Get-to-know-our-calculators-blog

Get To Know Our Calculators

Republic Title is proud to offer a host of new buyer and seller estimate tools on our Republic Title Mobile app and website. Calculators include:

  • Title Quote – calculates title rates and fees
  • Loan Estimate Quote – shows the costs associated with closing on your mortgage as well as over the lifetime of the loan
  • Seller Net Sheet – itemizes the fees and expenses in your transaction, to give you a pretty accurate estimate of what you’ll net in the sale
  • Sell to Net – shows a seller the sales price needed to meet a specific net proceed goal when they sell their house
  • Seller’s Multiple Offers – allows a seller to compare multiple offers from different buyers side by side
  • Buyer Estimate – shows the buyer their all in amount due at closing plus their all in monthly payment
  • Monthly Affordability – shows buyer what their total purchasing power is based on their budget
  • Rent vs Buy – shows buyer the difference in monthly costs when comparing renting vs buying

Our new calculators can be found by downloading our new app, Republic Title Mobile, in the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store. For a website version of the new calculators, visit republictitle.titlecapture.com  

What is an eclosing

What is an eClosing?

An eClosing involves using some combination of electronic documents, electronic signatures, electronic notarization, or electronic recording. An eDocument, or electronic document, is a digital document as opposed to a scanned image of a paper document. An eSignature is a process used to apply a signature to an electronic document in place of a wet ink signature. An eNotarization is a process of applying the notary’s electronic signature and notarial seal to an electronic document. eRecording is the process of recording the electronic document in the county records in its original form.

What is eVolve?

eVolve is Republic Title’s Digital Settlement and Signing Services Division and provides a new, convenient, and alternative experience in buying/selling real estate. Republic Title is leading this transformation and developing innovative and secure ways to evolve this process for our customers. Technology and added convenience are constantly changing the way people conduct business. When our customers have scheduling conflicts — whether it’s a busy day in the office or traveling on vacation — Republic Title is able to facilitate the transaction through one of our premium closing services, either at a place of business through our Mobile First experience or through our Remote Online Notary eClosing experience. Our dedicated team of professionals will provide our customers with a clear understanding of what is being signed and why it’s needed, ensuring a worry-free closing from anywhere in the world. For more information about eVolve or eClosings, visit our website at: https://rttprod.wpengine.com/evolve

Introducting-Republic-Title-Mobile-App

Introducing Republic Title Mobile

We are excited to introduce our new app, Republic Title Mobile!

Republic Title Mobile is a mobile app that provides easy access for real estate professionals, buyers, and sellers to closing cost calculators, educational videos and articles on title insurance and the real estate industry, and more information on our services to serve your real estate needs.
Our convenient calculator allows users to quickly calculate closing fees associated with your transaction. Calculators include:

  • Title Quote
  • Seller Net Sheet
  • Buyer Estimate
  • And more!

Other Helpful Real Estate Resources Include:
• Contact Information for Republic Title’s 13 North Texas Locations
• Insightful News on the Title Insurance and Real Estate Industries
• Educational Videos and Monthly Real Estate Stats

Republic Title Mobile can be found in the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store.

Our online estimated closing cost calculator is also getting an update. For a preview of the website version of the new calculator, visit republictitle.titlecapture.com  

If you have any questions, please reach out to one of our Business Development Representatives.

Terminations-and-Defaults

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?
RON-Prevails-During-Winter-Storm-Uri

RON Prevails During Winter Storm Uri

As most things go lately every event seems to be of a historical nature.  Winter Storm Uri that blanketed the state in a frigid white frosting and forced millions of people to improvise on the little things like heat and water was nothing short of such an event.  However, the real estate market kept pushing forward through the bitter cold, frozen roads and rolling blackouts.  Thanks to a new, technology-driven notarial process called Remote Online Notarization (“RON”), real estate closings continued and Buyers and Sellers were able to keep their contractual commitments even though mother nature was trying to dictate otherwise.

“The level of satisfaction expressed by our customers was maintained and even excelled despite freezing temperatures, power outages, icy roads and diminished water levels.  This was in large part due to the expedient technology of RON.  RON has empowered our team of professionals to be at their most productive in accomplishing superior customer satisfaction levels, all while executing their duties in remote locations.” said Audriana J. Laws, Vice President/Escrow Officer with Republic Title’s eVolve Division.

What exactly is Remote Online Notarization?

