Broker’s Open Houses (and Why Pruitt’s Are the Best)

Switch up your same old Open House routine for a Broker’s Open

By: Kara Macdonald

June 12, 2018

It’s the way most agents spend every Sunday afternoon (and maybe Saturdays as well), especially during the Spring market — setting up signs, laying out cookies, and greeting potential buyers at an Open House. When they’re good, they’re very good — you may occasionally meet a buyer who is genuinely interested in the property, especially in a competitive, fast-moving market. When they’re bad, though, you’ll spend your day talking to neighbors, lookie-loos, or people who are only “beginning to think about maybe buying a home someday, y’know, down the road.”

What’s the purpose of a public open house?

For some real estate agents, the open house is a fairly futile exercise. In fact, some real estate agents tell homeowners outright that they do not conduct open houses. The main reason? According to most agents, open houses just don’t get the house sold. So why do so many agents continue to hold their listings open each week?

Client Satisfaction

For most clients, there is an expectation that the listing agent will hold an open house, at least during the first couple of weeks that the home is listed, as well as after any major changes. Indeed, because so much of the marketing and networking involved in listing a home is behind the scenes, many clients wonder “what the agent is doing” if they don’t see them holding an open house or two.

Buyer Leads

For some agents, the open house is far less about selling the home and more about the opportunity to meet potential new buyer clients when they are just beginning their real estate search. For this reason, many agents are careful to record names and contact information (as well as whether or not the buyers are currently represented) in order to follow up afterward and, potentially, nurture unrepresented leads into buyer clients.

How is a Broker’s Open different?

If your purpose in holding an open house is to not only please the homeowners but also get the house sold, a Broker’s Open is a better option in many cases than the traditional public open house. Why?

Sale Potential

Because the attendees are real estate agents and brokers, you’re showing the home to people who potentially have clients who would be interested in the property. Instead of spending time talking to neighbors who definitely aren’t interested in buying the home, every attendee at a Broker’s Open represents a potential buyer opportunity.

Market Insight

Wondering whether or not you’re priced right? Not sure whether to stage or not? Need some insight into current market conditions? A Broker’s Open can serve as an informal mastermind, potentially bringing dozens of local experts through the door and helping you figure out how to get the home sold faster.

How is a Pruitt Title Broker’s Open better?

If you have decided to change up your open house routine and hold a Broker’s Open, you want to partner with someone with the experience, outreach, and expertise to help you create an event that will get attention and get your listing sold. Pruitt Title creates incredible Broker’s Open opportunities for agents throughout the DMV. What makes a Pruitt Title Broker’s Open House so different?

Food

Whether catering or cooked on-site, you’ll find that the food at a Pruitt Title Open House is not the same old “cookies and a water bottle” you may expect. Whether the menu is sushi, shwarma, or a Cajun feast, you’ll find that great food keeps those agents and brokers around longer. That means they keep looking at the home, giving them more time to connect it to the ideal Buyer in their CRM.

Marketing

You know that moment when you throw a party and worry that no one is coming? You’ll never have to worry about that with a Pruitt-partnered Broker’s Open. Through Pruitt Title’s social media and email marketing, your Broker’s Open will be on the radar of hundreds of brokers and agents throughout the area, ensuring that you have dozens of people coming in who can help you market your listing to their offices and networks.

Incentives

Pruitt Title provides extraordinary incentives to make sure there’s maximum interest in your listing. With on-site gift-card drawings, you’ll bring in more agents and keep them around longer, giving you the chance to talk with them about the property and get valuable feedback to help you market it more effectively.

Do you have a listing coming up and want to make sure it gets the widest possible audience? Do you have a current listing that’s just not moving, and you’re not sure why? Whatever your needs, Pruitt Title’s Broker’s Open can help you connect in person with the agents in your area who have the ideal buyers for that property. Contact Kara Macdonald to find out more and to schedule your Broker’s Open with Pruitt Title.

About the Author: Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC, a woman owned, independent title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She has over twenty years of experience in processing, closing and marketing in the real estate and title insurance industry. She can be reached by email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.

Pruitt’s Process

All ratified contracts should be sent to ADMIN@PRUITT-TITLE.COM.

The new contract is logged into our internal system and a Processor is assigned. The Processor is the main point of contact until closing. Our entire staff is always available should you need to ask a legal question or need help after hours.

