Author Archives: 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.

How Much Do You Need To Earn To Buy A House In New York?

home sweet home photo

Or to buy a home in some of the other metro areas around the United States?

Real estate brokers will tell you that one of the reasons for the increase in the price of residential real estate is the lack of inventory available for purchase.

The price run-up has also been attributed to demand based on the fear that mortgage rates may rise, the fact that millennials might finally entering the housing market and that the anticipated supply of new construction housing stock has not necessarily come to fruition.

Whatever the reason for home prices now far exceeding the pre-financial crisis highs (based on median home prices), the cost of homeownership is putting what was once considered to be an American right of passage out of reach for many.

Income Required To Buy A Home…

Of the top five metro areas in terms of salary required to afford a home four are located in California and the fifth in Hawaii.

The Number 1 cost metro area in the country is San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California where the median home costs $1,180,000 and the salary required to buy is $218,000.

Here’s what’s required in some other metro areas, and, to see the entire list a link to Business Insider is provided at the end.

The New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania metro areas ranked 13th overall in BI’s list. With a population of 20,182,305 and a median home cost of $414,000, the salary you need to buy is $76,613.

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida, metro area ranked down at number 20. With a much lower population of 6,012,331 and median home cost of $335,000 the salary a sunshine state buyer needs is $61,994.

Meanwhile in Los Angles-Long Beach-Glendale, California weighed in at number seven. The population is 10,170,292 and the median home cost was $514,000. That means that the salary you’ll needed to buy is $95,156. (Source)

See the entire list of 23 U.S. housing markets at Business Insider here.

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Title Insurance: Do you know everything that you need to know about this critical component of your purchase of refinance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

Would Jeff Immelt Really Be The Right Man For The Uber CEO Job?

corporate leadership photo

Jeff Immelt was at the helm of General Electric from 2000 until his departure at the beginning of August. Speculation now is that he may get the Uber CEO position!

Why does his performance at GE’s helm indicate that he would do well as CEO of the troubled transportation technology firm?

In general the decision about succession planning is one of the most the most critical that faces any organization whether a large and far-flung technology business like Uber facing severe growing pains, a small local and closely held family-run company, a sports team at any level or a charity. To name just a few.

This new leader will be responsible for strategic planning, maintaining or changing the culture and much more! And in addition he or she will need to possess attributes such as:

Ability to learn from the past. …
Strong communication skills. …
Building relationships. …
Realistic optimism. …
Understanding. …
Listening skills. …
Willingness to take calculated risks. …
Reading people and adapting to necessary management styles. …
Coaching employees effectively. …
Thinking outside of the box. (Source)

It now comes to pass that Jeff Immelt, a corporate leader who has been at the helm of one of the worlds most mature, largest and certainly diversified companies, is rumored to be the leading candidate for the CEO position at Uber.

So while Uber is definitely large and definitely all over the world, in some ways it is still akin to a start-up faced with an enormous amount of growing pains.

So is this job actually in Immelt’s sweet spot, or is he simply a well known and well respected name from business who will potentially bring immediate credibility to a firm that has lost a great deal of its luster?

And equally as important, has Jeff Immelt actually done a great or even a good job at General Electric?

In a world where corporate leaders of public companies are often measured by the performance of the company stock, the chart below that tracks GE stock versus the S&P 500 would seem to indicate that he has not!

The General Electric Stock Price (Blue Line) Has Far Underperformed The S&P 500 (Green Line)!

Source: Yahoo Finance

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Title Insurance: Do you know everything that you need to know about this critical component of your purchase of refinance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

Stock Market Poised For A Staggering Decline? The Television Commercial Indicator Says It Very Well Might Be!

stock market photo

I know what investors will say…’Who is this title insurance guy to be predicting that the stock market is ready to rollover, correct or decline precipitously?’…

Is he a high-priced analysts at a hedge fund or talking head on the business news? You know, the ones who will typically say after a big down day in the market that it was overdue for a correction or that every selloff is a buying opportunity for investors to pickup stocks ‘on sale’. Those similar to economists who are mainly reactive, not proactive.

