Title Now Podcast

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Meet LandTech Consulting!

LandTech Consulting is ready to support you so your business can grow! Their professional, friendly team can assist with processing everything from receiving the signed contract to issuing the final policies and tracking mortgage releases. 

Length: 27:48
Published: 06/02/2023

Listen In: Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts


LandTech Consulting is ready to support you so your business can grow! Their professional, friendly team can assist with processing everything from receiving the signed contract to issuing the final policies and tracking mortgage releases. Melissa's guest will be Benjamin Bell, President of LandTech Consulting.

Melissa Jay Murphy  00:07
Hi, everyone. Welcome to a special series of The Fund's Title Now Popup webinar. I'm Melissa Murphy with The Fund and I have the pleasure of hosting these popup webinars from time to time. So what are we talking about today? We're getting more and more inquiries from Fund Members for assistance with what we refer to as back office support. Now, back office support can mean a lot of things from placing the title order to preparing documents, to preparing the Closing Disclosure, and making sure it balances with the lender to preparing the title policies to maybe even doing more back, back off and stuff like data call compliance and best practices [unintelligible 1:04]. So we thought that it was a really good time to focus on this particular area to explore what options Fund Members have to get help where they need it the most and when they need it. So I'm hosting a three part series to respond to these questions. And I've invited folks from three different companies that provide these kinds of services to come and talk to you about what services their company provides, what options you have with them and give you the opportunity to consider whether or not this is something that would work for you. Now remember, we push the audio portion of this webinar out to our podcast, which is also called Title Now. So this gives you a chance to listen to the content again, if you want to, but also to more easily share it with colleagues because it is super easy to sign up and subscribe to our podcast. You can do it on any of the platforms where you subscribe to your other podcasts. And it is of course, free. So please do that. One more thing that I'll mention is that all of the vendors that I'm going to be talking with in these podcasts have registered for Assembly. So you can listen to what they have to save today and then have a chance to interact with them face to face at Assembly. So just one more reason for you to register for Assembly and come in person this year. Last sort of housekeeping thing is if you have any questions during the webinar, put your question in the question box or the chat box. And I have Michael Rothman, our Senior Manager of Legal Education here off screen, and he's monitoring the questions and if there are any he will pose as many as he can at the end of the webinar and we'll try to answer them. But I am pretty strict about keeping this to 30 minutes because I'm very respectful of your time. So today, I have reps from LandTech Consulting. So welcome to Ben Bell, Jim Smith, and Christina Garrison. Now you only see Christina and Jim, because Ben is off camera but we will be able to hear him just fine. So don't be confused about that. And I think we are in fact going to start off with Ben. So Ben welcome and tell us a little bit about LandTech consulting.
Ben Bell  04:03
Sure. Thank you, Melissa. And thanks for having us. So LandTech Consulting, I started a few years ago. I'm third generation in the title business. My grandfather was a real estate attorney and my dad started LandTech the closing software. I've been doing this back office stuff for a long time and decided to start this back office consulting corporation. We do everything from best practice manuals to centralized processing, data call reconciliation, etc. So you know we have a full team, everyone's Florida local base to help with any back office needs that any real estate attorney or title company has. So I was going to talk to you about one of our flagship products, which is the centralized processing do you just want to jump right into it, Melissa?
Melissa Jay Murphy  04:51
Ben Bell  04:52
Sure. So centralized processing was designed for law firms or title companies that either have a lot of overflow work or they may not have the staff to process the file, or for law firms that maybe only do 1, 2, 3 deals a month and may not have the you know, the funds to hire a real estate paralegal for 75 or 100 grand a year. So what we do is we assign one of our licensed title agents and all of our girls are local Florida they've all been in business 20 plus years, we assign them, we brand them to your law firm or your title company that looks like they're just sitting there in the office with you. We can take the file from the opening point all the way up until till closing we can go inside of your software whether you use DoubleTime, LandTech, Qualia, etc. or we can set you up as a user in our Qualia which we use and we can process inside of that. You know our fees are on the most basic deal around $400. That would be if it say a 50,000 lot all the way up to $1,000 if it's a million dollar deal with a loan, it's kind of on a sliding scale, but the important part is you know you're always profitable no matter what with what we charge to process it versus what you would make in title premium and attorneys fees. So, you know, it's basically a virtual processor that is branded to your company and has the expertise to handle the file from A to Z for a cost that would be you know, on a per file basis. So you know we have a lot of different title companies and law firms that utilize this. And like I said, it could be some that are small that just do maybe 1, 2, 3 a month and others that do 100 a month, couple people got COVID or got sick and then they used us for some overflow work. So we're always there to, we're there to help the back office and if anybody needs that type of product, we'd certainly like to talk to you.
