Author Archives: Hallmark Abstract Service

Hallmark Abstract Service

About Hallmark Abstract Service

Hallmark Abstract Service provides title insurance for residential and commercial real estate transactions in New York State and nationwide, underwriting through Chicago Title. HAS opened its doors in 2008 with two primary goals in mind! Number one was to create a title insurance company that would provide our clients with a superior finished product while affording them a seamless and stress-free process. Number two was to make the experience of working with Hallmark Abstract Service as easy and as pleasurable as obtaining title insurance for a real estate transaction could possibly be! From the sheer number of satisfied clients who keep coming back to Hallmark Abstract Service for their title insurance needs, I believe that we have accomplished our goals in the past, and we will continue striving to improve on them in the future! My Background In 1980 I earned an undergraduate degree in economics followed in 1984 by an MBA in finance with a concentration in the tax-exempt market. With this focus on the municipal market I became a municipal bond analyst at Shearson/Lehman Brothers tasked with following both general obligation issuers on the city and state level as well as housing bonds secured by mortgage pools. This experience at Shearson/Lehman Brothers followed by stints at PaineWebber and Citigroup provided a broad framework of understanding concerning the mechanics of mortgage debt in terms of prepayment experience, mortgage quality and the expected duration of a portfolio. Leaving Wall Street I started Exeter Commercial which funded commercial mortgage loans. Title insurance was a critical part of the underwriting and closing process. At the peak of the financial crisis, I recognized both an opportunity and need as many title firms, for a variety of reasons, closed their doors. Out of this, Hallmark Abstract Service was born.

Opinion: Title insurance is vital to protecting the American dream

This article that appears in HousingWire, written by Westcor Land Title Insurance Company President and CEO Mary O’Donnell, explores the critical importance of title insurance to protect what may likely be the homebuyers greatest financial commitment of their life to-date!

Opinion: Title insurance is vital to protecting the American dream

As someone who spent a career in the title insurance industry – both as a builder of a title business and leader of the industry’s trade group, — I am proud of the role we play in helping to protect what most Americans consider the biggest purchase of their lives.

Title insurance is imperative for lenders to ensure the borrower has ownership rights to a property, but it doesn’t just protect against problems affecting title. It plays an essential role in the economics of homeownership, ensuring that credit reaches those who need it and providing safeguards to those who lend it. The capital markets depend on the due diligence, transparency, and protection our industry provides to do its job.

In fact, our industry is so important that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, title insurance professionals were deemed essential by the federal government. Their hard work kept a major part of the economy running during a challenging time when purchasing a home meant more than ever.

During this same time, our industry helped consumers take advantage of low interest rates to refinance mortgages. In a refinancing, homeowners obtain a new loan and lenders require a new title search and a title insurance policy on that loan to protect their investment. Professionals conduct the search and examine documents, with title companies regularly providing a discount, or “reissue rate” on a refinance.

Discounts also may be available if using the same lender that issued the original loan. And because the home’s ownership remains unchanged, a homeowners’ title insurance “Owner’s Policy” is valid through refinance.

Why is a title search necessary for refinancing? In short, even if someone recently refinanced, problems could have arisen that the lender must know about before approving a new loan. For instance, a homeowner may have incurred a lien from a contractor who claims they weren’t paid. Or a homeowner might have a judgment on their house due to unpaid taxes, homeowner association dues, or child support. The borrower also may have encumbered the property with loans that were not disclosed when applying for refinancing.

There are other issues that can arise between origination and refinancing:

  • Easements that were created by contract or through use or adverse prescription (e.g., rights of way for utilities, rights acquired by neighbors because of a fence encroachment);
  • Building or use restrictions contained in a recorded plat, agreements, or deeds;
  • Rights or claims arising out of bankruptcy;
  • In certain states, unpaid parking tickets;
  • Deeds recorded between parties that now do not reflect the ownership; or
  • Fraudulent documents recorded against the property.

Real estate is a $3 trillion industry in the United States. There has been a great deal of innovation around purchasing homes, making credit available, and closing real estate transactions. This innovation is positive for consumers. However, sometimes innovators can misrepresent products or sow confusion. They point to low claims ratios as evidence that title insurance is unnecessary. Not only is this not true, but it is a fundamental misunderstanding of what title professionals do and how our underwriting protects this work.

