All posts by Frances


FAN CEO Educates Title Agents at a Statewide Conference on eClosing

Aaron M. Davis presenting to title agents at Alliant Conference

As technology progresses, title agents must stay up-to-date on trends and advancements – or risk getting left behind. At FAN, we have embraced the digital age and are helping title agents across the State of Florida learn the ins and outs of title closings in this digital era.

Earlier this month, our CEO, Aaron Davis, led a presentation at a conference for licensed title agents at the Gaylord Palms Conference Center in Orlando with the aim of providing resources for title agents to get ahead of the game on upcoming legislation and the changes that will soon sweep the industry.

 

At the conference, attendees enjoyed learning more about the various types of eclosings available. They were also educated on the different types of eClosings, including hybrids, in person, and RON, or Remote Online Notarization, and discussed numerous digital closing topics, such as:

  • Ethics, Laws & Rules Governing RON
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Securities of the Paperless Closing
  • Effects of eClosing on the Industry
  • The digital Closing Room Experience
  • and More!

The attending agents were able to earn CE credit as a result of their participation and are now better prepared to transition into the era of eClosings and remote online notarization.

How are you and your team preparing for the upcoming legislative changes? Are you prepared to offer eClosings and accommodate closers who wish to utilize RON during their closing process? If not, you can now request a course from FAN to better prepare you and your agents before the New Year. Email us now to find out more information or to schedule your course.


5 Safety Tips for Every Real Estate Agent

Picture of a woman being followed

As a real estate agent, leads never take a day off. September is Realtor Safety Month, and we want you to keep safety a priority when meeting with potential leads & clients. According to the National Association of REALTOR® 2018 Member Safety Report, 33% of real estate professionals experienced a situation that made them fear for their safety. Do not become complacent with your safety!

Here are 5 safety tips you can use this month, and beyond:

  1. Meet first in public. While real estate agents are becoming more and more mobile, it’s important to set your initial meeting somewhere public like your broker’s office where you can confirm their professionalism and introduce your potential customer to a few others in your office. If this isn’t available, meet somewhere with lots of activity like a coffee shop or restaurant, and ask for identification as part of your process with all new customers.
  2. Let the client lead the way. During a showing, allow your client to walk in front of you and guide you where they want to see. If you need to lead them to a feature or room, direct them where to go as they walk in front. When leaving open houses have a coworker meet you to check all rooms before locking up together.
  3. Let your smartphone be your safety net. Add your emergency contacts, coworkers and a few family members as favorites in your phone, giving you easier access to the dial them quick, in case of an emergency and research safety apps for further reassurance. Apps like Facebook Messenger, Share My Location, Google Maps and more can share your location with selected friends, while Lifeline Response and bSafe can contact emergency services silently, or even fake a phone call to get out of uncomfortable situations. Find what works for you and your business model.
  4. Keeping it old school. Before the advent of smart phones, the “buddy system” was used to help keep realtors safe. Work with at least one other agent closely to share plans for your day, contact information of new clients, and for hosting events like open houses. Joining networking groups is a great way to make these types of connections.
  5. Automobile maintenance. Be sure to keep up with your car’s maintenance and always keep at least a half a tank of gas. Some agents cover the bottom half of their gas gauge with a post-it note to remind them to fill up sooner. Keeping your car up and running will help prevent breakdowns in areas you might not know very well and get in practice of locking your doors every time you leave the car.

Above all else, trust your instincts! If something doesn’t feel right do not hesitate to cancel a showing, open house or meeting.

 

 


Swipe Right and Match with the Perfect Title Company

Tips on finding the right title insurance company for your real estate transaction.

It's a Match with Florida Agency Network

In a world full of left-swipe worthy businesses, it’s difficult to know which title insurance company to choose for your transaction. Before you swipe right and do business with the wrong title insurance company, here are some things to consider before you choose your perfect match in a title company.

 

Company Longevity

We see it time and time again, a title company seems to pop up overnight and is ready to do business. However, can you trust the work that is being done throughout your transaction? How do you know your private information is protected?

