December 2004


TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE HEARINGS

P-53 Update - TLTA was well represented at the special hearing on Procedural Rule P-53 that was held at the Texas Department of Insurance on November 2. Testimony was given by Texas Department of Insurance, TLTA, Title Professionals Association, Texas Association of Realtors, Texas Association of Builders, Office of Public Insurance Council, TAATA, various members from the title industry, as well as other interested parties. Insurance Commissioner Montemayor took all comments from the various parties under advisement. We will update you as new information becomes available regarding P-53. 

Rule Hearing - The Rulemaking Phase of the 2004 Texas Title Insurance Biennial Hearing took place on December 15, 2004 beginning at 9:30 a.m. and concluding at 4:15 p.m. Testimony was provided by a number of witnesses representing TLTA and other title industry groups, as well as the Texas Association of Builders, Texas Association of Realtors, Office of Public Insurance Counsel, Texas Department of Insurance Staff and members of the public.

The Commissioner rendered no decisions regarding proposed agenda items but stated he intends to in the near future. TLTA will continue to follow any developments or changes in the status of agenda items. Click here for the December Dateline Austin for additional information.

Rate Hearing Postponed - Motion for Continuance of the 2004 Texas Title Insurance Biennial Rate Hearing scheduled for December 31, 2004 was granted on December 1 by Commissioner Jose Montemayor. The order states that "Docket No.2601 is hereby continued to a date after the conclusion of the 79th Session of the Texas Legislature." We will notify you as soon as a new date and time are scheduled for the Rate portion of the 2004 Biennial Hearing.


BEWARE OF  PREDATORS BEARING CONTRACT FOR DEED by David S. Jones

reprinted with permission from The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University News, Release No. 4, September 2004

Quite a bit of newspaper and website space has been used to warn consumers about so-called predatory lenders.  But Dr. Jack C. Harris, Real Estate Center research economist, says unscrupulous lenders are not the only ones who have found ways to prey on unsuspecting homebuyers. There are “predatory sellers” too.

“These predators take advantage of those with limited knowledge and means,” Harris says.

One technique used to sell low-cost homes to buyers with no established credit is through use of a contract for deed. In fact, exploitation of contracts for deed became so widespread that the Texas Property Code was changed in 2001 in an effort to stem the predatory tide. More story


JACK RATTIKIN, III ELECTED TO ALTA BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Jack Rattikin, III, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rattikin Title Company, has been elected to the Board of Governors for the American Land Title Association (ALTA).   He will serve as one of two Board representatives to the Abstracters & Title Insurance Agents Section until October 2005. ALTA, headquartered in Washington, DC, is the association representing title insurance companies and their agents nationwide. 

Mr. Rattikin is Past President of the Texas Land Title Association and the Fort Worth Land Title Association, and has been on several committees of the American Land Title Association. He earned his BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and his Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. He was named President of Rattikin Title in 1999 and Chief Executive Officer in 2004. In all, he has over 20 years of service in the title insurance profession. 

The eleven-member ALTA Board of Governors is responsible for creating association policy; overseeing the financial health of the association; overseeing the work of 33 committees; and ensuring the overall welfare of the association.


TLTA STAFF VOLUNTEER EFFORTS BENEFIT TWO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS

TLTA staff kicked off the holidays this year by volunteering at the Capital Area Food Bank.  In one afternoon nine TLTA staff members sorted, processed and packed 2,350 pounds of food and 900 pounds of non-food items that had been donated to the food bank for those in need. The food and non-food items are delivered to over 340 member agencies that distribute items to needy individuals during the holiday season and throughout the year.

 TLTA staff also got their hands dirty earlier this year when they teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to assist with finish-out tasks on two new Habitat homes being built in East Austin. On a misty spring day, staff members painted, caulked, landscaped and cleaned windows to prepare the homes for final inspection. The result of this effort was very rewarding, as two needy families became proud homeowners in May 2004.

We know you’re busy volunteering in your community, too.  We’d love to hear about your company’s charitable projects.  Send the details for publication in Downdate to kathy@tlta.com.