Melissa Jay Murphy  06:59
Sounds great. So let me ask you a couple of questions that I think are the kinds of things that would immediately come to mind on behalf of a member. So the first is accessing the member or the title agents software. So does their software need to be in the cloud, one where you can access it through the cloud?
Ben Bell  07:28
Preferably, but but it doesn't have to be I mean, there's things like Splashtop and go to my PC that we can download to get into it. And kind of an old school way I call it so if someone's on, you know the Old School DoubleTime that's on their servers, there's ways we can get in as well. We just have to access maybe a local computer in their office.
Melissa Jay Murphy  07:48
So the title agent is going to give you a username and password to get into their software. Yes?
Ben Bell  07:57
Melissa Jay Murphy  08:00
What about the flow of information, the communication between you and the title agent? And specifically, I'm asking about whether you communicate directly with the buyer for the seller or the realtor, or is the expectation that The Fund Member will do all of that communicating and you're in the background?
Ben Bell  08:27
Well it's funny, if you lined up 10 clients, five would have at one way and five would have it the other.  It's more of the comfort level of the client. I mean, someday you know, you guys are just, you know what you're doing, reach out to the realtors reach out to the buyer, the seller, others want to control that a little bit more and make sure they're doing that communication. So really, it's up to the agent you know, we're really good at it, we don't mind doing it. We do it all day every day. But certainly we would, you know, take a step back and wait for direction from the client, the title agent to let us know what to do. So it's kind of a customized solution in that sense.
Melissa Jay Murphy  09:07
And would those communications come from your email account to the realtor? How is that set up?
Ben Bell  09:20
No. So we always ask that the client set us up with an email address that looks like we're just sitting in the office with them. So it would be you know, processor at ABC title.com. You know, we would make our email signature just look like the owner of email signature with the logos and everything. So the communication looks like we're a team member.
Melissa Jay Murphy  09:41
Perfect. And so you've already mentioned your fee. So how is that typically collected? Is that on the closing disclosure or the closing statements? Or do you just keep track of how many transactions you do for a Fund Member and send them a monthly invoice? How's that handled?
Ben Bell  10:06
The easiest way to do it is we just put a credit card on file and then when the file closes that day we'll charge the credit card. I don't believe you're allowed to charge that type of fee on to the statement. I mean, maybe if they split it out of their closing fee or attorneys fees and kind of protect that way, I'm not sure, but the easiest way to do it is just a credit card on file, works the best.
Melissa Jay Murphy  10:26
Good response. Thank you. We didn't even practice that audience, so good response. So, let's get a little bit specific. So you all can, look at, do you even look at the contract and actually open the title agents file in their software, or do they open the file [unintelligible 10:53]?
Ben Bell  10:54
No, we generally will open the file. All we need is the real estate contract and pretty much everything's in there that we need. And then we'll take it from there. You know, we'll order title through their Fund login. We'll clear title, go through the commitment. We'll order the lien search, we'll order the survey, we'll send the welcome letters, we'll balance the CD, create the closing documents. We take it all the way up until the point of closing and then we say hey, this is ready to go. Where would you like the notary sent? Do you want to close it in your office? And then generally we have the client do the funding and the recording and the post closing. So we take it up until the point of closing.
Melissa Jay Murphy  11:38
So I wanted to get into that level of detail. I know what I was going to ask you. Do you have the flexibility for a customer or Fund Member to pick and choose from these various services or it's you know it's all or nothing?
Ben Bell  11:57
So we do, we have an ala carte menu which is on our on our website. Or if they just wanted us to do say balance the CD or just you know clear title or just do post closing types of policies they can pick and choose.
Melissa Jay Murphy  12:11
Perfect. Another perfect response. Thank you. All right, let's turn to some of the other services that you all provide. In order to make sure that we get some information from Jim and Christina in here. So Fund Members, best practices manual, remember those? They were a pretty hot topic 7, 8, 9 years ago. Well, also the American Land Title Association has updated their best practices and a couple of the pillars to bring them more in line with the times and the issues that the industry is dealing with today. So Jim, I believe you handle best practices for LandTech. So tell us a little bit about how you can help Fund Members make sure they have an updated manual, when and if they get asked for a copy of it by a lender, and maybe a little bit about what's changed fairly recently.