Find out how long the title insurance company has been doing business. A title insurance company that’s been in the industry for a longer period knows the ins and outs and can speak to common questions or issues that come up, with ease. A title insurance company’s longevity shows efficient and effective processes in place. And with experience comes stability and peace of mind for all those experiencing the closing process. That leads to the next point.

 

Company Accommodations

Life can get busy. Going out of your way to get to, or handle anything thing for your closing can become a hassle. Look for a title insurance company that has multiple locations or can accommodate you during the closing process. Do they offer mobile closing or mobile notary services to their clients? Do they offer e-closings or remote online notaries (RON)? These are just a few of the points you’ll want to discuss with your title insurance company.

 

Company Strength & Support

“A great captain is great only if he has a great team.”

Your title insurance company is only as good as the team they provide to their clients. Choosing a title insurance company with a large, experienced, and dedicated staff are the qualities you want in your closing team. It’s critical that your closing team has the correct licensing and educational background to get you through the entire closing process.

Don’t forget to inquire about the title insurances company’s support; Who do they underwrite with? What type of errors & omissions (E&O) policy do they carry? This may all sound foreign to you as a buyer or seller, but this information shows the strength of a title company when difficult situations arise.

 

Company Reputation

A title company with longevity and experience has built a reputation within the real estate industry. You should place your trust in a title company that is the leader in customer and employee satisfaction.

Ask your real estate professional about their experience(s) with the title insurance company. Don’t forget to do your online research. Read through online reviews on their social pages, Google and more. It’s common to have a problem here or there, but is there a trend your finding with each customer experience?

 

There are many points to consider when swiping right on your perfect title insurance company. Florida Agency Network brands not only can close your real estate transaction at any of the many locations throughout the State of Florida, but also close your transaction at any place convenient to you with mobile notaries, e-closing and remote online notarization (RON) partners, FAN brands have the large footprint you want to have on your side.

Our closing staff has many years of experience in title insurance and closings.  We also work with several underwriters which gives us the resources to close deals other title insurance companies cannot.


2019 Christmas in July Recap

This year’s Christmas in July Client Appreciation Event was a huge success thanks to YOU!

Because of our attendees, clients, and friends, Florida Agency Network raised $11,000 for Metropolitan Ministries! Thank you, thank you! We are looking forward to what next year brings!

You can watch a recap video by clicking HERE.

Click the “gallery” button below to browse the photo galleries. Feel free to save whichever pictures you’d like.

Be sure to tag #FANXmas19 on social media so we can see everyone’s photos.

 

 

(Press the back arrow at the bottom, right-hand corner to go back within the galleries.)

Florida Agency Network Executives Receive Elite ‘CAMS’ Anti-Money Laundering Credentials

Amy Gregory (CAO), Andrea Somers (Compliance Officer), and Jay Roberts (CTO), of Florida Agency Network were awarded the widely recognized CAMS® credential by the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists® (ACAMS®), the world’s leading organization of professionals in the anti- money laundering (AML) field.

Exec standing and smilingThe CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist) designation is awarded to professionals who successfully complete a rigorous examination demonstrating their aptitude and expertise in anti-money laundering detection and enforcement. The examination covers money laundering and terrorist financing methods, the best practices to stop these and other financial crimes, as well as key related legislation in place worldwide, global AML standards and developing defenses for financial institutions to stop terrorist financing and money laundering.

“Earning the CAMS credential places the successful candidate in an elite group of AML professionals and assures employers in the private and public sectors that they are working with someone with the essential knowledge and background in this crucial and challenging field,” said Timothy D. McClinton, President & Managing Director of ACAMS.

“With more FinCEN geographic targeting orders coming on a regular basis now, we thought it was incredibly important to stay ahead of the curve and be one of the first Title Agencies in the country to achieve this. This credential, along with our SOC 1 and 2, also helps us meet our company goal of providing clients with security to close with any of our brands,” stated Aaron Davis, CEO for Florida Agency Network.