Low claims ratios are a testament to the work our agents do to eliminate items prior to closing. It is this work that keeps the cost of our insurance low and protects the homeowner and lender from problems that would arise if not for the work we do in advance of closing — problems that could be detrimental to the homeowner’s credit and the lender’s investment.

While this is clear to active industry participants, it may not seem intuitive to homeowners who are purchasing or refinancing for the first time. That is why we take pains to explain the process. Through the American Land Title Association and state associations, the industry continues to develop new tools to help consumers understand the role title insurance plays in the closing, the benefits of title insurance and how to shop for title insurance. The best resource for consumers is ALTA’s comprehensive home closing website,

The work title professionals do every day is critical to protecting the American dream. And the work our industry does to make the closing process faster and easier is a critical part of the overall economy. All participants in this economy should engage in good faith conversations — with facts and data — to improve our industry’s offerings.

As the economy and housing market begins to slow, we must avoid the temptation to move away from well-regulated products that are a key part of protecting lenders and homeowners. The last housing crisis proved that strong underwriting standards are critical, especially during market downturns. But it is never the right time to take new and unknown risks that ultimately will increase the cost and be a detriment to consumers and lenders.

Mary O’Donnell is CEO of Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. and a past president of the American Land Title Association.

Sarah Wheeler is Editor In Chief at HousingWire.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of HousingWire’s editorial department and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Mary O’Donnell at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Sarah Wheeler at


Buying A Home? Make Sure You Are Protecting The Investment BEFORE You Close!

These are critical questions that need to be asked about your New York title insurance provider…

1) What is the claims experience history of the title insurance provider,

2) Are the title insurance charges appearing on the title bill fair,

3) Who is the underwriter being used?

4) Does the title insurance company have any Affiliated Business Relationships (ABR) that could create a conflict of interest.

Learn more about why these questions are so critical, detailed in the article below…

Are New York Title Insurance Providers All The Same?

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

insurance photo

Heroes To Heroes Foundation – Why Us?

Heroes To Heroes Foundation – Why Us?

‘A common thread for these American heroes is that in many ways they have lost their faith! The nondenominational Heroes To Heroes Foundation, through a program based on spirituality, helps these brave men and women reconnect with the faith that the horrors of war erased!’

They stepped up to serve in the United States military so that the rest of us could continue to live the American dream in peace!

Some soldiers came home unscathed, some made the ultimate sacrifice and some came home with debilitating physical injuries.

And still other combat veterans came home from battle with injuries that cannot be seen by the naked eye, yet are no less painful.

These injuries include depression, moral injury and PTSD that can often lead to an attempted suicide or suicide!

And while there are any number of great charities dedicated to helping our military veterans who are having trouble re-acclimating to life at home, this article highlights the Heroes To Heroes Foundation.

Why Should Individuals And Businesses Consider Participating With The Heroes To Heroes Foundation (HTH) Rather Than Another Veterans Charity?

So many charities do great work helping our wounded veterans, all with mission statements dedicated to the well-being of these brave Americans!

But if one’s donation dollars are limited and only one charity can be chosen, how can a potential donor decide which one to participate with?

It is an extremely personal decision so these are some of the reasons why Heroes To Heroes Foundation should at the very least be considered!

  1. With veteran suicides occurring at such an alarming rate (22 each and every day), Heroes To Heroes addresses the issue in an extremely effective way by combining spirituality with peer support through nondenominational journeys to the Holy Land where these veterans begin to reconnect with the faith lost due to the horrors of war they have experienced. A key component is 12-14 US veterans connecting with 3 IDF soldiers who travel with them, and who are critical in the success of the mission. We are gratified to say that since returning home from Israel, none of our program participants have taken their lives and, in fact, the vast majority have finally been able to actually start living them!

  2. The Heroes To Heroes Foundation organization is predominantly volunteer. Through their belief in the HTH mission, these volunteers donate their time and energy. Heroes To Heroes is always looking to speak with individuals, corporations and foundations that may want to get involved with the charity in some way. This could be a committee membership, potential Board membership or any type of initiative to spread the word about the Heroes To Heroes Foundation mission.