Remote Online Notarization (”RON”) is a technology-driven notarial process that allows the signer to appear before the notary over a live audio-video feed when executing digital documents. Our dedicated team of professionals provide our customers with a clear understanding of what is being signed and why it’s needed ensuring a virtual closing experience with the signing party being located practically anywhere in the world.

In the case of Winter Storm Uri, that meant signing parties were closing virtually during the rolling blackouts or in some cases no power at all from their homes, hotel rooms, vehicles, and other numerous locations where some variation of power and internet was available.

“Having the capability to close so many transactions and service our customers during the most treacherous weather we have seen in our state was a true testament to the value of the RON eClosing model and the technology Republic Title has available.  The roads were so bad that a typical mobile notary was not an option.  As long as we had an internet connection and electricity, or in some cases a full charge on the laptop battery, we were able to close transactions via live audio-video feed seamlessly.  The sheer volume of closings we completed under these circumstances would not have been possible without Remote Online Notarization. The software platforms that we use to conduct these virtual eClosings provide a painless experience for both the Digital Closer and the Signer.” said Robin Riggs, Vice President/Escrow Officer with Republic Title’s eVolve Division.

So how does Remote Online Notarization work?

Through a technology-driven notarial process the signer will go through the below five steps:

  1. RON Vetting Requirements | Signers must be able to verify minimum personal information and personal device vetting requirements to conduct a RON session.
  2. Identity Verification | Using the latest identity verification technologies, the signer will take a knowledge-based identity quiz and submit ID for review.
  3. Audio-Video Conference | The notary and signer talk over webcam in real-time and observe the necessary digital signatures and seals being added to the digital documents.
  4. Tamper-Sealed Documents | The notary adds a tamper-seal to date/time-stamp the notarized documents. The signer downloads a PDF of the completed, digitally signed and digitally notarized document.
  5. Audit Trail and Notary Records | Like with traditional notarizations, the notary keeps a journal logging the basic details of the notarization.

Republic Title has fully embraced the digital closing experience and has a dedicated division, eVolve, focused on the digital settlement approach of the real estate transaction. eVolve is able to provide a new, convenient and alternative experience in buying/selling real estate.  We invite you to eVolve with Republic Title in your approach to closing on your next real estate transaction.

For information on digital closings, please visit www.republictitle.com/evolve

5-benefits-of-an-eclosing

5 Benefits of eClosing

Many types of documents need to be signed in a real estate transaction.  A number of factors are driving the real estate industry to transition from traditional paper and wet-ink signings to electric signatures on digital paperless documents.  This is known as a digital closing or more commonly called an eClosing.

CONVENIENT

Review documents in advance and ask questions of the appropriate parties.

Close from any location.*
If wet-signing is required a mobile closer or in a few instances a mobile notary may be utilized.

ECO-FRIENDLY

Reduced use of paper.

Reduced carbon footprint of shipping and storing physical documents.

EFFICIENT

Earlier document delivery.

No redundant paperwork.

Shorter signing appointments.

Shorter funding times.

NEW EXPERIENCE

Streamlined closing.

Automated data validation.

Close on your real estate transaction interactively through a virtual closing room.

SECURITY

Multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Knowledge-based authentication (KBA).

Quickly identify any altered documents.

Click here for print version.

*A remote online notary may be required

How-Title-Insurance-Protects-Homeowners

How Title Insurance Protects All Homebuyers

Whether you’re purchasing a new or existing home, or refinancing, title insurance protects you against any problems affecting the title to your home.

The Basics

There are two types of title insurance: the owner’s policy and the lender’s policy. The owner’s policy protects your property rights as the homebuyer, whereas the lender’s policy insures the financial investment of the bank or lender. If someone else claims ownership of your property or a lien on your property, title insurance typically defends you legally and financially.

Common Risks

Here are some examples of things that may affect title:

  • Liens against the property that serve as security for the payment of an obligation, such as mortgage liens, judgment liens for unpaid court judgments, federal tax liens, state and local liens for failure to pay real estate taxes or assessments, mechanic’s liens to secure payment for property improvements, liens for recovery of child support payments and so on.
  • Easements which are rights granted to a third party to use a part of your property for a specific purpose. An example is an easement to a utility company to have power lines running along the back of your property.
  • Building or use restrictions contained in recorded plats, agreements or deeds.
  • Claims arising out of bankruptcy or decedent’s estates.

These are just some of the many reasons why getting owner’s title insurance is crucial when buying or refinancing a home.

Refinancing?