“Achieving this credential is a major accomplishment for us. It further solidifies our company’s commitment to not only providing a safer environment for our customers but also helping to provide a more stable financial landscape in the industry,” said Andrea Somers, Compliance Officer for Florida Agency Network.

Money hanging our on a laundry line

Founded in 2001, ACAMS is the largest international membership organization dedicated to enhancing the knowledge and expertise of AML/CTF and financial crime detection and prevention professionals. ACAMS’ mission is to provide a global platform for career development for leading professionals in the AML field. ACAMS gives members the insight, information and inspiration they need to protect their institutions against the threat of money laundering, terrorist financing and related financial crime, and the tools to advance their skills and keep the AML professional ahead of those that engage in these criminal activities. CAMS is the most widely recognized AML certification among compliance professionals worldwide.

For more information, please visit www.acams.org.


Do you have the POWER?

When and how a power of attorney for a spouse works in a real estate transaction.

 

Wooden figures hugging

Contrary to popular belief, a marriage license doesn’t necessarily give a spouse automatic power to make decisions on the other spouse’s behalf. While spouses may have rights to things like joint bank accounts and medical records, property rights can be restricted. To conduct a real estate transaction on behalf of a spouse or other person, an approved power of attorney is necessary.

 

 

WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY?

A power of attorney is a document which gives a person, called an “agent”, legal authority to act and make decisions on behalf of the spouse. The amount of power given to the agent can be limited, depending on what is agreed upon.

For real estate transactions, a power of attorney would need to specify the agent is authorized to make the specific decisions for the buyer or seller’s spouse.

 

WHY DO I NEED A POWER OF ATTORNEY?

Most real estate transactions will not need a power of attorney. However, if your spouse is unable to sign the mortgage or the deed or any other documents needed for various reasons, you will need to have an approved power of attorney.

If there is a power of attorney already created, it’s best to get that over to your title company and lender, if applicable, as soon as possible. That way, your closing team and lender has time to review and make sure the power of attorney is approved and ensuring your closing goes as smooth as possible.

 

WHAT ARE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH A POWER OF ATTORNEY?

If you’re closing with any title brand in The Florida Agency Network and it involves the issuing of your title policy, there is no charges to you for drafting a specific power of attorney for the real estate transaction.

If you need a power of attorney drafted for other reasons or you’ve made arrangements directly with an attorney, there are possible charges for this. Fees may vary, based on the attorney or law office you and your spouse do business with.

 

Before starting your real estate transaction, where a power of attorney is needed, make sure the power of attorney is ready or there is a plan in place to get one drafted. Contact any of our offices for more information on how to get the processes started for your closing.


5 Ways Title Insurance Protects You after a Home Purchase is Completed

Family moving into a new home

As a new homeowner, protecting your investment is at the top of the “to-do” list. From buying security systems to obtaining homeowners insurance, there are countless ways to protect your investment. Obtaining title insurance through an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy, insures your homeownership rights aren’t affected after you’ve purchased your home.

Here is a list of a few examples that can come up after your home purchase.

  1. Boundary and Survey disputes:
    When closing with a title agency, request a survey of your property. This shows the boundary lines, easements and encroachments of the property. With this information, you will better understand your property and protecting you from anyone making claim to portions of your property.
  2. Errors in closing documents:
    Clerical errors beyond your control can affect the Deed and/or Mortgage on your property.
  3. Unknown liens:
    Prior owners of your property may have “overlooked or forgotten” certain bills pertaining to your new property. While this isn’t your own debt, or your fault, financial institutions can place liens on the property for unpaid debts, even after you’ve closed.
  4. Missing heirs or undiscovered wills:
    There are cases where heirs go missing or are unknown at a person’s time of death. Other times, family members may discover, or challenge, a will for property rights long after you’ve purchased your home.
  5. False Impersonations & Forgery:
    Common or similar names make it easy for a person to impersonate a property owner and putting you at risk. If you purchase your property from a person not the rightful owner, your ownership rights are in jeopardy.
    The same goes for forged or fabricated documents filed with public records. If a previous “owner” has no rights to the property, you risk losing your property.

