Issue No. 166 | April 8, 2020


EVENTS
Look For NEW Events Posted Since The Last Issue!
INDUSTRY NEWS
Foreclosure / Law of the Case: Motion to vacate that attempted to re-litigate issues on standing that had been rejected on direct appeal was precluded by the law of the case doctrine – Schwartz v. Bank of America, N.A., No. 4D19-3942 (Fla. 4th DCA Mar. 4, 2020) (affirming denial of motion to vacate).

This memorandum is in regards to some of the changes we are seeing in the title insurance industry due to COVID-19. 

As the mortgage and real estate industries traverse the challenges of the increasingly digital coronavirus landscape, title agents and their integral part of the process can get overlooked.

A federal court ruled in favor of real estate giant Zillow Group and its subsidiaries Zillow and Trulia, tossing an infringement suit for a patent that covers features common in virtually all listing search apps.

The number of real estate transactions in China are starting to pick up, as the country emerges from its coronavirus lockdown, according to a report Monday from Knight Frank.

Shortly after issuing guidance on changes to practices for electronic documentation and appraisal work, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued updated guidance to loan applications through May 17.

The Zacks Building Products - Home Builders industry comprises manufacturers of residential and commercial buildings. Some of the industry players are involved in providing financial services that include selling mortgages and collecting fees for title insurance agency and closing services.

As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to turn the real estate market on its head, curbside and remote mortgage closings have become a logical extension of signing loan documents and distributing money at the office of a title company or escrow office.

For a decade, our annual Voice of the Title Agent survey has given a voice to big and small title agents across the country, making your voice heard about the biggest trends in the industry.

LEGAL NEWS
The following memorandum provides an overview of the responses of courts and local and state governments of certain jurisdictions, as well as of the federal government, to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The closure of courts, law firms, brokerages and more has turned Massachusetts’ real estate industry into a logistical nightmare, prompting public officials and industry leaders to introduce a number of proposals and workarounds to help keep business moving.

Though the popular television series Ozark romanticizes the underlying criminal conduct, money laundering and the manipulation of beneficial ownership are genuine issues confronting lawyers.

Despite the speed and efficiency that comes with signing documents electronically, many business people (and even some lawyers) remain reluctant to accept electronic signatures.

While a majority of state governors have issued executive orders mandating closure of all non-essential businesses, life does go on, and for many, that means conducting business and taking care of essential personal planning matters. 

TECHNOLOGY & SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS
Among all the government remedies, extensions, trillion-dollar stimulus packages and other pandemic-relief actions being proposed, allowing virtual notaries — as senators on both sides of the aisle have proposed[1] — might not seem like a very significant cause.

Under typical procedures in Alabama and many other states, notary publics, or “notaries,” must confirm in person the identity of the individual signing a document, and had to provide what is referred to as a “wet signature” to effect a valid notarization of that document.

Usually, when real estate transfers from one owner to another, buyers and sellers confer in person to sign and verify paperwork with a licensed title professional or a notary public. Real estate agents, lenders, builders and friends and family often join in to watch the settlement, which industry professionals consider the final step of the home buying and selling process.

WORLD NEWS
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic has disrupted Canadian life in ways that our citizens and residents have not experienced since World War II. Mobility has been restricted to unprecedented levels, but still, commerce continues, albeit conservatively.

TITLE AGENCY & PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
National Integrity Title Agency (NITA), a full service title insurance and settlement company for commercial and residential real estate, is now offering drive thru closings and curbside service in response to safety protocols in place for COVID-19. Effective Tuesday April 7th, the company has set up a drive thru section within its corporate headquarters parking lot and clients are met by their NITA closing professional handling the transaction.

Title Agents Go Nationwide
For agents interested in growing their businesses by expanding into multiple states, we’re here to make the process simple and profitable. We offer you one point of contact to streamline your options and solutions...

OTHER TRENDING NEWS
Matt Shirley makes graphs all the time, which you can follow at Instagram. Most of them are about the minutiae of everyday living, such as traffic, time management, food, working, etc. Lately, they've all turned to the main subject of the day, the coronavirus pandemic and how it affects us. 

Ditmas Park neighbor and Shutterstock’s talented editorial photographer, Stephen Lovekin, was looking for ways to help people feel more connected to the outside world while we are so literally all stuck at home.

On Friday, March 27, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill (HB) 197 which includes many provisions intended to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This bill includes relief to insurance license-holders whose license expires during the state of emergency declared by the Governor through Executive Order 2020-01D, issued March 9, 2020.

From newly darkened storefronts, businesses offered a few last words of empathy, resolve and humor.

Marianne Mathieu, NTP
Vice President/National Agency Accounts
Fidelity National Financial
(347) 987-0677