Jim Smith  13:23
Good morning. We, I offer through Lantech and other companies best practice manual preparation. I sit down with them over the phone, go through a questionnaire, ask them how they do things, who does certain things, go through each pillar individually. I prepare a Word document it's roughly 40/45 pages depending upon the customer. It's again a Word document they can update it. I have updated it through the last ALTA update, which addressed things like vetting of notaries and quick response for breaches and things like that, it's incorporated all of those aspects. Takes about an hour to an hour and a half to go through the questionnaire and look at the final document. Quick and easy. There's not too much demand for it but it is a service we offer.
Melissa Jay Murphy  14:29
Is there a flat fee for that? How do you all handle the fee structure? It's typically $995 and again that covers a Word document, it's your document, you update it whenever. To our existing customers, if there is an update, we will update it at a nominal fee to bring the manual into compliance. So now Jim, let's talk to our members that do get this through a title agency and have to comply with a data call. It's my understanding that this is your particular expertise. Do you brag about that at cocktail parties?
Jim Smith  15:11
Nobody's interested in data call at a cocktail party. So no. Only to Ben and Christina.
Melissa Jay Murphy  15:21
What can you do for title agents that are listening that need to comply with a data call. Talk to us about that?
Jim Smith  15:27
Well, when you and I were talking in preparation for the meeting, you said it shouldn't be a sales presentation. It should talk about the benefits of our service. And we have a lot of benefits but there are two that I'd like to focus on. The first one is accuracy. Florida Statutes require the department to collect data for ratemaking the result of these data calls could be an increase or decrease in that rate. It could be a change in the structure to eliminate promulgated premium, like the legislation that's currently pending. Promulgated premium allows agents to compete with the same rate that compete on service as opposed to everybody having different. The alternative to the promulgated rate would be that it would be a filing use where every underwriter would have a different rate. Agents may select an underwriter with a lower rate to offset their poor service. So we're promulgated we're competing on that service level. So the accuracy of the information is is vital. I have almost four years of experience mostly with underwriters doing financial analysis, former auditor.  So the quality that I bring the expertise that I bring is to be able to look at their data, analyze it, make sure that it's added to the correct category within the data call. That's the most important thing there. The other is the the simplicity of it, we eliminate the time and headache to prepare it. Ben likes to say it takes about 30 minutes and he is a customer so he can speak from experience. But ask for three areas of information, I ask for the P&L, a data call record either provided from their closing software or their underwriter and then I have a brief questionnaire that hits on things like staffing levels. So I take this, I prepare it, I submit it back to the customer, they review and approve it. I submit it to the portal. I ensure acceptance. If there's any letter of inquiry, I address those and respond, resubmit to make sure they're in compliance.
Melissa Jay Murphy  17:33
So when you say the portal, I think you're referring to the Department of Financial Services, to the OIR portal for the data call.
Jim Smith  17:46
The customers have to go there and establish an account. I get their login. I go in and do it, submit it and address any inquiries.
Melissa Jay Murphy  17:56
That's one of the benefits of this service, is that you're the one that engages with OIR with any questions that their analysts have about the data call. Work with the Funds Member agents to resolve those questions and then make sure that you see it through until their data call is approved by the state.
Jim Smith  18:21
Melissa Jay Murphy  18:22
Perfect. I did want to emphasize what Jim said at the beginning of his comments about the data call. I know it's a pain in the neck. But the importance of the data column cannot be under emphasized. It is the title agents opportunity to show in a very granular way, our regulator what you do every day all day long to deliver the assurance and stability of the real estate transactions in Florida. So the accuracy of the data is so important because that's the information that OIR has from our industry. They have an underwriter data call too, but we're talking here about the agent data call. It is the information that OIR has about you and so it is important that you take it very seriously. And LanTech is here to help you with that if that's something that would facilitate your ability to accurately respond to the data call. So I just want to emphasize that. People complain about it, but it's a super important part of our regulation. And I do want to follow up on one thing that you mentioned Jim about the legislation that was filed this year. That bill has been amended, an amendment was filed this morning that removed the provision that changed our rate setting system from promulgated to file [unintelligible 20:24] . The amendment was filed this morning. Now it still has to get through the Senate, get through the house, get to the governor and he has to sign the bill but it's out at the moment. So, let's celebrate a little bit and breathe a sigh of relief over that. So finally, let's talk about the money. The responsibility that a closing agent has to properly disperse the money is huge and critical. It's very, very important. And if you operate a title agency, you're obligated to send monthly reconciliations to your underwriters. Again, sort of a classic example of back office stuff that you have to do. So Christina, this is your chance to shine and tell us how you can support attorneys and title agents with their reconciliation.