  3. Unlike charities that raise in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year, donations of any size made to the Heroes To Heroes Foundation or participation through one of the many available sponsorship opportunities can actually move the needle and make a real difference in the lives of the veterans at-risk for suicide.

  4. Approximately 85 cents of every dollar raised goes directly towards the mission of helping the veterans.

  5. Closer to home, after much thought, consideration and vetting, Hallmark Abstract Service President Michael Haltman chose to serve as Board Chair of the Heroes To Heroes Foundation!

Join Heroes To Heroes on Social Media here:

Twitter Follow

Facebook Like

Donate Here

Visit The Heroes To Heroes Foundation Website Here

If you have any thoughts, questions or would like to learn how you can get involved, please contact Michael Haltman at 516.741.4723 or send an email to

Commercial Mortgage Delinquency Rates Are Low, But For How Long?

Interestingly, given the hangover from Covid-19, the work-at-home dynamic, the spike in inflation and the upward move in interest rates, commercial mortgage delinquency rates remain at relatively low levels.

As a means of comparison and using the Trepp CMBS delinquency rate index as a guide (, in April 2022 the delinquency rate was 3.5%, 22 basis points lower than March. The high in this indicator of course occurred during the financial crisis, reaching 10.3% in July 2012.

Similarly, the chart above from the Federal Reserve also shows the commercial  mortgage loan delinquency rate sitting at very low levels.

But, what if the situation were to change and delinquency rates moved higher, ultimately to the point that attempted commercial mortgage restructurings, workouts, defaults and foreclosures became more of the norm?

What’s a lender and borrower to do?

Be prepared!

An article from Arren Goldman, Partner with Seyfarth Shaw LLP, looks at some of the methodology to be aware of…

Early stages of commercial loans: pre-negotiation agreements and other key considerations

Identifying defaults and strategising on both sides – is a workout feasible?

In the early stages of a commercial loan, the parties should consider, among other things, these questions:

  • What are the short and long-term goals and strategies?
  • What is the nature of the default?
  • Will there be a new exit plan?

Default letters

When drafting default letters, the wording is particularly important. Default letters often include common lender protections, such as the lender’s ability to accept partial payments without waiving rights and language which makes it clear that defaults not specified in the letter (whether known or unknown) are not being waived. Lenders will often need to specify precisely what they expect their borrower and/or guarantor to do, as well as specify a precise deadline.

Importance of file review

File review is especially important for lenders early on in the workout process. The lender should review the file for matters such as whether:

  • there are executed copies of all loan documents, executed by appropriate parties;
  • they have the original executed promissory note;
  • mortgages or deeds of trust were recorded and whether there is a recorded copy of it;
  • they received the final title policy reflecting the recorded mortgage or deed of trust;
  • they have a filed copy of the Uniform Commercial Code financing statements, properly filed, including accurate collateral descriptions;
  • any letter of credit has expired;
  • the personal guarantor is still alive;
  • the entity guarantor still exists;
  • guarantees were reaffirmed when the loan documents were amended;
  • any pledged instruments (eg, original limited liability company membership interest certificates) are in the lender’s possession;
  • there is evidence of current insurance on file; and
  • they obtained all required consents from third parties.

Key considerations for pre-negotiation agreements

Pre-negotiation agreements are crucial to ensure that both sides protect themselves. The goal of a pre-negotiation agreement is to facilitate the sharing of current and accurate information without any such communications being used in court.

The standard provisions should make it clear that a pre-negotiation agreement:

  • has non-binding quality until the definitive agreement is reached;
  • may be terminated at any time for any reason;
  • does not create any obligations to enter into a definitive agreement;
  • does not waive existing rights;
  • all communications are inadmissible as evidence in court;
  • must state governing law;
  • specify who is responsible for fees and expenses; and
  • can serve as an estoppel.

A lender may also want to:

  • confirm any existing debt;
  • obtain an acknowledgment of existing default(s); and
  • state that there are no defences available to the borrower and/or guarantor.

A borrower may attempt to add the following provisions:

  • a standstill regarding the lender’s exercise of rights during the open discussions;
  • access to property receipts; and
  • the way communication should take place with third parties, as well as when and how information can be shared with third parties.

Key considerations after execution

After a pre-negotiation agreement is executed, the key aspects to consider are:

  • a forbearance agreement;
  • loan modifications;
  • collateral enhancement; and
  • the enforcement of the agreement.

