TitleBytes News & Happenings

ABSTRACTIONS and an Education Update

Oct 17, 2019

By Allan Dick, WFG

First, a recap and report on the September 11th MLTA Boot Camp – Escrow Basics, presented at the H Hotel in Midland. A throng of attendees, including a cross-section of title folks, representing both title and escrow, industry veterans and several first timers newcomers, were treated to a multi-media styled attempt at cramming the various aspects of escrow and closings, and their many nuances, into a 6 hour presentation. Mostly new faces for the presenters, aside from beginning with one grizzled veteran, who began the session with a brief (really) evolution and perspective of the role escrow plays in the title insuring world. This led to a dissection of the title commitment, as it leads to the closing, What’s Wrong with this Title Commitment? courtesy of Caitlin McCourt Leszcynski (Legacy Title).

From there, we had two sessions of OMG! I Need To Do WHAT Before We Close? presented by Cassidy Buchanan (Capital Title) and Robyn Dinsdale (Diversified National Title) separated by lunch and a game of Title Terminology Bingo, with Debbie Wiley (First American) as the moderator. The OMG! covered numerous topics involved in the escrow and closing process with several recommendations and what ifs. That was followed by a twist on the periodic MLTA seminar appearance (over the years) of a Closing from Hell skit. This was an animated, stop-action combination of several Mock Closing scenarios, courtesy of Angela Crusoe and her talented tech associates at Amrock. Angela was joined in presenting and dissecting the scenarios, and posing questions to the audience by Robyn Dinsdale and Lindsey Azelton (Capital Title). Very entertaining and informative! This was wrapped up with closing remarks, mostly touching on other topics, for which there was insufficient time, by the grizzled veteran. All-in-all, a full day of fun and information.

AND NOW, as this goes to press, the first installment of the MLTA Fall Education Seminar is being presented in Grand Rapids, featuring 3 panel discussions on: (1) recent legislative changes that affect title; (2) In Person Electronic Notarization and Remote Online Notarization; and (3) Claims Horror Stories. In addition to the customary Lansing Report and ALTA Endorsement review, there will also be a section on FIRPTA and 1099 reporting. The second installment is scheduled for November 6 in Livonia. There is still room left for that one and time to register.  Register HERE.

Abstractions – Did you know? According to Realtor.com, the first full week of fall is reported to be the “Black Friday” for residential real estate? The reasons being, buyers have less competition, more price reductions and still a greater inventory (and usually decent weather). And as reported in HousingWire, Freddie Mac’s chief economist predicts mortgage rates will remain below 4% for the rest of 2019, and despite some fears of an economic slowdown, housing will stay string through the 4th quarter into 2020.

And according to CoreLogic, rising home prices show no signs of stopping. The Housing Price Index (HPI), which has increased every month since February 2012, is expected to increase 5.8% over the next year. Another HousingWire article reports that Detroit is one of the top 5 cities where renters can more quickly save enough to become homeowners. Based on a SmartAsset study, taking into account median income, income tax rate, median annual rent, median home value and average closing costs in each the 100 largest U.S. cities, renters could save enough to become homeowners within 4 years, if they saved 40% of their post-tax, post-rent income, annually.

And a couple of shout-outs: Kudo’s to Tim McDonnell for his second fund-raising swim across the Straits of Mackinac this past August 11 – some accomplishment (twice)! Tim also deserves credit (of a different sort) for orchestrating the very successful, entertaining Trivia competition at this year’s MLTA Summer Convention – great fun! And speaking of the summer convention, congratulations to Tony Viviani for becoming the 15th recipient of the Mary C. Feindt Award for dedicated service to the MLTA!

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