The client's needs should always come first, right?
Yes, that is good business no matter what business you are in but what do you do when the client starts to whine incessently about the "inconvenience" he/she must experience through the entire real estate transaction.
Whether you are the listing agent, selling agent, lender or title agent you are constantly trying to coordinate schedules with a host of folks beginning with the initial showing of the home and ending with the final closing.
In Maryland we have a face to face meeting with buyers/sellers, sometimes called closing an sometimes called settlement but in either case the title agent, the realtors and the buyer/seller all meet together to finalize the transaction. these meetings are usually fun, seldom adversarial and, in my opinion, necessary. By meeting with all parties at once that we can finalize all pending questions, get documents signed in a cohesive and orderly fashion and have eveyone feel a sense of closure after the meeting.
More and more lately as a title agent I am getting calls from sellers who are just super busy and simply cannot come to closing when the rest of the parties are meeting. They are calling requesting that I schedule a separate settlement meeting with them at their convenience in advance of the actual closing. There have been times when, due to an infirmary perhaps or an illness, I have made an exception and have met with a seller in either a nursing facility or in a hospital, but those have been rare instances driven by true circumstance rather than simple inconvenience.
I truly do understand that the process of listing, selling and buying a home does present some inconveniences such as meetings with inspectors, meetings with lenders, etc., and I know that we are all very busy, but, I am puzzled as to why no one ever thinks that the title agent has his/her own set of scheduling issues as well. Most title agents are willing to meet with the parties at either the listing agents office of the selling agents office as a way in which to offer all parties the most convenience. This means then that the title agent must block time for the actual meeting as well as for the time it takes to get to and from the meeting. So, in the ordinary course a title agent must block at least 3 hours from his/her day to accomodate all parties for each closing. AND WE ARE HAPPY TO DO THIS! But, if you throw in an additional separate meeting with a seller who is simple too busy to attend that could be another 3 hour block of time the title agent must set aside. So, then do we charge an extra fee for this added convenience? I would suggest that most of you would say NO. And, honestly, I would agree that it's unfair to charge an additonal fee to the parties for accomodating a closing outside of my office. But, since it may become necesssary for me to inconvenience another of my clients to accomodate the needs of this seller who is simply "too busy" to attend, I may suggest to the seller that I am happy to make a special appointment with them FOR A FEE.
Usually when I suggest to a seller that I can come to them in a separate meeting for an additional fee their calendar opens wide up! Forgive my whine, but really?
What is your opinion? Should a title agent make seperate arrangements with the seller if requested for conveience sake only, and if so, should the title agent be able to charge an additional fee, and if so, should the seller pay the fee or should the buyer pay the fee?
Chime in. I am truly interested in your opinion and will take all of your suggestions, criticisms or approvals to heart.
Charlene Perry, CLTP
Key Title, Inc.
35 Fulford Avenue
Bel Air, MD 21014
410-803-4800 x 240