Real Estate Show Brandy Jennings, First American Title

Real Estate Show Brandy Jennings, First American Title

Full Video Transcript Below

[00:00:00] Alice Lema: Well, hello, Southern Oregon. Welcome back to the real estate show. I'm Alice Lema. I'm a broker here in beautiful Southern Oregon with John L. Scott real estate. So glad to have you back with us today. We have a really interesting discussion today about title insurance and escrow. We have Brandy Jennings from first American title.

[00:00:21] She's the Jackson county sales manager here locally at first American. And she's going to talk to us about some really interesting things we've got just in general, what title is and what escrow is because, you know, title and escrow together. There are two separate activities, having them together under one roof is an Oregon thing.

[00:00:40] If you're from somewhere else, then you don't have that set up. And with so many people moving here from out of state, we thought it would be great to have Brandy come on and kind of talk about what's different about Oregon title and escrow. But also some real specific things like what, if you have a power of attorney, what if you are a power of attorney, how does that change your real estate transaction?

[00:01:02] What if you have your property in a trust, what should you do to get ready for that? What are the expectations that the title and escrow people are going to have of you if the property is in a trust. So we're looking forward to a really educational conversation with Brandy Jennings, of first American title here in Medford.

[00:01:22] Before we get to that interview, want to give a quick update about the local market. Now, maybe you notice this, maybe you didn't, but this week, what did we see happen? A zillion price changes, and it wasn't just in the upper price ranges. It was across the board. It wasn't just in one neighborhood. It was a bunch of different neighborhoods across the board, sweeping price changes. What does that mean? That's the market adjusting right under our nose. The prices may have been too high to start. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe the inflation is taking a bite out of the buyer's ability to pay. Maybe, maybe it's a combination of both. I vote. It's a combination of both, but I'm happy to see the market is adjusting.

[00:02:09] There's still buyers out there buying. More people putting their house on the market. Yay. We may actually end up with a normal, somewhat normal market here before, too long, and that would be most welcome. So it's one of those unusual moments where it's a good time to sell and it's a good time to buy.

[00:02:26] And if you're used to. 2.0 interest rates and you're just really shocked at five. Just remember us older folks can tell you that five and 6% was not a bad deal for buying a house, but it is an adjustment. It's certainly much more money than people were used to spending even two months ago. But if you're out there looking for a house, keep looking.

[00:02:47] If you're thinking of putting your house on the market with two more interest rates coming this time. It's still a good time to sell. All right. With that in mind, let's have a quick word from our sponsor and we're going to talk to Brandy Jennings, first American title. Do not touch that dial. We'll be right back.

[00:03:04] Well, welcome back everybody to the real estate show. I'm Alice Lema broker John L Scott here in beautiful Southern Oregon. And today we're so excited to be visiting with Brandy Jennings, a first American title. Welcome.

[00:03:17] Brandy Jennings: Thank you. Glad to be here.

[00:03:19] Alice Lema: Well we're just so excited because I think the title and escrow parts of real estate transactions everybody knows they're going to have you involved, but they don't really know like what you do, why you're here, why it matters. So let's take a quick minute, just introduce yourself and let's talk a little bit about the purpose of a title company.

[00:03:41] Brandy Jennings: Okay. So my name is Brandy Jennings. I'm the Jackson county sales manager for first American title. I have been in the industry here in the valley for over 20 years. I worked in lending and I worked in escrow. I'm really involved with the realtor association. And well, we had a women's council of realtors here. I was on the board for them along with, on the board for the Oregon escrow council. I love this industry. It's a lot of fun and I love the company that I work for. We are always winning great awards, like best places to work.

[00:04:10] We just received that for the seventh year in a row, fortune 500 company. It's, it's wonderful. I've been here eight years and yes, I love the valley. I was born here. I wasn't raised here completely. My dad was in the military, but now that I've been back. I

[00:04:26] Alice Lema: think you're a, you're a real local. Not like the rest of us. Who's been here a long time. So let's talk a little bit about the role of a title company. And also for those people listening that are from other states, Oregon has escrow and title under the same roof, but let's talk about title first.

[00:04:46] Brandy Jennings: Sure. Okay. Well Across the nation, they do things differently. Some places have the title part of it searched from a title company. And then the escrow portion of it is taken care of by an attorney. Some places will have one title or a title company over here and then an escrow company over here. And we're lucky that in Oregon, we do it all in one. So the title side of things, we're searching the property, we're checking for ownership and anything that may be attached to the property or attached to that owner.

