Key Points About Terminations and Defaults

A default occurs when a party to the contract doesn’t do something that they have agreed to do under the contract.  Examples can include not providing an existing survey, not depositing the earnest money or option fee, or not coming to closing on the closing date.  A termination occurs when one party notifies the other party that they are terminating the contract due to a default or some other reason. This video with Republic Title’s Janet Allen and Scott Rooker covers the following key points to know about Terminations and Defaults:

  • What is the difference between a default and a termination?
  • Once the title company has receive a termination from one side, can they release the earnest money?
  • What happens after a party makes a demand for the earnest money?
  • What happens if there is a dispute?
Contract Forms Update

Notice of Important TREC Contract Updates

New TREC contract changes become mandatory April 1st.

We sat down with Charles Kramer, Co-Chair of the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) Broker-Lawyer Committee, to discuss the changes and what you need to know for your business.

Contract changes include:

  • Residential Lease and Addendum
  • Fixture Leases and Addendum
  • New Option Fee Procedures
  • New Smart Home Provisions
  • HOA Addendum Changes

Key changes to the new option fee procedures include:

  • Buyer can now write one combined earnest money and option feed check or two separate checks.
  • Checks must be made payable to the title company.
  • There is a 3 day deadline for option fee and earnest fee.
  • The option fee will be automatically credited at closing. If the seller would like the option fee right away, they must let the title company know.

To learn more about the changes and see the updated forms, visit the TREC website.

For the redlined version of the contract changes, where you can see what has been changed, click here.


The Real Deal: A Class Series for New Agents

The Real Deal: A Class Series for New Agents

We are excited to introduce our new series for new real estate agents called The Real Deal. You are not going to want to miss this information-packed series. The Real Deal New Agent Class Series is a special group of classes specifically designed for agents who have been licensed less than one year, who are just starting out and building their businesses from the ground up. We will dive into five of the most important areas that new agents need to know about to help you establish your business and be a better REALTOR® to your clients.

Register now at republictitle.com/residential-education

This five part class series includes:

Mastering The Deal With Your MLS Subscription – In this class you will learn MLS basics including understanding the dashboard, the vital tools available to grow your business and tips to better help your clients.
Date & Time: Tuesday, March 2nd @ 10:00 am on ZOOM
Instructor: Annette Carvalho-Jordan, VP/Technology Trainer for Republic Title

Making The Deal With Lenders – Dive in to the basics of lending such as pre-qualifications, loan estimates, the mortgage process and the Closing Disclosure (CD).
Date & Time: Tuesday, March 9th @ 10:00 am on ZOOM
Instructor: Shaun Niedigh, VP/Business Development at Republic Title

Writing The Deal, Contracts – We’ll cover the Contracts and Addenda you’ll need to submit each time you write an offer along with an overview of the digital tools you’ll need to write and send them.
Date & Time: Tuesday, March 16th @ 10:00 am on ZOOM
Instructors: Jay Turner, Sr. VP/Residential Counsel for Republic Title & Annette Carvalho-Jordan, VP/Technology Trainer for Republic Title

Winning More & More Deals – This class will cover lead generation, winning listing appointments, prospect and client follow-up and more.
Date & Time: Tuesday, March 23rd @ 10:00 am on ZOOM
Instructor: Shaun Niedigh, VP/Business Development at Republic Title

Closing The Deal, The Title Process – The big day is here! In this class you will learn about the entire title process including title insurance, the title commitment and what to expect at closing.
Date & Time: Tuesday, March 30th @ 10:00 am on ZOOM
Instructor: Sheri Groom, Executive VP/Residential Operations at Republic Title

Register now at republictitle.com/residential-education


T-47 Affidavit Best Practices

The T-47 affidavit is a document used in Texas residential real estate transactions that accompanies an existing survey. This video with Republic Title’s Janet Allen and Scott Rooker covers the following key points when a T-47 affidavit is provided:

i.  Date of survey in paragraph 4

ii.  Construction projects on adjoining properties predating title

iii.  When to obtain a new survey

What You Should Know About Earnest Money

Hello, Sheri Groom with Republic Title and I’m here with Wade Bogdan, Residential Counsel and we wanted to visit a little bit today about earnest money and the purpose of that with a contract.  So can you help talk a little bit about that?

Yes.  Traditionally earnest money was put in place so that people knew that you were going to try to purchase a property in earnest so basically you’re showing someone that you are serious about purchasing their property.

I like that so earnest and then earnest money. That’s great.  So if there’s no earnest money given does that mean there’s not a valid contract?

