Communication is the Key to Success

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

One of the most important aspects of Real Estate is communication. Often times it is the most commonly missed aspect. In real estate, there are so many moving pieces to the puzzle. There are the Realtors who handle everything between the parties, inspections, negotiations, and so forth. The Lender who processes the loan with their own internal departments while still coordinating with the Realtors and Title Company/Attorney. Then, there is the Title Company who desperately tries to hold everything together for everyone.

The challenge Title Companies face is that they not only need to know title, but they need to fully understand the Realtor and Lender processes as well to be successful. That’s a LOT of information to learn. Not to mention, learning never ceases due to continuous regulation and/or law changes within the industry. The reason our job is so crucial in being perfect, is ultimately we are responsible for a lot of money being properly disbursed. We are responsible for the biggest investments of people’s lives being handled correctly. It’s a lot of pressure to be honest. Exciting but scary all at the same time.

The hardest part is realizing how often the title company is not updated accordingly. For whatever reason, our piece of the puzzle is often left out inadvertently. The sad reality is that when the title company isn’t kept informed, that’s when the deal can fall to pieces. Quickly. So often Realtors are misguided by Lenders, and vice versa; where if someone would have just asked the title company, they probably could have given the most accurate information needed. Title companies, and attorneys, are held to a much higher standard for fully understanding the process; more so than Realtors and Lenders, because ultimately if there’s a screw up it’s left on the title company to fix. At whatever cost.

When working with Agents, I try to encourage them to really communicate EVERYTHING to the title company. Too much info is better than not enough info. We would rather you tell us everything to avoid any potential delays in closing, than realize when it’s too late that information should have gone to the title company that didn’t. One of the biggest things forgotten is telling the title company when a closing is moving up. I think so often many do not realize that the title company as well has a file to process, and coordinate timely with obtaining payoffs, HOA estoppels, seller docs if they aren’t local, etc. Many times closings are moved up substantially and never has the title company been informed of the changes agreed on. This is also relevant to contract addenda. So often the title company never receives any of the addendum’s changing contract terms and are left not having the accurate details.

Our goal at the title company is to make closings seamless for all parties. However, we cannot obtain this goal without proper communication from all parties. Communication should be top priority in every transaction, with all parties involved in bringing the deal to the closing table. It is also highly recommended that communication be in writing. I know today we live in a right-now world, we want to pick up the phone for our answers; but the reality is most people don’t hear those answers and information is misconstrued. Not to mention, there is no paper trail for back-up when you do not communicate in writing. So while emailing may require a bit more patience, it is ultimately the best way to have proper communication with back-up proof should you need it. Another great way to insure this, is to follow-up any phone call with an email confirming the details of the conversation. That way you always have in writing what was discussed in case any confusion should arise at a later date.

In closing, don’t forget your Title Company/Attorney when you are navigating the exciting obstacles of any transactions! 🙂

AUTHOR: Jessica E. Bennett, Licensed Title Agent

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author, and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

Can I write you a check?

        --Jeff Foxworthy, "You Might Be a Redneck If..."

One time the bank repossessed my car because I didn't make 
a payment on it for a little over a year. A man showed up 
at my door and said,"Mr.  Foxworthy, if you don't give me 
$500, the Camaro is going with me." I got mad. "Five 
hundred dollars? Who keeps that kind of cash around?" 
"You mean you can't write me a check?"
"No, I can't...a check? Oh, I thought you wanted MONEY."

Growing up, when I heard Jeff Foxworthy, I couldn’t help but chuckle. It was so relevant to my hometown (Perry, FL). As funny as this Jeff Foxworthy snipet is, it is actually a pretty common occurrence in the Real Estate industry. More often than not, the biggest detail in the home-buying process is overlooked…. the cash-to-close.

Sometimes, real estate transactions can have so many obstacles that by the time everyone gets to the closing table the last thing anyone is thinking about is how to pay for this house. Literally, customers banks will be clear cross country and not once did they consider HOW they’d access those funds when it came time to close. It just seems like such a far-off issue when you are barreling down the path of inspections, appraisals, and negotiations. But what people fail to consider is just how crucial this piece of the puzzle is.

So what can you bring to closing? Acceptable forms of payment at closing are a cashier’s or certified check issued by the bank, or a wire transfer. But, why? Funds at closing must be as good as cash since the title company will be disbursing out all the funds received by the lender, buyer, and sometimes seller. Personal checks over a certain (very low) amount tend to be held by banks 7-10 days for processing to insure posting. Since the title company is issuing large checks at closing, they cannot wait that time post-closing for personal checks to clear. And it is unlawful to write checks without sufficient funds to cover them, i.e. kiting.

In order to insure a smooth closing experience, it is extremely important that this method of payment is discussed at the very beginning of the transaction so that there aren’t any surprises at the closing table. Many banks, and credit unions, will not allow wire transfer requests over the phone due to all of the wire fraud. Often times, customers think they can just call their bank and have them send the funds. While this has worked in the past some, it typically doesn’t work. Customers often think they can wire transfer from their online banking. While many banks offer this to customers through online banking, the fine print should be read as typically there is a 2-3 business turnaround (or longer) for the funds to actually process. In addition, there are typically limitations on the amounts allowed to be transferred online.

It is especially important that parties are prepared to properly deliver their funds AT closing per the terms of the contract. While many sellers are understanding about mishaps, many are not, and they expect their check when they sign the deed to their property relinquishing ownership. All it takes are a few questions to insure a smooth closing for all parties. Make sure your customers are ready and informed for what is expected of them. When in doubt, call your title girls for help! 🙂

AUTHOR: Jessica E. Bennett, Licensed Title Agent

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author, and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.