Is he 2017’s Elaine Garzarelli (called the 1987 stock market crash and from memory little else) trying to make a name for himself?

Or, is he just a guy in another industry who should mind his own business and stick to his knitting?

Well, while I do have a background that includes fixed income analyst, bond trader and equity trader, this prognostication of a market top has nothing to do with the economy, corporate earnings, tax reform, terrorist attacks, geopolitics, domestic politics or stock market valuations.

It also has nothing to do with the fact that the individual investor who missed much of the run-up in stocks is now getting involved (an old adage is that these investors nail tops when they finally buy and bottoms when they capitulate and sell).

This Prognostication Of A Stock Market Top Is All About Television Commercials!

Television commercials? Absolutely, and here’s why! Always having had a television in my office or on a trading floor tuned to business news, I have become painfully familiar with the trends in the commercials that they run.

Specifically, the commercials advertising discount brokerage firms.

Examine these two commercials for discount online brokers, one pre-tech bubble bursting from the 1990’s and one from today.

After, let me know if there are any similarities you can pick out.

Article was written by Hallmark Abstract Service President Michael Haltman, who also serves as Board Chair for the Heroes To Heroes Foundation and Heroes To Heroes Blue.

Michael can be reached at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com or (646) 741-6101.

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Title Insurance: Do you know everything that you need to know about this critical component of your purchase of refinance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

The Timeless Art Of Networking For Your Business!

business networking photo

The business networking tips and tools in the article below, written in January 2015, are as relevant today as they were then. The takeaway? That while some networking ‘tools’ have changed along with technological advancements, the basic concepts behind successful networking do not!

How To: Business networking done right!

It’s 2015 and as a New Year’s resolution you may have pledged to make networking a larger slice of your firm’s business development strategy pie!

The truth is that whether your business is the law, flower shop, limo company, IT recruiting or basically anything else (title insurance maybe), networking should have a prominent place in your strategic plan to drive revenue and forge new client relationships.

And as is the case in many endeavors, while there may not necessarily be any hard and fast rules on where and when to network, there are some basic guidelines for what to do and what not to do once you are there!

It needs to be remembered that in any relationship there has to be a degree of win-win for both parties involved or more likely than not it is not going to work!

After all a pure taker will of course always be at the ready to take but, at some point, the giver will tire of the fact that no thought is ever given towards reciprocation.

And from our perspective a ‘win’ for a new networking partner does not necessarily have to be immediate transactional business, but can be a warm introduction to businesses who need whatever it is that they do.

So here is my partial list of networking Do’s and, if there are any others you think should have made the list or disagree with those in the list, please let us know.

Also, if you have any networking success stories you would like to relate, please share those as well.

  1. Spend some time speaking with and learning about a new contact before you give them your business card,
  2. Actually engage with the people you meet without looking past them to find the next person to talk to,
  3. Use a firm handshake and make eye contact during an introduction,
  4. Actually listen to what a new contact has to say without focusing only on what you want to say next. You have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you speak,
  5. If attending a trade show or an existing groups meeting do some research before getting there regarding people you may want to meet,
  6. Networking events are not the time for engaging in the hard sell,
  7. Although the person you are speaking with may not have synergies with your business, one of the keys to networking are the people who new contacts know that may be,
  8. By the same token while you may not be in a position to conduct business with a new networking contact, actually give some thought to contacts of yours who may be a good fit for them,
  9. Finally, networking and referrals do not always have to be business related.

As an example of the last bullet point, I received a call on December 30th from a local television station asking me if I was going to be participating again this year in the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge New Year’s Day as I had done last year. My son and I had ‘plunged’ to help raise awareness for the Bone Marrow Registry.

While I was not, I have a business contact who was participating to help raise money for a local charity that houses and provides schooling for children who had to be removed from their homes. Was this going to generate new business for either of us?

No, but the more that we think about others the more that they will hopefully think about us as well.

