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Title Insurance 101 from a St. Louis Title Professional – Part 2 of a series

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

By: Dennis Norman

Yesterday I published the first part of my E-View TM with Wendy Cromer, Vice-President of Marketing for Security Title Insurance Agency, LLC about title insurance, the new laws affecting it and things consumers should know.

Wendy Cromer, Vice-President of Marketing, Security Title Insurance Agency LLC

Wendy Cromer, Vice-President of Marketing, Security Title Insurance Agency LLC

Today we’ll pick up where we left off yesterday in our E-View TM:

Dennis-Wendy, here in St. Louis we have “split-closings” which I think are viewed by many in the title insurance industry as a bad thing, and in fact the new laws we discussed yesterday were designed to do away with split closings.  What are your thoughts on this?

Wendy-Split closings are not strictly a “St. Louis” thing, however, they are very rare from a national perspective and how we define them locally is different than how they are defined in other areas. 

In St. Louis, a split closing means that the buyer and seller can close at different title companies.  Each title company has a role that they serve.  Depending on the sales contract these roles may differ but the most common form is the buyer’s title company produces the title insurance commitment, would handle ordering any buyer items (i.e. survey) and coordinating with the new lender regarding figures and their requirements. 

The seller’s title company typically receives the commitment from the buyer’s title company and works with the seller to clear up any and all liens that appear.  The seller’s title company will also check for subdivision assessments, specials, verify commission and earnest money.  Each title company involved will create a closing statement for their side of the transaction and the two title companies will compare figures and balance.  The buyer’s and new lender’s funds will be deposited into the Buyer’s title company.  They will retain whatever monies are needed to be disbursed to issue a “clear title” to the buyer and lender.  The seller’s title company will deliver the transfer deed and other required seller documents to the buyer’s title company and will receive the balance of monies left to pay their seller, the listing agent (if applicable) and themselves any fees owed. 
 
I think that many title insurance underwriter’s had hoped that split closings would go away when the new legislation passed.  From the underwriters that I have spoken with, it is their belief that split closings have a potential for higher claims.  I would probably agree with that statement.  I think the more companies involved in a file, the more risk for error.  I also think that the ability to utilize technology and reduce error goes away when one company (with one software system) is responsible for producing the legal description on a transfer deed and the other title company (with a different system) is responsible for typing the deed.  On the other hand, I understand that we are in a business built on relationships and service and that agents, lenders and consumers want to work with people that deliver the service and that they trust to do the job.

I realize we only covered one question today, but it is one that is complicated and takes someone with Wendy’s expertise and knowledge to explain as thoroughly and clearly as she did.  My next couple of questions are going to be about difference between title companies, pricing and whether or not buyers and borrowers can negotiate rates.  It’s going to take Wendy a while to cover all this so I’m going to save it for tomorrow.

If you are considering buying or selling a home, or refinancing your mortgage and would like to talk with Wendy about title insurance, her contact info is below.

Wendy Cromer,
Vice President of Marketing
Security Title Insurance Agency, LLC
email: wcromer@securitytitlestl.com
website: www.securitytitlestl.com
phone: 314.402.6626
business address: 11884 Gravois Rd., St. Louis, MO 63127

Wendy Cromer, Security Title Insurance Agency LLC, St Louis, MO

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