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!


Online Land Title Classes Now Available

With a great deal of effort, I am proud to announce arrival of new online courses for the title industry. My first few are now available and I will have a number of others in the near future.

As you know, I specialize in teaching title insurance, title abstracting, title examination, legal descriptions and all things “geek” in the title world.  I love land titles. I love the history. I love the mystery of finding the ownership and all the title issues. Insuring title, closing title, etc. Every title is different and I love it all from the search through the closing.

Try them out and look for more Classes to come online soon.

Best Regards,  Jeanne

CFPB Issues Report on “Pain Points” at Closing

There were few surprises in the Report Issued by the CFPB  from those who elected to respond to the “Request for Information” about closings.  It’s too complicated, and becoming more complicated by the day.

The 69 page report reviewed information it received from its recent  public Survey-about the challenges consumers face when closing on a home. The Bureau identified several “pain points” consumers regularly experience during the closing process. Consumers reported being frustrated by (among other things)

  • The short amount of time to review a large number of closing documents
  •  Not understanding the documents and the legalese terms;
  • The lack of resources providing explanations about closing documents, which are full of technical jargon; and
  • Errors in the quantity of paperwork resulting in long delays.

Our legislators, while hoping to make things clearer for the consumer, continue to make the process more complicated. In my opinion, the average consumer does NOT want to know the maximum amount they could pay for a loan, including principle and interest, points and expenses if they keep the loan for thirty years as disclosed on a TIL.  How many people keep the same house for thirty years with the same mortgage? But that is a requirement under the TIL law.

In CFPB’s defense, it oversees just a small piece of the process and has been mandated to combine the HUD-1 and TIL – a difficult undertaking. And it has  made excellent strides in asking the stakeholders for advice.  Lenders, states, counties, title companies, attorneys and others all impact the process and have input that the CFPB is considering and taking seriously.  I hope that the results will be as good as the process involved.

Just a thought for e-closings – Why not make the detailed  information available to those who wish to review such information without requiring that all the information be covered.  It’s overwhelming to read 100 pages and if the consumer knows that a FNMA mortgage is a standard form for the state and CANNOT be modified, there should be some comfort in that.

But right now, it’s too much noise- like the mail I get from the bank almost daily.  Every mailing includes multiple pages of disclaimers from the bank. There is so much “noise” in all the mail, that we miss the point. Who reads all that jargon.  I think the average consumer wants to know the monthly outgo – i.e. what is the total monthly PITI?  After that, the mortgage Note and mortgage deed, and title deed need to be explained. But to spend an hour going over a hundred pages of disclosures is just too much – both for the closer and the consumer. I love the idea of the consumer being able to read the documents online and choose the level of understanding, with an explanation to clarify the point of each document BEFORE the table closing.

E-closing would make all our jobs easier and the consumer much more comfortable with the process.  What do you think?


The Future of E-Closing

A great article about the CFPB’s thoughts on the future of E-Closing at Lexology.  See it here 

FHA Loans Continue to Play Important Role for Consumers

RIS Media has some good information on those very common  FHA loans that many don’t understand. They point out a number of  facts that make the FHA Loan product so appealing and popular, including:

  • Those with imperfect credit can still qualify for an FHA Loan
  • Sellers, builders and lenders can legally pay some of the closing costs to induce the buyers to purchase
  • Extra cash is available under the 203B program  for those homes needing repairs
  • Although FHA  requires a 2.25% fee upfront towards mortgage insurance along with ongoing FHA premiums,  the low down payment makes an FHA loan very attractive for those without a large down payment

Read the whole article here 

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 🙂

Underwriter Declines to Write Title Policies for Ally and GMAC Foreclosures

It has been reported that Old Republic Title, known for it’s quality products, thoughtful and cautious underwriting, is declining to write new title policies on Ally and GMAC foreclosures, due to the questionable foreclosure tactics used by the entities performing their foreclosures.