When you refinance, you are obtaining a new loan even if you stay with your original lender. Lenders will usually require a new title search and lender’s policy to protect their investment in the property. A new owner’s policy is not necessary at this time as the one you received when you purchased the property is good for as long as you or your family own the property.

Enduring Value

Owner’s title insurance is a one-time fee based on the value of your home. In Texas, rates are based on the sales price of the property and set by the Texas Department of Insurance. You can calculate title insurance premium rates using the insurance calculator found on our website. With a home being one of the largest investments you’ll ever make, it’s clear why getting owner’s title insurance is a smart option.

Texas-Housing-Insight-Graphic

Texas Housing Insight – October 2020

Total Texas housing sales increased for the second consecutive month, rising 5.1 percent to exceed 38,600 seasonally adjusted transactions. Historically low mortgage interest rates contributed to robust demand, pulling the state’s average days on market to a record low of 48 days. Building permits and housing starts suggested construction activity will pick up in the coming months, but current inventory is extremely depleted, and bank loan data indicated residential investment slowed during the third quarter. With homes flying off the shelf at the present rate, the housing supply would last just 2.1 months if no additional listings entered the market. Constrained inventory contributed to double-digit growth in the median home price as the composition of sales shifted toward higher-priced houses. The Real Estate Center’s Repeat Sales Home Price Index also accelerated, albeit at a more moderate pace, threatening recent improvements in affordability. The pandemic and the associated economic uncertainty remain the greatest headwinds to the Texas housing market, and survey data indicated the proportion of Texas mortgagees at risk of foreclosure in the coming months increased relative to the prior month. Moreover, the Real Estate Center projects a step back in single-family sales during November.

Supply1

The Texas Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index, which measures current construction levels, flattened as industry wages and construction values moderated, offsetting a modest uptick in employment. The Residential Construction Leading Index rose for the sixth straight month amid increased housing starts and a decrease in the real ten-year Treasury bill, although multifamily building permits stumbled. At the metropolitan level, the leading indexes also trended upward.

Recently released third-quarter private bank loan data revealed a slowdown from last year’s rapid clip as lending standards continued to tighten during the pandemic and an uncertain economic outlook. Loan values for multifamily properties flattened in 3Q2020 while one- to-four-unit investment declined for the second straight quarter, sinking 6 percent quarter over quarter.

On the bright side, single-family construction permits accelerated 6 percent in October, marking the sixth straight monthly increase after the previous month’s reading was revised upward. Houston topped the list, issuing 4,492 nonseasonally adjusted permits, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth with 4,243 permits. The metric in Central Texas reached 2,019 and 1,064 in Austin and San Antonio, respectively, pushing monthly growth to nearly 10 percent after adjusting for seasonality. On the other hand, Texas’ multifamily permits fell 6.3 percent year-to-date (YTD) compared with the same period last year due to a considerable step back in the volatile apartment sector. Issuance for two-to-four-unit buildings, however, posted an all-time high of 1,083 nonseasonally permits, largely due to new duplex developments in North Texas.

Total Texas housing starts extended an upward trajectory, although the rate of increase slowed to 2.3 percent as lumber prices were one-and-a-half times greater than year-ago levels. The Department of Commerce recently lowered lumber tariffs from 20 to 9 percent, however, which should help reduce homebuilder costs in the new year. Meanwhile, single-family private construction values continued to normalize from record-breaking activity in August, but the trend also remained positive. More than half of the monthly decrease was attributed to DFW, where values sank 14.1 percent following three consecutive improvements. The other major metros posted more moderate declines, falling about 4 percent in both Austin and Houston and 2.9 percent in San Antonio.

Record sales chipped away at the state’s supply of active listings, pulling Texas’ months of inventory (MOI) down to an all-time low of 2.1 months. A total MOI around six months is considered a balanced housing market. Inventory for homes priced less than $300,000 was even more constrained, sliding below 1.6 months. The MOI for luxury homes (homes priced more than $500,000), although elevated at 5.2 months, decreased for the fifth straight month as the influx of new listings slowed.

Inventory dropped to unprecedented levels in the major metros as well, with the metric in San Antonio matching the statewide average. The MOI dipped to 1.7 and 1.5 months in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively, and sank to one month in Austin. Houston’s MOI fell below 2.5 months, although inventory increased for homes priced between $400,000 and $500,000, the only segment in the state’s major metropolitan areas where supply expanded.