[00:05:15] When you have a transaction where you're buying or selling, we create a preliminary title report that tells you who is the owner, what are the taxes what's attached to the property? What's attached to the property because of the owner. And we put out a nice report for everyone to review and approve before we move forward in the transaction.

[00:05:33] And we provide you title insurance to make sure that when we do insure this property, that this property is yours. So that if something was to come across later, maybe there's an heir that showed up that no one knew of and said, oh, this property was supposed to be left to them. And you can know that your new buyer is in ownership.

[00:05:53] Alice Lema: That's okay. We just appreciate your time. So the preliminary title report is a very interesting document and it comes out pretty early on in the transaction, but what I'd like for you to touch on briefly as a quick little sidebar, is that you don't have to have a transaction to find out what's going on with your property as far as ownership, liens, and easements. So can you speak to that?

[00:06:18] Brandy Jennings: Absolutely. So our title department is here to create reports for you. If you are wondering what is attached to my property? Do I have any liens or judgments against me? So there are different types of reports that you can purchase. One is the biggest report, which will give you everything that you would see on a preliminary title report.

[00:06:36] So all liens and things, you know, monetary judgements, those types of things, and all the easement, and since CC&Rs and things that are attached to the property. Or if you're only worried about liens and judgements, you can just get a report that has just that. Or if you only want to know about easements, cause you can't remember if you have one, there's a report for that as well.

[00:06:56] Or our customer service department, they can provide you with just general information, what the county is showing. Who's the owner, what are the taxes, legal description and that.

[00:07:06] Alice Lema: Yep. And so I think for people who have owned properties for decades and may have forgotten, people who may have multiple owners, situations taking a quick minute or you think those relationships are going to change, or you've just been told your relationship is going to change. Getting those preliminary titles before you have a transaction is it can be very eyeopening. For sure.

[00:07:36] Brandy Jennings: Definitely. Yeah. I think for the most part, people know what's attached to them and what's attached to the property. But if they really have no idea, they can purchase that report. And then if they do sell that property within six months, then we can credit the amount that they paid for that report towards their closing costs.

[00:07:54] Alice Lema: That's good. That's good. Yeah. And there's different layers of investigation, I guess that's, it's really kind of an investigation at that point.

[00:08:03] Brandy Jennings: Yeah, we normally get our reports out within three to five business days. It just kind of depends on how convoluted the property is. When was the last time it was searched. If it's never been searched, if it's been passed down heir to heir for generations, those reports can take a little bit long to happen.

[00:08:20] Alice Lema: Does that happen?

[00:08:22] Brandy Jennings: Oh, absolutely. Our basement is filled with records. So a lot of things are electronic now, but we have our title plant here on site. So sometimes we're in the basement digging up old maps and, and deeds. And it's pretty interesting. If you're, if you're into that kind of thing..

[00:08:38] Alice Lema: Yeah. Yeah, it is very interesting. And then the, I guess if you've had the property for a long time, is it possible that utility easements would have changed and you not know it maybe?

[00:08:49] Or are there any of those kinds of riverfront, like we're getting ready to list some riverfront property and those accesses can sometimes change.

[00:09:01] Brandy Jennings: Well with riverfront a lot of times there's some kind of language in there that talks about the actual river, how it can move, you know, so your land may go further out one year and then another year.

[00:09:16] So they kind of put that into the language of those documents. And for the most part, I want to say, if something's recorded against your property, you're going to get some kind of notification. You're going to get something in in the mail.

[00:09:27] Alice Lema: Yeah. Yeah. But if for some reason you miss that, cause you don't get your mail then. Well, yeah, I'm only joking cause that's kind of the new trend. A lot of folks, you know, the snail mail is something you only do once a month maybe, but but also for folks that are getting ready to downsize, you know, sometimes as you get older, it's harder to just get to the mailbox. So Yeah. So just being prepared, knowing what's going on with your property before you decide to to do some kind of transfer with it is definitely a good idea.

[00:10:04] And you don't have to be in a real estate transaction to do that. Correct. So one of the other questions that we get a lot about the title company is the insurance. Like what is title insurance? Exactly. And how does that work?