Within two business days, the Processor will send an email the Listing Agent, Seller, Selling Agent and Buyers. It’s a “What To Expect”. If anything additional is needed (Lender info, Buyer’s email, etc.), the Processor will address that as well.

The title abstract is ordered.

Once the title abstract comes back, the file goes to the title underwriter  and the commitment to insure is prepared and returned to the Processor. If there are any title issues that may potentially delay settlement, all parties are alerted.

The Processor requests the HOA statement, if applicable, the deed and payoffs are ordered. We are very careful to time the ordering of the HOA and payoffs because there are usually fees associated with each request. When possible, we time it so that all possible payments are posted prior to requesting the payoff.

Title, preliminary CD and other items needed per the Lender’s Title Request are sent to the Lender.

Approximately 1-2 weeks prior to the closing date, our scheduling department will contact the agents to coordinate closing.

Approximately 3-4 days prior to closing, the Lender and our Processor begin to balance the CD, which means they work together to make sure the CD the Lender prepares and send the the Buyer is accurate and matches everything we have in our system. Once the CD is finalized, we send it to the Selling Agent.

Approximately12-24 hours prior to closing, the Lender sends the closing documents to the title company.

One final email goes out to the agents before closing. This email will contain the final closing numbers and confirmation of the closing date, time and location.

Please note, Pruitt does not accept cashier’s checks. Many lenders tell Buyers that title companies accept cashier’s checks, but we do not. A wire is required. Wiring instructions are sent out at the very beginning of the process.

Closing occurs. Remember, we can close anywhere at anytime. Our main offices are in Tyson’s Corner and Rockville, MD. We have satellite offices all over the DMV.

Once the closing is complete, the file is transferred to our post closing department. Post Closing handles recording the deed and deed of trust in the land records, disbursing all monies and finalizing all the paperwork.

The Post Closer sends a copy of the fully signed ALTA to the agents within 24 hours of settlement and the complete closing package to the buyers with 7 business days.

The original deed, deed of trust and final title policies are sent within 90 days of settlement.

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC, a woman owned, independent title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She has over twenty years of experience in processing, closing and marketing in the real estate and title insurance industry. She can be reached by email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.

google my business pruitt blog graphic

GET YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS ON GOOGLE FOR FREE

The definition of GOOGLE MY BUSINESS, according to Google Support, is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.

Google loves local businesses so this is their way of helping local businesses get seen more by consumers. Google My Business combines Google+, Maps, and Google Search  into one convenient all-in-one business solution which in turn helps you get more easily found! Can I get an AMEN?

Benefits include a Google+ Page for your business which others can engage with, tracking insights and enagagement, manage and review metricsw from your YouTube Channel and Google Analytics Account and seamlessly start and manage a Google AdWords campaign.

So how does it work?

  1. The first thing you should do is visit https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in with your Google account.
  2. Next, add a single location and type of business (choose Real Estate Agency for the brand category).
  3. Google might ask you to place a marker on the map correctly.
  4. On the next page, Google will prompt you with a few suggested addresses. Choose “none of these match” at the very bottom.
  5. The last and most important step is to verify your business listing. Assuming you did everything correctly, you will be brought to a screen that says “how would you like to get your verification code” with just the mail option. Once you receive the code (Usually it takes 14 days for the postcard to arrive), login to Google My Business and click on the Verify Now button on top. Enhance your profile page by adding photos, writing a detailed business description, offer coupons or specials, upload videos and asking for reviews.

More good news …

Recently, Google added a new feature called Google Posts, formerly called Candidate Cards. It can show up on Google Search and Google Maps along with your business details when someone searches you. Posts can be up to 300 words long, giving you ample opportunity to convey valuable information that resonates with your audience. If your title and image are catchy and people click on it, you could send them to a landing page.

Google definitely favors websites that are fast and mobile-responsive over ones that aren’t because most of Google’s users are mobile. Google Posts have a card-based design making it very easy on the eyes. Users will easily see it when they search for your business or topics related to your business. Thoughtful design will attract more mobile customers in your area.  Creating a Google Post is very easy. Simply log into the dashboard, then head to the left side of the screen to access the “Posts” area. From there, you can select “Add A New Post”. The jury is still out as to how much benefit you could get from Google Posts. But it takes almost zero effort and it’s free. So if you have a new listing, a new team member or an event to promote, I think it’s worth the time. I mean, it is GOOGLE so it can’t hurt your rankings, right?

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. She has over twenty years of experience in processing, closing and marketing in the real estate and title insurance industry. Pruitt Title is a woman owned, independent title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She can be reached by email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com and on her cellphone: 571-432-9382.

