Category: Resources


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.)

The 2019 NS3 Summit: Our Key Takeaways

Florida Agency Network (FAN) is dedicated to ongoing education and being at the forefront of the industry, so it was only natural for us to have several FAN Executives attend this year’s 2019 National Settlement Services Summit. From the Underwriter Panel and Compliance Management Systems Seminar to the Consumer Privacy and Protection Workshop, the eClosing Seminar, and all the interesting topics in between, Aaron Davis, Mike Larosa, Amy Gregory, Andrea Somers, and Jay Roberts made the most of their experience – and, of course, had a whole lot of fun along the way!

Our FAN team received some excellent takeaways from this year’s Summit, including a few key points from their favorite speakers:

  1. Growing a Title Business Is All in the Marketing. Our team learned how to better market their differentiators to further command Title Companies’ recognition and grow their businesses. This year, it’s all about leveraging Remote Online Notarization, or RON, to separate yourself from the crowd.
  2. Compliance Is Best When Intertwined with Automation. Those who haven’t automated their compliance management systems are sure to get left behind. It’s always best to work with integrated, automated compliance management systems to keep clients satisfied – and regulators at bay.
  3. eClosings Are the Future. Consumers absolutely love eClosings, but there are too many Title Companies out there that don’t have the experience to make an eClosing a seamless experience. Fortunately, we are glad to be ahead of the game. FAN not only was the first to do this in FL, but we do more eClosings in Florida than any other Title Company at this time. Want more information? Learn more about eClosings today.

We are still buzzing about all of the things we learned, are busy strategizing the best ways to move forward with all the recent industry changes, and are eager to see what’s in store for FAN in the year ahead!

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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.


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.


Welcome to Florida: Buyer Pick or Seller Pick?

Here’s a little disclaimer Aaron M. Davis, CEO of Florida Agency Network, likes to give when speaking on title insurance in Florida.

“Florida, where a judgment can attach to a piece of property simply by filing a document with the clerk, and the name doesn’t even have to be spelled correctly.

Florida, where the county may or may not have to actually FILE an enforcement action on a property for it to attach, as long as they were thinking about doing it at some time.

Florida, where an unlicensed contractor can pull a permit on a house to put on a new roof, not close a permit, and 10 years later you have to hire a licensed contractor to go back, fix the prior’s work, and close the permit.

Florida, were the seller picks the title agent or attorney, and pays for title insurance, but only depending on the county you are in. Or, even depending on what PART of a county you’re in.”

Across the country, there are 37 states where the buyer picks/pays for title and 12 states where it’s customary for the seller to do so.

Then there’s Florida.

Where the Buyer picks in:

  • The Panhandle
  • Sometimes around the beach areas in Sarasota
  • South Manatee County (but only to the Manatee River, where North is customary for seller to pick)
  • Miami-Dade County
  • Broward County
  • Collier County
  • Some of Palm Beach County, but not North…..

Then, seller picks in the majority of the other areas…

HUH???

Title scholars, settlement experts, underwriting counsel, and others  who still say things like “HUD statements, policies in triplicate, dot matrix printers, and white out,” have contemplated WHY this occurs in Florida.

Well, Aaron has figured it out!  We can blame two men named Henry. (Of course, it’s a man’s fault.)

Henry Plant and Henry Flagler

These two gentlemen were railroad tycoons who ventured deep into Florida. The areas they ended up in became tourist destinations, with great beaches, water access, and lots of construction opportunities. Plant’s rail line landed in Sarasota, and Flagler’s line had a few stop down the East coast of Florida, landing in Palm Beach and Miami.

With all those tourists and construction came the attorneys who handled those transactions, several of who previously resided in New York. And in New York, you guessed it – it’s customary for the buyer to pick and pay for title.

As for coastal areas, well, those buyers are typically wealthy, so we guess they just get stuck with the bill.


Are You Helping the Bad Guys?