Christina Garrison  21:23
Awesome. Hello, good afternoon. So my department does a couple of different options. We do offer daily reconciliations or we offer monthly reconciliations. We also reconcile in any software that the client may use. We can either do cloud based or remote in as Ben had stated earlier with the same kind of softwares as Splashtop, and so forth. We also are integrated with Rhyno so if a client is paired with Rhyno, we do also work completely and fully in Rhyno and have a partnership with them. Our services include all of your audit required reports, so anything that an underwriter is going to ask you for, we provide. If for some reason during an audit, an underwriter's asking for an additional report or they have questions on a report or they need a ledger. My staff and I, we're available to do any type of audit support that's needed. We include already with our rec a mini audit with every monthly reconciliation that's going to include any high level items that we want to make the client aware of before it comes in front of an auditor for the underwriter. So any outstanding deposits any of your negative balances any of your disbursements such as payoffs or taxes or anything like that, that haven't cleared you're going to know before it becomes an issue. We want to make sure that that communication stays open constantly. Speaking of communication, we do have a designated support person so you never have to worry about calling in someone not knowing what's going on with your account. You have an assigned person so no matter what, they know what's going on, they know the status of everything. You have that partnership with them. So that if any questions arise, you don't have to feel like you're calling an office and explaining the situation all the way from the beginning again. We do customized customer service that can include cleanup work, say you fell behind for whatever reason, we offer cleanup work at a rate that where we don't charge you monthly for those recs, we're gonna charge you a cleanup rate of $150 an hour. So instead of paying if you fall behind 10 months instead of paying a monthly fee of $175 for that 10 months, you're paying $150 an hour and if we're able to complete all 10 of those in two hours, you're saving a very substantial amount of money. So we try and work and customize our services to our clients needs to make sure that they are audit, you know, compliant.
Melissa Jay Murphy  24:07
Wonderful. That sounds like a full service situation for sure. I think it's interesting that you are able to identify and point out high level items to the Fund Member or the agent before the auditor sees them so that they can go ahead and try to clean those things up before the auditor gets in there because I know from experience that those outstanding checks are a huge issue with underwriters as would be well negative balance, that goes without saying, but also just remaining balances that have been sitting in a ledger for months upon. That's another thing that underwriters key in on so having your help with that would be great.
Christina Garrison  25:05
Melissa Jay Murphy  25:06
I want to go back to Jim really quickly because I neglected to ask you if you could share your annual fee for the data call and this would be for, let's do it for the lowest range because that's probably where most of my lenders my listeners fall into is between 1 and 500 files on an annual basis. So how do you handle the fee for the data call?
Jim Smith  25:37
Well, to be completely honest, before terming we used to have variable rates but we've gone to one primary rate, which we're prepared to offer the Fund Members, $895. We also have a monthly program where we break the fee up into monthly payments. That is a group of customers that has my highest priority. I make sure I follow up, make sure that they're responding to my emails. If they can't collect the data by the end of the, May 31 is the due date. I have a program that will prevent them from being fined, make sure they're in compliance to do that. But if somebody has a small startup last year or low volume, I'll be glad to do special pricing for them individually also.
Melissa Jay Murphy  26:26
Oh, that's great to hear. All right, thank you. All right Michael Rothman do we have any questions that we can maybe quickly deal with?
Michael Rothman  26:35
No we don't.
Melissa Jay Murphy  26:36
Oh, well then we get to quickly deal with my wrap up. So thank you, to Christina, Jim and Ben, for spending some time with us today. I think this was great information. I want to remind all of our listeners that we push this out to the podcast but also that Lantech will be at Fund Assembly, so you can talk with hopefully these fine folks will be at Fund Assembly and you'll be able to talk with them one on one and follow up on any questions that you might have had. So with that, I will encourage my listeners to register for the next two pop up webinars that we have on this topic. The next one is Monday, next Monday, April 24. And then there's one on Thursday, May 4. So with that I will thank you for listening and have a great day.