For buyers, one of the most important ways to protect your property rights is getting an owner’s title insurance policy, or title insurance. Agencies within The Florida Agency Network provide homeowners with the peace of mind and the smooth closing they deserve.

Contact any of our offices for more information on our closing services and how we can help you during the closing process.


Total Title Solutions Joins FAN to Bring Additional Title Resources to Clients

Florida Agency Network (FAN) expands into key Florida markets! Today, April 15, marks the first day of a new merger between Total Title Solutions (TTS) and FAN.

“As a team, we are excited about the services and products that FAN has to offer. We all believe that the TTS way is already above and beyond the standards of the Title Industry,” says Angie Haddon, Chief Operating Officer of TTS. “However, the merger with FAN will make a superior experience! Anyone involved in the real estate transaction will continue to be in GREAT hands.”

FAN will take control of TTS’ operations.  Angie Haddon will become a Division Manager for FAN, while Lisa Jahr will be promoted to Regional Manager and will oversee offices throughout the Tampa Bay Area. The merger will bring 27 new team members to the FANily and grow FAN’s geographical footprint by 5 additional offices, which include two in Pinellas, two in Pasco, and one in Hernando County.

“We are so excited to have TTS become part of FAN and continue to grow our footprint in the Tampa Bay Area. Abe, Angie, and the team have a like-minded culture to FAN, and we are grateful for the opportunity to service our clients together,” stated Amy Gregory, President of Title Operations for FAN.


Who’s responsible for wire fraud?

We hear about it all the time, wire fraud, cyber security, secure networks and portals. We don’t think it can happen to us, until it does.

The way wire fraud cases are handled is changing. No one is exempt from wire fraud, and going forward, everyone in a transaction could be held responsible for the wire fraud.

As Thomas W. Cronkright II, Esq. and Lawrence Duthler, Esq. of CertifID LLC show in their recent report, all participants in a transaction are responsible for wire fraud loss. A recent Kansas Federal District Court decision ruling found a bank, title company, real estate agent, and real estate broker liable in a transaction hit with wire fraud. The cybercriminal hacked into the seller’s agent’s email and was able to reroute the buyer’s wire to a fraudulent bank account. The buyer lost $196,622.76 that day, none of which was recovered.

According to the report:

“The buyer argued that all defendants had a duty to protect them from the losses they incurred and that the failure of these defendants to live up to that duty led to the fraudulent loss of their funds. In response, the defendants responded by arguing that they owed no duty to the buyer because they did not serve in a formal representative or fiduciary capacity.”

While the bank and title company settled in mediation, it was the seller’s real estate agent and broker who were found liable for 85% of the losses during the transaction, since the fraudulent email came from the seller’s agent.

We don’t think it can happen to us, until it does. And if it does, all parties in the transaction may be held liable. Are you ready for it?

“All defendants had a duty to protect them from the losses.” We all have the duty to protect our clients. That’s why it’s so important to do business with a title company who can secure you and your clients. Agencies in the Florida Agency Network are among the Nation’s top 1% in security, compliance and innovative technology. We work hard behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly, and your clients are protected.

For more information on how we can secure your closing, contact us at info@flagency.net or visit any of our offices.


Christmas in July Wrap Up

It’s a wrap on our inaugural Christmas in July Client Appreciation Party!

We are so thankful and excited about how well our first ever Christmas in July Client Appreciation Party went!

Thanks to the efforts of our clients and employees, we were able to fill three barrels  and 10 large bags with toys and supplies for Metropolitan Ministries.

For those who weren’t able to attend, we’re sorry you had to miss out! Ask any one of the 200+ attendees and they’ll let you know that SANTA CAME INTO TOWN! 

 

 

Santa made a special appearance at the Christmas in July party, handing out goodies to those on the nice AND the naughty list!

But the best part, was all of our clients and friends who were able to join us in the fun celebrations;

THANK YOU!!!!