Those purchasing foreclosures should be particularly careful to buy an owner’s policy of title insurance, as many of the foreclosure mills doing the technical work have been shoddy, usingpoor judgment and some even illegal methods to speed the foreclosure process.  See MORE HERE at Palm Beach Post.

Title Examination Seminar September 13-14

Jeanne Johnson & Associates present:

“Title Examination for Title Insurers”
September 13-14, 2010
St. Paul, Minnesota $495.
Exam Title from A-Z For More information click here: Title Exam Class

Who Should Attend?

The class is best suited for people with several years experience in the Real Estate or Title Industries who
• Want to build confidence in full and complete title examinations (Patent to present)
• Want to expand their current skills in Abstracting, Searching or Closing with a full understanding of both the Title Examination process, the resulting Title Commitment and Problem solving
• Wish to expand skills into a Title Examiner position

This hands-on course runs through the core elements of real estate law and how to examine title searches. It covers ALL types of liens – how they attach and how they can be removed. It discusses coverage under the 2006 ALTA Policy and use of the Title Standards.® We use practical hands-on examples, examine real world title problems and end by a doing a complex title exam.

As a result of this seminar, participants will be able to:

• Define, explain and apply the “thirty and forty-year laws” to a full title exam
• Anticipate necessary exceptions to title based on the legal description
• Recognize problems encountered within a chain of title
• Recognize what title issues are acceptable using Terms of the Policy and Title Standards®
• Write concise instructions as to how to clear title
• Identify Title Problems – from everyday matters to complex issues
• Identify 50 ways to clear title problems and select the best solutions for problems
• Describe and give examples of appropriate “special guarantees”
• Recognize and give examples of inappropriate “special guarantees”
• Examine title to a reasonably complex Abstract of Title from Patent
• Explain due diligence in examining title for the Underwriter
• Recognize Red Flag areas that require special review by experts

Yes, Virginia, You Must Attend the WHOLE Class

I take my real estate educators license very seriously. I put in a great deal of time to come up with current, relevant courses that I believe will be of value to attendees. I keep all appropriate records, verify the identity of attendees at my classes, get all required course approvals, etc. And I don’t bread the “rules.” I have people ask for credit when they did not attend an entire class. Sorry, I can’t do it. And surprisingly for many, the Department of Commerce is watching. One instructor now faces $90.000 in state fines for flagrant non-compliance.

The instructor told commerce investigators he started teaching in the mid-1990s and was a registered instructor for insurance professionals. However, he threw the rules out and seriously abused the system. As a result, licensed agents who took his “education courses” have lost their licenses, and the instructor and the company he teaches for have been a July 20 administrative hearing. More at the Star Tribune.

Linking the Chain of Title in Mortgage Foreclosures

A new industry has emerged. There has been much discussion about whether or not clearing title problems is a marketable idea. Well, apparently, the rash of bad titles over the last few years has shown it is. A new company, Nationwide Title Clearing is advertising

Our experience has proven that, perhaps due to the volume of foreclosures in progress, a large number of attorney requests do not match what is required when reviewing the actual recorded chain of title and unrecorded assignments in the collateral file.

Yes, with the huge volume of foreclosures, attorneys are often asking “Who holds the Note?” I recently read a good blog question asking: “Can a consumer determine who holds their note when the mortgage or DOT is registered in the MERS system?”
The returned answer was: Maybe. The response said Investors participating in MERS have options to disclose their information on the MERS System or not.
However, under TILA, the servicer must provide information regarding the holder of the mortgage loan when requested by the debtor. It states “Upon written request by the obligor, the servicer shall provide the obligor, to the best knowledge of the servicer, the name, address, and telephone number of the owner of the obligation…” 15 U.S.C. section 1641(f)(2). Servicers are also still required to notify homeowners in writing when loan servicing is transferred under RESPA, 12. U.S.C. §2601 et seq

Info On Home Closing

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