The theory, as the BNI motto says, is that in the end givers gain!

Information For NON-Real Estate Focused Attorney’s In New York…

 

lawyer photo

… Who have been asked to represent the buyer in a real estate transaction!

Imagine that you’re an attorney in New York with a focus and concentration on matters that have NOTHING to do with transactional residential or commercial real estate!

Whether it’s trust & estates, matrimonial, bankruptcy or one of the other specialties of the law, transactional real estate is simply not in your wheelhouse.

Maybe you’ve agreed to work on a real estate purchase as a courtesy to one of your clients, as a favor to one of your relatives or for any number of other reasons.

Whatever brought you to the deal, it’s certainly possible that you may not have the core group of real estate contacts required to close the transaction.

Therefore, it’s important to assemble a team of professionals who can help get the deal done in the best and most efficient way for both you and the buyer.

With that in mind and from the perspective of title insurance, it’s critical to remember that all providers and policies are not the same.

Points To Ponder When Comparing Title Insurance Providers!

  1. Underwriter
  2. Claims experience
  3. ‘Junk’ fees

Hallmark Abstract Service has created a primer that will explain these three issues to consider when choosing the title provider that you will work with.

Read New York Title Insurance: Always Compare Apples To Apples!

If you have any questions about the title insurance portion of a transaction or about the content of this primer, please feel free to contact Hallmark Abstract Service at info@hallmarkabstractllc.com or give us a call at (646) 741-6101.

Are You Part Of The Working ‘Poor’ Living In New York City? No Wonder…

New York City cost of living

If you’re living in New York City with housing, food and transportation costs in addition to a heavy tax burden, you may be feeling as if it can be difficult to make ends meet! Let alone to save any money for your golden years!

Preaching to the choir, we know!

In the article ‘The Cost of Living in New York City‘, Mary Newton highlights the cost of living issues facing New Yorkers…

It is no secret that New York City is expensive. A fly trap for tourists, expensive shops line the streets of the most densely populated city in the United States. With roughly eight million residents, finding a place to live in New York City can be difficult. What becomes even more difficult, however, is paying for that place to live, as well as everything else that comes with living in the city. So what is the actual cost of living in New York City?

Housing Costs

New York City has some of the least affordable housing in the United States. Affordable housing is defined by the US Census as “a rent-to-income ratio of 30 percent or lower.” While city rent-to-income ratios tend to be higher across the board, New York City’s median asking rent was estimated to equate to roughly 65% of residents’ median income. But what do those rent prices look like in dollar amounts?

While rent depends on the type of space and the area, monthly rent for a furnished living space can be anywhere from $2,000 to $3,664. This, of course, is just for rent, and does not include utilities, cable, and internet. A month of utilities can cost anywhere from $124 to $185 on average, with internet and cable costs adding an additional $53 at least. This depends mostly on your internet/cable company and your plan.

Altogether, housing costs can be anywhere from $2,177 to $3,902. This is just for basic housing, utilities, and internet, and excludes regular costs of laundry or select appliances. Bear in mind that these prices – and many others in this article – can be lower or higher depending on the area of the city you choose to live in.

Food Costs

Food in New York is a different matter. You can drop hundreds of dollars on a fancy meal or fifty cents on a slice of pizza in the distance of one block. But essential groceries will always be essential, so it is best to know the average price for essential grocery items. The average price for one liter of whole fat milk is $1.07. A dozen eggs averages at $4.53. Two pounds of apples average at $3.79, while two pounds of potatoes average at $1.92. Although up to 39% more than the national average per trip, standard grocery prices appear reasonable, and are very easy to accommodate into your budget according to your needs.

Transportation Costs

Transportation in New York City also depends heavily on your lifestyle. If you have your own car in the city, you have to worry about parking, gas, and car insurance, among other things. The average cost of auto insurance in the city is a whopping $4,093, according to autoinsurance.com. Additionally, parking can cost anywhere from $430 to $533 a month, and a quarter gallon of gas is roughly $0.69. This means having a vehicle in the city can be around $771 a month, with one tank of gas on a small car costing around $33.