So actually that’s a common misnomer. So currently now in common day, you do not need earnest money to have a proper contract.  However, the contract does have a section for earnest money and actually most importantly now the contract was just changed to add a three day time limit for getting your earnest money in after execution of the contract which is pretty much the most important thing that’s going on with earnest money currently.

That’s good information because we would get asked that a lot.  Like do we have to have it? Is it still a valid contract?

So if you have any additional questions, please go to our website and look for our complete list of attorneys or reach out to your favorite business development rep  or your favorite closer.


6 Ways To Grow Your Real Estate Business By Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most under-rated but highly valued networking sites you can be using in 2020!  The most important thing to remember about LinkedIn, at its core, it is an online resume.  It’s also likely to be among the first handful of results to come up on a Google search, and might be the first place a potential client looks to review your credentials.  Most clients won’t choose a real estate agent who appears to lack knowledge, education and expertise.  So it’s wise to set yourself up for success and utilize this powerful tool.

So, YES, LinkedIn is extremely important and a must-have in today’s digital world.  It’s also the perfect place to promote yourself, your real estate listing, and boast about the skills you bring to the table.

Here are the top 6 things you should focus on with LinkedIn:

  • Your Profile:

Fill out each section to include all levels of education, all accreditations and current and past positions.  Include a high quality professional photo of yourself.  Be sure to include a LinkedIn Banner image that includes a call-to-action (your phone number, your email, etc).  Your headline should be catchy and stand out.  Be sure to fill in your summary section to include real estate listings and other statistics that will jump out to potential clients.  Be sure to use keywords or phrases (real estate, real estate agent) throughout your headline and your summary to increase search engine optimization.  Also encourage previous clients to give you a recommendation so your LinkedIn profile is a non-stop shop for anyone who comes across it.  Upload videos and links to enhance your profile.  Customize your URL and use it everywhere (advertising, business cards, posts, etc).

  • Connections:

61% of real estate agents on social media view it as a way to connect to the community.  LinkedIn revolves around businesses, employees and their connections, so it’s the perfect network for real estate agents who work in an industry predicated on connections, referrals and being involved in the community.  Reach out to everyone in your sphere, alums, etc.  Remember LinkedIn is the best social media platform for professional networking, which means connect with everyone.  Take advantage of the biggest networking platform ever!

  • Content:

This is where many real estate professionals go wrong.  What doesn’t work is just content about listings (remember the 80/20 rule) in hopes of generating sales leads.  What does work is highlighting your professional experience, education and network strength.

Try these 6 content ideas to maximize your effectiveness on LinkedIn:
    1. Share real estate news, industry updates or trends.  Don’t forget to include a caption with your thoughts and opinions as well as a call to action soliciting others opinions and thoughts.  Remember, it’s about engagement so ask questions.
    2. Share information or updates about your local city.  Remember people are very patriotic when it comes to the city they live in, so find local information to share.  Also, now that LinkedIn allows the use of hashtags, include local hashtags in all your posts so anyone searching for that hashtag might come across you, and in turn check out your profile.
    3. Thoughtful and conversational posts.  Try something that will resonate with others such as your struggles, wins, inspiration, or something you overcame.  These are going to be the best conversation starters you can share on LinkedIn.  As real estate agents, you go through a lot, so sharing that will resonate with your audience.
    4. Networking events you’ve attended.  Include connections you made and give them an @mention, photos, food, the service, highlight the event, the vibe and your takeaways.  It shows your connecting with people in your local city.  Often times you’ll hear people say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  That’s why this works.
    5. Native video uploads.  Every platform, whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, wants you to use the video feature that is native inside the program.  This doesn’t mean go to YouTube and share it to LinkedIn.  It means, open up a post on LinkedIn and use their Video icon and shoot native video within LinkedIn.  This will keep connections engaged longer in the LinkedIn program and hopefully on your profile.  Our best recommendation for video ideas would be “value added” for the consumer (i.e., Buyer/Seller Tips, Market Updates, community highlights, business you’ve interviewed, etc.).
    6. Write LinkedIn Articles.  When you write an article on LinkedIn, everyone in your connection list receives a notification.  You couldn’t ask for better advertising than that.  If you are a blogger, this is a perfect place to use the content you’ve already created and post it within LinkedIn as an article.

So, take the time, get your profile set up for success, start connecting with former and current clients, friends, colleagues, etc. and work on creating great content.

Instagram Tips for Your Real Estate Business

One of Republic Title’s most popular CE classes is consistently our “Instagram: I Have An Account, Now What?” class. We all know how important it is to have a presence on social media for your real estate business, but how do you create content, know which hashtags to use and most importantly, connect with buyers and sellers? Our technology trainer Annette Carvalho is here to help! Read on for Annette’s top takeaways from our popular class and visit us at www.republictitle.com/residential-education for a full list of upcoming CE classes.

