How Important are Title Companies?

Having a great title company makes a huge difference in how (and when) your real estate transactions are accommodated.  If the title agent is good you will have fewer crises that so often disrupt or destroy your transactions, it can mean the difference between being paid and being disappointed.  In my opinion a good title agent is worth his or her weight in gold.

My expectation is that a title company has a system in place that tracks and updates the broker, the agents, the buyer and the seller involved in a transaction weekly or if it's a long drawn out deal at least once every 2 weeks.  We are in the computer age, it's not like contacting multiple parties is rocket science, but I still end up in deals where the title company doesn't have a clue who I am and doesn't take the time to update me and I'm one of what, two brokers?

I want my title company to return my phone calls promptly.  I know it's a lot to ask, but I really don't like being ignored.  Again that seems like something you would learn in Business 101, but you would be amazed how many times someone doesn't call me back and I have to chase down a title agent to get information that I requested more than once.

I also expect my title insurance company contact / representative to follow my reasonable written and my verbal instructions.  Again it sounds like something that should be a no brainer, but you would be surprised, some title agents think they know better or decide that they are going to follow their written procedure and they don't care what you ask them to do.  After 35 years in the real estate business not following my instructions is one of the fastest ways to get on my no call list.

If a title insurance company makes my life miserable during the escrow of my transaction then I'm never going back to that office again.  If my experience is exceptionally bad I may not go back to the same title company again.  I am amazed that title companies do not know who brings them their business.  It's real estate agents and broker, and while buyers and sellers try to direct me to someone they know I tell them it's a deal killer, because the wrong title company and the wrong title agent will indeed kill a deal.

Working with a title company is not a one way street, and if you think that you as an agent can put all of the responsibility for getting a deal closed on the title company you should expect to lose a lot of deals.  There is only so much that title companies can do to put a deal together and keep it together.  Real estate agents have to understand that what the problems are in an escrow and how to solve them.

The first potential problem for an escrow is a title or ownership issue.  If you find that the seller needs one or more unanticipated parties to sign-off to close a deal, that can end it.  There isn't much worse for a real estate agent than putting a deal together to find that the owner is not the only party who needs to sign for it it to close.

Title insurance reports also identify roadway easements, utility easements, which parties own mineral rights, if there are deed restrictions and it identifies a number of other factors that can become potentially deal breaking issues.  An ALTA policy if ordered requires a survey and it can be invaluable for identifying encroachments and locating easements.

A good title insurance company with competent agents can give you a higher sale to closing ratio and save you time and a lot of grief.  If you are doing commercial deals you need a title agent with commercial experience, not a strong residential agent.  So make sure you are working with someone who can actually help you and not hinder you.

Glenn Rigdon is a commercial real estate broker and commercial real estate appraiser located in Henderson Nevada and can be contacted at his email address being grigdon@cox.net and additional information is available via the www.horizonvillagerealty.com internet website.  www.appraisalarticles.com is another site that you can reference for appraisal related issues.


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