If you do not have your own car in the city, you’ve saved yourself money, but not as much as you think. While the cheapest options are always walking or riding a bike, they are not always the most practical options. An unlimited monthly pass for the subway costs $116.50. A regular ride costs $2.75. For the monthly pass to be worth it, you have to take at least 43 subway rides in the course of a single month. Taxis are no cheaper. On a business day at standard fare, a five mile taxi ride costs about $15. If you need to travel any significant distance in the city, be prepared for it to cost money.

Tax Rates

Taxes are another big, unavoidable drain on finances, and they come in several different forms. Property taxes can range from 10% to 17% depending on the year. This rate tends to be higher than most other places in the country.

Income tax is a whole different animal. While tax rates depend on income level and filing status, they average anywhere from 2.907% to 3.648%. Additionally, New York City has separate personal income and state income taxes, which can be difficult to juggle.

Finally, sales tax – both state and local – is 8.875%. This is only slightly higher than the nationwide sales tax of 8.45%. An important item to note, however, is that items such as cigarettes can have a higher tax rate. Cigarettes are taxed $4.35 per pack in New York State, with an additional city-based supplemental tax of $1.50 per pack, meaning cigarettes in the city are taxed at $5.85, one of the highest in the country.

Income Calculations

A $50,000 yearly salary, minus minimum monthly expenses for rent, utilities, basic internet, and a monthly metro pass as listed above, also taking into consideration income and property tax minimums, leaves you with $1,534 per month to spend on food, clothes, and entertainment. This means you would be spending $31,588 per year just to live in and get around New York City. This amount excludes any you would put aside in savings or have taken out of your paycheck for items such as retirement. Bear in mind that this amount also demonstrates a bare minimum average for a small studio in a normal portion of Manhattan, including average tax rates that are not necessarily representative of what you may personally experience. While the cost of living is high, life in New York City can be doable.

(Article reposted with the approval of the SavingAdvice.com website)

As an aside, if you’re buying property or refinancing a mortgage in NYC (or elsewhere in New York State) there are ways for you to save money on the title insurance portion of the closing costs that are described in the article at this link.

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Title Insurance: Do you know everything that you need to know about this critical component of your purchase of refinance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

U.S. Economic Strength: What Is The ‘Smart Money’ Telling Us?

(Note: This article has been featured in the LinkedIn Channels Banking & Finance, Economy and Editor’s Picks)

Smart Money – If you’ve ever bet on the ponies the ‘smart money’ will typically be the money wagered right before the betting windows closed. Theoretically these are the people who may have an inside track about the horses involved. In the financial world, the ‘smart money’ is the ‘cash invested or wagered by those considered to be experienced, well-informed, “in-the-know” or all three’ (Investopedia).

So What Economic Indicators Should Investors Be Watching As A Gauge Of Future Economic Strength?

This morning the release of the July Employment Report showed a greater than expected increase in non-farm payroll jobs (+209,000) and a tick-down in the unemployment rate to 4.3%, although hourly wage growth at 2.5% was nothing to write home about. Is the economy strong and still growing? Are stocks poised for another leg-up? Is it time to wave the yellow caution flag?

If only the answer could be right there in front of us. Of course it’s not that simple, but how does the individual investor try and become the financial markets ‘smart money’? These are just some of the indicators to keep an eye on…

Stock Market: With the stock market at record highs and likely to extend those gains today, is this telling us that all is well on the economic horizon as most stocks not Tesla and Amazon are priced at some multiple of earnings? Or in an interest rate environment that provides limited returns and the potential for pain if rates actually do rise, are stocks the only game in town where high potential returns can hopefully be achieved? In other words are the historically risk averse investors being forced to take outsized risks i.e. pension funds, retirees, etc.?