[00:10:22] Brandy Jennings: title insurance is covering the land and ensuring that you, as the owner of the property are the owner of the property. So like I said, if you had an heir show up from a previous owner on the new buyer's doorstep and says, Hey, this property was left to me. Why are you in my house? The title insurance was going to cover that, that new buyer is the owner of the property. And they're going to make that heir go away. So and sometimes, you know, they're. Yeah, we're going to maybe have to pay out if we missed something.

[00:10:56] Alice Lema: That doesn't happen very often. I can't remember ever hear. I mean, hearing about that situation.

[00:11:02] Brandy Jennings: Yeah. I mean, it can happen. You know, things can get missed, you know, But that's why you have the title insurance to ensure that you are the owner of the property and her lender wants that title insurance to make sure that they're insured because they're invested in your property and they've lent all this money to you.

[00:11:19] So they want to be insured. So that's why we have two different title policies. You generally have an owner's policy and a lender's policy.

[00:11:27] Alice Lema: Oh, Gotcha. That's why I do this every day and I had completely forgotten there's two policies. So, so let's talk a little bit about title and divorces or when people pass away, power of attorneys. Somebody that comes to you and they have a power of attorney. What's the process for that?

[00:11:48] Brandy Jennings: Well, you'd like to see those as soon as possible. So when you've opened up that transaction, that's going to be one of the first things we need to see, is that power of attorney or those trust documents to make sure that we are dealing with the correct sellers and who can sign on behalf of this property.

[00:12:04] So if you know that you're going to have a transaction that is going to need power of attorney, or if there is a trust involved, we're happy to take a look at those before you even list the property. But sometimes, you know, we don't find out about it until it's already sold and that's perfectly fine.

[00:12:19] We'll review it as soon as possible and, and move forward. It doesn't normally take very long, but sometimes there's a little bit more research that's needed. We will talk to the people that granted that power of attorney to make sure that that is what they intended. So sometimes there's general power of attorneys and specific power of attorneys, and maybe we'll need to create one in the transaction and have the person that's conveying that prop, that power of attorney come into our office.

[00:12:44] So we'll meet them, make sure they're of sound mind and that they know why they're, why they're signing that document.

[00:12:51] Alice Lema: So that's very interesting because not all powers of attorney are useful or applicable in our real estate transactions in Oregon. Correct.

[00:13:02] Brandy Jennings: Yeah. Sometimes it's just going to be for medical reasons, not necessarily to sell property, so, yeah.

[00:13:09] Alice Lema: Gotcha. Gotcha. So I think that's probably news to a lot of people and we do have a high population, high percentage of our population that's elderly here in Southern Oregon and people walking around and say, why have a power of attorney? And it's like, Okay. Yeah, somebody has to vet it. You have to go through it thoroughly.

[00:13:31] We've also had situations where a particular property was not included in that power of attorney.

[00:13:37] Brandy Jennings: Yep. Yeah. So maybe we'll create one in the new transaction and have that person that's granting the power of attorney, come in and sign that and get notarized and make sure they understand what, what it's for. And then we can move forward.

[00:13:52] Alice Lema: Is that, is that a power of attorney review? You said that can be done ahead of time. How much ahead of time would you guys like to see those.

[00:14:02] Brandy Jennings: Well we get calls all the time from realtors that are getting ready to list property, and they want to make sure that the direct seller is signing their listing agreement.

[00:14:10] So they may have a seller of the property at that time, come in, bring in their documents and we'll have our title officer take a look at it. And for the most, for the most part, we can move forward with that. But maybe after we've opened up the transaction and new things come to light, we may need more information at that time.

[00:14:29] We're happy to take a look at trust documents and power of attorneys before you even list the property.

[00:14:34] Alice Lema: Okay. So would you say maybe a week or two ahead?

[00:14:39] Brandy Jennings: Yeah. I mean, I don't even know if we need that much time.

[00:14:42] Alice Lema: Oh, that's great. Yeah, that's actually pretty quick, so, okay. But but a good piece of valuable information. Folks, if you have people on your, in your estate that are your powers of attorney, or you are someone who has been designated to be someone's signature authority, then we should have the title company look at that ahead of time. Yeah. So you mentioned trust, trust can be kind of, kind of a a sticky, wicket.

