TitleBytes News & Happenings


Dec 8, 2017

By Allan Dick, WFG National Title

Doing my best impersonation of the TitleBytes editor, I thought it might be time to dust off my old Abstractions column once more (maybe not). As usual, I have a few bits of news and observations to report. First, in case you missed the news, (1) Tim McDonnell became only the 14th recipient of the Mary Feindt Award for Dedicate Service to the MLTA (or sort of lifetime achievement award – NOT presented annually) at last summer’s convention, big deal, congrats! (2) Congratulations, too, to another veteran of the title wars. Jim Dondero retired last month (Linda finally got her way). And (3) David Martyn is once again on the move, this time with Stewart Title to the Windy City. But he promises to visit, as he did for the fall seminar.

Other news: beginning with a recent article from Realtor – its 2018 National Housing Forecast, projecting 5 market trends for the year ahead: (1) housing inventories will finally have a year-over-year increase (usually translating into additional sales); (2) price appreciation will slow to just over 3%; (3) millennials’ market share of buying and mortgaging will continue to increase; (4) the southern region of the U.S. will experience the most growth; and (5) not really a trend – more of a question, relates to the uncertain impact of the impending tax reform.

Of course, this time of year it’s all about forecasts and trends. A recent Trulia commissioned Harris Poll, looking ahead, found something of a mixed bag of sentiments, impacted by recent natural disasters and political/tax uncertainty. But their outlook was that the homeownership rate would continue to rebound, adding the Midwest to the South as seeing the most growth, mentioning Grand Rapids, MI amongst notable cities poised for more growth. In another survey, conducted by loan software provider, Ellie Mae, this past year has found single women buying homes at a 3-to-2 pace over single men (married folks still buying the most homes).

Much of the talk these days centers on digital mortgages, e-mortgages and e-closings, as reflected in a presentation by Jerome Jelinek at the most recent MLTA Education Seminars (great job!), and discussions at the recent ALTA One Conference (see Tom and John’s article, reporting on that elsewhere in this edition of TitleBytes). Much more on that topic to come …

And speaking of the fall MLTA Seminars, two more well-attended sessions. After President Bommarito’s welcome, MLC’s Cami Pendell provided the Lansing report, including the sad news that Kid Rock would not be running for office after all. Cami noted that more and more the MLTA is seen by the legislators and regulators as an important resource (good for us!). She was followed by Doug Smith and another rollicking stroll through the land of ALTA Endorsements. If anyone can make them entertaining and understandable, it’s Doug. Then it was Jerome’s turn with e-closings, spanning a myriad of related topics and aspects. Too bad, if you missed it.

But, as noted above, this will be an on-going topic for some time. Like plastics, it’s the future. The morning wrapped up with another topical presentation by Kurt Reidel and Amy Bower from Plunkett Cooney entitled: Hacked and the Money is Gone. What’s My Liability? It included some real life horror stories to reinforce the bulletins and webinars we have witnessed from various sources. The specter of fraud in the escrow arena is very real. Be afraid! Perhaps fear, in different stylings was the theme for the afternoon session that included another superlative presentation by David Martyn on Tax Titles in Michigan. Actually, David made the prospect of possibly insuring tax titles not quite so scary or impossible. (Check with your underwriter)

But the days final session was all about scary: Cemeteries, Ghosts and Zombies (especially timely before Halloween), courtesy of Michael Holden. Michael managed to weave some real title issues in with a few spooky, seasonal stories. Good show. And thanks to Cindy Immonen, Diane Kroll and Mary Ann Eckert for donating the 50-50 winnings back to the PAC! NOTE: The next MLTA educational offering will be March 14, 2018 – the newest Boot Camp, entitled: The ABCs to XYZs of Title Examination. The formal invitation and registration with more information will be sent out after the holidays. AND FINALLY, speaking of the holidays, here’s a wish for the happiest of holidays from the MLTA, its board of directors, staff and all its other contributors. May your 2018 be happy, healthy and prosperous!

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