My sister Paula, the owner of HomeRun Title, has been in the business since she was 18 years old. I have heard many stories about this business back from 1992. How times have changed over the past 15 years! Just the Title Insurance business itself.
You see, my sister started out with a family operated title company as a "Title Opener". Not knowing anything about the industry, the owner's of the company took her under their wings and taught her a good deal of what she knows today. Needless to say, the owner's retired and they asked Paula to stay with them for another 6 months to handle any calls that came in with any questions relating back to files that closed. She agreed. What she told me the most important thing she learned from this company was "Customer Service". Most people who decide to shut their doors, do just that. They still cared about customer service and that's why they had her stay. This is where my point is starting to come in.
Back in those days, there was no such thing as that now forbidden word...."KICKBACKS". How you got mortgage companies, realtors and lenders to use you was to be "Professional, Knowledgable, Attentive and Curteous". This is what Customer Service is.
Over the years, Paula had received many recommendation letters from companies like FORD and GREAT WESTERN, amongst the mortgage companies. She would herself handle over 200 files a month. One of her main things was, you always take the customers phone call. Even now, we don't have individual voice mail. We are taught to pick up the phone, no matter what.
So you see, when she told me I should get into this business 4 years ago, I was taught the same values. I was originally hired as a Marketing Rep. Prior to entering this business, I was in sales for many years with Howard Johnson Hotels. To me, I figured it was a no brainer. This was my chance to start a new career and work for my sister.
Coming to my close now. Was I so wrong about a no brainer. When I first started, I had to learn the ropes before I could hit the streets. You have to be able to know what type of service you're providing and be able to answer questions. Once I knew this, I was very excited about going out there and getting business. Much to my surprise, I kept getting people ask me "What KICKBACKS does your company offer?". The first time I heard this, I didn't know what to say. My response was "Let me make a phone call". After speaking to my sister, I told the guy that we don't offer KICKBACKS but our Customer Service is outstanding and just give me 1 deal. I was told "Sorry sweetheart but our title company gives us $300 per file". I thanked him for his time and walked out. Over and over this is what I get. Do you want to know how many companies I acquired as my client in the past year and a half? TWO!
This business has come down to pure greed and that's one of the biggest reasons why this market is where it's at today. GREED!
All I can say, is thank GOD, the buyer gets to chose their title company. That's the reason we're still in business today because of the Customer Service we have given to the customer. They always come back and refer us to their friends. It's just too bad that not everyone knows they are able to use their own. Even when they do, they are for the most part forced by the parties involved to use someone else. Why? Because the company is getting a KICKBACK!
I am not in any way, blaming it all on the brokers or realtor's. If my own Industry would not offer these things, then they wouldn't exist! So do I ever think things would get back to the good ole days? Unfortunately not.