April 2009


TLTA ANNOUNCES TEXAS' FIRST CERTIFIED TITLE PROFESSIONALS 


For more than half a decade, the Texas Land Title Association has worked to develop a certification program for title insurance professionals.  There are currently three professional designations a title professional can earn.  They are:


CESA - Certified Escrow Settlement Associate

CAEA - Certified Abstract Examination Associate

CTIA - Certified Title Insurance Associate

On March 4, over thirty title professionals took the first certification examinations and TLTA proudly announces the following individuals have met all of the requirements, passed the examination and are now the first certified title industry professionals in Texas.

Certified Title Industry Professionals


Brandi Abercrombie, CESA - Jacksonville Title Company

Brenda Andel, CESA - Mid-Coast Title Company

Ronald Bates, CTIA - Presidio Title

Jack Campbell, CESA - Lone Start Abstract & Title Company, Inc.

John DeLoach, CTIA - Sierra Title Company

Darlene Fairchild, CESA - University Title Company

Maggie Fielding, CTIA

Jacquelyn Freeman, CTIA - Old Republic Title Company of Houston

Teresa Frost, CTIA - Alamo Title/Fidelity National Title

Stephanie Goble, CESA - Barrett Daffin Frappier Turner & Engel, L.L.P

Carleen Hall, CTIA - Hill Country Title, Inc.

Carol Hallows, CESA - Stewart Title North Texas Division

Ceanne Hons, CTIA - Texas Title

Michelle Ingracia, CESA - First Mason Title Co.

Sandra Kachmar, CAEA- Mid-Coast Title Company, Inc.

Zana King, CTIA - Independence Title Company
 Bruce Liesman, CAEA, CTIA - Independence Title Company

David McAllister, CTIA - Presidio Title

Deborah McClain, CAEA - Arnold Abstract Company

Kary Mersmann, CESA - University Title Company

Charlotte Meyer, CTIA - Robertson & Anschutz

Janet Minke, CTIA - Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company/Lawyers Title Insurance Corp.

Phyllis Mulder, CTIA - Alliant National Title Insurance Company

Randy Pearson, CTIA - Central Texas Title

Dan Phares, CTIA - Independence Title Company

Bob Philo, CTIA - Title Experts and Management Services

Rose Powell, CESA - First American Title Insurance Company

Karen Prevou, CESA - Independence Title Company

Joey Prohaska, CTIA - Professional Escrow and Title Services, Inc.

Laurianne Rachunek, CESA - Mid-Coast Title Company, Inc.

Carrie Riley, CESA

Susan Strickland, CESA, CTIA - Susan B. Strickland, Attorney

Lynell Ustynik, CESA - Mid-Coast Title Company, Inc.

June Van Etten, CTIA - Brazos County Abstract Company
 


Each designation represents a measure of achievement and proficiency in the Texas title insurance industry and distinguishes these highly motivated individuals. The inaugural class will be recognized at the TLTA Annual Conference on Thursday, June 18 in San Antonio.

Applications Now Being Accepted for Fall 2009.

TEXAS MEDICAID ESTATE RECOVERY PLAN (MERP) AUTHORIZATION FORM AVAILABLE ONLINE


Pursuant to the Medicaid Estate Recovery Plan (MERP) the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is responsible for seeking the recovery of Medicaid long-term care services provided to certain Texas Medicaid recipients. Typically, DADS does not record liens against property belonging to descendent estates subject to the MERP program. Medicaid recipients are provided notice of the program upon application of Medicaid services and the notice may have been received by family members who assist recipients.

Some title companies may not receive notice of the claim so it is important to contact DADS in cases of property transfers for individuals over 55 years of age or of any deceased individual who was age 55 or older. To facilitate the process, DADS has created a MERP Certification and Authorization form - which is available on the TLTA website - to reduce or eliminate the liability title professionals may incur in instances whereby knowledge of a MERP claim was intentionally or unintentionally withheld from the title company. Should you have any questions, please contact the TLTA office at 512.472.6593.

U.S. MORTGAGE APPLICATIONS ROSE 5.3 PERCENT LAST WEEK

Bloomberg.com | April 22, 2009

Mortgage applications in the U.S. rose last week as lower borrowing costs encouraged more homeowners to refinance loans. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of applications to purchase a home or refinance a loan increased 5.3 percent to 1,172.2 in the week ended April 17, from 1,113.2 the week before. The group’s refinancing gauge gained 7.7 percent while the purchase index dropped 4.2 percent. 

HOUSING DATA COULD SIGNAL IF BUST IS OVER

The Washington Post | April 20, 2009

Economy-watchers are searching for evidence that the housing market is starting to hit bottom. And in recent months, there has been some evidence that the end of the great housing bust may be near. Click here for full story.

Are you hiring? Check out TLTA's Product of the Month and let us help with your search!

HOME PRICES RETURN TO AFFORDABILITY IN MUCH OF U.S.

The Wall Street Hournal | April 20, 2009

Home prices in most of the U.S. have fallen back into line with what the typical household can afford to pay in most of the U.S., according to a new study. The quarterly report – by economists at IHS Global Insight, a research firm, and PNC Financial Services Group Inc., a banking concern based in Pittsburgh – looks at price trends in 330 metropolitan areas across the country. Home prices are “extremely overvalued” in only one of those areas, Atlantic City, N.J. In 2005, 52 metro areas were in that category. Click here for full story.