Federal Reserve: With interest rates still near historically low levels that would normally indicate economic weakness, is the Fed telling us that the U.S. economy is sailing full steam ahead? With a mandate of full employment and low inflation one would have to say that the jury is still out on how the Janet Yellen-led group sees things. At 4.3% unemployment it appears that they have achieved the full employment piece, but inflation does not increase to their target and so the fed funds rate languishes where it is (‘Can US Interest Rates Ever Rise?‘).

Shape Of The U.S. Treasury Yield Curve: While the Federal Reserve can and typically does impact short-term interest rates, any move up or down in the fed funds rate will not have any direct impact on long-term interest rates. Therefore, if the the Fed increases rates and longer-term bond investors keep yields unchanged, the yield curve flattens. This means that the spread between the yield on a 6-month bill and a 30-year bond move closer to each other. Currently the U.S. has a flatter than is historically normal yield curve that can sometimes mean the economy is moving towards a recession.

U.S. Dollar: When the U.S. economy strengthens the assumption by various financial marketplaces will normally be that U.S. interest rates will at some point rise. When U.S. interest rates rise this will typically mean that the U.S. dollar will strengthen against other major foreign currencies such as the Euro. As is obvious from the 1-year chart below, this has not been the case (a weaker dollar does however benefit U.S. corporate earnings derived outside of the country). Is the issue U.S. politics, a stalled Trump economic agenda or a fear that the U.S. economy is in fact weakening?

US dollar continues to weaken

So where is this all heading? Stay tuned!

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Title Insurance: Do you know everything that you need to know about this critical component of your purchase of refinance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

Critical Information For Homebuyers and Home Sellers: Tips For Avoiding Wire Fraud! (Video)

While most if not all of these wire fraud prevention tips seem to be common sense, there are unsuspecting homebuyers and home sellers who fall for them nonetheless!

That’s why the bad guys try them…

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Title Insurance: Do you know everything that you need to know about this critical component of your purchase of refinance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

Can U.S. Interest Rates Ever Rise?

While interest rates have risen from depths that saw the 10-year treasury yielding 1.36% on 7/3/16, to 2.25% today, given Fed plans to tighten and pledge to shrink its balance sheet should rates be even higher?

The Fed will typically engage in the monetary policy of tightening and lift the Fed Funds rate when the two key components of its mandate, full employment and inflation at its target rate, indicate that it’s warranted to do so.

One could most definitely make the argument that with an unemployment rate of 4.3%, lowest since the 4.4% in October 2006, that employment is in good shape. And while some metrics within the employment report might suggest otherwise, this is a number that the Fed would likely consider as evidence for strong consideration of a tightening stance.

As far as the Fed’s 2% target inflation rate, whether these numbers fit the mandate is slightly less clear as the chart below shows:

historical U.S. inflation rate

But, Can The Federal Reserve Ever Really Normalize Interest Rates?

Are current treasury yield levels appropriate, or are they telling us that the ‘strength’ in the economy may not be lasting, that employment may weaken and/or that inflation may be tepid for some time to come?

Perhaps, but could there be another factor at play that may also keep the Fed from tightening to the point that interest rates become historically normalized?

In other words, if ‘normalized’ yields for the 10-years treasury were somewhere between 4% and 6% from 1990 through the financial crisis, can the Fed reasonably ever bring them back to that level?

Or, will the term normalized interest rates come to mean something much different from what Americans have been used to?

After all, if the economy is reported to be doing so well, can’t the average American tolerate an increase from current levels?

historical 10-year treasury yields

Source: Wall Street Journal

Consider this statistic and the answer to the prior question may in fact be no!

In December 2016 the Federal Reserve raised its target for the fed funds rate by .25% to a target of 1.0% – 1.25% and, according to a TransUnion analysis, 63 million Americans holding adjustable-rate consumer debt were affected. These consumers will pay less each month when interest rates decline and pay more as they rise.