Use Hashtags and Link to your Website

  • Using the “Stair Step” approach, users can spread out hashtags using the Stair step approach (hashtags with lower #’s mean you might be seen more.  So if you did 27 hashtags (which we don’t necessarily recommend) use nine that have 0-50K followers, nine with 50K-100K followers, and nine with 100-250K followers, etc.
  • Make sure to include contact information – including your website – in your Instagram bio.

Use Instagram Stories

  • Instagram Stories are temporary and only hang around for 24 hours. This allows you to post lots of content without bombarding your followers. And your followers are watching! According to embedsocial.com, Instagram stories are used by 500 million users every day.

Connect with your sphere by turning on “Post Notifications”

  • Because Instagram is always changing their algorithmic feed, you may not see everyone that you follow consistently. Make sure to turn on Post Notifications for the accounts that you want to make sure and see. This allows you to respond to their posts in a timely manner.

Use Direct Messages

  • Did you know that you can direct message up to 50 people at a time?

GeoTag your Posts

  • Searching by “Places” is an entire search category on Instagram. Make sure you are using this feature!

Use Instagram Live

  • This is a powerful tool that Instagram is promoting – you will reach more of your audience using Live since Instagram features those videos in a different way.
  • A best practice in using Instagram Live is to promote your live video in advance with email or Facebook. For example: “Catch me LIVE on Instagram Friday at 10am where I will share my 10 biggest tips for getting your home ready for the market.”

For MUCH more on Instagram, social media and other technology trends, sign up for one of our CE classes at www.republictitle.com/residential-education

Using Links in Instagram

Since launching in 2010, Instagram has become one of the leading social media platforms and has transformed the way people do business. It’s no secret why businesses have spent hours developing and creating a strategy to grow and promote their business on Instagram. But as a real estate agent, do you know how to get the most out of the popular platform to help generate leads, market yourself, and engage with your sphere?  Whether you are new to Instagram or a seasoned pro, we want to help!

Why You Should Use Links on Instagram

Instagram has seen an impressive rise since it first launched in 2010. This has naturally made it a desirable outlet for marketers, and anyone else who wants to spread the word about their brand or website.

The problem is that, up until recently, Instagram has been extremely hesitant when it comes to enabling links. Even now, it’s not possible to add links directly to your posts through comments or post descriptions, even though this is something that has been possible on other social networks for a long time (Note: Stories can have links, however, you must have 10,000 followers to incorporate them).

However, there are still ways to incorporate links into your Instagram profile, and they’re well worth looking into. The key is knowing how to encourage those users to check out your key marketing links.

How to Use Links Effectively on Instagram

  1. Add a Link to Your User Profile

The simplest way to get a link on Instagram is to simply add it to your profile. The link will then appear right underneath your user bio, enabling visitors to click through. This is a perfect way to send people to your website’s home page, or to a special landing page.

However, you can also use this feature to get around the fact that you can’t add links to your post descriptions. All you need to do is include a link in your profile that is relevant to your most recent post. Then, add a message to the post itself, along the lines of: “Link in bio!” This is a common tactic, and it offers the added benefit of driving users to your profile.

Since you only get 1 link with Instagram (in your bio), we suggest that you check out one of these services.  They each have free services, as well as pro services.  The nice thing about them is that you can track each link to see how well they are performing in terms of engagement, page views & click through percentage rates.  Even better news – You can send followers to all your favorite sites including your real estate lead generation sites (see our example below using Linktr.ee):

  1. https://Linkin.bio
  2. https://linktr.ee

  1. Use a URL shortening service

The second method we recommend that you use are shortened and trackable links in your posts. You can easily create these using a URL shortening service and a link management platform (Bitly). That way, you’ll be able to track your links and see how well they perform on Instagram, which can help you optimize your efforts even further.

At first glance, it might seem it’s impossible to use links on Instagram.  However, while the platform is unusually restrictive with linking, it does offer numerous creative ways to implement links into your posts and profile.

Real Estate Podcast Picks

As we continue to navigate the current real estate market in North Texas, we want to continue to be a resource to you and your business. We asked our residential sales team to submit some of their favorite podcasts and curated the below list of our top picks which contain expert advice on small business, real estate, sales and marketing, coaching, and leadership.

