The close of United Title is now old news, but I thought I'd talk about a couple of things surrounding the close.
First, let me recount the story of how I found out -
It all started back in 1972 in a quaint little hospital in Abilene, Texas...I'm kidding, I'm kidding. No one wants to hear my life story. That hurts...but I digress.
It was Wednesday morning around 7:40am. I had just walked into the office from working out. Yes, I'm one of those weirdos who goes to the gym every morning. Here's a picture of me that morning.
Me at the gym
Ok, that's not me - it's Brad Pitt from the movie Troy. But man if I could only look like that. Sheesh.
Anyway, around 7:40 I received a call from a colleague stating that United Title has closed. He encouraged me to remove any contracts we had with United Title, to see about getting earnest money back, and to let the clients know. After wiping all of the drool off of my shirt from my mouth being agape, drying the tears that had fallen, and changing boxers, I jumped on the phone and started making calls.
Sure enough, after making calls to United Title, going through the "Please dial in the first few letters of your parties name" bit, and getting voicemail after voicemail after voicemail, I began to drool and snot again.
Then I started sending e-mails to the closers. No response, no response, no response. Next I called and asked my favorite closer if they could take files from "Not So" United Title. They said no problem. Ok, so all of that started to work itself all out. It's now around 8:50.
Suddenly I get a call from an assistant at Not So United Title. She tells me that I can come pick up an earnest money check that had been picked up by their courier the night before. I told her that I was on my way. She said to hurry because they were only going to be there for 30 more minutes shredding stuff and then the doors were being locked.
Shredding...doors locked? I drove over to the Not So United Title at 5500 UTSA Blvd. I went to the 2nd floor. On the door was a note that said something like this:
As of July 29, 2008 and effective immediately United Title is no longer in operation...etc, etc, etc.
Then the note had 2 names and numbers at the bottom of it. I banged and banged on the door to no avail. No one answered.
So what actually happened to Not So United Title? Rumors flourished - we all know how this goes. But here is a letter we probably all received this morning:
To all of our friends,
Coming off of the best month United Title San Antonio has ever reported, the shut down of every office in Texas came as a tremendous shock to us. We feel that the closing of United Title has nothing to do with the San Antonio market and everything to do with the parent company, Mercury Companies, Inc. out of Denver, Colorado.
We want you to understand how helpless we feel and saddened we are as we have no control over this situation. United Title, being the largest independent title agency in the nation, seemed like a very safe place to make our home. This however, has proved to be untrue as they have left us unable to perform our jobs, even at no compensation, which we have offered. They have advised no copying or transferring of files, have frozen our accounts and have locked us out of our offices. We have been provided no information as to transferring escrow funds or files by Mercury Companies. We have, however, been in contact with the Texas Department of Insurance, who has advised us to direct our clients to the underwriter that committed to insure the transaction. United Title, being independent, utilized several underwriters. In our case, any file that was opened with us out of the Schertz Office is written on Title Resources. If you have an open file with United Title, please look at the commitment and call the underwriter associated with the file. Below you will find a list of the underwriters and their appropriate phone numbers, as well as Texas Department of Insurance's phone number. This will not solve the escrow funds issue. We will contact you if and when we hear how those funds are to be disbursed.
Moving forward, we are committed to you and are currently searching for a new home where you will each be placed at top priority. Many of you have asked if there is anything you can do and we greatly appreciate that. The only thing we can ask is that you bear with us as we make our transition to a new company. Our cell numbers are still the same. Please feel free to contact us if you need anything. Obviously we still have access to our email, but we are unsure for how long. Thank you so much for your kind words and concerns. We will advise you upon any news that we might receive.
Now what I want to put a magnifying glass on is the part where it says We feel that the closing of United Title has nothing to do with the San Antonio market and everything to do with the parent company, Mercury Companies, Inc. out of Denver, Colorado. Even more specifically, let's take out this chunk We feel that the closing...AND...everything to do with the parent company.
Now, I have a few more e-mails that share some extra details, but what are your thoughts on this? I mean, doesn't this tell us as agents that using a strong, reputable, proven, long term company for closings is critical?
Have a great day,