This hike that translated into an average increase in payments of $18, ‘created a challenge for 1 million consumers who were delinquent in their mortgage payment by the end of March…

historical fed funds rate

Historical Fed Funds Rate
Source: Macrotrends

…TransUnion cautioned consumers and lenders, saying while this study showed only 1 million consumers were impacted in the first quarter, it did not examine long-term impacts of a rate hike. For example, many consumers could be dipping into their savings accounts to meet the new obligations, and could eventually exhaust that source of funds.’ (Source)

So therefore, if a .25% hike and an $18 increase posed a hardship for 1,000,000 consumers, how much more of an increase can consumers tolerate?

I suppose we shall see!
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Title Insurance: Do you know everything that you need to know about this critical component of your purchase of refinance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

Consolidation In The Title Insurance Industry And Affiliated Business Arrangements: Good Or Bad For The Real Estate Or Mortgage Consumer?

When should the purchaser of commercial and residential real estate or the refinancer of a mortgage in New York State get a second opinion on the title bill provided by the title insurance company being utilized?

Or ask other questions about the title insurance policy to be provided at closing?

Answer: Each and every time!

And for those who may be new to the topic of title insurance, there are some very valid reasons for why that is so. Here’s the list:

  1. Underwriter are not all created equal,
  2. Claims experience of title insurance companies will vary from firm to firm and should be questioned,
  3. ‘Junk’ or ancillary non-title insurance premium fees can and do vary widely from firm to firm,
  4. Does an Affiliated Business Arrangement (ABA) exist between the title insurance provider and one of the players in the transaction such as the real estate broker, real estate attorney or mortgage company,
  5. Is the title company a subsidiary of one of the companies in #4?

Title Insurance and Consumer Protection

Let’s go through these issues briefly one by one.

  1. Underwriter: Title insurance, like any insurance policy, is a product that’s provided by an insurance underwriter. And, depending on the type of insurance, there are many of these underwriters to choose from. Not all underwriters are of the same financial quality so the buyer of a title insurance policy needs to ensure that the underwriter being used is top-rated in terms of financial strength and claims paying ability.
  2. Claims Experience: When purchasing a title insurance policy the buyer will typically be doing so through an abstracting firm such as Hallmark Abstract Service. These firms do the work insuring that all outstanding property issues have been taken care of prior to the closing, and that the buyer or mortgage refinancer has good, clean and clear title to the property. They will then provide the title policy issued by the title insurance underwriter they work with. Ask the abstracting firm being utilized for their claims record and an explanation for why those claims occurred.
  3. ‘Junk’ or Ancillary Title Fees: These are the fees that will appear on a title bill that are not the title insurance premium or taxes. These fees can and do vary from firm to firm and the difference can sometimes be as much as $1,000. Isn’t that $1,000 better in the pocket of the buyer or mortgage refinancer than in the pocket of the title company?
  4. Affiliated Business Arrangements (ABA) or Title Insurance providers as a subsidiary of a real estate industry firm: The number one casualty of these business relationships can be the consumer who relies on the independence of the title insurance provider. It’s through this independence that any issue, even one that might prevent a transaction from being completed, is recognized and dealt with. When an ABA or corporate-entity relationship between various parties to a transaction exists (i.e. mortgage lender and title company ABA or title company as subsidiary of a real estate broker), objectivity and due diligence may be clouded by the desire to close the deal. The consumer will be impacted as a limited number of title industry players with ‘deep pockets’ create these ABA’s and mergers, while smaller title companies unable to compete will be hurt and may ultimately be forced close. Less competition means less choice for the consumer and more potential that issues detrimental to their best interests will arise!

As with all consumer transactions, particularly real estate that may represent the largest financial expenditure of a lifetime, it’s up to the buyer of real estate or refinancer of a mortgage to take personal responsibility and not rely solely on the advice of a third party!

In other words, Caveat Emptor!

Related Articles

Title Insurance: Always Compare Apples To Apples! (Chart)

Title Insurance: The CT Scan and MRI for your real estate transaction!

In New York State, why do you hire a title insurance agency?
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Do you know everything that you need to know about the title insurance for your purchase of refinance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…