After a pre-negotiation agreement is executed, the key aspects to consider are the following:

  • whether the parties enter into a forbearance agreement with a specified forbearance period to address defaults or whether they enter into a loan modification agreement;
  • whether there will be collateral enhancements in connection with the foregoing; and
  • what steps the lender should take in order to enforce the loan documents if all else fails.

Arren Goldman concentrates his practice in commercial real estate transactions.  He is co-lead of Seyfarth’s Distressed Situations team and the pro bono chair of the firm’s Charlotte office. His profile can be found here,, and Arren can be emailed here,


Did you know that New York title insurance companies are NOT all the same?
Read about some of the differences in the article:
‘Are New York Title Insurance Providers All The Same?’ here,…/.
Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

Heroes To Heroes Foundation – You Can Help Us, Help Save Our American Military Heroes!

Heroes To Heroes Foundation – You Can Help Us, Help Save Our American Military Heroes!

HTH Successfully Helps Our Combat Veterans Suffering With Moral Injury, And Who Live At Serious Risk of Death By Suicide, FINALLY Return Home!

Hallmark Abstract Service CEO Mike Haltman has the honor of serving as the organizations Board Chair.

Watch his 2-minute video about HTH to learn more…

Do You Ever Wonder, Hosted By Hallmark Abstract Service CEO Mike Haltman, Welcomes Adrian Miller!

Do You Ever Wonder with your Host Mike Haltman, is very happy to welcome Adrian Miller as our guest!

Adrian wears many hats, all of which are geared towards helping businesspeople to enhance and grow their businesses.

These range from Adrians Network, to sales training, professional speaking, business promotion and authoring books that serve to address specific endeavors. The books include:

The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways To Sales Success

The Blatant Truth: How Not To Screw-up The Customer Service Game

Adrians Network

The discussion initially focuses on Adrians Network and the hows and whys this unique networking group that combines various opportunities to connect, came to be.

It includes a mix of in-person and virtual meetings, curated events featuring fantastic guests like Ramon Ray (, social events like dinners, theater and even a book club, and a database of trusted advisors numbering in the hundreds!

The 3 I’s

We also discussed several sales-oriented questions, and at the 27:20 mark of the discussion Adrian goes into the 3 I’s of sales success. If you listen to nothing else (although I hope that you do), most definitely listen to this part!

For anyone who would like to learn more about Adrians Network, you can…

Visit the website:

Email Adrian:

Call Adrian: 516-445-1135


The Do You Ever Wonder podcast is brought to you by New York title insurance provider Hallmark Abstract Service.

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

What’s your favorite podcast platform?

Whichever on it is, Do You Ever Wonder is on there!

Apple :

Spotify :


Amazon :

Stitcher Podcasts :

iHeart Radio :


Follow Do You Ever Wonder

On LinkedIn here:

On Facebook here:

2022 Long Island Business News Reader Rankings: Vote Early, And Vote Often!

2022 LIBN Reader Rankings

Hallmark Abstract Service Nominated Best Title Company in the Long Island Business News Reader Rankings!

Hallmark Abstract Service is one of only five Long Island title insurance companies selected in the Best Title Insurance Company category for the Long Island Business News Reader Rankings!

Cast your vote for Hallmark Abstract Service, once a day through June 17th if the spirit moves you, using the link or button below.

When you get to the page simply scroll down and you will find the Best Title Company category.

If you have any questions, let Mike Haltman know at

Remember that you can vote for your favorites every day through June 17th!

On Long Island, Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen!

Many are called and few are chosen!

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC is one of five Long Island title insurance providers selected for the Long Island Business News Reader Rankings competition.

LIBN readers submitted write-in nominations for the firms they believed should be on the ballot.

Stay tuned for the voting that will run from May 23rd through June 17th!


In New York remember that title insurance providers are not all the same, that certain non-premium charges on the title bill the provider gives to you can vary by upwards of $1,000 AND, that It’s Your RIGHT to choose the title insurance provider!

Read more about differences between New York title insurance providers here,

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

Do You Ever Wonder About The 1031 Exchange? 1031 Rob Pecha Fills Us In!

Do You Ever Wonder About The 1031 Exchange?