[00:15:13] Brandy Jennings: I mean, they're not the most fun to actually read.

[00:15:16] Alice Lema: Do you guys have to actually read that.

[00:15:18] Brandy Jennings: Sometimes we do, you know, sometimes people have a hard time reading legal documents and they just want someone else to take a look. I believe that I'm the trustee. Can you take a look at this too? But we want to make sure that when there's a trust involved, that we are dealing with the correct trustees in, and sometimes it can get a little convoluted if it's been from one trustee down to the next trustee, if people have passed away or people have decided they don't want to be the trustee.

[00:15:43] Alice Lema: Well, and we're going to talk more about that. We've got to take a quick break. Sorry to cut you off, is so interesting. Brandy Jennings, first American title. We'll be right back after a quick word from our sponsors. Do not go.

[00:15:55] Well, welcome back. Southern Oregon to the real estate show, I'm Alice Lema broker, John L. Scott here in Southern Oregon. Having such an interesting conversation with Brandy Jennings. First American title. She's bringing us up to speed on what a title companies do, don't do. And some of the finer educational points about getting ready for your transaction. Welcome back.

[00:16:17] Brandy Jennings: Thank you.

[00:16:18] Alice Lema: Yeah. And it's so thank you so much for giving us your time. So right before the break, we were just starting to talk about trust documents in real estate and how they can be kind of tricky. And you, you were mentioning that somebody at your end actually has to look them over ahead of time.

[00:16:34] Brandy Jennings: Yeah. So sometimes people already have a certification of trust, which is a document that we will have you sign. That just basically gives us all the general information about the trust. Who is the trustee, who is the creator of the trust? What's the name of the trust? When was it created? Where was it created and what are the The responsibilities of the trustee, do they have more than one?

[00:16:59] Can they both sign on behalf of the trust? Is it just take one of them? So that certification of trust answers all of those questions and lets us know that that is the person that can sign on behalf of the trust. And some people are confused looking at trust documents. So they may even bring us the whole trust.

[00:17:15] We don't need the whole thing, but we'd need the basics about, you know, real property when it's being sold and who would be the signer.

[00:17:23] Alice Lema: Well, and I think people get caught by surprise in a transaction because they don't realize that vetting of the trust, just like the power of attorney all has to happen before.

[00:17:34] Brandy Jennings: Yes. Well, you know, you don't want to go too far into a transaction and realize you're dealing with the wrong people, right? So we're trying to get things done timely and efficiently. And so the sooner we have those documents, the better. There's things like that, that we ask for sometimes and takes a while to get them.

[00:17:49] And that can delay your closing. And we always want to close on time per the contract that you guys have given us. And so we asked for some things upfront. The power of attorney or the trust certification, or, you know, pay off information. Sometimes we're, we're waiting a while to get that. And so when we send something to our sellers asking for information, the sooner they can get things back to us, the better. Sometimes we're just trying to make sure we're dealing with those people.

[00:18:14] You know, there's a lot of people with common names. So we may send a document called the statement of identity, asking more information about yourself. And what we're trying to do is figure out if certain judgements or liens belong to you or not. And if they should be on that preliminary title report that we're creating for you.

[00:18:30] So when we ask for things, the sooner we get them, the better, that way we don't have to delay the closing of the property.

[00:18:36] Alice Lema: So you are really in a role of being a protective. The title company is the one who goes, takes the time to verify who the parties are, that they are, the ones allowed to perform these actions. And you're looking out for everybody's best interest.

[00:18:53] Brandy Jennings: Yeah, so we are the neutral third party. So we're just trying to make sure that we're handling all the documents, all the funds and dealing with the correct people. And then we're going to provide that title insurance for the buyer and make sure that they know they are the owner of the property.

[00:19:08] We're gonna provide that title insurance for the lender to make sure that their investment in the property, taken care of and secure. But yeah, so that's, that's what we do. We're the neutral third party where we're handling all the money on the documents and the transferring of ownership and looking out for everybody's best interest.

[00:19:24] Alice Lema: So when there are delays, we just want to be patient because it's a very important job that you were doing on behalf of all of us and making sure that it's all the way it's supposed to be. And trusts can be complicated. And, you know, it's surprising that you guys have to pour through all those pages and validate all that information. People just don't realize how much work that is.

