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January 2023

Title Notes


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Virginia Title Center and the Circuit Courthouses will be closed on

Monday, January 16, 2023

in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dave Stevens on Understanding This Housing Market

5 Things Loan Originators Need to Remember

by David Stevens, CMB

Many loan originators who were the most dependent on refinance volume woke up in 2022 only to realize that the skill sets to sell a mortgage via a Realtor or other referral partner in a rising rate market is entirely different from refinancing someone into a 2-3% mortgage rate. But to all loan originators, let me remind you of a few key points: 1. The housing market won’t be like this forever. As quickly as rates dropped in March of 2020, as quickly as they rose in 2022, markets shift. Just as the Fed overreacted with stimulus, they are likely overreacting in their quantitative tightening, meaning mortgage rates are certain to come down, likely later next year. In fact, the chief economist at the MBA forecasts rates in the mid 5% range by end of year next year. Things will get better. 2. You have one huge advantage over anyone else who is in any sort of “sales” role. Click HERE to read this insightful article in its entirety.

The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders Around the World

by Sunnie Giles

Research over the past few decades has shown us that the most important leadership qualities are centered around soft skills and emotional intelligence. But do these skills point to deeper competencies? A survey of 195 leaders from more than 30 global organizations suggests that there are five major themes of competencies that strong leaders exhibit. While many of these competencies may seem obvious, they are difficult for leaders to master because to do so would require them to act against their nature. Individuals are not hardwired to relinquish control or be open to small failures. The ability to actively improve these competencies should be a priority for leaders. Click HERE to learn more about the five competencies that strong leaders must exhibit.

5 Managerial Behaviors to Improve for Hybrid Managers
How To Grow Your Team's Rising Stars

Top 5 Customer Experience Trends for 2023 and Beyond

By Jim Marous, Co-Publisher, The Financial Brand

Two thirds of consumers say most companies they do business with need to improve their customer experience. To support experience initiatives in banking, financial institutions need to eliminate silos and accelerate digital transformation to enable a shift in focus from customer communications to customer experiences. Financial institutions can no longer use the excuse of the pandemic when delivering less-than-desirable customer experiences. Today's consumer knows what is possible with the combination of data, advanced insights, modern technology and expanded communication channels. More than ever, customer service is both a differentiator and growth accelerator. Click HERE to learn more about the top 5 trends to improve the customer experience.

Hard-Nosed Innovation Lessons From One Community Bank's Experience
Deposit Strategies Must Be Revised Before Funds Exit for Higher Rates

News From Our Underwriter

Founder-Led Investors Title Celebrates 50 Years of Success

by Christopher McIlravey

When asked about his memories of Investors Title’s early days in 1972, J. Allen Fine will describe being one of only four employees, underwriting the first policy himself, and producing documents using the highly sophisticated-at-the-time electronic typewriter. Fifty years later, with nearly 800 employees in various subsidiaries and affiliates, real estate and title insurance transactions are virtually paperless, and Allen can reflect fondly on the humble beginnings that formed the foundation of what has become the fifth-largest family of title insurance companies, nationally, based on policyholder surplus (2022 Demotech “Performance of Title Insurance Companies”).

"As we celebrate Investors Title's 50th anniversary," said Morris Fine, Allen's youngest son, who joined the executive management team in 1992, "we take great pride in the fact that our growing team of employees remains committed to the foundational values and business principles that have propelled our company forward since its inception in 1972. Click HERE to read the entire article.

Claims Corner: A Fresh Start on Sales Out of Bankruptcy

by Michelle Walker, Claims Counsel

As bankruptcy filings increase from their pandemic lows, many debtors may find themselves with significant equity in their homes that makes selling a viable option. Real estate practitioners thus may begin to encounter more closings involving property subject to bankruptcy jurisdiction, which can entail unique considerations. As a former debtor’s attorney, I offer a few tips for navigating sales out of bankruptcy. Click HERE to gain insights.

LOs, Mortgage Rates and the Long, Cold Winter Ahead

by Flavia Furlan Nunes

The recent declines in mortgage rates brought a glimmer of hope that borrowers might be developing more of a stomach for home loans. But even with the drop in rates to the mid-6s, the market is still nowhere near ‘normal,’ and consequently, industry experts predict a long, cold winter for loan officers. “We are going into the seasonally lower winter months, so we should expect lower volumes to continue at least for the next two quarters,” Shampa Bhattacharya, director for U.S. non-bank financial institutions at the credit risk agency Fitch, said during a recent webinar on the outlook for publicly traded originators. She added that, in terms of volume, “2023 is setting up to be at least lower than 2022 in the first half, but we will need to see what happens in the second half.” Click HERE to read on.

Lenders Aren't Getting Deja Vu With the Current Downturn, So What's Different?
Lower Mortgage Rates, Higher Demand Lead to Optimism for Late 2023

NAR: Home Sales Will Fall 6.8% In 2023

by Katie Jensen

According to Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, the industry should expect homebuying to slow even more in the upcoming year, yet still expect a slight uptick in home prices. He predicts that home sales will decline by 6.8% (5.13 million) compared to 2022 and that the median home price will reach $385,800 — an increase of just 0.3% ($384,500) from this year. That’s the national forecast; home price growth will vary depending on the region, he said. NAR’s predictions are based on the following indicators: better housing affordability; greater numbers of renters who can afford to buy a median-priced home; stronger job growth; faster growth of information industry jobs; higher shares of the information industry in the respective local GDPs; migration gains; shares of workers teleworking; faster population growth; faster growth of active housing inventory; and smaller housing shortages. Click HERE for more informative comments from Yun.

