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Transparency in Title Charges

WHY AREN’T TITLE COMPANIES MORE TRANSPARENT?

On average, title charges (i.e., settlement or closing fee, title insurance) comprise 70% of the total variable closing costs*. Since title charges do vary significantly from title company-to-title company in DC, MD, VA, and FL, it is very important for a home buyer to comparison shop.

Ever wonder why most title companies force you to make contact with them in order to get a quote for title charges? Seriously, with today’s technology, why won’t your title company allow you to anonymously get a customized quote for their services so you can do some comparison shopping? Why do you have to contact them and wait for them to call or email you back with a quote?

Where is the demand from consumers on title companies? After all, mortgage lenders are soon to be required (by law – see http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/ramh/res/respa_hm.cfm) to provide a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) that is subject to a “no tolerance” increase for originiation and lender costs. Shouldn’t similar demands be placed on title companies?

Most title companies hope that the referring party sends the contract and/or title order and doesn’t encourage the consumer to comparison shop for title services. In this instance, the consumer is a captive audience and will be charged accordingly. When the referring party does encourage the consumer to shop, most title companies force the consumer to call them or email them before they will provide a quote for services. They want to “feel you out” over the phone or via email to determine how hard you are shopping. If they sense a “hard” shopper, the price goes down; if they sense a “soft” shopper, the price may go up. In other words, their title charges are not consistent across the board and vary depending on how hard they have to try. Further, there is a belief among these same title companies that if they can just get you on the phone or make direct contact with you, they can “reel you in” and sell you on their service (even if the company’s charges are above market). If you are like me, you really don’t want to talk with anyone and have to haggle – JUST GIVE ME YOUR PRICE SO I CAN COMPARE AGAINST OTHERS!

Whether you are a “hard” shopper or a “soft” shopper, the charges are consistent and available online 24/7 at http://www.federaltitle.com/. You don’t have to talk to us! We are so confident of our service and pricing, that we allow consumers to obtain, ANONYMOUSLY, a guaranteed quote for services using our QuickQuote https://www.federaltitle.com/titleagents/QuickQuote/Default.aspx feature. Give it a try and you will see that Federal Title & Escrow Company is the most transparent and consumer-friendly title company in the market.

*Accurately defined, “variable closing costs” are those non-recurring costs for which you can shop. Examples of variable closing costs include lender charges (i.e., appraisal fee, underwriting fee, tax service fee, flood certification, document preparation fee); title company charges (i.e., settlement or closing fee, title insurance premium); or ancillary services (i.e., location survey, property inspection, termite report, home warranty).

Items such as transfer taxes, recordation taxes, stamp tax, prepaid interest and escrow/reserves for taxes/insurance are not considered “closing costs” because these items do not vary among service providers and cannot be “shopped.”

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