 2004-2005 MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY

The 2004-2005 edition of the Membership Directory has been mailed to all TLTA members. This year's directory has been expanded to include Individual Members as well as a more extensive City/County Index. If you have not received your directory, please contact Kelly at the TLTA office. If you would like to order additional directories, click here for an order form.
            

BASIC MANUAL CHANGES TO P-27 AND T-37A WERE EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1

The Texas Department of Insurance approved updates to the Texas Title Insurance Basic Manual effective Nov. 1, 2004.  These changes include updates to P-27 and T-37A. 

If you haven't already, you need to order your Basic Manual Update as soon as possible. Just as a reminder, Basic Manual updates are not sent automatically.

In order to get these changes to you quickly, we have developed a simple order form and procedure. Click here to download the order form.  Please complete and sign the form and fax it to the TLTA office at 512.472.5931 as soon as possible.   

Please note:  The cost of this update is $2.50 each, but we’ll include this amount in the billing for the next update that we anticipate in Spring 2005.  There is no need to pay at this time; simply fill out the form, fax it to us and we’ll ship your order to you right away.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND
TLTA seminars are continuing to draw great participation levels from all over the state. The Right Rules Seminar and Dallas Regional Seminar held November 16, 17 & 18 in Dallas were no exception. The TLTA Land Title Institute just concluded December 3 drew 419 participants! This program gets better every year, and those who attend give it rave reviews. Many thanks to our Education committee and staff who have worked hard to develop interesting and timely topics for all of you working in the industry.

COMING UP IN 2005
February 8, 2005 (Tuesday)
Right Rules, Correct Calculations Workshop PLUS  Understanding Endorsements  
Marriott Westchase, Houston

February 9-10, 2005 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Houston Regional Seminar
Marriott Westchase, Houston
 
March 7-11, 2005
Land Title School of Texas
Omni Hotel Southpark, Austin
 
April 9, 2005 (Saturday)
South Texas Regional Seminar
Radisson Resort, South Padre Island
 
April 19, 2005 (Tuesday)
Advanced Closing Seminar
Hotel Derek, Houston

For more information about any of these seminars, or to view the 2004-2005 TLTA education calendar, click here.
 

  ANNUAL CONFERENCE JUNE 9-11 AT THE GAYLORD TEXAN  -  NOW WITH LOWER FEES!

The fabulous new Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas is the site of the 2005 Annual Conference and have we got a line-up for you! Don't miss this unique opportunity to network with industry associates, attend informative workshops and meetings and have fun at the social events while you relax and enjoy the activities and amenities available at the Gaylord Texan. As an added bonus, we've reduced full member registration fees by 26%! That means a full member registration that cost $400 last year will now cost $295. Save the date now and plan to bring the family to Grapevine and The Gaylord Texan Resort June 9-11!

TLTA STAFF PROFILE - PAULA THOMAS

 In September 2004, Paula Thomas, Director of Membership Services, celebrated 11 years of employment with the Texas Land Title Association. Paula started working for TLTA in 1993 as Administrative Coordinator assisting with accounting and meeting support. She quickly moved into the area of membership services and has been working with our current and new members ever since.

Originally from Denison, Texas, Paula moved to Austin with her family in 1975. She graduated from Crockett High School in 1980 and married her high school sweetheart, Stacy Thomas, in 1983. Paula and Stacy have two children, Ryan and Megan. Paula’s hobbies include watching Ryan play baseball and watching movies and shopping with Megan.

Paula is our computer and technology guru, and manages the member database. (In fact, she has most of it memorized.) She is the “go to” person for details on any TLTA member. She recently assumed bookkeeping duties once again and does an exceptional job in providing both membership and accounting services to the association. Thank you for all you do, Paula. We’re so lucky to have you on the TLTA team!
 NEW TLTA MEMBERS
Please join us in welcoming the following new members approved by the Board of Directors on October 20, 2004.