Demand

Total housing sales rose 5.1 percent, pushing activity to an all-time high of more than 38,600 transactions during this period of historically low mortgage interest rates. The increase was concentrated in homes priced more than $200,000, which comprised nearly four-fifths of the market, the greatest share yet. Cumulative sales this year exceeded last year’s ten-month sum by 7.5 percent compared with 4.9 percent nationwide. The current rate of sales, however, is likely unsustainable given Texas’ depleted inventory.

Sales volumes in the major metros also expanded, led by Houston, where the metric surged 6.5 percent with growth across the price spectrum. Austin sales climbed 5.8 percent as YTD activity in the luxury home market accounted for 23 percent of total transactions compared with just over 18 percent last year. In North Texas, the metric improved 4.5 and 4.2 percent in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively. San Antonio’s sales ticked up by a more modest 2.9 percent as the $400,000-$500,000 price cohort stumbled on the month.

Texas’ average days on market (DOM) slid to an all-time low of 48 days, corroborating robust demand despite the pandemic. Houston and San Antonio also posted unprecedented readings, with the metric dropping to 45 and 51 days, respectively. Austin’s DOM reached a post-Great Recession low of 35 days, while the average home sold after 36 days in Fort Worth and 39 days in Dallas.

Expansionary monetary measures by the Federal Reserve and better-than-expected economic data instilled confidence in the bond market, however modest. The ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yield inched up for the third straight month to 0.8 percent2. On the other hand, persistent uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, due to a dubious timeline for a second round of fiscal stimulus and a resurgence in positive COVID-19 cases, kept interest rates hovering at historically low levels. The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate fell to an unprecedented reading below 2.8 percent (series starting in 1971). Mortgage rates also slid to decades-low levels within Texas during September, sinking to 2.92 and 2.86 percent for non-GSE and GSE loans3, respectively. The drop in rates pushed home-purchase applications up 17.5 percent YTD in October, while refinance activity advanced 73 percent. (For more information, see Finding a Representative Interest Rate for the Typical Texas Mortgagee.)

In September, the median loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and debt-to-income ratio (DTI) for the “typical” Texas conventional-loan mortgage decreased from 87.4 to 86.9 and 36.8 to 36.4, respectively. Meanwhile, the median credit score stabilized at 743 after reaching a three-decade high of 751 in June when average consumer credit scores rose during the pandemic due to early relief actions taken by the federal government and lenders, which helped some households pay off debt and save money. The median LTV of the typical Texas borrower who obtained a loan from a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) declined from 84.8 to 83.7. The overall trend of improved credit profiles may reflect tightening lending standards as economic uncertainty prevails.

Prices

The Texas median home price accelerated 12 percent year over year (YOY) in October to a record-breaking $273,300. A shift in the composition of sales toward higher-priced homes due to constrained inventories at the lower end of the price spectrum contributed to the increase in prices. Annual price growth tipped into the double-digits at the metropolitan level as well. The median price in Austin and Dallas rose almost 13 percent each to $366,600 and $330,500, respectively. San Antonio’s metric ($259,500) jumped 10.7 percent, while Houston’s median price ($269,300) elevated 10.3 percent. Fort Worth had the smallest home price appreciation, growing  9.1 percent to $272,600. 

The Texas Repeat Sales Home Price Index accounts for compositional price effects and provides a better measure of changes in single-family home values. The index suggested more moderate home-price appreciation than the change in the median price, although it still shot up 6.9 percent annually. Out of the major metros, Austin’s metric rose at a pace closest to its home-price growth, soaring 11.6 percent YOY. The index in San Antonio and Fort Worth climbed 7.4 and 7.0 percent, respectively. The Dallas and Houston indexes grew at a more moderate but still impressive clip, increasing 6.6 percent in the former and 4.8 percent in the latter.

Single-Family Forecast

The Real Estate Center projected single-family housing sales using monthly pending listings from the preceding period (Table 1). Only one month in advance was projected due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the availability of reliable and timely data. Texas sales are expected to decline 2.3 percent in November from October, but the YOY comparisons for the first ten months of the year are significantly positive. On a monthly basis, the metric in DFW may decrease 4 percent, while possibly falling 2.1 and 1.6 percent in Houston and Austin, respectively. San Antonio sales are predicted to post a monthly increase of 2.5 percent.

