By: Sam Shiel, Esq., Director of National Title Services and Senior Underwriting Counsel – Vice President, Madison Title Agency
I’m going to be brutally honest. I am tired of friends and family asking me for stories about the world of title insurance. I know their intentions are good and I appreciate the curiosity. But enough is enough. The straw that broke the camel’s back was this past Thanksgiving. It’s become a tradition in my family that the youngster’s sit me down after dinner to share tales of the title year that was. But this year, when the dinner discussion turned to the history of the industry, I was done. Folks, I am a title professional – not a tourist attraction. And so I put my frustration into action and came up with an idea that is long overdue, “The Museum of Title Insurance”.
I’ve narrowed down location to two possibilities, Chicago, Illinois or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Each location is based on a real estate transaction that led to the establishment of the title insurance industry. Continue reading
By: Elliot Zaks, Principal, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services
Mortgage fraud is a growing threat to the real estate industry. Although most people involved are honest, there are some borrowers, loan officers, title agents and attorneys engaging in criminal activity in order to make a quick buck. The real estate market is still suffering from the aftermath of the industry meltdown. Suspicious activity reports for mortgage-related fraud is climbing steadily each year, reaching 93,508 in 2011, versus the 46,717 reported in 2007.* While reporting suspicious activity is up, new technology has also made fraud easier than ever. Computer systems leave a window open for enterprising and technology-savvy criminals. All it takes is an Internet connection and a copy machine to produce a false Satisfaction of Mortgage document.
In a recent seminar hosted by the Madison Learning Center, the Vice President and Claims Director at one of the nation’s major title insurance underwriters discussed the various ramifications of mortgage fraud. Here are some of the most common scams now and some of the warning signs to spot potential fraud. Continue reading
Tags: attorneys, backward application loans, borrowers, CFPB, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, equity skimming, escrow, fake mortgages, False Satisfaction of Mortgage, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, FinCEN, Foreclosure Rescue, foreclosure rescues, fraudulent appraisal, HUD-1, inflated mortgage, loan officers, mortgage fraud, mortgage fraud schemes, settlement fraud, straw buyer, title, title agents, title insurance underwriter
Most of the transactions that Madison insures for title involve fee estates (properties that are being purchased). From time to time, however, we are asked to insure a commercial or industrial leasehold transaction, whether it is a creation of a brand new lease or assignment of an existing lease. A prospective tenant of a property may have similar concerns as a prospective fee purchaser (buyer) of a real property. Likewise, a prospective lender of a leasehold mortgage also wants to make sure that it has a valid mortgage on the leasehold estate. That is where title insurance comes in…. Continue reading
Tags: assignment, commercial leasehold transaction, fair market value, industrial leasehold transaction, land improvements, land records, lease agreement, Leasehold creation, leasehold estate, leasehold mortgage, leasehold title policy, lessee, New York TIRSA rate manual, title, title insurance