How COVID-19 is Changing the NC Real Estate Industry

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Real estate is constantly changing and adapting to keep up with 2020. It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a massive impact on, well, everything but no industry has adapted to meet the “new normal” quite like real estate. North Carolina real estate is keeping up with COVID-19 in new and surprising ways—leading to a more seamless real estate transaction experience for practically every party involved.

Here’s an overview of exactly how North Carolina real estate has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Technology Streamlines the Process

In the past, real estate transactions required in-person meetings and negotiations. As social distancing became necessary to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, the real estate industry quickly adapted by implementing a powerful suite of technologies to help distance the transaction process.

Now, much of the transaction can take place virtually. Many real estate agents, title insurance companies, mortgage lenders, and other players in the industry have made significant changes to their operations. For example, many home tours can now take place virtually, much of the closing paperwork has been transferred to online forms, and even applying for a mortgage has largely moved online.

A Push for More Efficient Communication

Prior to COVID-19, the title insurance process happened largely in the background of the overall real estate transaction. Now, however, title insurance agencies are playing an integral role in the closing process. Our team is going above and beyond to provide all of our customers with an exemplary title insurance experience—even if it can’t be in person.

In fact, our new emphasis on technology has allowed us to stay in touch with our clients, communicate more efficiently, and be there for them every step of the process in new and more efficient ways.

A Superior Closing Experience

Title insurance companies like Tryon Title have worked hard this year to create a closing process that is efficient and virtual. Many of the real estate industry’s key players have made the closing process as contact-free as possible to ensure the safety of all involved parties.

One great software that we’ve had a lot of success with is the eClosing process:

eClosing Gets the Job Done Faster

Once upon a time, eClosing was a convenient software that made it easier to complete the real estate transaction when distance was an issue. Now, however, it’s an essential part of closing on a real estate transaction.

eClosing benefits borrowers and lenders as they work to close transactions on behalf of the buyers and sellers they represent. Some of those specific benefits include:

  • Allows involved parties to sign paperwork digitally—eliminating the need for in-person appointments
  • Home-buyers can preview their closing documents in advance from wherever they are
  • Reduces the process from hours to minutes
  • Simplifies the closing process for all involved parties as the paperwork is compiled and executed online
  • Drastically reduces errors that result from closing deadlines and other logistical issues

Title Insurance Adapts to Meet Consumer Needs

Title insurance is still an essential part of the real estate transaction—it’s just easier to navigate now that agents are working to transfer the process online. Purchasing title insurance for a real estate property does not require lengthy in-person meetings, physical handshakes, or any other formalities.

With the process moving online, it allows for a convenient experience for all involved parties. Real estate agents and their clients, mortgage lenders, paralegals, and other professionals can rest assured knowing that there are plenty of safe and smart ways to continue purchasing and selling real estate.

Apply for Title Insurance Today

Looking for a title insurance policy on behalf of your clients? Our team of underwriters has years of experience assisting real estate agents and home buyers with title insurance throughout North Carolina.

Get in touch with our team today to find out more.

North Carolina Real Estate in 2020: Zillow, eClosings, and Wire Fraud

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The real estate industry is changing. As technology continues to become an integral part of everything we do, especially buying and selling homes, it’s going to play an ever increasing role in our real estate industry. From Zillow becoming a one-stop shop for real estate endeavors to the rise of real estate wire fraud, it’s important to stay on top of our changing industry.

Whether you’re a real estate agent, attorney, or another transaction agent, here’s what you need to know about the state of the North Carolina real estate industry in 2020.

The Rise of Zillow

We’ve covered this in depth, but Zillow’s infiltration of the real estate market is one of the greatest industry trends we’ve ever seen. If you’ve ever looked for a home online, you’ve probably used Zillow. It used to be the go-to website for home searching.

Today, it’s so much more. In addition to using Zillow to find homes for sale in your area—and access information about their location, construction details, pictures, and more—you can also use the site to sell your home.

Zillow’s Instant Offer program allows homeowners to quickly sell their home for cash. Zillow buys the home, performs some upgrades, and then sells it for a profit. We can only expect this trend to occur more frequently in 2020. In addition, Zillow recently acquired the brokerage Mortgage Lenders of America, which means it’s now adding “mortgage lender” to its repertoire.

Oh, and they’re also thinking about offering title insurance. But that’s still in the works.