Household Pulse Survey

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, 8 percent of Texas homeowners were behind on their mortgage payments during October, greater than the national rate of 6 percent (Table 2). Although the proportion of homes owned free and clear in DFW and Houston was greater than the state average, the percentage of households delinquent was also higher than the statewide rate. Twenty-nine percent of the respondents in Texas who were not current expected foreclosure to be either very likely or somewhat likely in the next two months compared with just 19 percent nationwide (Table 3). That same metric was also higher in the state’s largest metro areas, a reversal from the prior month. Currently, the Center for Disease Control’s federal foreclosure moratoriums are in place until Dec. 31, 2020. However, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has extended the foreclosure moratorium for properties owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) until Jan. 31, 2021. Continued stability in the housing market is essential to Texas’ economic recovery.

________________

All measurements are calculated using seasonally adjusted data, and percentage changes are calculated month over month, unless stated otherwise.

2 Bond and mortgage interest rates are nonseasonally adjusted. Loan-to-value ratios, debt-to-income ratios, and the credit score component are also nonseasonally adjusted. Texas data typically lags the Texas Housing Insight by one month.

3 GSE loans originated during September 2020 are unrestricted based on debt-to-income ratio.

Source – James P. Gaines, Luis B. Torres, Wesley Miller, Paige Silva, and Griffin Carter (December 14, 2020)

https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/articles/technical-report/Texas-Housing-Insight

t-47intro

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

Closing-Time-6-Steps-Every-Homeowner-Should-Expect

Closing Time: 6 Steps Every Homeowner Should Expect

Get owner’s title insurance and buy your home with confidence

Your long home-buying journey is almost over. You found the home you love, the seller agreed to your offer and now it’s time for closing. Of course, there’s a lot to think about right now, and the last thing you want is something­ to go wrong. So make sure you work with an experienced closing agent to help ensure the details come together and everything runs smoothly.

As soon as the seller accepts your offer, the behind-the-scenes work begins. You can expect closing to happen within 30 to 90 days.

 1.    Select a Closing Agent

If you are working with a real estate agent, with your permission, he or she may place an order with a closing agent/title company as soon as your sales contract is accepted.

Most homebuyers rely on their real estate agent to select a closing agent—someone they work with regularly and know to be professional, reliable and efficient. However, you can choose your own closing agent if you wish. The closing agent will oversee the closing process and make sure everything happens in the right order and on time, without unnecessary delays or glitches.

2.    Contract + Earnest Money Delivery

Once your contract has been signed by all parties it is then delivered to the closing agent/title company of your choice.  The closing agent reviews the contract for completeness.   The agent will also deposit your earnest money into an escrow account, where the funds will remain until closing.

3.    Title Search is Conducted

Once the title company receives your contract, the title company conducts a search of the public records. This should identify any issues with the title such as liens against the property, utility easements, and so on.  After the title search is complete, the title company will provide you with a title commitment.

4.    Title Insurance

There are two kinds of title insurance coverage: a Lender’s policy, which covers the lender for the amount of the mortgage loan; and an Owner’s policy, which covers the homebuyer for the amount of the purchase price. If you are obtaining a loan, the bank or lender will typically require that you purchase a Lender’s policy. However, it only protects the lender.

It is always recommended that you obtain an Owner’s policy to insure your investment. The Seller generally pays for the Owner’s policy and the Buyer generally pays for the lender’s title policy.

5.    Obtain a Closing Disclosure

Your lender or the closing agent will provide a Closing Disclosure to you at least three days prior to closing that will show all of the charges and credits and what amount you have to bring to closing.  Please note that any amount over $1,499.99 must be sent to the closing agent by wire transfer or cashiers check.

If you or your lender makes certain significant changes between the time the Closing Disclosure form is given to you and the closing, you must be provided a new form and an additional three-business-day waiting period after receipt of the new form. This applies if the creditor:

  • Makes changes to the APR above ⅛ of a percent for most loans (and ¼ of a percent for loans with irregular payments or periods)
  • Changes the loan product
  • Adds a prepayment penalty to the loan

If the changes are less significant, they can be disclosed on a revised Closing Disclosure form provided to you at or before closing, without delaying the closing.

6.    The Finish Line: Prepare for Closing

As closing day approaches, the closing agent orders any updated information that may be required. Once the closing agent confirms with the lender and the seller, he or she will set a final date, time and location of the closing.

On closing day, all of the behind-the-scenes work is complete. While you’ve been busy packing, ordering utilities and coordinating the movers, your closing agent has been managing the closing process so that you can rest assured, knowing all the paperwork is in order.

 

This is a brief description of insurance coverages, products and services and is meant for informational purposes only. Actual coverages may vary by state, company or locality. You may not be eligible for all of the insurance products, coverages or services described in this advertising. For exact terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations, please contact a title insurance company authorized to do business in your location.