[00:19:46] Brandy Jennings: Right. But, you know, there's always a lot of due diligence that the buyer has to do on their own because there are certain things we cannot search for. So. Managing the disbursement of the funds and the documents and an ownership of the property.

[00:19:59] But there are things out there that maybe the reason why they're buying the property is for a certain reason. And they need to talk to the county about that. That's not something that we would search point.

[00:20:10] Alice Lema: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're doing the legal and the people part. Yeah. Yeah. And so I'm going back to the preliminary title report, sometimes things show up on there. You know, you do the searches, that's what the title company does.

[00:20:24] And sometimes there are easements there's unexpected liens, judgments, things like that. Let's talk a little bit about where those come from and how they can be eliminated.

[00:20:34] Brandy Jennings: Sure. Okay. Well, when someone has a lien or judgment, that's attached to them, maybe it's child support or maybe it's spousal support, or maybe it's an IRS lien.

[00:20:44] Judgement creditors we'll record something with the county and attaches to the name and sometimes they'll record it against the actual property. So when there's something recorded against the property or the person of ownership, we see that when we do our preliminary title report search. So at that point, when we get that preliminary title report out to everyone, You'll see the recorded document in there and hopefully they already know about it.

[00:21:08] Cause I'm sure they've been notified that they, they owed somebody money or they're aware that they already have to make a monthly payment for something. But to transfer ownership, we have to make sure that those get cleared. So we need to make sure, you know, child support and, and spousal support are current.

[00:21:25] You know, if that seller is selling the property, we want to make sure there's nothing that's going to follow the property. So we're going to make sure that's correct. And we're going to make sure IRS liens get paid off. Sometimes there's other collections that get thrown in there. Yeah.

[00:21:38] Alice Lema: And sometimes it's not your debt. We've had that happen a couple of times, right?

[00:21:44] Brandy Jennings: Yeah. So that's why that statement of identity would be an important document to give to us if we've asked for it, because maybe your name is John Smith and there are lots of John Smiths in the area. So we're going to try to make sure that only you as John Smith, only your judgments are attached to this particular property and that we didn't pull someone else's judgment.

[00:22:05] Alice Lema: And don't panic if something shows up, cause it will be taken care of. So in some states cause every state is different. That's the other thing I think people don't understand, in some states you don't have title and escrow as one company, you either have one or the other, or they use lawyers. They use lawyers, not lose lawyers usually.

[00:22:30] Brandy Jennings: And I'm not too familiar because I've always been in Oregon. But I do know in the east, they do have attorneys handle the escrow side of things quite often, and then maybe we'll do the title report and provide the title insurance. And then there's places that, you know, we'll use their E and O (errors and ommisions) insurance, so they will sign all the documents and pass keys and money on the same day. And then maybe record the documents, conveying that property over, you know, Months down the road.

[00:22:57] People up here from California, they don't understand how we hold the vesting of the title differently.

[00:23:03] That's because they're a community property state, and we are not. So it's just a little bit different, but for the most part, we're all doing the same thing and we all worked together. First American is nationwide, so they definitely know what they're doing across the country.

[00:23:18] Alice Lema: So that's good then. Yeah. Having a big company like that for people that are relocating, because we have so many people relocating now to have a first American in every state, practically in the union, it comes in really handy.

[00:23:34] Brandy Jennings: Right. We are, we're actually global. So I'm very proud of the company that I work for. We have so much new technology that's coming out. There's a new thing now called remote online notary. We are the only title company that has has this nation wide..

[00:23:50] That means if you have a seller that is maybe out of the country or maybe very rural, and it's hard for them to get into town, to go to the title company, to sign that warranty deed that needs to be notarized to convey that property over to the Dubai buyer, we can do it electronically. So there's some steps that are involved and make sure that we are dealing with the correct seller and we have identification and they answer some knowledge questions to make sure they are who they say they are. And then we can actually notarize them electronically.

[00:24:20] Alice Lema: Wow, you can sell your house in your jammies. Are you doing that by zoom or is it just

[00:24:31] Brandy Jennings: I can't remember the name of the program that. Yeah, you can see the remote online notary doesn't actually come up on the screen until that seller has actually went through the questionnaire to verify they are who they say they are. Remote, online notary will come on and they actually will hold up their ID and then they, their equipment can actually scan the codes really while you're on video chat.

