Possibly The Worst Title Company EVER

By
Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

Possibly The Worst Title Company EVER

The Real Estate Settlement Protection Act gives buyers in a real estate transaction the right to choose any title company they want to close their transaction and provide their title policy.  Sellers in Virginia may choose to have a split settlement and close with a different settlement company, but when it comes to their funds being disbursed, they are at the mercy of the buyer's chosen title company.  When you come across a title company that has ridiculous policies, no communication skills and in general gives the impression they are put out by the seller's insistence on knowing where their proceeds from settlement are, you wonder where the protection for sellers are when it comes to closing a real estate transaction.

A week ago, my sellers sold their home.  It closed on a Friday.  Virginia law gives the title company two business days to record the deed and disburse funds.  Well, it's seven days later and my sellers are still in the dark as to exact location of a large amount of money.   The title company responsible for this maddening experience is none other than Mid-Atlantic Settlement Services.

At closing, with a different settlement company, the sellers signed the documents.  They gave a copy of a voided check for proceeds to be wired to their checking account.  Mid-Atlantic Settlement Services charged an outrageous $90 wire fee for this privelege of not having to worry with picking up a check.  After all, the sellers were relocating out of state.  They gave the address of their soon-to-be-built home for documents that would be forthcoming in the long run.  Since they had given information for a wire transfer, there was no concept that the check would be sent there, but it was.

You may be asking yourself, "Why would Mid-Atlantic Settlement Services send a check for proceeds when the sellers paid a $90 wire transfer fee and provided a voided check for that service?"    That's a great question and the answer is ridiculous.  Their policy is to attempt the wire once.  If a number was mistyped, the wrong ABA number was given, etc. they do not attempt again with the correct information.  No.  Not Mid-Atlantic Settlement Services.  Their policy then is to cut a check and send it to the address given as the forwarding address.  No call is made to the listing agent, the sellers or the sellers settlement company to let them know this is what they are about to do.  Why communicate that information?  Well, if you are good business, you are doing something contrary to what was requested and PAID FOR by the seller.

When a stop payment on the check was requested and an address for the week stay at a friend's home was given, Mid-Atlantic Settlement Services came up with another policy.  They can't put a stop payment on a check until they have verified it hasn't been cashed.   I'm not a rocket scientist or a banker, but it seems to me if I called my bank to stop payment on a check that had been cashed, the bank would, at that point, tell me if the check had been cashed.

So now, six days after settlement, Mid-Atlantic Settlement Services has said they will stop payment and send out a check to the address given, despite pleading requests to attempt the wire transfer with the correct ABA number.  The seller had no idea the ABA number, pre-printed on his check, would not work.  At some point, the seller realized this was not a battle he was going to win and simply requested verification that the check had been sent with a UPS tracking number.  Not a big request, yet it is now seven days past settlement and no one on the seller's side of the transaction has a tracking number.  And there's been no delivery of the check.

Naturally, there have been multiple attempts at requesting this information via e-mail and phone, but not one of them has been returned.  I have worked with a lot of title companies since getting my license in 2005, but this is the worst combination of bad policies and poor communication I have ever experienced.  When a seller is waiting for a small fortune to be wired or delivered, communicating where exactly it is happens to be the very LEAST you can do.

If you are a seller with an offer for a buyer to close using Mid-Atlantic Settlement Services, please be aware of their ridiculous policies. 

 

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Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121

Yikes.  One thing you do NOT ever make a mistake on is the seller's proceeds!

Apr 21, 2017 10:48 AM #1
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Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Area Realtor

Oh wow, Chris Ann. Not sure I have any words for this. 

Apr 21, 2017 11:04 AM #2
Rainmaker
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William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have a friend who is An attorney who would love to talk with them

Apr 21, 2017 11:10 AM #3
Rainmaker
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Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

That is awful Chris Ann Cleland and here i am thinking how bad the last company i had to use. My listing so buyers choice and what a nightmare. But yours never ends. I would go sit there with a letter from my seller authorizing me to pick up check and wiat until they gave it to me, and get my $90 buck back. 

Apr 21, 2017 11:39 AM #4
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Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Chris Ann

That is pretty appalling, on so many levels. I feel so badly for the sellers! Title or escrow companies disburse funds all the time without difficulty! So much about concern for the client!

Jeff

Apr 21, 2017 12:05 PM #5
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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi9 Chris Ann - Ridiculous. I'd walk over burning coals in the future to avoid using that title company - their behavior leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth. Have a great weekend!

Apr 21, 2017 01:52 PM #6
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John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Costa Mesa, CA
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Ouch, sorry to hear about such an unfortunate situation.  Sounds like a mix of bad policy and not giving a crap about customer service.  

Apr 21, 2017 01:58 PM #7
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Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

Chris Ann

A first for me. I think I would hire a picket or two with hand outs relating this and have them passed out in front of their main office for a week or two. I am certain this complaint would resonant. cheers cvc

Apr 21, 2017 05:10 PM #8
Rainmaker
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Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

That would work for me but please do something for this is wrong, cheers cvc

Apr 22, 2017 06:53 AM #9
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Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Chris Ann -- I'm so sorry this happened to your clients.  As Jeff Dowler commented -- this is a routine activity for them, right?  It should never happen.  

Although venting can be therapeutic it seems as if this title company needs a change in policy and in attitude.   

Apr 22, 2017 07:45 AM #10
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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Chris Ann. This is awful and I'm glad you named this company. In New Jersey where I practiced attornies are generally used and choose the title company.

Apr 22, 2017 08:20 AM #11
Rainmaker
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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Wow, what a fiasco. Their policy of bad customer service seems to only make things easier for them and not for the client, but maybe that's why it's called bad customer service. Thumbs down on Mid Atlantic Settlement Services.

Apr 24, 2017 05:17 PM #12
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Northern VA
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