Most of us have heard the real estate term 1031 Exchange but, what is it, who benefits and where did it come from?

To find out the answers to these questions and more, watch 1031 Rob Pecha interviewed by DYEW host Mike Haltman on YouTube, or streaming on your favorite provider, using the links below…

!031 Exchange on YouTube:

1031 Exchange Streaming:


Whether inside a 1031 Exchange or simply the purchase of a property in New York, when signing the contract… 

It’s at this point you will hopefully remember the fact that title insurance providers are not all the same, that certain non-premium charges can vary by many hundreds of dollars AND, that It’s Your RIGHT to choose the title insurance provider!

Read more about differences between New York title insurance providers here,…/.

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

The Hallmark Abstract Podcast ‘Do You Ever Wonder’, Welcomes 1-800-Flowers Founder Jim McCann!

Jim McCann, 1-800-Flowers Founder: He Started Small and Blossomed in a Big Way!

In this episode of Do You Ever Wonder Jim tells his fascinating story!

Watch the interview video here:
For more than 45 years, we have embraced technology to grow and transform our business. We believe a culture of innovation begets a culture of reinvention, and we are constantly reinventing ourselves as a company.

Born in Queens, Jim worked for a non-profit and tended bar to supplement his income. Through a chance meeting with the owner of a flower shop, Jim’s journey that led him to build the 1-800-Flowers empire began.

He had the drive, desire to grow, willingness to innovate and the instincts that kept him ahead of the curve in what was to become the extremely competitive world of online flowers.

Jim grew through synergistic acquisitions of companies that complemented the 1-800-Flowers brand, and took the company public in 1999 right before the bubble burst.

In 2016 Jim stepped down as CEO, with his brother Christopher assuming the role.

Philanthropy and Giving Back

In 2015 the McCann family founds Smile Farms Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing meaningful employment in agricultural settings to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Today the company has a military veterans initiative to bring vets as well as their spouses into the 1-800-Flowers family.


Do You Ever Wonder is brought to you by New York title insurance provider Hallmark Abstract Service.

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

What’s your favorite podcast platform? Do You Ever Wonder is on there!

Apple :

Spotify :


Amazon :

Stitcher Podcasts :

iHeart Radio :


Remember that Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same, that certain non-premium charges can vary by many hundreds of dollars, and that It’s Your RIGHT To Choose Your Title Insurance Provider!
Read more about differences between New York title insurance providers here,
Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!


Do You Ever Wonder About Multifamily Investing? Rod Khleif Is Your Go To Expert!

Master Multifamily Real Estate To Create Multi-Generational Wealth & Freedom‘ with Rod Khleif!

The statement above is no doubt bold, but given the vast experience of Rod Khleif through both good times and bad, he is a proven entity who can teach the novice the ins and outs of the world multi-family real estate investing.

Rod’s podcast, The Lifetime CashFlow. Through Real Estate Podcast, has been downloaded on ITunes over 12,000,000 times.

Through his bestseller, ‘How To Create a Lifetime of Cashflow Through Multifamily Properties, Rod provides a step-by-step approach to multifamily investing…

  • How to find the money for your apartment purchases
  • The four best areas to buy in and how to quickly evaluate an area
  • How to find the best off-market deals
  • How to identify a great deal
  • How to evaluate a property
  • How to convince sellers to give you seller financing
  • How to find investors for your deals and syndicate to buy larger properties
  • Scripts for talking to sellers, brokers, investors and lenders
  • How to perform comprehensive due diligence to protect yourself
  • The mistakes to avoid
  • How to systemize your business and turn it into a machine

The Do You Ever Wonder Podcast is happy to present this discussion with Rod Khleif that spends a good amount of time discussing the aspects of life that are necessary to feel accomplished and complete.

After listening, if you would like to learn more about Rod’s Bootcamp at the end of July in Denver, Colorado, use this link…

Rod’s book, ‘How to Create Lifetime CashFlow Through Multifamily Properties: The New Rules of Real Estate Investing‘, can be purchased on Amazon here…

If you would like to listen to Rod’s podcast, you will find it here…

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

What’s your favorite podcast platform? Do You Ever Wonder is on there!

Apple :
Spotify :
Amazon :
Stitcher Podcasts :
iHeart Radio :