Common Types Of Deeds

March 21, 2017

A Warranty Deed is the strongest deed and warrants to the Grantee:

  1. That the Grantor has not previously conveyed the estate or any interest therein to anyone except the Grantee; and
  2. The estate is free from encumbrances

The General Warranty Deed is the deed most used in insuring titles to real property and gives the most protection to the Grantee.

A Special Warranty Deed limits the warranty to: “by, through or under the Grantor but not otherwise.”

These deeds are often used when the conveyance is from an executor, administrator, trustee, guardian, etc. There must be a valid reason for the Grantor to be limiting the warranty. We want to be certain that the Grantor does not have knowledge of some defect in the chain of title that is not being ackowledged.

A Quitclaim Deed does not contain “grant and convey” language.

Quit claim deeds are not acceptable in the direct chain of title and are normally used only for curative matters. An example would be where a Divorce Decree properly divests one spouse’s interest in the property to the other – a Quit Claim Deed may then be used to satisfy disposal of the spouse’s interest in the real property records.

You can rely on our knowledgeable professionals to work diligently to ensure the orderly and efficient transfer of real estate.

We understand the importance of your transaction and are available to answer your questions.

Pruitt Title, LLC is an independent, woman-owned title company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. We take immense pride in taking excellent care of our clients. Contact us today to learn more!

Inman Connect New York 2017 Takeaways

This was my second Inman Connect, my first in New York and WOW, WHAT A WEEK! I met so many new friends, reconnected with old ones and paved the way for new opportunities. In case you have never been to Inman Connect, I will tell you what it is like . . . It’s a four day conference held twice a year: once in New York City and once in San Francisco. Everything from how to run a successful team to what tech will be like in real estate in five years is covered. Each day, there is a general session in the morning, breakout sessions and learning labs in the afternoon and happy hours, dinners and cocktail parties in the evening. IT IS NON STOP. The name of the conference truly reflects what it’s about. The connections you make are priceless. Everyone is eager and willing to help you meet who you want to meet or if you aren’t sure, they will help you figure it out. Now that I am home and able to review my notes, I wanted to share what stuck out the most.

Video was mentioned a LOT, especially Facebook Live. Videos, live or not, have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. And if it is LIVE, people spend three times longer watching video live versus when it’s not live. Steve Pacinelli, Chief Marketing Officer at BombBomb, did an excellent learning lab on video marketing. He spoke about sending a quick video to a lead instead of a text or an email. If you have access to who has visited your website, record a 20 second video thanking them for visiting and letting them know that you’re here if they need anything but if they don’t need anything, feel free to visit the site anytime. The more “off the cuff”, the better. It makes you relatable and approachable. Do not worry about being perfect!

Virtual Reality was another thing that was talked about. I will admit, I was totally lost during the first talk. I do not understand VR and when I do not understand something, I tend to zone out. But when it came up again, I forced myself to pay attention because I started to see how VR could be a tool that has the potential to make an agent stand out. And, when you can stand out, you WILL win more clients. That’s a fact. Picture this, if your clients are going out of town or do not live here, you could give them your VR headset and show property to them, in a much more unique way than Facetime, while they are out of town. All you need to make VR “happen” is a VR headset, which you can get for as little as $79.00, and a smartphone. Talk about standing out from the competition. My marketing wheels are turning big time with all the possibilities of advertising to and attracting overseas buyers just because you have a $79.00 VR headset. I know, I know, this is too much. But honestly, the more AHEAD of the tech game you are, the MORE clients you will attract. So WHY NOT give it a try? I think it’s a game changer.

Next up is retargeting. Retargeting is a form of online targeted advertising by which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous internet actions. Do you ever wonder how the boots you looked at online show up on the right side of your Facebook feed? That is retargeting. How can YOU use this to attract clients? It starts with having killer content on your website. Whether that is videos about the DC area or a blog post about family friendly events in Alexandria or Gaithersburg, it has to be compelling content. You can push that content out to social media and then retarget the people that click on your post. Another thing you could do is do a post for homes for sale in Fairfax County within $400,000 and $500,000 and retarget an ad to the people that click on that. If someone click on a post about homes for sale in a certain area in a certain price range, chances are they are (or will be very soon) interested in making a move. By taking that data and using it to advertise YOUR SERVICES in a subtle way, you will convert more people from Facebook to clients. This is a little above my head but I am committed to figuring it out and doing it. That is how I have done everything else so I am up for the challenge! Who’s with me?