TLTA CONTINUES ITS COMMUNITY FOCUSED ENDEAVORS BY LAUNCHING VOLUNTARY VOTER REGISTRATION PROGRAM


As reported in our Breaking News, TLTA has officially launched its statewide voter registration effort program. While participation in this effort is voluntary we encourage all of our members to become involved. The concept is simple - while at the closing table, a new voter registration card will be offered to the consumer. This may be the first opportunity for a new Texas resident to register to vote or for those already registered they'll be able to easily transfer their registration to their new residence.

President Celia Flowers said, “Our members serve the consumers of Texas by ensuring the safe and efficient transfer of real property. We come into contact with consumers daily, and it only seems natural for TLTA to serve as a vehicle for the state's voter registration efforts. We are extremely proud to support this effort and look forward to continuing these kinds of community-focused endeavors.”

The first phase of the program, a partnership with Harris County Voter Registrar's Office, was officially launched at a press conference on March 26 in Houston where President Elect Mark Greek represented TLTA. Several media outlets, such as the Houston Chronicle, provided excellent coverage of our efforts and we are continuing to spread the word throughout the state. If you would like a press release to publicize this effort in your community please contact Tedrah Hutchins. The support for this community endeavor has been well received and we encourage all of our members to make this a part of their standard operating procedure.

In fact, many of our members have contacted us to let us know that they already supply voter registration cards at the closing table. They were also kind enough to shed some light on how other companies can get started. For example, to officially accept a completed voter registration card, an individual must be "deputized" by either the Secretary of State or their local Voter Registrar. We are currently working with the appropriate officials to determine how all of the participating TLTA members can best be deputized. We will continue to update you as details develop.

It's Easy to Participate

You can either contact your local Voter Registrar to request voter registration forms for your office or download a Printable Voter Registration Application from the Secretary of State's website. TLTA will keep a very limited supply of voter registration cards on hand. For additional information please email Tedrah Hutchins.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: MAY 21 WEBINAR - UPDATE ON MANUFACTURED HOUSING


Join us Thursday, May 21 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. for a special webinar on manufactured housing. Joe Garcia, Executive Director of the Manufactured Housing Division for Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs will discuss the latest legislative changes and implementation process. You'll also learn tips on how to avoid having your SOL application rejected. Earn 1 hour of CE Credit.

Did you miss the April 21 TLTA Webinar?

1031 Exchanges - The "New" Basics - The Latest Strategies and Enhanced Security in an Uncertain Market

With TLTA's Education on Demand you can view the April 21st webinar. Registration fee is $15 members/$25 nonmembers and participants earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. For additional details contact Kim Schoppert.

NEW TLTA CONFERENCE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED

The TLTA Annual Conference is right around the corner and we're putting the finishing touches on what is guaranteed to be another successful conference. Make plans now to join us in San Antonio for Today's Strategies - Tomorrow's Vision June 17-19. Register before Friday, May 22 to take advantage of the early registration fees and book your hotel room early to receive the special discounted rate. Here's a glimpse of who you'll see:

Mark Dotzour

Chief Economist, Real Estate Center Texas A&M University

A TWELVE MONTH ECONOMIC OUTLOOK FOR THE TEXAS REAL ESTATE MARKET

Back by popular demand, this highly regarded and always informative presenter brings data on the Texas market and beyond. With things changing from moment to moment through this turbulent economic cycle, be ready for an entertaining and insightful look at the many factors at play, and what the future might hold for all of us. You won't want to miss this one!c

Cliff McCauley

Executive Vice President, Frost Bank

TEXAS BANKING PERSPECTIVES

Are Texas banks at risk? Are they prepared to weather the financial storm - or were they involved in and taking on risky loans? What is happening in West Texas may be far different than South Texas as this banking industry leader knows. As the immediate past president of the Independent Bankers of Texas, Mr. McCauley will explain the basics of the current financial melt-down, how we got here, challenges that lie ahead and give his prognosis for the future. 

TLTA PRODUCT OF THE MONTH

With 250+ users the TLTA online Job Bank has proven to be a valuable member benefit.

Hiring? We're the leading title industry job bank in Texas and a fraction of the cost of other job banks. With over 112 resumes currently posted you can't afford to not give a try. Looking for a job?Post your resume' online for FREE, search for jobs, take a career test, or browse our job search tips and tricks articles. Check our the TLTA online Job Bank today!

ROBERT GALPERIN, ESQ. JOINS ALLIANT NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY


In March, Alliant National Title Insurance Company announced Robert Galperin has joined the company as Vice President and Texas Underwriting Counsel. Robert brings with him over thirty years of real estate experience and twenty-five years in the title insurance business. 

VOLUNTEER CALL TO ACTION


We're beginning the task of assigning volunteers to the TLTA committees for next year and we need YOU! It's simple - just log in (using the login and password information listed below), choose your committee and get ready to serve your industry. Once you login you will be taken directly to the committee volunteer form, which includes a brief description of all the committee along with the estimated number of meetings to be held between July 2009 and June 2010. Please complete the form by Wednesday, May 6.

WELCOME TO OUR NEW MEMBERS


We would like to welcome our newest members to TLTA. A list of new members approved in April by the TLTA Board of Directors can be viewed on our website.

WE WANT TO KNOW...


What types of articles would you like to see in the Downdate?