[00:24:58] Yes. Yeah. Very cool. And so right now some lenders are working towards. Then even accepting loan documents notarized this way. So you're not quite there yet, I think with most, but we're definitely moving forward and we're trying to stay right on top of that innovation.

[00:25:17] Alice Lema: Now, how much of that was expedited because of the COVID shutdown.

[00:25:23] Brandy Jennings: Oh, so definitely expedited because of COVID. Yes.

[00:25:28] Alice Lema: So how did first American deal with, cause you guys still, I mean, we had record number of transactions during the shutdown, when everybody was supposed to be home, you guys, you were all supposed to be home .And yet we sold more properties than ever. How did first American?

[00:25:45] Brandy Jennings: You know, I feel like we did that way better than we could've ever imagined considering it was so new. We had some of our staff working from home that we sectioned out our offices so that if one part of the office had an exposure, we didn't have to send the entire office home. But then we could switch with the people that were home.

[00:26:05] Alice Lema: Oh, that's really clever.

[00:26:08] Brandy Jennings: Yeah. So we did everything we could you know, of course cleaning sanitizing. We had our screens up mask and just everything we possibly could to try to keep everyone especially our employees safe.

[00:26:20] Alice Lema: Yeah. Wow. I didn't know you were sectioning off your office. That is so smart because then you don't have to shut the whole building, you know, in case that happens again, folks, that's so smart.

[00:26:32] Brandy Jennings: Yeah. You know, we all went through it together, right?

[00:26:36] Alice Lema: Yeah. Yeah. So this video chat signing for, so what's the name of it again? Sorry.

[00:26:41] Brandy Jennings: Ron notary, remote online notarization.

[00:26:44] Alice Lema: Remote, online notary authorization. You call it RON. Oh, I'll have to remember that. So were you doing that during the shutdown or is this post COVID?

[00:26:59] Brandy Jennings: It did get expedited during COVID. Yes. So it wasn't something that was in Oregon at that time when COVID started. Yes. We were able to get that approved with, I can't remember how fast it happened, but faster than you would think.

[00:27:15] Alice Lema: Wow. Oh, well, well you must've had that in the works as a company then, because that's a huge shift.

[00:27:21] Brandy Jennings: Yeah, it was a huge shift in, you know, they're always just staying on top of technology, trying to provide the best resources to all of our realtors and lenders and clients. So they probably did already have something in the works, knowing that it was being used in other parts of the nation. So but yeah, we didn't have it approved in Oregon right, right away. But it happened pretty quick.

[00:27:45] Alice Lema: Oh, I'm just, I'm just flabbergasted remote, online notary. And it's just for sellers. You said it's not for buyers yet?

[00:27:53] Brandy Jennings: Well, that's because most lenders haven't Figured out how to make that happen because they have a lot of documents in those loan documents that need to be notarized. And so they also need to have an original signature on the note.

[00:28:05] And even though that doesn't need to be notarized, normally it's all signed at the same time. So lenders are working on moving forward with that. I, I know there's a couple that do it, but not very many.

[00:28:14] Alice Lema: So it's just, it's going to be lender by lender. Isn't it? Yeah. Wow. Wow.

[00:28:20] Brandy Jennings: Well, that is so cool out of the country or, you know, it came in really handy for them.

[00:28:26] Alice Lema: Okay. So you can be in Bimini on the beach. And so sell house with a margarita in your hand, as long as you have good internet, I just got, it's just amazing. Wow. Well, I wonder how long it'll be before we have enough of the mainstream lenders doing remote online notary, that'll be a game changer. You won't even have to come into the office to sign your papers.

[00:28:51] Brandy Jennings: I like everybody, people come in for their signings. That's a very happy time for everyone. It's exciting. Yeah.

[00:28:58] Alice Lema: Yeah. It is noteworthy. It's a monumental appointment. Plus you guys have ice cream in your lobbies.

[00:29:04] Brandy Jennings: And be like, wait this , . Cause this is a big transaction. It's a big deal for every person that comes through those doors and we want to make it a happy and yeah, fun experience celebrate with ice cream.

[00:29:15] Alice Lema: Yeah. Well, I am so impressed with the, the effort that the company, first American is putting forward to start to smooth out and streamline what it can, because a real estate transactions are bumpy and, and kind of traumatic, even if you're all happy about it. And it's all good. It's just, it's just a little, it's just a big process.