Another takeaway has to do with the handy dandy database. We all have one. We all need to clean it up and we ALL should be utilizing it MUCH BETTER, right? Rivers Pearce from BoomTown gave an amazing talk at a Learning Lab sponsored by DotLoop about the rebirth of the database in an audience centric world. He said you need three basic categories: people you’ve done business with, people you are currently working with and people you want to work with. He said the way we contact people in our database is CHANGING BIG TIME. The days of direct mail and geofarming are over. Your focus should be on SMART digital marketing, creating hyper local content, having a mobile friendly website and engaging social media posts. Many people are still responding to texts and emails but that will change soon as well.

Last but not least, I was inspired. Kala Lous and Valerie Garcia both gave fantastic talks. Kala is the Founder and CEO of JK Realty in Arizona. She is a visionary and a forward thinker. Her hard work and positivity has led to a very successful brokerage. Valerie Garcia is the Director of Training for the North American operations of RE/MAX Integra. She encouraged us to choose to give up what you know (because it’s comfortable and safe), be a disrupter (you can do it!), be willing to be seen (don’t deprive the world of your awesomeness!), be willing to ask for help (no one knows everything), overcome fear with practice and make bravery an employee benefit. WOW!

I hope you will consider attending the next Inman Connect Conference. Here is a link to get your tickets. The sooner you buy them, the cheaper they are: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inman-connect-san-francisco-2017-tickets-26669241419

About the author:

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC, an independent, woman owned title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia with offices in Tyson’s Corner and Rockville. She can be reached at 571-432-9382 or via email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com.

What a year!

We started off January in our gorgeous new office in Tyson’s Corner, VA. We did not move far but we did move up. A few new desks and a custom sign for the conference room later and we were off to the races.

In March, we welcomed our clients for a grand re-opening party. It was a blast hanging out with everyone, posing for pictures, eating homemade barbecue and sweet treats and of course, a little bubbly. The best part: we raised $300.00 for City Dogs Rescue in Washington, D.C. We chose CDR because everyone at Pruitt is an animal lover and our owner, Sara Bolton, rescued both of her dogs from there. To read more about CDR or to donate, please click here.

grand-opening

Our amazing marketing department coordinated several Realtor Happy Hours, countless Brokers Opens and Open Houses and even hosted a Pop-By and Picture Party in Reston with the help of Steve Miller with Embrace Home loans. A few of our Realtor Friends asked us to assist with their client appreciation events, which we gladly jumped in to do. We organized picnics at Lake Accotink Park and Frying Pan Park, a bowling event at Bowl America in Centreville and two reverse Pop-By Pie parties! We love supporting our clients in this way!

picnic

The fall brought the addition of Joe Russo, Esq. to our once “ladies only” team. Thankfully, he fits right in! Joe’s extensive experience in the local real estate market combined with his down to earth personality make for a smooth and pleasant settlement. The feedback from our clients has been outstanding, too! Check out Joe on LinkedIn.

And of course, the real reason we do it: the PEOPLE. Pruitt Title is proud to have helped 953 families buy, sell and/or refinance this year. We could not have done it without the support of so many wonderful people. From our Realtor Friends, Lender Friends, past Clients returning to us and referrals from friends and family, each of you helped us more than you know. For a quote on a settlement in Maryland, DC or Virginia, click here: https://www.titlecapture.com/app/30/pruitt-title

Pruitt is more than a title company; we are a family. Each team member truly enjoys coming to work each day and focusing on the details to ensure all is right at closing. We wish everyone a blessed and happy New Year and look forward to an amazing 2017.

2016-christmas

About the author:

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC, an independent, woman owned title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia with offices in Tyson’s Corner and Rockville. She can be reached at 571-432-9382 or via email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com.

