchen cabinets look? Are they chipped or are the knobs falling off? Replace or repaint them, tighten the knobs or replace the hardware completely. Regrout tile where needed, caulk the shower and tub, replace switch plates and doorknobs- all this will give the bathroom a fresh look without breaking the bank.

How is your front door? The front hallway? The first thing a potential buyer will see when they come to your home. Give it a fresh coat of paint and clean or replace the knob and knocker if there is one. Look around at the foyer area and notice if you need to update the walls with neutral paint or clean the trim, if any.

Use neutral, gray or white paint on the walls in each room. Another relatively cheap and easy thing to do in the Winter months to get ready for Spring. Don’t just touch up – paint the entire wall. Now is the time to paint over the bright colors you may have used. If you have carpeting in any room, consider replacing to hardwood which will help the home sell, or at the very least get a good professional cleaning.

Go room to room in your warm home while the February snow is falling outside and scrutinize everything from switch plates to ceiling fans. Look for the tiny flaws that you haven’t noticed like cob webs in between the storm & the window. Have you dusted the shades? Cleaned the curtains? Not something people think to do on the weekly, but can make a huge difference. Simply get on the floor at kid and dog level and wipe down the baseboards and look for little fingerprints to wash away with mild soap and water. Put the brush attachement on your vacuum and run it over the walls.

The Bottom Line: It’s surprising, the little things you don’t notice daily in your home. But, taking the time and seeing things through the eyes of a potential buyer can greatly help to get your home ready for Spring. Sometimes asking a friend to come to do an honest walk through and point out problems will help. Now, might also be the perfect time to find a Realtor and have them come in your home and give you their feedback as well.

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Title Agency at Closing

Homeowners oftentimes have more than one mortgage on their property. Once sold, the mortgage has to be released so the buyer gets a clear title.

A mortgage is a debt secured by the collateral of specified real estate property, that the borrower is obliged to pay back with a predetermined set of payments. Mortgages are used by individuals and businesses to make large real estate purchases without paying the entire value of the purchase up front. To sell a house with a mortgage, the loan needs to be paid off the same day of the closing.

There is a lot going on at the closing of a property. Title First Agency plays a crucial role in the process of closing and protecting the seller from any unforeseen legal issues.  Title First Agency can assist with the loan transactions and handle the money between the buyer and seller. One of our agents will receive the money from the buyer, pay off the existing mortgage, remove the lien on the title and transfer the title to the new owner. We will be able to provide the agent with the mortgage payoff amount and account number before closing.

If there is money left over once the mortgage is paid, the seller could receive it within days, if not immediately at closing – each state is different.  Title First Agency, as the closing agent, will coordinate the activity and documentation from a variety of participants, pulling each piece of the transaction together.

Title First will finalize the deposits, wire transfers, and checks. After the closing, we will record the deed and the mortgage at the courthouse and prepare the owner’s and lender’s title policies. Buying or selling a home has become a complex transaction and you need a trusted title search company to guide you through the process.

The experts at Title First oversee and perform thousands of closings each year. When using Title First, you can sign confidently on the dotted line knowing that all details of your title transfer and closing are in proper order. We are here to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home, and our team will guide you through the entire process.  Call us today: 614-808-2062

 

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Real Estate & Social Media Marketing

Homebuyers used to open up their newspaper and look for properties for sale. Now, using social media platforms are an absolute must.

Instagram: Agents have the ability to generate leads, sales, and referrals from Instagram. Believed to be the perfect social media platform to showcase a property. There are over 700 million active users who like photos about 4.2 billion times per month. Predominantly accessed on a mobile phone enables the user to be engaged virtually anywhere, all day long, plus it’s user-friendly.  Using the right hashtags is also very important, as people use them to search for a particular topic on Instagram.

Twitter:  Another easy platform to use not only on a desktop computer but on a smartphone. Realtors can not only share their listings but other content, such as links to advice articles, news and anything that has to do with real estate (moving, adding value, advice, renovation and the location). It’s a good place to get into conversations with other Twitter users to make connections in the community.  As with Instagram, using the right hashtags is important, as people use them to search for a particular topic on Twitter.

Facebook:  More than 2 billion users worldwide and easy to set up an account. Post on a variety of topics – there is no need to only post photos. Do something different every day. Only post a “sales” post once every few days. Provide value to the person scrolling by. Every day, Realtors can connect with prospective home buyers and foster business relationships with peers. Most of all maintain these relationships by commenting on other pages, liking other pages’ posts, and never use an auto-scheduler to post on your behalf. Be authentic.

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FSBO Is Not Easy – Call A Realtor

Ready to sell your home? Of course, you want to make as much money as you can from the sale and you might be thinking your best plan to accomplish that is selling your home yourself – FSBO –  to avoid paying a real estate agent, which is understandable. But, we offer you a few reasons why hiring a good Realtor is a better idea.

Marketing a home is not easy:  Listing your home online doesn’t take much effort. Anyone can do that, which is why you must make your stand out and be noticed. A Realtor will have avenues to get the word out to other agents who are working in your price range and neighborhood, an option you won’t have to sell your home on your own. The Realtor’s very own website, Facebook & Instagram account will attract prospects that you simply won’t have the access to.

Qualifying a buyer is not easy:  There is a big difference between pre-approved for a mortgage and pre-qualified. A skilled Realtor will be able to find out whether the person that wants to see your house is qualified or just curious. Having to prepare your home to show takes a lot of work and you surely don’t want to put your life on hold while you ready your house for show – just for a curious neighbor. Realtors are trained to ask qualifying questions to determine the seriousness, qualification, and motivation of a person calling to see your home.

Staying unemotional about your home is not easy:  Selling your home and preparing to move is never easy and always an emotional process. A good Realtor will be there to buffer any situations that might occur because you might be letting your emotions take over. Most buyers know that an FSBO home has been priced by the seller and is quite often overpriced because they can’t detach themselves emotionally from their home. Savvy shoppers realize that after a while, sellers who can’t sell their home will finally hire a Realtor and the home will be on the market at the right price.  If they have the time to wait? They do. If not? They move on to another home.

Being home during the showing is not easy: Or smart. Nothing makes the buyers more uncomfortable than having the seller present when looking at a home. With FSBO you will have to be there touring your home with the potential buyer. More times than not, the showing will be rushed and some of your best selling points will be overlooked.

Negotiating is not easy: Especially if it’s your own home that you love and have emotional ties to. Negotiating is a complex matter and all transactions are unique.   Skilled Realtors know the laws, the contracts, the comparable sales, the closed sales that the banks usually look at when they decide to lend the money for the purchase, and the appraisal. There are plenty of points to negotiate on before the actual sale takes place. Repairs to the house, lawn upkeep, and even additions can be negotiated in the contract that may ultimately affect the price but can be negotiated almost entirely outside of the price discussion.  For every negotiating point, there’s a tactic to handle it best.

The bottom line:  Working without an agent requires a huge investment of time, knowledge, and effort. Besides separating your emotions from the home you love and possibly raised your family in, you should know how to stage it to sell, market it, negotiate and be able to accept a negative response from potential buyers. You can try to do it alone to save money, but hiring an agent has many advantages.  Interview and find the best Realtor in the area. Expect that they will be able to get the most exposure for your home, help you negotiate a better deal, and dedicate more time to your sale.  The right Realtor will bring expertise to the transaction, financially and legally.with many financial and legal

 

 

 

 

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