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President’s Corner December 2019

joe crutchfieldFall is now in full swing with winter, and everything that accompanies it, apparently not far behind.

Falling leaves, falling temperatures, daylight saving time, and the holiday shopping frenzy that can enchant consumers like no other time of year, are here or at least right around the corner.

This is usually the time of year when many of us might take time to look back and take stock in our business, ourselves, and the people in our professional and personal lives. We do this more, of course, as we get older, probably because we have more material to work with. (Actually, I’m now at the age where I find myself saying things like, “I know there’s a Walgreens there now, but it was a gas station for years.” Or, “I remember when this was nothing but farmland.” You know what I mean).

An end-of-year review has value because we can see what went right and we can be thankful or proud of our accomplishments, and we can see what didn’t work that we want to try and change for the better.

One practice that deserves review is one I brought up I guess over a year ago, and that is the idea of sellers pre-signing or signing documents ahead of the buyer on closing day. I realize that it is not that uncommon for sellers to sign their documents ahead of the closing date because of convenience. Maybe they will be out of town or not available on closing day for any number of reasons. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about sellers signing before the buyer especially, if the closing is on a Friday or at the end of the month, just to make things go more smoothly.

To some of you, this is might be a foreign concept, but there is no magic to the custom and practice we have locally of the buyer signing in the morning and the seller signing documents afterwards other than, historically, the seller could receive a proceeds check after signing their documents. This custom, though, is really becoming kind of archaic if you think about it. Since most residential buyers obtain a mortgage, generally approvals must be obtained from the lender by the buyer’s closer in order to the fund the transaction. This can’t be done until the seller signs creating some delay from the time the seller executes documents and when the transaction can be funded. On a busy Friday afternoon or the last day of the month this delay could can be a problem and cause sweaty palms and tension headaches.

Also keep in mind that when there are split closings, title companies wire money to each other and banks have cutoff times after which wires cannot be sent perhaps sending the closing into extra innings, which is something nobody wants, of course. Some of our clients are doing this when possible and it does make a difference. It’s something to keep in mind as we move forward and try to improve the closing process where we have the power to do it.

One final note on this year and the success we have had is to recognize our most valuable asset at Investors Title Company. Of course I am talking about our people. I am truly astonished at their dedication to our clients and to the company. We’ve been in business almost 50 years now, and even with the increased reliance and necessity of technology in our industry and the world, our people are still the resource that counts the most.

Well, there you have it.  Hope everyone has had a great year and the best to all of you for the holidays and the coming new year.