The EscrowCoord.com team is proud to welcome McGuire Real Estate! Serving the Bay Area with 5 offices, we are excited to provide outstanding Transaction Coordination services to their agents.
One of our larger brokerages asked for feedback on how to better process their files. I always appreciate offices who check in with us to see the how policy and procedure that is often created at the top levels of management work for those of us in the “trenches” of the business.
Feedback when used effectively creates positive changes in systems, a better flow of information, files processed in a timely manner and happier agents and TC’s!
A big concern for most companies is how to keep their eye on paperwork and ensure the agents are using the right forms for each transaction.
There are two simple solutions which I’ll discuss individually below:
ZipForms Broker Edition- A must-have if you want document management control. Here is what this little gem allows you to do:
All agents use the broker account to download docs using a sub-account that cannot be seen by anyone else than the broker and administrative staff.
The broker can create multiple templates for listings, pending sales and disclosure packages. In-house documents can be uploaded into the templates and swapped out anytime updating is needed. This saves everyone a TON of time!
Instead of sending out updated in-house documents or new disclosure requirements to agents hoping and praying they’ll get them completed and signed, everything is ready to go for the agent/TC in ZipForms Broker Edition.
TC’s love it because it’s a single access account with docs they need for all agents. Agents love it because there is no confusing document updates they have to remember to include for signature.
DocuSign Real Estate PLUS Broker Edition-This handy program allows you 100% access to agent’s files. Anything that runs through the platform can be seen and accessed. Bonus to your agents, you pay for their DocuSign! Each agent has a private login account that they use. TC’s love the single access account. Auditor’s love it because they can access any documents that are run through the system. If the document did not get into the final closing file, it very well may be in DocuSign.
Both of these products are well worth the price to give you piece of mind and ensure you know what’s going on with files and BRE compliance.
An important note! Products are only as good as how you set them up. You can have a great product but because of the way it’s been structured, it’s difficult for agents and staff to navigate or understand. Knowing how your staff works enables you to build a system that flows well and makes sense. Be sure to consider this or you’ll be inundated with complaints, no one will use it or worse, you’ll have to hire someone to work it because no one else understands your logic! Gahh!
Are you looking to upgrade systems in your office but don’t know where to begin? Diana Turnbloom is an expert at bridging real estate technology with real estate people. Her approach and ability to explain and simplify processes for companies enables individuals from the top management to assistants, office managers and Coordinators to save time and streamline steps. Call Diana today!
My company closes hundreds of transactions a year and we have never experienced a wire fraud incident. However, a conversation with one of my title company reps offered a real life horror story and got me thinking a little more carefully about it.
In May 2015, NAR issued a warning about wire fraud to its members.
Criminals are hacking into agent and escrow officer’s email accounts and posing as an employee of the title company or you instructing the buyer/seller to wire funds into a different escrow account. Once this money is sent, it’s difficult to locate it. Worse, the hackers insert a phone number to call them to verify the wire information is legit! Note that free email like Yahoo and Gmail and easiest to hack.
There is also the question of who is responsible when this happens…The agent because their email was hacked or the escrow company because they sent sensitive information to the agent?
To avoid this situation, some title companies are now using secured emails (require a username and password) to send out sensitive information to team members. This usually includes wiring instructions, estimated and final settlement statements and even deposit receipts which may include escrow numbers, escrow officer information and buyer’s names.
There are now wire fraud disclosures incorporated into many of the local and statewide disclosures.
Best practices is to alert your client when escrow is first opened to be careful with wire transfers. They should ONLY call the escrow officer that was initially assigned to the transaction to confirm the instructions prior to wiring.
Let them know that delivering a cashier’s check to the title office is the safest method of assuring the money gets into the right hands.
Do not forward sensitive information to other team members.
Finally, consider switching your free email account to a more secured domain to reduce potential hacks.
We are proud to announce the birth of our newest little Transaction Coordinator, Sloan Michelle Avery, care of Kate Avery. Weighing in at 7 lbs 10 oz, both mom and baby are doing great!
A recent issue came up with HOA documents that had expired and changed without the agent’s knowledge during a delayed close of escrow.
Specifically a new pro forma budget with an increase in dues had been generated since the original package had been ordered and delivered to the buyer. Fortunately the increase was small but it brought to mind how challenging it can be to track HOA updates and changes with the governing body.
