Showing posts from August 3, 2008

Law tries to limit ties between agents and financial service providers

By Tom KellyReal estate agents are clearly the most influential people in every real estate transaction, and their power is not reserved for buyers and sellers. It extends to all professionals involved.

That position of influence becomes magnified in a slower housing market. Everybody is desperate for deals. And, while real estate agents typically offer beneficial referrals, consumers should always remember that they have a choice when picking the various players in the home-buying process -- appraisal, credit report, title report, escrow company, mortgage company, etc. These choices often start with the selection of a title company in the standard purchase and sale agreement. This may seem like a "who cares" decision, but the competition is fierce.

How much do title companies want to be the company of choice in your purchase and sale agreement, commonly known as an earnest-money agreement? A few years ago a title insurance company offered to furnish a real estate brokers'…

Financial Title closes its 57 offices

Financial Title of Citrus Heights has closed all 57 of its California offices, including some in the Bay Area. But a state official said its customers will continue to have their titles processed by the company's insurer and shouldn't be greatly inconvenienced. First Title and its insurer - First American Title Insurance - notified the California Department of Insurance of the closings Wednesday morning, according to the agency's spokesman, Darrel Ng. He said he wasn't able to comment in detail about the reasons for the closings, but said it stemmed from financial considerations and not any enforcement action by the department. "With the lower volume of housing sales, it's part of the normal business cycle for there to be a reduction in the number of companies needed to service that," he said. Ng said state officials have been sent to Financial Title offices to ensure that all title transactions will continue to be processed appropriately by First America…