About a year ago, I started casually asking home owners what their title agent did for them, or if they understood what a title search was, and why it was important. What I learned was that a lot of home owners don’t know what their title agent did for them, or exactly what a title search is, or why it was done. As most of you know by now, I don’t believe in rushing my clients to the closing table, shoving a pen in their hand, and handing them off to a closing agent. I believe that my clients should know every aspect of this decision, why they are signing, what they are signing, and the importance of it before they get to closing. So, when Paige Floyd-Hart of Mason Title & Escrow Company in Niceville offered to be a guest blogger for us, and explain what she does and why, I couldn’t say “YES” fast enough.
Searching For Hidden Defects Is Like a Treasure Hunt In Our Business
By Paige Floyd-Hart
I was recently in Kissimmee at a continuing education seminar. One of the speakers made a joke about being in the title business. The joke was about the fact that no one knows what we do. He said that when a friend asked what he did, he replied, “I’m in the title business,” to which the friend replied, “Isn’t that a scam?” The room roared with laughter because if you have been in the title business long enough, you have actually been asked this exact same question.
I’ve heard many replies when I have answered the question, “What do you do?” While on an airplane once, “The cattle business! How many head do you have?” I (laughingly) had to tell him it was not the cattle business (which seems far more glamorous at times) but the title insurance business. Then there was another who thought it was the title pawn business. No, I will not hold your car title for $100 nor do I suggest you ever utilize those types of companies. Oh and lastly, another common question is, “No kidding, what are rates like today?” I have no idea, check the news, better yet call a local lender I will refer you to.
The joke got me thinking about the title insurance business, my 30-second pitch on what I do and how as an industry, we fail to often enough present the power and importance of our role. It’s no wonder people have no idea what the title insurance business is and the value our role in real estate has.
So allow me to briefly ameliorate your understanding of title insurance and what we do.
Title insurance is different than most any kind of insurance. We are not in the casualty business. We don’t like to assume risks rather, we do the opposite of what your homeowner’s agent does in that we eliminate the risk up front for a one-time premium. The majority of our work is done behind the scenes, never touching the clients. And maybe that is part of the reason why outsiders don’t understand our value. They don’t see all of the work that goes into the closing. These days if you want to know how much pain and effort went into making your soufflé’ or creating your wedding cake, just turn on TLC or the FoodNetwork. We get it, we are willing to pay a premium for those results, they make us (and our taste buds) feel good. No one wants to see a reality show about a title insurance agent. It might go something like, today, I spent hours on the phone chasing down a defunct lender’s paper trail trying to obtain a release of a mortgage from 1998; another 30 minutes tracking down a contractor who failed to terminate his Notice of Commencement; 2 hours in a closing where the figures were wrong and the seller cried half the time; another hour on the phone with a seller’s ex-wife only to find out he has a new wife with the exact same name and we need them both to sign the Deed; and possibly a defective Deed or other document in between to cure. Pleasant! It’s not sexy… Sure, this is not every day but it kinda feels like a lot of them. We do have some joyous days, seeing that seller close on their home they’ve been waiting 18 months for, being able to feel the relief it has brought to their lives; the couple buying their dream retirement home or family condo. I digress.
The point (finally, she gets to it!) is that title insurance is a valuable part of the real estate industry. We are unique and have a critical part in your closing. We clear up the issues before they arise (the Treasure Hunt) and insure that you and/or your lender have a valid ownership interest or encumbrance, respectively, against the home. For a one-time premium, up-front. If your homeowner’s agent could promise that he’d eliminate all of the risk of a house fire up front and you’d never, ever have one, that’d be pretty valuable wouldn’t it? Drastic, I realize but I urge you to consider the importance of the title insurance industry and their role in your closing. A title agent can be a Realtor’s valued asset in the closing process.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave comments or questions in the comment area below, and we will be happy to run them down and get an answer back to you.