Creating a system that would remind us to check the HOA docs for any impending expirations/additions/changes (like the insurance certification, budget, financials, HOA certification and new newsletters and annual meetings) proved impossible as we needed to know when meetings take place, if there was a change to the meeting date, if the budget and other documents came out early or late, etc.
Many HOA’s using online services make it difficult to check for updates and may even charge additional fees.
Finally, a delayed closing make it difficult to create a timeline check for possible changes to the documents along the way. You know how delays go-suddenly docs are in title and we are closing the next day!
Our California purchase contracts do not specify how current HOA docs should be (other than the most recent 12 months of minutes). Furthermore, the CAR HOA forms 2 and 3 (which provide a list of documents for the HOA to check) specify that Brokers have not and will not review the documents for completion.
Some agents are now including a statement on their Receipt for Documents cover page:
Buyer(s) is/are aware that Homeowner's Association documents associated with this transaction may expire, be updated or changed by the HOA without agent or seller knowledge. It is the buyer’s responsibility to confirm all information is up-to-date.
Another helpful tip is to remind your seller to forward any correspondence from the HOA to you.
We want to give a warm welcome to Kim Cole and her team of East Bay experts! We'll be Coordinating many of her Oakland transactions and are excited to be part of her team!
We want to thank Fred Karpik for hiring us for his new Brokerage, Fred Karpik, Broker. Fred works in San Francisco and we are excited to be part of his team!
I just received an addendum regarding a buyer's verification of property condition (final walkthru) to occur 5 days prior to seller vacating the property. In this case the seller is renting back the property for 30 days after close of escrow.
Be aware that final walkthru’s are typically performed prior to close of escrow to ensure all repairs have been completed and the property is in the same condition as when the offer was first written. IF there are issues (agreed upon repairs not made, house is trashed), the buyer then has the option to HOLD closing until these matters are corrected.
You’ll need to discuss this with your buyer and determine what they are comfortable with;
1-If no repairs were requested and the house well kept, buyer might opt to wait on the walkthru until after close but before the seller moves out (Make sure your buyer signs a waiver and an addendum outlining this for the seller to sign).
2-If repairs were requested, have a final walk thru prior to close and if the house looks to be in good condition or the rent back is short (2 day rent back after close), don’t bother with a second walkthru.
3-Have 2 final walk thru’s. One prior to close and a second one prior to seller vacating (offers the best protection). An additional addendum for the 2nd walkthru will need to be created.
If the buyer opts for 2- then an addendum is not needed as the verification of property condition is already addressed in the CAR RPA.
Protect both the buyer and seller by clarifying these terms at the beginning of the transaction negotiations.
We are proud to announce Trish Hall will be using our outstanding services for her busy real estate practice. We look forward to assisting her buyers and sellers!
With more homeowners converting property into family trusts, LLC’s and other partnerships flipping houses, who owns the property is now an issue that needs to be confirmed ASAP.
We find in our practice about 5% of the individuals who signed the contract, have no right to sell the property, the signature does not match the vesting deed, or it’s missing additional required signatures based upon the instructions of the LLC or partnership.
What’s the big deal?
1-You’ve got to have the right names/entity on the contracts/disclosures BEFORE you prepare the paperwork. What if you don’t? You’ll need to re-prepare the documents and have the seller re-sign!
2-You’ve got to have the right person signing the documents who has the authority to sign/sell the property! What if you don’t? You’ll need to re-prepare the documents and have the right seller sign documents and complete disclosures (Like the Transfer Disclosure Statement)!
Get it right the first time! Contact your favorite escrow/title company and request a copy of the vesting deed. This tells you who the legal owner is.
Next, confirm the information with the seller. Ask these questions;
“Before I prepare the listing paperwork, I need to know how you are holding title. I also want to confirm the spelling of your first and last name.”
“Is the property held in a trust?”
“Are you the trustee/partner/authorized signer and is there anyone else who is part of the agreement besides yourself?”
“What is the title of the Trust/LLC/Partnership/Corp?”
Once you have confirmed ownership-then it’s time to prepare the paperwork and get the right signatures from the right people.
There is one more step! The escrow officer will need copies of Trust/LLC/Corp before the seller signs closing papers to determine who has the authority to sign and sell the property. We always start working on this as soon as soon as a listing agreement is signed because there can be delays getting approval.
Don’t waste your and team members time! Confirm the person signing the contract has the legal authority to do so.