How Important Is The Title Company You Choose To Work With?
Do real estate buyers still need to work with title companies? If so, how much does the title company you choose really matter?
In the mad rush to scoop up real estate deals over the last decade, many homebuyers and real estate investors have tried going without title companies. Others simply haven’t cared who is handling their titles. This has ended in financial disaster more than once. We’re not just talking about losing an investment property: we are talking about losing the family home, complete bankruptcy, and maybe worse. Unless the title to your properties are secure, you are legally protected, and your money is safe, anything can happen. If you are one of the few exposed, you are at great risk. So what are some of these risks? How can a title company really help? How much difference does a good title company make? What should homebuyers and real estate investors be looking for?
Owner’s Title Insurance Policies
No buyer should be skimping on Owner’s Title policies. It is important to note that they may not always be included, even though they should be. This is the only policy that insures your title for you (the owner), your rights to the property, and ensures legal help in case of attempted fraud. Don’t buy without one, unless you are willing to gamble everything you’ve got.
Title searches are key to obtaining a title insurance policy. Some have tried skating by with a title search alone, instead of insurance. This can turn into a nightmare. Either way, a great search needs to be performed, and should be updated right before closing. This will reveal any liens or major title issues, or the lack of them, while ensuring a legitimate transaction.
How fast can your title company turn around an order? Speed is everything in real estate.
Investor Friendly Title Companies
Whether you are an investor purchasing property or selling to an investor, make sure you are working with an investor friendly title company. If not, it could be a tough transaction with lots of potential to fall apart. These title companies understand how investors work, understand their needs and challenges, and know how to make deals work legally. This includes legally flipping houses, and legal ‘double’ closings.
Sound escrow management is critical. In fact, this is one of the major differences between title companies, and why buyers need to choose their own title companies. Depositing directly with the seller, or their real estate agent opens buyers up to a lot of risk in losing their earnest money. Your own title company should be on your side during any escrow disputes. Yet, there is an even bigger danger with escrow that many don’t realize: poorly managed escrow. If your title company isn’t financially sound, they may keep money held in reserve for items like property taxes. Some have even withheld the payoffs of mortgages to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. That results in the seller still owing their mortgage company, the buyer having a giant mortgage lien, or delinquent taxes and HOA fees. Beyond the expense, this can quickly led to a foreclosure.
Does your title company offer convenient closings? This is especially critical for real estate investors with regular deals. Ensuring closings are convenient for all parties is a big deal for keeping transactions together, and ensuring returns. Will they offer mobile closings at any location? What about after hours and weekend closings? Closings by mail?
This is where your title company, and their individual closers can become the most important and valuable players in the entire real estate transaction process. Nothing else matters if the deal doesn’t close at the table. There are dozens of objections that can arise and things that can go wrong at the closing table. Unless your closer is skilled at keeping the deal together and getting signatures, everything can be lost in a moment.
Referrals, Client Retention, and Real Estate Leads
Where great title companies can make all the difference in your own success is fueling you with leads. During the process of managing your transactions, they can be pivotal in pumping up how great you are, and ensuring more repeat business. Title companies are also the gatekeepers of leads and real estate data. They have a very trusted relationship with all of their past contacts, and other real estate professionals. They can literally provide you with thousands of real estate leads and referrals, for free. Then there are even cross marketing opportunities that can cut costs, and boost ROI. Just make sure it is done legally to avoid massive fines.