Question Everything Always

by Gary Douglas, the founder of Access Consciousness®

There are no stupid questions. There are only stupid people who don’t ask questions. Innovation occurs when you are willing to be in the question and to ask a question always. Whatever conclusions we come to become the limitation of what we can actually achieve and receive. The purpose of a question is to gain awareness. With increased awareness, different possibilities become available to you. When you become aware of the possibilities, you can make choices. Choice creates. With each choice, you can look at: “If I choose this, what will this create?” Click HERE to learn more.

The Gift of Influence: Creating Life-Changing and Lasting Impact in Your Everyday Interactions
8 Ways to Avoid Blowing Up At Work

Key Banking Issues and Trends for 2023

excerpt from conversation with BAI's Karl Dahlgren

A number of key uncertainties face banks in the coming year. BAI’s Karl Dahlgren shares findings from its latest survey. Following are a few takeaways from the conversation:

  • Customer acquisition: Key issues are fewer new customers available, more options for them to choose from, and the survey shows that fewer established customers are open to switching.
  • Digital experience: Core challenges were largely related to new account opening, as Gen Zers and millennials expect to be able to conduct most of their business via digital channels.
  • Finding and keeping talent: We likely will not return to pre-pandemic work models, so lessons are available from institutions focused on blazing the trail into the future of work.

To listen to the interview or read the narrative of the conversation with Karl, click HERE.

Banks can Help SMBs with a Lucrative COVID Tax Credit
A More Strategic Approach to Combating Fraud

New REALTORS: Advice on Thriving Past the Five-Year Mark

by Nicole Slaughter Graham

Recently, published a study of findings on what real estate professionals believed were their top issues when building a successful business. The study’s purpose was to understand better what real estate professionals needed in those first few years of business to create sustainable and long-term success. The first five years of business are crucial in determining long-term success. Even more important, those first two years can make or break an agent. Click HERE to learn about the findings of the study, as well as tips on how to #thrivepastfive in real estate.

Start 2023 With Fresh Business Planning Tips and Scripts
2023 Decor Trends to Look Out for in the New Year
Help Your Agents Adapt to and Thrive in the Changing Market
Agents, Sell Homes Faster Using These Keywords in Listings
7 Sales Mistakes to Fix Before the Market Changes Again
What Agents Need to Know About Appraisal Reviews
Virginia Title Center Offers Comprehensive Commercial Services
Click HERE for more information on how we can assist you.
Did you know that Virginia Title Center’s skilled and dedicated team of experienced professionals are focused on meeting the unique needs of each client?

Our knowledgeable team includes two Certified Commercial Underwriters with over 35 years of combined experience, along with thirteen seasoned Settlement Processors. We take pride in delivering exceptional service for any size, type and complexity of commercial transaction.

Our comprehensive commercial services include:
  • Coordination of Title Searches
  • Commercial Title Insurance and Endorsements
  • Escrow Services
  • Closing and Disbursement Services
  • 1031 Exchange Services facilitated through Investors Title Exchange Corporation

Virginia Title Center offers cost effective title and settlement services with competitive rates to help reduce closing costs.
Did You Know That Virginia Title Center Offers Free Settlement Quotes 24/7 Through Our On-line Quote Calculator?
Visit our website and give it a try today!
Click HERE for a sample
Important Information Regarding Receipt of Closing Packages
Virginia Title Center appreciates your support and cooperation in submitting your closing packages with clear to close no less than 24 hours before the scheduled date and time of closing.

It is the practice of our settlement processing team to review the documents submitted for accuracy prior to providing them to our closers. Often, our mobile closers need to travel up to an hour to the closing destination and also choose to review documents for questions prior to closing.

This 24 hour standard allows us to keep the client the top priority, and assure a smooth closing. A positive experience reflects favorably on you, your company, and Virginia Title Center. If your closing department is unable to meet this 24 hour prior to closing target, we will request that the closing be rescheduled.

Please share this with your team members as appropriate. Thank you for your understanding.
Why Every Buyer Needs an Owner's Policy
Owner's Policy Comparison Chart
Protect Your Clients From Wire Fraud
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Patti L. Dickerson
Director of Operations & Marketing
Virginia Title Center, LLC
1.800.468.5811 or 540.772.0585
Integrity. Security. Excellence. 

Main Office:
3565 Electric Road, SW, Suite J
Roanoke, VA 24018

Rocky Mount Office:
270 South Main Street, Suite 201
Rocky Mount, VA 24151

Blacksburg Office:
1997 South Main Street, Suite 604
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Virginia Title Center is committed to serve you with unmatched expertise, exceptional customer service and a comprehensive selection of title and settlement solutions to help you grow and succeed. 
Our professionalism, technical knowledge and experience provide security as we insure protection for your most valued investment.