6 Ways To Stand Out From Other Agents

Response Time
A study done on agent responsiveness by WAV Group and Weichert Lead Network in 2014 revealed 48% of buyer inquiries were NEVER responded to and the average response time in general was 917 minutes (or 15.29 hours). That is staggering! And yet the top complaint I hear in the field from agents is that they struggle to get business. Whether it’s an email, text, Facebook message or a phone call, when a potential Seller or Buyer contacts you, you have to respond quickly. And by quickly, I mean QUICKLY. In today’s world, we are lucky to capture a prospect’s attention so when we have it, you must act on it QUICKLY. If someone texts or send a Facebook message, always respond within one to five minutes, even if it’s to say you are in a meeting and will get back to them. If possible, let them know exactly when you will get back to them. And then of course, be sure to follow through. If someone emails you, try to respond within one hour but do not wait longer than two hours. I would not reply to an email to say you can’t respond now because the general impression will be that if you have time to type that, you could have just replied and fully addressed the questions or comments. You have a little more leeway with a phone call. Since very few people even call anymore and even less people leave a voicemail, these folks generally are okay if you call back
within 24 hours. Do not wait longer than 48 hours because that will convey you are too busy for them.

Know Your Stuff

There is good news and bad news: The good news is there’s a LOT of information available. The bad news is there’s a LOT of information available. You cannot be everything to everybody. So pick something to be an expert in and master it. Really master it. If you want to target first time homebuyers in Loudoun County, pretend like you are a first time homebuyer in Loudoun County and think hard about what you would expect from your Real Estate Agent. It is not enough anymore to know the contract and have four designations and be top producer in your office. No one cares about that stuff. They want to know as much as possible about the area(s) they are considering buying in, what it is going to cost them, and how it will benefit them in the future. So do your homework!

Digital Presence

Your website must be good (I prefer great, but if it’s good, you are doing better than 85% of your counterparts). It should be easily navigable, visually appealing, connected to IDX and updated regularly.  Additionally, you must have a social media presence. People expect brands to be on social media. Statistics show 85% of people of all ages expect you to have a Facebook presence, 80% expect you to have a Twitter presence and 55% expect you to have an Instagram presence.  Why? Because consumers equate that to you being current on modern technology which translates to their needs being better served.

Ask Questions At The Beginning

Get to know your clients. Ask them how many kids they have, how many animals, what their favorite things to do are, what activities are their kids in, what do they like best about the various areas (if they’re buying), do they go out to eat regularly, what their favorite kinds of restaurants are, how they met (or who they are hoping to meet if they are single), where do they see themselves in five years, ten years, personally and professionally, what is their favorite place they’ve lived . . . the point is, the more you know your clients on a personal level, the better you will be able to fit them into a home.  Perhaps you do this in an email at the beginning or you may have a questionnaire that you show them when first meeting them. I guarantee it will impress them and may be the deciding factor that wins you
their business.

Weekly Updates

There is a real chance to capitalize on how many people stink at follow up. Poor follow up seems to be more acceptable than ever, which is just sad. But you can be the difference and truly shine here by following up regularly with your clients. Each of your clients should get a weekly update, even if you think there’s nothing to update. Remember, you are in the real estate world all the time so what may seem like a small detail or not something your clients care about may be exactly what they want to know. I would suggest one day a week, you email them (a video email update would be even better) with a few details of what has happened this week with regard to their home search, property that is listed or the status of their contract. They will appreciate the “extra” info and attention to detail.

Give A Memorable Closing Gift

This is it! The last chance you have to wow them, make them remember you and most of all, REFER YOU! Spare no expense here. A good number to shoot for is $100.00. You can get fantastic, personalized gifts for that price (or less). I have agents spend go $250.00 on a gift from Tiffany’s. Yes it has a wow factor but it will fade. With a personalized gift, you are showing your clients that thought ahead and planned. That will go a long way!  Yes it takes a little planning but that also raises the emotional value of the gift. The look on their faces when you present them with their gift after they’ve signed will be remembered for a lifetime. And since it will be something they will probably display, the chances of future referrals is also high.

About the author

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC. She has over nineteen years of experience in processing, closing and marketing. Pruitt Title is a woman owned, independent title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, with offices in Rockville and Tyson’s Corner.

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5 WAYS PRUITT TITLE SUPPORTS ITS REALTOR & LENDER FRIENDS

  1. TIMELY RESPONSE TO CALLS AND EMAILS

BLOG 2 GRAPHIC 1Whether it’s needing to ask a question about a deed while writing an offer on a Saturday or needing a preliminary Closing Disclosure at Noon on a Tuesday, everyone at Pruitt Title is known for their record response time and amazing availability. In this day and age, it is crucial that you can get the answers you need when you need them; especially since it could be what makes or breaks a deal. We know that you need us so we are ready. All of Pruitt’s employees have the ability to login remotely which means we have full access to everything we need for our Agents and Lenders, anytime, anywhere. Additionally, our Marketing Team is available 24/7 and able to answer any questions a Processor or Attorney could answer. Being available and having answers you need is something we take a ton of pride in. Our clients can count on us and that makes a difference!