The Brian Buffini Show by Brian Buffini

Brian Buffini was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and immigrated to San Diego in 1986, where he became the classic American rags-to-riches story. After becoming one of the nation’s top Realtors®, he founded Buffini & Company—an organization dedicated to sharing his powerful lead-generation systems with others. Based in Carlsbad, California, Buffini & Company has trained over 3 million business professionals in 37 countries. The company currently serves 21,000 members and trains more than 60,000 a year through live events and training programs. In addition, Brian’s podcast has reached 7 million-plus downloads in more than 180 countries. Today, he travels the world sharing a message of encouragement about how to “live the good life.” His wit, wisdom and motivational style make him a dynamic speaker, adept at helping people tap into their full potential and achieve their dreams. In 2017, he became a New York Times, Amazon and Wall Street Journal best-seller with his latest book, “The Emigrant Edge.”

The Brendon Show by Brendon Burchard

Go behind the scenes with Brendon Burchard, the world’s leading high performance coach and one of the Top 100 Most Followed Public Figures in the world, as he speaks to 20,000 people in arenas, coaches celebrities, helps his students, and reaches millions of people every week with his message for how we can all live, love and matter. Every week, Brendon shares what he’s struggling with, working on and marching towards – and how we can all live an extraordinary life. This is an intimate and inspiring look into the life and strategies of one of the most watched, followed and quoted personal development trainers in history.

The Mindset Mentor by Rob Dial

The Mindset Mentor podcast is designed for anyone desiring motivation, direction, and focus in life. Host Rob Dial has amassed a passionate following of over 2 million social media followers, including business professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners with his expertise and passion for helping motivate people to become the best version of themselves. Rob challenges his audience to live a life of love and purpose. Rob has been featured in Forbes and Inc. for his ability to connect with his listeners. Over the past 15 years he has studied with some of the greatest thought leaders of our time like Tony Robbins, Ram Dass, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Jay Shetty and many more. Tune in if you’re ready to take your life to the next level.

The Tom Ferry Podcast Experience by Tom Ferry

Tom Ferry is the #1 ranked Real Estate Educator by Swanepoel Power 200 and the best-selling author of “Life! By Design” and “Mindset, Model and Marketing!” As founder and CEO of Ferry International, the real estate industry’s leading coaching and training company, Tom’s ever-growing influence impacts professionals in a wide variety of ways – including rigorous accountability coaching, the popular #TomFerryShow delivering free, fresh and relevant real estate tips weekly, highly engaging training events, two best-selling books, and his legendary keynote speeches. Tom has more than 30,000 hours of coaching experience and works daily to help agents and brokers grow a prosperous business while simultaneously balancing — and loving — their personal lives.

School of Greatness by Lewis Howes

Since its launch in January 2013, the School of Greatness podcast has grown rapidly to be one of the top-ranked Business and Self-Development podcasts in iTunes. It regularly appears in the Top 50 of all iTunes podcasts, and gets downloaded over 4 million times per month. Episodes range from interviews with incredible world-class game changers in entrepreneurship, health, athletics, mindset, and relationships, to solo rounds with the host, Lewis Howes, and the once a week listener-favorite, the 5 Minute Friday format. Past guests on the show have included powerhouses like Tony Robbins, Alanis Morissette, Scooter Braun, Julianne Hough, Jack Canfield, Arianna Huffington, and so many more.

What is Survey Deletion Coverage?

Survey Deletion Coverage is often also referred to as “Survey Deletion”, “Survey Amendment”, and “Survey Coverage.”  When survey deletion coverage is given in the title policy it offers Buyers protection for errors or omissions that may have been made by the surveyor and accepted by the title company by changing the language in the “standard exception” of the title policy to read “Shortages in Area” only.  The “standard survey exception” in a title commitment or policy (before being amended) reads:

“Any discrepancies, conflicts, or shortage in area or boundary lines, or any encroachments or protrusions, or any overlapping of improvements.”

 Upon receipt of an acceptable survey, the title company may amend this exception to read “Shortages in area” only.   Things that a title company will look at to determine if a survey will be acceptable include, but are not limited to, the following:  that items noted on the survey are listed in the title commitment, verify the legal description, check platted building lines and platted easements, and other matters such as the seal and signature of the engineer, date of the survey, and north directional arrow. 

Survey Deletion is addressed in paragraph 6. A. (8) of the TREC One to Four Family Residential Contract, where the parties select between the options of amending or not amending the standard exception in the title policy and who will be responsible for the payment of the premium.

There are other issues that may show up in the review of a survey, such as a building or driveway or fence over a building line, or into a platted easement.  When this happens, the title company may still accept the survey and amend the standard exception to read “Shortages in Area” only, but will generally add a special exception on Schedule B of the title commitment and owner’s title policy for any of these issues that were shown on the survey.              

The cost of survey deletion coverage on residential transactions is 5% of the Owners Title Policy Premium, and is 15% of the Owner Title Policy Premium in a commercial transaction.

For more information on Survey Deletion Coverage, download our Survey Deletion Coverage Q&A flyer