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!


North Carolina Title Insurance: What Is It and Why Do I Need It?

Let’s say you’re buying a home. First of all, congratulations! This is an exciting life decision, and we know you’ve been working toward it for a long time. That’s why it’s so important to protect your investment with North Carolina title insurance.

Just like you need homeowners insurance to protect your home from fires, storms, and other natural disasters, you need title insurance just in case something is wrong with your home’s title. If an issue arises with your title in the years following your purchase (whether it’s a former owner disputing your right to it or a costly lien filed against it), you may be in trouble financially. That’s where title insurance comes in.

Here’s the rundown:

What is Title Insurance?

Real estate is a huge investment—whether it’s a new construction home or a vacant plot of land. Because it’s such a big purchase, any time a property’s title or ownership is transferred, certain risks arise.

When you take out a title insurance policy on a property in North Carolina, you’re signing up for two things. One is a thorough investigation of the property’s title history. The second is insurance that protects you in the event of a title loss or discrepancy on the title’s history.

Not only is title insurance valuable, it’s highly affordable in North Carolina. You pay a one-time premium at closing based on the value of your property.

Do I Really Need Title Insurance?

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While it’s optional, it is highly recommended. Depending on the age of the land or property you’re purchasing, it might have gone through several owners. Over the years, title issues can arise due to a number of different problems.

Some of these problems might be mistakes like clerical errors, miscommunication between owners, or inadequate surveys. Other problems may arise from negligence, fraud, or forgery.

If an issue with your title arises somewhere along the line, you’ll be prepared, protected, and insured if you have a proper policy.

What Kind of Issues Might Arise?

We’ll walk you through some hypotheticals. Say you purchase a home from a single woman. However, that woman bought the home with her former husband—whose name is still on the title. She sold it without a signature from that former husband, meaning he may come back and lay a claim to it after it’s been sold.

Or, perhaps a lien was taken out against the property. A company or organization may have a right to place a lien on the property in order to settle a former owner’s debt. A lien stays with a property until it is paid off or the property enters foreclosure.

What Kinds of Title Insurance are Available?

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Generally speaking, there are two kinds of title insurance: lender’s coverage and owner’s coverage.

Any real estate transaction comes with a small amount of inherent risk, so the lender’s coverage protects the lender for the amount of money they’ve loaned to the buyer.

Plus, when you purchase a title insurance policy, you receive an extra layer of security. Say you have to hire a lawyer and go to court to defend your title: when you have a policy, it covers your legal costs up to the amount of the purchase price.

The lender’s coverage policy ends when the owner pays the loan off. The owner’s coverage policy lasts for the entire time they own the property, with additional protection after selling the property.

How Do I Get Title Insurance in North Carolina?

Title insurance differs from state-to-state, but North Carolina has some of the lowest title insurance rates available. To pick the insurer that’s right for you, we highly recommend meeting with your attorney to discuss it.

Once you sign a purchase agreement for the property, your escrow and closing agent will begin the process of helping you obtain title insurance.

Looking for more information about which coverage is right for you or your clients? Our North Carolina title insurance professionals are here to help.

What Makes Tryon Title the Best Option for Title Insurance in North Carolina?

At Tryon Title, we are provide our clients with exemplary customer service, as well as the fastest turnaround times with laser-sharp accuracy. We’re also local to North Carolina, so we understand this area and its unique real estate needs better than anyone.

Our dedicated team of North Carolina title insurance professionals has more than 50 years of combined title insurance experience, and our underwriters are known for delivering final policies in less than 24 hours. No matter how small, large, or complicated your task may be, please know that it is our top priority.

Please reach out to us today for an expedited, accurate, and streamlined title insurance experience.