[00:29:38] Brandy Jennings: Yeah, it can be very emotional.

[00:29:40] Alice Lema: Yeah. Well, and time-consuming and paperwork. And what do you need now? Yeah, so we're talking to Brandy Jennings first American title, she's Jackson county sales manager. We're discussing what title companies do and don't do, and we're going to have to take break here, get a word from our sponsors in, and then we're going to be back with our last segment with Randy to talk about escrow. We haven't even had a chance to do that yet. We've been spending all this time talking about title, and there's plenty of plenty to talk about. But we will be back briefly.

[00:30:13] We're brought to you by Guy Giles, Churchill mortgage, John L. Scott Ashland, Medford, Southern Oregon, and our local rogue valley association of realtors. We'll be right back. Don't touch that dial.

[00:30:26] Well, hello again, everybody. Welcome back to the real estate show. Alice Lema here, broker John L. Scott beautiful Southern Oregon. If you don't live here now, you should. We're talking to Brandy Jenny's first American Title, she's Jackson county sales manager, and a wealth of information about what title companies are and do, and how important it is to have a neutral third party. Involved in your real estate transaction. And that's really the, the core of what it is that title companies offer.

[00:30:57] Brandy Jennings: Yes. Exactly. So everything that we do here were taken by instruction. So we're working as part of your team, you know, working for the buyer and the seller. You have the realtor and the lender on your team. And then of course your, your escrow company is escrow officer.

[00:31:11] So everything that we do is to facilitate the transaction by managing the disbursement of funds and documents. And so we're going to handle all the money, all the paperwork and recording of the documents and make sure that we are dealing with the correct parties and whatever we do, we'll do by instruction.

[00:31:28] Alice Lema: It's a fabulous service that you offer. And in some states we were talking earlier because in, in Oregon title and escrow, even though they're two different processes, you're under one roof. So let's talk about escrow because that's the part, people are more familiar with then title, but they still don't always understand.

[00:31:46] For example, you brought up money earnest. When you bring your earnest money in, some people have tried to bring in gold bars. We've had people try to bring in actual $20 bills. Let's talk about how earnest money is, is best handled.

[00:32:02] Brandy Jennings: Well. As you know, your earnest money needs to be deposited at the title company within three days of accepting that contract. And so we only take certified funds for the most part, but when it comes to earnest money, normally we're going to be closing, you know, at least in 30 days. So we can take a personal check for earnest money. We have to just make sure that the funds clear before we close on the transaction. So when it comes to your closing funds, we will only accept a wire or like a cashier's check. They must be certified funds.

[00:32:32] But yes, we, you're going to bring in the S or the earnest money at the beginning, and then you're going to bring your closing funds at the end. And then, then we'll record all the documents to convey the ownership and let everybody know it's all been done.

[00:32:43] Alice Lema: So now if somebody wants to bring in a cashier's check, it seems like there are times when there that has to be held. So what's, what's the backstory on that?

[00:32:54] Brandy Jennings: Well, we normally like to have the certified funds in the bank for 24 hours. There are times where we'll receive a certified check or cashier's check from an out of state bank. And so we may need a little bit more time. We just have to make sure that those funds clear before we close the transaction.

[00:33:10] Yeah. Yeah, we can't commingle funds or anything like that. So the money that's for this transaction, we need to actually have in the bank for us to move forward.

[00:33:19] Alice Lema: And the earnest money folks, if you bring in a check, they're going to cash it. They don't hold it. We've had people say, I didn't know they were going to catch the check.

[00:33:30] Brandy Jennings: And we do have a great program, too. If you have someone that is out of the area and maybe they can't make it over to the first American in time to deposit that check, we can do an electronic deposit of that through an app that we have, great programs. We have a program where they download the app and they create an account and their own little security code.

[00:33:57] And they'll go through, they'll find first American, and then they'll find the local first American branch and fill in some information about the transaction. Who's their realtor, what's the property address. Who's the other party in the transaction. Take a picture of their check and pretty much instantly deposit.

[00:34:12] Alice Lema: Amazing. I did not know that. Wow. Wow. So you do a personal check and take a picture of it just like you do on some of the banking. Right. And then you can deposit your earnest money that way. Yes. Wow. Well, are you doing direct transfers yet through Venmo or Zelle or anything like that? That's probably not yet.

