Teaching Tools for Education

Minnesota Considers New Ag Tax Credit for Farmers

Author Comment:  In spite of Green Acre taxes, Minnesota Farmers face heavy real estate taxes on farmland, causing them to vote against independent school district referendums. So look for a new tax search to follow along with deferred Green Acre and Open Space  Taxes.   Lt. Gov. Tina Smith is working to help resolve this. 

Daily Globe | January 20, 2017

Smith called the current situation a perfect storm. Farmers are suffering from low commodity prices, high land values and, for many, crushing health care costs. The prospect of their property taxes increasing by hundreds or thousands of dollars sent many to the polls in November to vote down building bond referendums like the one for ISD 518.

“The farm economy has been struggling for the past few years. Rising property tax bills are not what’s needed across the state,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner David Frederickson. Noting that property taxes have increased by 114 percent for Minnesota farmers in the past decade, Frederickson said a majority of levy referendums in rural Minnesota failed in 2016, while the majority of levy referendums posed to city dwellers passed.

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MN Closer Licensing Course

I’ve had many questions on the MN Closer Pre-License Course, so here are some pointers:

Pointers

Pointers

  • the 8 hour class is available online 24/7 and you have 90 days to complete it.
  • You do not need to take all 8 hours in one sitting!  Just bookmark your place and return to it later.
  • there is a minimum amount of time that must be spent on each of the 12 sections, but there is no maximum time, so spend as long as you’d like to be sure you understand the material
  • if you don’t complete a section before the minimum required time and you log out , you will have to repeat that section
  • Each section has a quiz at the end. You must pass the quiz to move on
  • the final examination requires a proctor form (someone who says they saw you take the exam without assistance of any kind.)  The proctor cannot be a spouse, relative or boss.  A neighbor, friend or public librarian (there is no charge) works fine
  • the final exam is 90 questions and you need 75% to pass.  You may spend as long as you like on the exam (but you cannot leave your desk during the exam, so the proctor knows you have not used outside materials for any answers.)
  • If you fail the exam, not to worry. You can review the material (if you wish) but must retake the quizzes to retake the exam (no extra charge.)

Legal Description Online Course Sale

biting nails confused childNot quite sure about that legal description?

This online course will show you how to read and draw legal descriptions. Even the “geographically impaired” will learn how to identify the correct parcel on a map, and draw out descriptions to look for possible gaps and overlaps.

An easy and fun course that simplifies and explicates descriptions.

Spring Promotion, Type: MetesandBounds into the Coupon code before March 31st for a $50 savings.

Testimonial for “Principles of Abstracting”Online Course

HI Jeanne,

I  have to pass on this news to you, as you are a HUGE part of my success.

I found out last week that I passed my exam and am Licensed in SD now!!!

I raved of your courses to the Board of Abstracters.  I know I wouldn’t have been successful in this quest so quickly without your help!

(even scored 100% in one of the 5 sections!!)

Thank you!  Thank you!!

For whatever reason this industry is difficult to find training on.  I wish it were required to have the standard of training you provide for all individuals to be licensed in any state!

Traci Renkly

Office Manager/Closing Agent

Brookings County Title Company

422 4th Street

Brookings, SD 57006

UCC Search Releases $1.5 B Loan in Error

A, perhaps overly conscientious, paralegal pulled three UCC searches when asked to locate a Financing Statement that General Motors had given to secure money from J P Morgan.  There were apparently two UCC’s with a balance of $300 million to be paid off, but the paralegal located three UCC’s, and in the course of events, papers were drawn up by the law firm to release all three, including a $1.5 Billion security instrument.

Although the paperwork was checked by JP Morgan, General Motors, and the law firm, the releases were created, signed and filed.  Ouch.  See more in the abajournal

Moral of the story: as I always say in checking deeds,  mortgages and security documents, assume there are always MISTAKES, and your job is to find and correct the error/s. Check, check and double-check.

Genuine Title Scam Busted by CFPB

The internet is buzzing with the latest CFPB settlement. Reuters, Pioneer Press, ABC News, CBS and many others. Here is a link to the St Paul Pioneer Press article.

 

The CFPB and Maryland Attorney General have settled cases against Wells Fargo and Chase for RESPA violations, where more than 100 Wells Fargo loan officers in at least 18 branches, mainly in Maryland and Virginia, participated in the scheme, steering thousands of loans to the now defunct Genuine Title (note the irony of the name) in exchange for cash and marketing services. The penalties were in excess of $35.7 Million.  RESPA specifically prohibits kickbacks in the mortgage process.

 

“These banks allowed their loan officers to focus on their own illegal financial gain rather than on treating consumers fairly,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

 

No mention was made of what will happen to owners of Genuine Title.

 

Online or Live Training – Who Has the Higher Pass Rate?

An interesting graphic put out representing Real Estate Salesperson test takers from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation was recently included in a Pearson Vue presentation. Pearson Vue is the national company that provides pre-license testing across the US for many occupations.

The graphic shows that test takers who studied online had a slightly higher pass rate on examinations than those that took live classes.

Classroom vs Live Training

Classroom vs Live Training

Can’t We All Just Get Along – some great advise

As a board member on not one, but two Homeowner’s Associations and several committees, I had to laugh when I read this great article by Nancy Polomis at Hellmuth and Johnson Law Firm in Edina, MN. It’s Hard not to recognize the cast of characters in her play. We all know the “Complainer”, the “Bully” and the “Hawk” in our daily activities and she gives some great advise as to how to handle them.

Read her advise along with some good reminders about MCOIA law in this article. Thank you Nancy!

New Online Title and Closing Education – a Work in Progress

Award, Achievement, CDEII am pleased to announce that I have just passed the Certified Distance Education Instructor (CDEI) certification! As many of you know, I have been teaching title the traditional classroom way with a passion for many years – title examination, closing, legal descriptions, changes in real estate law, title abstracting and searching. I am a title geek who is now moving to Online Title  Education both for Professional Education and for Pre-license Closer Education.

Going into new online training will be a challenge for me  that I take seriously and look forward to.

I will work hard with you to make online real estate  title education

  • interesting
  • beneficial and
  • responsive to your needs.

I hope many new and former students will become members of my online real estate “family.”  I often get emails from you, and will try to incorporate those into the online classroom along with your questions. Thanks for your support!

Jeanne

Why Invest in Your Staff’s Future?

We all know the real estate business is cyclical. We need to hire one day, and then face the possibility of having to lay off. So why not make the most of your staff. Grow them to meet your needs.  Grow them to feel invested in the company. An investment in your staff’s futures is an investment in your organization.

 Top reasons why employees leave their company:

Lack of meaningful work. Does  your staff appreciate how important their job is impacting the lives of  your customers?

Importance of their job to the company.  Do your employees recognize the importance of their job in the big picture of providing quality products to the consumer?

Growth and Opportunity  Do they believe their employer is offering opportunity for growth and development?

So why spend the money for training?
1. To help your company fulfill future manpower needs.
2. To keep up with changing laws and rules that require people to consistently update their knowledge and skills
3. To help staff work with national companies, they need to know national laws and customs
4. For employee motivation and retention
5. For self-improvement and development
6. Someday we all want to retire and we need people to fill our shoes 🙂

Info On Home Closing

Home Closing 101: An Educational Initiative of the American Land Title Association