ACTIVE MEMBERS
Dulaney Abstract Company
Betty Dulaney, Co-Owner
318 North First Street
Haskell, TX 79521
County: Haskell
Phone: 940.864.2301  Fax: 940.864.2585
email: dulaneyabstract@westex.net

Empire Title Company, Ltd.
Becky D. Altemus, Vice President
14140 Southwest Freeway, Suite 160
Sugar Land, TX 77478
County: Fort Bend, Denton
Phone: 281.313.9600 Fax: 281.313.9606
email: baltemus@ethouston.com

First TexStar Title Co., L.L.C.
Margaret Baucom, Escrow Officer
305 South Main Avenue
Monahans, TX 79756
County: Ward
Phone: 432.943.7332 Fax: 432.943.7333
email: mbaucom@firsttexstartitle.com

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS
Baxter & Schwartz, P.C.*
Austrene Barton, Accounting Manager
5450 NW Central Drive, Suite 307
Houston, TX 77092
County: Harris
Phone: 713.462.2565 Fax: 713.462.2659
email: lori@baxterschwartz.com
website: www.baxterschwartz.com

Kimball Law Firm, P.C.*
Myron Kimball, President
2446 I-20 West @ Bowen Rd.
Arlington, TX 76017
County: Tarrant
Phone: 817.472.8727 Fax: 817.472.8779
email: kimball@airmail.net

Stephen Keyser, Attorney at Law*
Stephen Keyser, Attorney
8410 Highway 90-A, Suite 140
Sugar Land, TX 77478
County: Fort Bend
Phone: 281.313.5300 Fax: 281.313.5305
email: stevekeyser@alltel.net

Next Corp, Ltd
David Greer, CEO
545 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 101
Irving, TX 75062
County: Tarrant
Phone: 214.574.6398 Fax: 214.574.6395
email: dkeel@nextcorp.com
website: www.nextcorp.com

Southwest Texas ACA
Susan Prihoda, Loan Closer
505 E. Huntland Dr., Suite 315
Austin, TX 78752
County: Travis
Phone: 512.380.0760 Fax: 512.374.9106
email: susan.prihoda@swtaca.com
website: www.swtaca.com

C. S. Brown
The Brown Law Firm, LLP*
8235 Douglas Ave., Suite 1220
Dallas, TX 75225
County: Dallas
Phone: 214.891.1957 Fax: 214.891.1958
email: cbrown@brownlawfirm.com

LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD WRITERS

We know many of you serve as teachers and trainers for your company, or have written articles about the title industry in the past. We would love to have more articles and information to publish in Downdate, Dateline, and on the TLTA Web site. Contact kathy@tlta.com for more information.


THE TLTA GREENSHEET
The TLTA Greensheet is the fastest, easiest way to reach over 5,000 people in the industry. Whether you're advertising for a job opening or selling your business, equipment or service, an ad in the Greensheet will get immediate results! It's your on-line connection to industry related employment and business opportunities. Click here for the latest GREENSHEET.


PUBLICATIONS

Expand your professional library with these TLTA publications:

Texas Forms Manual, A Guide for Real Estate and Title Documentation is compiled, edited and maintained by fellow TLTA members. The 8½ x 11, loose-leaf volume contains the documents most commonly used to handle a real estate transaction in Texas – all the way to the closing at the title company. Order yours today, and see why so many real estate and title professionals depend on this valuable resource.

“A Handbook for Texas Abstracters and Title Men”  Written by the late Frank A. Stamper, one of the most distinguished members of the Texas title insurance industry, this textbook is a must for every title professional. Topics include The Evolution of Title Evidence and Assurance, The Texas Registration System Reading, Interpretation and Platting of Property Descriptions and The Abstract Plant. 

Extra copies of The 2004 Texas Land Title Institute Course Manual are available for purchase. Complete your reference library with this valuable reference tool! 

Click here to go to the TLTA On-line Store or to download an order form 

SEND US YOUR FEEDBACK – AND YOUR IDEAS

We welcome your comments or suggestions about DOWNDATE, as well as other TLTA publications and products. Please forward information to kathy@tlta.com.

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