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You may not know it, but your email and web browsing habits may be inadvertently helping the “bad guys” take your personal information, or nonpublic private information (NPPI). Hackers are targeting the real estate industry by utilizing sophisticated techniques and technology to hack into existing email threads and redirect the communication, and far worse, the funds, elsewhere. For real estate agents and their clients, this could mean a big payday for hackers, as well as an enormous headache, and possibly legal action, for agents and their clients.

To protect you and your clients, Aaron M. Davis, CEO of Florida Agency Network (FAN), has compiled a list of actions agents should take to help prevent exposing themselves and their clients to a potential hacking situation.

  • Make sure your title agent only sends encrypted wire instructions directly to the buyer and does not copy the real estate agent. (Many like to include the agent as a means of notification, but this puts the transaction at risk.)
  • Advise your clients that they will only receive the wire instructions ONCE from your title company, and then call to confirm, at a phone number you know to be authentic, prior to sending a wire.
  • Hackers use keyword searches when seeking out fraudulent misdirection opportunities. Stay away from using words in the subject of your emails like “WIRE”, “FUNDS”, and “FUNDING”, as these terms are what hackers are looking for.
  • Change your email password(s) once per month.
  • If you click on a suspicious email link or document, immediately change your password.
  • Invest in antivirus software.
  • Make sure you update your computer patches. Antivirus patches and cell phone updates should be applied immediately upon release, as most are released to address security flaws.
  • Educate your clients on industry scams. Forward this link to clients for further information: https://www.ic3.gov/media/2016/160614.aspx

Hackers have infiltrated our industry and figured out how to create chaos. The most effective way to fight back is to educate yourself and partner with companies that monitor and secure their networks.

Through FAN’s partner, Premier Data Services, agencies within the Network stay up-to-date on compliance initiatives and policies. Each agency hosted by Premier Data Services is SOC 2 compliant, and is audited and verified by a third-party specialist organization, 360Advanced. FAN and its agencies gladly take on the responsibility of not only insuring the title to your home, but also in safeguarding your NPPI.

 

 

Have questions? Get answers, and get social with us. Follow us on Facebook and stay up-to-date with valuable resources and information.

6 Selling Mistakes

If you’re selling, don’t do these things – take some notes from the video!
1. Don’t Sell Before The House Is Ready.

If it doesn’t present well, it won’t sell well.

2. Don’t Over-Improve

People buy houses in neighborhoods.

If yours is so “improved” that it sticks out you’re hurting your chances at selling.

3. Hire Wrong

Make your agent choice for business reasons.

Personal relationships matter, but experience and expertise will determine financial success in your sale.

4. Don’t Hide Anything

Covering up or ‘failing to mention’ real problems doesn’t work.

State disclosure laws are strict and you can be sued after the sale for anything that should have been made clear.

5. Don’t Rush

You should know about your mortgage, including pre-payment penalties your market conditions and trends and your options for your next home before jumping on the market.

6. Don’t Get Too Emotional

Your attachment to your house and your own financial needs

don’t really matter in the transaction.

If you can’t set them aside the sale won’t go as you’d like it to.

Remember – it was your home but to the buyer it’s as a house.

 

How Do I Make A Home Ready To Sell?

As we show you in this video, start several months before the property is made available. Look through the eyes of a buyer

  • What needs to be cleaned?
  • Repainted?
  • Repaired?
  • Or tossed?

Ask yourself – or a friend, If you were buying this house what would you want to see?

The goal is to show a home that looks good makes the most of its assets like space and location and attracts as many buyers and as much demand as possible.

Allow yourself enough lead time – not just a day or two – to make the most of the sale. And get help from a real estate agent – early.

What Steps Need To Be Taken To Secure A Loan?

You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later, but the first step in securing a loan is to complete a loan application.

To do so, you’ll need the following information.

  • Pay stubs for the past 2-3 months.
  • W-2 forms for the past 2 years.
  • Information on long-term debts.
  • Recent bank statements tax returns for the past 2 years.
  • Proof of any other income.
  • Address and description of the property you wish to buy.
  • A sales contract on the home you want to buy.

During the application process, the lender will order a report on your credit history and a professional appraisal of the property you want to purchase. The application process typically takes between 1-6 weeks.