Electronic Mortgage Closings

2019 was a big year for electronic closings, and 2020 shows no signs of slowing down! Electronic mortgage closings have a lot of benefits for the North Carolina homebuyer. Known as eClosings, electronic closings allow homebuyers to access more in-depth information about their lease online—making it easier for them to understand the process in its entirety.

eClosings also have significant benefits to real estate agents, attorneys, and title insurance agents. It simplifies the closing process and makes it easier to stay in compliance. For traditional closings, agents and attorneys were responsible for compiling all required documents and manually scanning them to be sent as emails to the necessary parties. With eClosings, everything is already online.

The Need for Extra Security Online

According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers lost an estimated 1.48 billion in wire fraud in 2018. Wire fraud is just one of many online “scams” that target home buyers and sellers across the country. Oftentimes, new buyers are scammed out of their entire down payment—but you can avoid wire fraud by staying alert.

Here are some tips for preventing wire fraud and maintaining online security during your real estate transaction:

  • Never wire money online to anyone—even if they claim to be your real estate agent
  • Never click on a phone number or email address within an email
  • Use two-factor authentication on your email account

Stay Up to Date on Title Insurance Best Practices with Tryon Title

As technology advances, it’s going to have an even greater impact on the real estate industry and how buyers obtain title insurance. That’s why it’s so important to partner with a title insurance agency with years of experience serving your community.

Here at Tryon Title, we have experience serving all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. When it comes to protecting your investment, rely on our team of title insurance professionals for a successful transaction.

Have a question about title insurance or the real estate industry in general? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Your North Carolina Real Estate Closing Checklist

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Finally, after weeks and weeks of hard work, it’s time for the best part of the real estate transaction: closing day! Without proper planning, it’s easy for closing day to go awry in the world of real estate—especially when it comes to the home’s title. That’s why we’ve come up with this North Carolina real estate closing checklist.

It includes everything you should do as a real estate agent to ensure a stress-free and successful closing day. Have specific questions about working with a title insurance agency prior to closing day? Don’t hesitate to give us a call.

In the meantime, let’s get to it!

Step 1: Verify that the Sales Contract is Correct

This sounds simple enough, but when done incorrectly it can yield potentially catastrophic results! You’ll want to ensure that the sales contract is correct, and that includes:

  • Making sure the person selling the property is the “record title holder”
  • Double checking that all property is represented in the contract

Oftentimes, commercial properties may actually include more than one piece of land so be sure that both the seller and buyer are on the same page and everything is properly accounted for in the contract.

Step 2: Ensure the Contract Includes a “Due Diligency” Clause

This is a huge part of selling—especially when it comes to commercial properties. If there are any contingencies, make sure that all parties are aware and properly informed about them.

Time and time again, we see even the most carefully planned closings fall apart as a result of contingency deadlines not being met!

Step 3: Keep Track of the Buyer

If the buyer is borrowing from a lender, you’ll want to check in with them to make sure they’re following through on all of their requirements. Lenders typically have a set of requirements for borrowers, and when buyers don’t adhere to them it is impossible to get the transaction approved before closing.

Periodically throughout the real estate transaction, contact the buyer’s representative to check that everything is going smoothly! Otherwise, it will be harder for the lender to get the title insurance underwritten and approved.

Step 4: Stay Ahead of Any Title Issues

If any issues with the property’s title arise during the transaction process, deal with them immediately. Work with the seller, the title agency, and the buyer representative to take care of any issues quickly.

Time is of the essence in any real estate transaction, so don’t get bogged down by procrastinating on important title issues!

Step 5: Keep Your Client Informed

Even as an experienced real estate agent, you know that the closing process can be confusing. That’s why you should do everything in your power to educate your client on the closing process.

When your client  knows exactly what to do during the closing, the entire process will go that much smoother!

Step 6: Thoroughly Review Closing Documents with Your Client

And, additionally, make sure that all parties are on the same page about closing! Coordinate all logistics, including closing date and time, and confirm it with the buyer, seller, and their representatives.

Step 7: Work with a Professional Title Insurance Agency

As a real estate agent, you’ll want to work closely with a title insurance agency to make sure the policy is effective and ready on time.

If you have any questions about the role title insurance plays in your real estate transaction, please don’t hesitate to give Tryon Title a call!