Friday, May 28, 2010

Freedom of Choice!

In a prior posting I was talking about the web and our company; this month I need to play Mythbusters or Snopes and talk about some interesting "myths" in our industry--especially as it relates to choosing your real estate business partners.
I had a great closing this week where the agent said they ordinarily use their broker's closing attorney mainly because they can get paid right at the closing table. Guess what? We do that too! All we need is something in writing from your broker with the proper splits to be paid at closing. We have done this for several companies, both large and small. Ask your broker--in all honesty any closing attorney should be able to do that for you! Don't let them 'sell you' that this is a 'special service' that only they can provide!
Another myth that comes up from time to time relates to friends complaining that they are stuck using another firm for an REO closing and they really aren't very customer friendly. In many cases (esp. if the lender is in California) you can actually choose your closing attorney. The seller pays for their lawyer; the buyer would ultimately pay for the closing--again, just like any other closing. The only Catch-22 I have seen is that the closing costs (if any) would only be paid if you used their firm, or the seller would pay for Owner's Title only if you use that firm. Call me for a quote for OTP (Owner's Title policy)--it may turn out that it would be worth having a smooth and timely closing in lieu of the "free" OTP. For the record, if the purchase price is $50K or lower, your OTP will be around $150, so "free" isn't truly that much of a bargain! For us, a short-sale or REO purchase transaction is not much different than a 'normal' closing--it just takes a bit more to get everybody to the closing table. Just call us and inquire; we can close it for you!
What about the "you're not on our approved list" myth? That happens from time to time when someone is trying to force you to use 'their' preferred attorney. While our firm is not quite 2 years old we have a lot of experience. Likewise, we have everything necessary to be approved to close for any lender (E&O, insured closing letter, etc.). Many lenders have recently reduced the number of attorneys on their 'official' approved list in order to make it easier for RESPA compliance due to the new GFE--that doesn't mean that an attorney not on that short list can't close for them, however. We can close without issue--we can do the same for YOUR lender as well!
And finally, let's look at the myth of "easy". At the end of the day, I know it can be convenient to 'walk down the hall' and close with the in-house attorney. You can also use other in-house services that are provided (lenders, etc.). All I am requesting of you is to honestly ask yourself how well you were treated at your last closing. Were you appreciated? Did anyone 'care' if you were there (you as an individual, not just as another closing, agent, loan officer, etc.)? How was the service prior to (and after!) the closing? I hope that all your questions were answered and all your calls/emails were returned--we certainly do! And don't forget that we can close at different locations around the metro-ATL area. Click on the links on the sidebar for some examples. So remember you have a choice--and we hope that you choose the Harris Wagner Law Group!

Have you seen the movie "UP"?

Here's your 'feel good' story of the day: Man crosses English Channel with helium balloons. Kinda have to smile at this one.... Here's to good planning, eh?

Friday, May 14, 2010

An obituary for an old black dog

It's funny, I am still a bit teary over an old black dog that wasn't even mine. In fact, she belonged to Susie's ex-husband! I guess I'm a bit surprised that I get so emotional over things like this, but at the same time I am very sentimental and 'events' like this do touch me.

Nora was a stray picked up by Susie over 10 years ago--the Vet guessed she was already 5 or 6 at that time. After several hundred dollars to cure her of heart worms (I think Jeff called Nora the world's most expensive stray) she lived a happy life with their family, the evil border collie Lillie (evil in her puppy days that is) and (after Susie and I were married), 'solo' at home with Jeff, until he adopted Gibson the three-legged wonderdog (a story for another day). Nora was a lab mix and was a bit overweight, as many old dogs can be, but she always had a smile for you behind her graying muzzle. Old age caught up with her and after a rough night, an early morning trip to the Vet established that it was her time. So tonight, I'll go home and hug Spike and Lillie and perhaps raise a toast to old "Nora-belle". May she rest in peace...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Which recession is over?

I love watching Frank Garay and Brian Stevens "Think Big, Work Small". THIS POSTING is great--when is your PERSONAL recession over? All I can say is that several things formed a perfect storm in my own life, most centered around my old house sitting for almost an entire year and not selling. It is currently rented so we're in 'better' shape, but issues stemming from the carrying costs have left their mark on our finances. Starting our own company (translation: no paycheck for several months) was 'fun' as well, though things are more stable to date. With that being said, we still need to get rid of a lot of debt. SO, am I out of my recession? Not yet. What is it going to take? Unlike our government, I have done the obvious stuff--cut back on spending, try to pay off debt, but that can only do so much when you start out in the red. I know that it is up to me to secure our future. Yes, I depend on God and I am truly blessed. I have to step it up, however, and see what I can do to secure more business. How can I help YOU today? How can I help you get out of YOUR recession as well?