[00:34:33] Okay. No problem.

[00:34:36] Brandy Jennings: The commission checks and we can do an aCH deposit for them. If they, if they bring us in sign instructions and we can do it that way for the realtor commissions realtors come in and pick up their check. So we can do an ACH deposit and then they don't have to come in. Although we like.

[00:34:52] Alice Lema: Well, we can, yeah, that's handy. So I'm going back to the earnest money deposit on the app. I'd be fascinated by that, because we have you know, so many home buyers now that are millennial youngers and, you know, they don't even have checks.

[00:35:09] Brandy Jennings: Right. That does make it hard. They do need it.

[00:35:15] They might as well just wire it then, or get it.

[00:35:19] Alice Lema: Yeah. So you can wire your earnest money then? Correct. Okay. But there's a fee for that sometimes.

[00:35:26] Brandy Jennings: Sometimes it depends on the bank.

[00:35:27] Alice Lema: Some banks not you guys don't charge?

[00:35:30] Brandy Jennings: No, we don't charge. Yeah.

[00:35:31] Alice Lema: Yeah. Okay. So if you're doing the deposit on the app can it be a cashier check where then you have to go to the bank anyway, I'm just trying to avoid going to the bank of America.

[00:35:41] Brandy Jennings: Yeah. Hopefully they have a check. I think most people still have a check, just in case, but yeah, you're right. Not everyone does. But you know, w we do everything that we can to make sure everything is secure when you have a transaction with us. And one thing I want to bring up, there's a lot of cyber fraud happening these days, wire fraud.

[00:36:00] So we'd like to do a lot of our communication with our buyers, seller, realtor lender through our secure portal. So when you open up a transaction with first American, and when you give us an email address, we invite, you into first American securities to where you can create an account through our secure portal, chat with your escrow officer through that portal and not have to worry about your email getting hacked.

[00:36:22] So these hackers have gotten really good. They'll, they'll see, you know, sales price, and somehow, you know, they have these little code words that make it to where they know there's a transaction. And then they'll pretend to be an escrow officer they'll make up a fake email that says it's first American.

[00:36:35] You don't highlight over it and look where it's really coming from, it may look like it's coming from us. They've gotten really good. So you can avoid all that if you use the secure portal, actually create that account and then you can chat with us. You can upload documents, sign some documents. And yeah, I would recommend always trying to use the, the security we invite you in to.

[00:36:58] Alice Lema: That's awesome. Yeah, that's very forward thinking. So you have an app to be able to deposit their earnest money on, you have high security portal for the transaction, which is really impressive. And you have this what did you call it? The not non notary. Remote notary online notary.

[00:37:19] Right? Right. So for sellers right now, you do not have to go to the title company, even if you live next door to the title company.

[00:37:27] Brandy Jennings: But you want come in because they want an ice cream.

[00:37:31] Alice Lema: Yeah. You should. You should. And this is just fun. You know, you, you probably don't have very many real estate episodes in a lifetime, so it is fun to make it special. And getting to the finish line is a big deal. Definitely. So, oops, go ahead. Sorry.

[00:37:49] Brandy Jennings: I just wanted to just reiterate, you know, when your escrow officer asks for something and hopefully it's through the secure portal that you give us that information, you know, pay off information or trusting.

[00:37:59] Alice Lema: Well, let's talk about what payoff.

[00:38:03] Brandy Jennings: Well, if you're making a mortgage payment right now on your home, We need to know exactly what's owed so that we can take care of it through the escrow, because when you work with us and we handle the escrow of your transaction, we're going to create a final settlement statement that talks about, that shows you all the costs that are involved in your transaction.

[00:38:21] So, you know, what you're buying or selling for and how much the title insurance and your part of the escrow fee is, what the recording fees are with the real estate commission. Now we'll prorate the taxes and any homeowners association, dues or utilities like, you know, Irrigation and things like that.

[00:38:38] So we're going to create that settlement statement for you, but we need to put the payoff on there and we need it from your lender. And in order for us to do that, we need authorization from you.

[00:38:47] Alice Lema: So, yeah. So don't wait. When the title company says something, do it. Well, Brandy, we're going to have to have you on again. We're almost out of time. Great interview Brandy Jennings, first American title. Thank you so much. Have a beautiful weekend folks. We'll see you next week.

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