  1. FLEXIBLE, REMOTE CLOSINGS

Whether it is a refinance or a closing in Baltimore, Pruitt Title can accommodate a closing at any location and at a time that works for you and your Clients. How do we do this? Simple, we have an amazing team of Attorneys and Settlement Agents that travel and we have a host of satellite offices throughout all of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. All you have to do is tell us when and where you want to close when you send us the order or the contract and we will take care of the rest. We love hearing how amazed YOUR clients are when they find out we are bringing the settlement to them!

  1. BELOW AVERAGE FEES

Pruitt Title prides itself in being one of, if not the MOST affordable title companies in the region. Since we are an independent title company, we are able to remain extremely competitive. Most of the well known title companies in the region have Marketing Service Agreements or Joint Ventures with real estate offices, which drive up the costs to the Consumer. We consistently monitor what our competitors charge to ensure we are fair. Furthermore, if you find another company offering the same services for less than our fees, we will gladly match their fees.

  1. BROKERS OPEN AND OPEN HOUSE SPONSORSHIPS

Our Marketing Department is ready and willing to help you with your next Brokers Open or Open House. We take all of the guesswork out of your Open; from creating the flyer, to providing food or baking cookies, to promoting your event to our huge database and social media following. We have helped our Realtor Friends with hundreds of similar events and we promise to make you shine and look more professional than you can imagine!

  1. MARKETING GUIDANCE & CLASSES

Pruitt Title is well known for our social media and marketing classes taught by our own Kara Macdonald. Kara has taught over one hundred classes in the past three years on everything from how to blog to how to get leads from Twitter. The real magic happens when she meets with a Realtor or Lender after they have attended a class. She helps develop and implement a custom plan that is easy to follow and leads to actual closings. Email or call Kara today to schedule a class at your office!

THE PAYOFF EXPLAINED

A PAYOFF EXPLAINED

If you have a mortgage, you know your payment is due on the first of every month. But did you know that unlike rent, which you pay on the 1st of the month for the month you are in, your mortgage interest is paid in “arrears”? Typically, you have a 15 day grace period before a late fee is assessed and the bank won’t report you “late” to the credit bureaus unless you’re 30 days late.

Why does this matter? Because when you sell or refinance, you have to pay off the mortgage, and many people are surprised when they see the actual payoff is much higher than the balance on their statement.

Here is how it works . . . .

Let’s say it is March 1st and you are planning to put your home on the market on March 15th. All goes as planned and it hits the market on March 15th. Because it is a very busy and competitive spring market, you get a full price offer for $258,000.00 with closing on April 20th.

You know you need to net a minimum of $40,000.00 to cover moving expenses and the down payment on your next home. You know your mortgage balance is $200,000 because you just received your statement in the mail and it reflects the March payment you made on March 1st. You run the numbers …

Sales Price:                                         $258,000
Less Commission:                             $15,480
Less Other Closing Costs                 $2,000
Less Payoff:                                        $200,000

NET:                                                 $40,520

You think . . . it’s a little tight, but it works. You decide to accept the offer.

Everything is going along nicely. You decide to skip the April payment since you are closing before April 30th (ten days before the mortgage company would report it late to the credit bureaus on the 30th). You figure there will be a little extra owed for April but it can’t be more than $500.00.

Two days before the closing, you receive the final numbers and you see that your proceeds are $38,931.88. You panic slightly since you need at least $40,000.00.

After looking over everything, you notice the payoff is $201,564.26. You call the title company to let them know there is an error since you have a statement that shows you owe $200,000.00, not $201,564.26. They explain the principle balance IS NOT the payoff and since you did not make your April payment, the payoff “includes” your April payment. The breakdown is as follows:

Principle Balance:                                                $200,000.00
Interest from 3/1 to 4/30 at 24.66 per day:    $1,504.26
Late Fee assessed 4/16:                                       $30.00
Payoff Statement Fee:                                         $30.00
Total Payoff:                                                   $201,564.26

 

It is important to be aware and ask plenty of questions when you are selling or refinancing. There is nothing less fun than getting less money than you were expecting after thinking you planned so well.

About The Author:

Kara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC, an independent, woman owned title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia with offices in Tyson’s Corner and Rockville. Kara can be reached at 571-432-9382 or via email at kmacdonald@pruitt-title.com.