Jeff Morris is a Closing & Title agent for Member’s Title. In today’s episode, Jeff shares information about the basics of closings and titles, as well as how they address different issues that arise from wholesale properties.
[2:24] Before he got started in real estate, he received a degree in Biology from Samford. After he graduated, he took a job with Robinson Adams working to recover assets when they had losses that exceeded a certain amount. It was fun when he was young, but he realized it wasn’t necessarily a career that would allow him to have a family as well. He had various educational and professional experience beyond that, before he interviewed with the Title Company and got a position.
[6:17] He sat in on closings for about a week and then opened his own office. This whole process was a learning experience, as he figured out what worked for him in certain situations. He was able to keep the business going through the dip in the market, and in 2013 he merged Member’s Title and Shannon Crawl to become Member’s Title as it is today.
[9:10] When you get a house under contract, what happens next? Once the house is under contract, you email your title company the contract, and they will verify address. Next it goes to an abstracter, and they trace the property backwards to make sure everything is correct with title. Next the underwriters receive the title abstract, and they prepare an insurance commitment (promise to insure).
[11:45] What exactly does the title insure? The insurance is a one-time per owner premium that is paid at closing. By having this insurance, you know that the property that you have purchased belongs to you.
[13:50] Steps a wholesaler can take to ensure the owner of a property: 1. Look at the tax records to double check the owner. 2. Use the clerks at the probate court to find the last deed of record. If someone is tax delinquent or something has been sold in tax sale, the person listed may be the person who purchased the tax certificate. You may have to look further back to find the true owner. To find the deed of record, there are programs online, but you can also go to the Courthouse to obtain records.
[18:32] When it comes to wholesaling, the properties with the most title issues are usually the off-market properties. The most common issues he sees involve a death in the family, and the two types of deeds that define what happens with the property. Jeff defines the terms of these deeds and what happens in each case. There could also be situations involving divorce, and people who pay taxes on the property for a few years, even though they aren’t the owner.
[23:28] How can someone who is wholesaling avoid bringing some of these issues to the closing agent? Any preliminary research might reveal something, and you may able to ask for a copy of the deed where the seller got the property. In some situations, there may be no way to know until the title agent receives the documents. Sometimes as the wholesaler, you may end up having to do the leg work to get transactions closed.
[28:26] What are some of the common mistakes a wholesaler could make that listeners can avoid? Some wholesalers don’t leave themselves enough room in a deal. Not managing both sides of the transaction can also be an issue. Scheduling a closing with a reasonable time, and setting people’s expectations, is probably the best thing you can do to look professional to everybody involved. This will help hold you accountable as well.
[32:34] Between 50-60% of Jeff’s business comes from real estate agents, as well as about 15% from his investment business. They get business delivered from loan officers at banks, and some business from builders and people who sell land.
[34:37] Jeff explains a situation where it would be beneficial to get insurance as the middleman in a wholesale deal. It can be easier for a wholesaler to get stuck in the middle, and getting title insurance can help make these situations easier.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Next ALAREIA Meeting: July 13th
To contact Jeff: (205) 776-8800
Cell: (205) 718-2289