Here at SMPR Title Agency we care for our clients and want to make sure they stay protected at all times. Wire Fraud is a serious problem that can have some damaging effects if you get caught in a scam. As a member of the ALTA Best Practice, SMPR Title Agency wants to share a brief two minute video that can provide you with tip on how to avoid wire fraud and how to protect yourself if you do get caught in a scam!
ALBANY, N.Y. (January 23, 2017) — Sneeringer Monahan Provost Redgrave Title Agency Inc. (SMPR), the Capital Region’s leading title insurance providers, recently joined a select list of title agencies located throughout the country to achieve compliance with title industry best practices standards set forth by the American Land Title Association (ALTA).
“By demonstrating that we are in compliance with the ALTA Best Practices Framework, SMPR is able to show its commitment to operating within the highest standards of quality in every aspect of our business. This means our clients are working with a company that has taken proven measures to protect their information, get their documents recorded timely and engages in sound business practices.,” said SMPR COO Melissa Clement.
With offices in Albany, Ballston Spa and Hudson, SMPR earned its certification through the ComplianceSuccess® Program run by certified public accounting firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP (HA&W). The program, developed in partnership with ALTA, the American Institute of CPAs and the industry’s top title agents, assures consumers, real estate professionals and lenders that a title agent or settlement firm exceeds the highest standards in compliance benchmarking, readiness and reporting.
“We are also in a stronger position to maintain relationships with consumers, real estate professionals and lenders and able to establish new relationships. The certification along with our 50+ years in the title business provides peace of mind,” stated Robert S. Sneeringer, SMPR President.
During the rigorous and in-depth certification process, HA&W performed an extensive examination of all aspects of SMPR’s business, including licensing, escrow accounting procedures, privacy and information security, settlement procedures, title policy production and delivery, professional liability insurance coverage, and consumer satisfaction.
For more information, please visit smprtitle.com.
About SMPR Title Agency
Founded more than 50 years ago, Sneeringer Monahan Provost Redgrave Title Agency (SMPR) is one of the Capital Region’s leading title insurance and escrow services agencies. Headquartered in Albany, N.Y. and with offices in neighboring Ballston Spa, N.Y. and Hudson, N.Y., the company is composed of real estate experts who provide clients with comprehensive property transaction services including: property title insurance, mortgage lender insurance, title searches and documentation preparation services. For more information, call (518) 434-0127 or visit smprtitle.com.
When you purchase a property in New York, you get more than just the land; you acquire a set of rights, restrictions and obligations that specify how you can use or enjoy that land, now and in the future. These are legally attached to the property, and are passed forward from owner to owner. With every successive possession, title can be affected by events as simple as refinancing or failure to pay taxes, or as complicated as an easement granted to a utility or a neighbor, or a reservation made in a life estate.
Sneeringer Monahan Provost Redgrave Title Agency, Inc., is upstate New York’s oldest, largest and most respected title agency. Our mission is to provide you with a secure title for a secure investment. How do we accomplish this?
Our work begins with a detailed examination of historical public records to find unpaid taxes or liens, outstanding mortgages, judgments, utility or other easements, and any other restrictions jeopardizing your use or enjoyment of the property. To uncover these, we start with our own historical records. We have been in the area so long, chances are good that we searched your property in the past. We carefully note any special circumstances such as past incorrect indexes, multiple spellings, and other issues. We then search state, county and municipal records, online and in person, looking for any details in public records that might affect you. These are then set out in our title commitment (title report), which notifies all parties of the steps that need to be taken to clear title issues prior to closing. Many of these are common, such as:
At the closing, we verify the identify of all parties, proofread all documents to be recorded, ensure all appropriate funds have been collected to record or file the documents, and record those documents immediately with the appropriate clerk or agency.
All the searching we do is intended to find and clear known title issues. But no matter how thorough the title searching process is, there is always a chance that hidden defects or hazards in title could surface to challenge your ownership in the future. These are items that could not be found in public records, and are only discovered if someone brings forward a claim of ownership or other rights to your property. These are disturbingly common, especially in these troubled times, and can include:
In addition to searching title, correcting known defects, and recording the documents, SMPR offers title insurance policies to protect your investment. Only a policy of title insurance can protect you from financial damages due to hidden defects and hazards such as those noted above. Without such a policy, defending any claim to your ownership can be prohibitively expensive and extremely complicated; but with an owner’s title insurance policy, you receive free expert legal defense of title; and in case of a loss, the title insurer (Underwriter) will reimburse you up to the full value of your policy.
