Mar 30, 2020

How title companies pay home sellers

When selling a property, everyone wants to collect a big check. Well, maybe not an actual paper check, but lots of money. If you’re getting funds from the sale of your house, there are a couple of ways to collect your money from the title company when it closes. Just a couple.

Would you like a check or a wire? Those are your basic choices. Title companies can also transfer the funds to another transaction if you are purchasing another property. But we’re not going to pay you in real paper cash, foreign currency, with PayPal, Venmo, Bitcoin or anything else.

If you want your funds as a paper check, keep in mind that your bank is likely to put a hold on the funds, thus keeping you from accessing the money immediately. How long a bank may hold a check depends on the check amount, how long you’ve had your account and the status of your bank account.

Your check deposit will have an automatic hold between one and 10 days business days before you can withdraw the money. You read that right. Up to 10 business days = two weeks. Check with your bank for details on held checks.

Most sellers prefer to receive their funds via wire transfer to their bank account. It’s pretty quick and simple. The title company will need your bank information, including account number, routing number, bank name and how your name appears on the account. All of that information is on a check. We know, no one writes checks anymore. So, dig one out of your desk drawer and bring it to closing. Or just look up your account information on your bank web site.

Don’t fret that sharing this information is risky. We’re all about protecting your financial data. This bank information is like a roach motel (where bugs check in but they don’t check out). We can send money into your account, but we can’t draw it out.

Typically, title companies don’t need your wiring information days in advance. I prefer to get the information at the closing table, directly from the sellers. Then there isn’t a risk of email hacking regarding their funds.

Banks have different wiring deadlines, which is why title companies like to schedule closings for earlier in the day. The deadlines for processing wires often range from 2 until 4:30 in the afternoon depending on which time zone the bank is located.

Before your funds can be wired there are several steps that must take place. Both buyers and sellers must sign all documents before they are scanned and sent to the buyer’s lender for review and approval. After the lender gives funding approval and all funds to close are at the title company, proceeds can be disbursed. That can take anywhere from 15 minutes to two or three hours.

Title companies are here to ensure sellers get their money. Help me, help you – and we’ll show you the money quickly.
[where: 75230]

Mar 22, 2020

Title Companies are still Open for Closings

As the situation with the novel coronavirus continues to evolve, the title business is responding. Currently, the title business is not seeing many interruptions in business. For the most part, transactions are not being delayed or canceled due to current restrictions. Aside from a few inconveniences, it’s mostly business as usual in the title world. 
Most Title Company Work Isn’t Public 
More than 95 percent of the work a title company does is away from public interaction. The actual in-person, signing of documents is just a small piece of the entire closing process. In my office, tables are being wiped down after each closing. Doorknobs, counters and other areas of public contact are being cleaned throughout the day.
Many offices are requesting that only the people required to sign documents attend the closing of the transaction. Agents, lenders, and any other unnecessary parties should not come in. Demand for mobile notaries and in-home closings has increased while the availability of mobile notaries is in short supply. But there is no panic surrounding the ability to close a transaction.
Government Closings Affect Real Estate Closings

What may affect real estate transactions are coronavirus-triggered closings of local government offices. Currently, many county courthouses, district clerks, recording offices, registrars, and other depositories of public records are implementing temporary closures of an undetermined period. How ‘closed’ they are varies between cities and counties. 
There are varying degrees of office closures. Some closures are basically “We’ve gone home and no one is here until we decide to come back.” For others, it’s business as usual, but only people who work there will be allowed in the building. 
The title business relies on government offices to obtain and record vital legal documents. We record deeds and search ownership documents, liens, judgments, etc. through government offices. Fortunately, many county recording offices accept and process electronic recording of documents from title companies. Since that doesn’t involve face-to-face contact, hopefully the process won’t slow much.
Business Continuity is Critical

Government office closures are not the only concern. Private office closings may affect our ability to get mortgage payoffs, HOA documents, lien releases, and other information necessary for normal transactions. Hopefully, those companies want to keep working as much as the rest of us. 
“We have put in place a business continuity plan so that we can continue to service our customers,” says Dawn Moore, CEO of Allegiance Title. “Currently, our offices remain open. The health and well-being of our customers and employees remain our first priority. To that end, Allegiance Title is taking every precaution to prevent potential service disruptions and do our part to slow the spread of the virus.” 
Many title employees are able to work from home and remain accessible through normal channels including web-based tools, email or telephone. Social distancing is also possible given the layout of many title company offices. 
Like other businesses, the buzzwords I’m hearing in the title world are ‘evolving’, ‘flexible’, ‘patience’ and ‘monitoring the situation.’ Regardless of the current situation, the people who want to buy or sell a home are still able to do it.  [where: 75230]

Mar 16, 2020

The World of Home Warranty companies

Home buyers often like the sense of protection they feel when getting a home warranty on the property they are buying. Until they discover their home warranty is much less effective than expected.

Seasoned and savvy buyers know that a home warranty policy offers limited coverage. They aren’t all-inclusive. In my opinion, some are kind of useless.

Why hate on home warranty companies? I order a lot of home warranty policies as part of my job. And I’ve had home warranty policies on my own properties. Seems like we all have stories of rejected claims and paltry payouts.

Most homeowners who get a home warranty policy do so at the time they purchase a home. Sometimes they negotiate for the seller to pay for a one-year policy as part of their purchase contract. That may be the best reason to get one.

“Any person can buy a home warranty in most cases,” says Julie Jones, Vice President of Real Estate Sales for Nations Home Warranty. “There are different plans and different pricing. You might get your best deal if you’re getting it at the time you are buying a home. “

Just what are home warranties and what do they cover?

A home warranty is also known as a Residential Service Contract. Residential Service Contracts cover a wide range of systems including appliances, plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, pools, and water heaters. They are intended to repair or replace an appliance or system when there is a mechanical failure due to normal wear and tear. They may cover a lot or a little. It depends on the company and the annual coverage you purchase.

“A home warranty policy basically covers mechanical failures,” Jones says. “Many home warranty companies also offer option coverages outside of mechanical failures such as rekey services, pest control, carpet cleaning. “

There are actually a few good reasons to get home warranty coverage. A new homeowner may use the property in a different way than the previous owner. Kitchens, bathrooms and appliances tend to be used more or less frequently by different families. You may run your heater, AC or utilities differently than the former occupants. This may cause stress on some systems.

“Homes get used to a certain rhythm. Things change when different people move in,” adds Jones. “And when you’re buying a used house, all you have is a home inspection and seller’s disclosure to tell you about the home.”

In Texas, home warranty companies must be licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission. A visit to the TREC web site shows the 50-plus licensed Residential Service Companies in Texas.

A handful of these companies are based in Texas. The only reason this carries weight with DFW consumers is the location of the call center. When your AC goes out in July, would you rather dial up someone in Dallas, out of the state or out of the country? “Our entire operation is here in DFW,” Jones states.

Keep in mind that a residential service contract is not homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s insurance covers loss to your home and property as a result of theft or perils like hail, wind and fire. They don’t cover appliances or household systems due to mechanical failure or normal wear and tear. A residential service contract can cover those types of losses but it will not cover damage to an appliance or system caused by those perils like fire, tornado, etc.

[where: 75230]