Mortgage or Loan Policy
When you purchase a property In New York, your lender requires you to purchase title insurance that covers the lenders’ equity in the property. As the loan is paid off, the value of the policy declines to zero. The mortgage title policy assures only the lender that they will suffer no financial loss due to any title claim.
Owners or Fee Policy
An owner’s policy protects your equity up to the full sale price of the property. A separate market value rider can also be purchased to insure the inflation-adjusted full market value of the property as the amount rises over time. Unlike the mortgage policy, the owner’s policy value does not decline over time; and it never needs to be renewed. Your owner’s policy insures your secure title to the property for as long as you own it, forever. That means if a title claim were to arise on the property and an action was initiated against you, even long after the mortgage was paid off or years after you sold it, you and your heirs would still be covered by your original owner’s policy.
Too many people, including some attorneys, believe that the front-end title search work that clears known issues from title, and the purchase of a mortgage policy for the lender to insure against hidden defects and hazards, together sufficiently cover the buyer from risk of a title claim. Sadly, they do not realize the gravity of this error until a title claim has arisen. The truth is most title claims do not rise to the bank’s concern. A neighbor’s encroachment, the discovery of an easement or restricted use, improperly indexed tax records, and many other title claims, may affect your financial interest in the property, but not the lender’s.
If a challenge to your ownership does cause the lender to file a title insurance claim, you may benefit from the free defense mounted on the bank’s behalf; however, if the defense were to ultimately fail, the underwriter would reimburse the lender’s mortgage; but the underwriter could then take over the note; in such a worst case scenario, you could lose the property yet still have to make payments on it!
Furthermore, without an owner’s policy:
Fraud, past bankruptcies, multiple refinances and human and computer errors impact so many real estate transactions, that a one-time purchase of an owner’s policy of title insurance is one of the least expensive yet most important forms of insurance you can buy. And if you purchase it at your closing concurrently with the mortgage policy, you get a very significant discount.
Are your prices competitive?
Rates for all title insurance premiums in NY are filed with and approved by the State. There is little or no variation in rates between underwriters. However, the quality of the service performed varies greatly. Why not choose the best title insurance company to protect your most valuable asset? Quality Matters.
If you’re insuring title to the property, it must be clear, right?
We search a property to discover all known defects. If they can’t be cleared, you can choose to either live with the known title issue, or walk away from purchasing the property. If you purchase the property, only title insurance protects you against any mistakes made in searching, and any hidden defects and hazards that were not in the public record.
My seller has an owner’s policy. Does that protect me?
No. The seller might have encumbered the property many times since the policy was issued. And if the title issue affecting you predates the seller’s ownership, the title company would actually be required to defend the seller in any action you bring.
What if I have no equity in the property?
Your policy still covers your free expert defense of any and all title claims; and as your equity grows, so does the value of your policy, up to the original purchase price.
Am I safe from a title claim if the property I’m buying has been in the same family for ages?
Some of the most tangled title claims arise in such long-held assets from split interests, unrecorded private mortgages, newly discovered wills or heirs, and frauds and forgeries stemming from divorce or other family arguments.
Can my bank or my attorney require me to use their affiliated title firm for searching and insurance?
No. Even if you purchase only a mortgage policy, you retain the absolute right to choose the title company and agent.
Make sure your title insurance provider performs their own title searches, will be around in the future should a claim arise, and is large enough to be able to deal effectively with the underwriters in the event of a claim. . This will ensure that you get the best title product for your money, since all title rates are regulated in New York.
When comparing title agencies, ask others how long they’ve done title, how many title specialists they employ locally, and how many title policies they wrote last year. SMPR’s own employees search records in over fourteen county clerks’ offices, dozens of municipalities, state archives, and our own archives; our title professionals carefully read title documents and review the title commitment; our own staff produces all title reports and policies. We continuously work with buyers’ and sellers’ attorneys to explain and clear known title issues, and prepare quality title commitments and policies. SMPR closes thousands of transactions per year.
We’ve been doing title for nearly 50 years; and no one knows the land title issues in this area better than we do. Our expert knowledge and excellent work greatly reduces our claims rates, which is why four of the largest title underwriters in the United States compete for our business on every file. This means you can rest assured because:
Quality matters, and Sneeringer Monahan Provost Redgrave provides the best title services in upstate New York. For more information, visit us at www.smprtitle.com or call us at one of our area offices listed below:
|Albany Office||Saratoga Office||Hudson Office|
What is the Tila-Respa Rule?
The TILA- RESPA rule consolidates four existing disclosures required under TILA and RESPA for closed-end credit transactions secured by real property into two forms: A Loan Estimate that must be delivered or placed in the mail no later than the third business day after the creditor receives the consumer’s application, and a Closing Disclosure that must be provided to the consumer at least three business days prior to consummation (Closing). These are provided by the creditor.
The Loan Estimate form must contain a good faith estimate of credit costs and transaction terms. If any information is unknown, the creditor must disclose based on the best information reasonably available at the time the disclosure is provided to the consumer, and use due diligence in obtaining the information.
This change impacts the Financial Institutions and they are responsible for complying. Thus it impacts the title companies’ interaction with them.
What types of Transactions are covered?
Most closed-end consumer credit transactions secured by real property except:
Mortgages secured by a mobile home or by a dwelling that is not attached to real property
When does this start?
This starts on October 3rd for applications taken by the creditor on or after October 3rd.
How will this impact SMPR clients?
Our Good Faith Estimate and our Invoice will contain a notice required under the CFPB starting Monday October 5th. This notice is located on the right had side of both attached documents. This reflects the premium split as CFP Reverse Split Undiscounted Loan Premium. The rest of our notice does not change.
Click below for samples of SMPR Titles updated GFE and Invoice.
Helpful Resources on CFPB:
Watch a brief video on what the TRID rule means to home buyers provided by:
The Three-Day Closing Disclosure Rule: The borrower must receive the CD at least
three days before the closing (consummation). Please see chart below provided by :
These quick and easy sheets will highlight the Top 5 Things that Real Estate Agents and Attorneys need to know about the CFPB changes effective October 3rd. Follow links below:
Provided by Fidelity Title:
Requirements for reissue rate Loan Policy premiums change
Effective August 1, 2015 two of the requirements for the application of refinance and subordinate mortgage title insurance premium rates to a Loan Policy will change.
For all transactions closing on or after August 1, 2015 the requirements that a) there has been no change in ownership since the recording of the Deed or existing Mortgage, and b) the new Mortgage describes the same property as in the Deed or existing Mortgage, have been deleted.
The new requirements are 1) that the new loan is made by all or some of the same persons shown as owners in the Deed or shown as mortgagors in the existing Mortgage, and 2) the new loan describes all or some of the same property as in the Deed or existing Mortgage.
The requirement that the Deed or existing Mortgage have been created within the past ten years remains unchanged.
New reduced reissue rate Loan Policy premiums for qualified 1-4 Family property
New reduced premium rates have been approved for refinances of qualified 1 to 4 unit residential property, . A 30% reduction applies to a refinance with the same or an affiliate of the holder of the existing Mortgage. A 15% reduction applies to a refinance NOT with the same or an affiliate of the holder of the existing Mortgage. Additional qualifications for the reduced rates are summarized below.
Note that the requirement that the Deed or existing Mortgage have been created within the past ten years does not affect the application of the reduced premium rates for refinances of qualified 1 to 4 unit residential property.
Please advise SMPR of all refinance and subordinate mortgage closings taking place on and after August 1, 2015 so the invoice at closing will reflect the appropriate premium.
On May 12th SMPR Title is sponsoring a MBA of NENY Educational Event – TRID training for Real Estate Professionals – at Manfred Real Estate Learning Center. This class, running from 9:00 to 12:00, will cover the regulatory changes regarding Truth In Lending, RESPA, Integrated and Disclosure Rules. The speaker will be Bonnie Nachamie, an attorney that frequently speaks on mortgage banking issues including licensing and regulatory matters. She has developed training programs for mortgage lenders and brokers. To find out more about our presenter, read her bio on First National Compliance Solutions website.
As always, if you have any questions/concerns please reach out to any of our offices:
Saratoga – 518.885.8700
Hudson – 518.828.4351
On Friday February 6th, SMPR colleagues took part in the National Wear Red Day to benefit the American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women movement. Here are the offices showing their support:
To show your support or learn more about heart disease, please visit the local AMH website here!