Title & Escrow Guide: Plat Maps, Plat Maps, Know All About ‘Em!

Buying a home can be confusing – i.e., words you’ve never heard of (uh…liens??), so it makes sense how the whole home-buying process can be a bit intimidating.

But that’s where we come in to help!

One of the many things you’ll hear pop up, are plat maps. Your real estate agent will be giving you lots of documents – one you might receive from your title company (ahem, us), could be a plat map.

So, what exactly is this type of map?

A plat shows you how a tract of land in your county is divided into lots. It’ll be drawn to scale and will display the land’s size, boundary locations, nearby streets, flood zones, etc.

Plat maps show the land area. This is usually presented on the scale of a neighborhood or county township. A plot is a piece of land used for a single purpose (a home or a park). So essentially, a plat map records the collection of plots that make up a neighborhood.

On a platted map, you’ll find a “parcel number” that’s been assigned by the county assessor’s office – this number will be in the middle of each property and will appear in large, bold, underlined type. The “builder’s lot number” is assigned to the property by the original developer – and the numbers along the property lines indicate the lot dimensions.

But, not every property is platted!

If your deed uses geographical references (like metes and bounds) then your property is not platted. Platted properties will use subdivision lot numbers as a description.

It is a good idea for potential buyers to check out the lot dimensions and make sure they match with the lot size listed by the real estate website or agent.

Want more real estate tips and guides? Check out Alliance Title’s Blog here.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Set a Marketing Plan

With 2020 in full swing, it’s important that you lay down a real estate marketing plan that will help drive future leads and put you ahead of the game.

While it may sounds daunting, we’ve got the tips to help you out.

Content marketing is all about providing real-time information that buyers and sellers are looking for – this doesn’t always have to be statistics on the real estate market, but rather, could also be any new developments taking place in your local area, open houses your hosting in a new neighborhood, or even networking events that you’re attending!

Why is market planning important?

  1. You become the local area / neighborhood / real estate guru – people recognize your brand, your name, and know to reach out to you.
  2. You show potential buyers and sellers how knowledgeable you are on the market, and how you will go above and beyond to secure their transaction.
  3. You create a flow of business where repeat buyers and sellers come back to you – or refer you to others.

Here’s how you get started:

Create Goals

It helps to have a clear idea of where you want to go and what you want to achieve. Do you want to increase traffic to your listings? Do you want to increase the amount of clicks on your blog? Do you want to reach more people through a specific social media platform?

Be sure that you are setting realistic and attainable goals. You don’t want to feel defeated!

Plan Content

You’ll want to schedule how often and when you’re developing and posting content. Stick to a routine schedule, so consumers can expect when to see a post from you.

Here’s a link that shows the best days and times to post to social media.

What do you post?

Be sure to make it fun – get eyes on your page or your profile! Whether it’s posting a Boomarang on Instagram, uploading a video discussing the latest stats on Facebook, or sharing a thought-provoking article on LinkedIn – make it engaging and make it fun.

Here are some content ideas:

  • A home preview (video, Instagram live, photos on your FB album)
  • Q & A Sessions (this would be best through a “live” feature – through Instagram where consumers can type in questions)
  • Setting up for your open house
  • Discuss the process of purchasing or selling a home
  • Show any new developments that are happening within the community (a new coffee shop, restaurant, bar, business building, etc.)

Once you have your marketing plan set and scheduled, stick with it! It’s important to be consistent, and of course, to engage.

Want more real estate tips? Check out Alliance Title’s Blog here.

The Cold Bothers Homeowners: Easy Winter Home Maintenance Tips

Hear us out – even though it’s (possibly) freezing outside, your home still needs the time and care it receives over the summer months.

But that doesn’t mean we’re suggesting insane home maintenance projects! Below, you’ll find a list of easy-to-manage home projects that just happen to take place during the winter months. These projects can help you save money on the electric bill and help prevent any expensive repairs.

Take a quick peak at what we’ve got for you below:

Trim Branches

You’ll want to avoid potential property damage if any unforeseen winter winds take up! You can have the trees on your property inspected and treated. You don’t want branches breaking through a window, your roof, or even damaging cars.

Weatherproof Windows

Most windows develop an air gap over a period of time – this can cause an energy loss in your bill for heating and cooling!

To update, remove any old caulking and use a caulk gun to apply a newer, smoother level. Check out this article for more information.

Schedule a Roof Inspection

Yes, this isn’t as simple of a DIY, but it can help in the long run. Checking for missing shingles, roof tiles, and damage to your roof can help prevent any possible leaks or other expensive repairs down the road.

While these are only three suggestions – they are important to maintain the health of your home. For more winter home maintenance suggestions, check out HouseBeautiful’s article here.

Meet our Clarkston, WA Branch

What does Hells Canyon, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Snake River all have in common?

They all share history with Clarkston, Washington.

Clarkston, Washington sits in Asotin County, and is part of the Lewiston, ID-WA metropolitan area. Home to North America’s deepest gorge, Hells Canyon, Clarkston invites you to the many year-round recreational activities it hosts.

Named after William Clark of the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition, Clarkston has both a small-town feel and rich opportunities. With year-round activities like golf, fishing, and hiking the trails along the Snake River readily available, you’re bound to explore more of the great outdoors.

Only a 2-minute drive from the greenbelt walkway along the Snake River, you’ll find our Alliance Title Clarkston office. With over 62 years of combined experience in the industry, our Clarkston branch is the best team to serve you in Asotin county.

Clarkston Team!
Back row left to right: Mike Benke, Bonnie Orr, Ketura Brown, Debbie Heagy, and Gary Cahill
Front row left to right: Alicia Scharnhorst, Tami Randall, and Celina Reynold

Vice President and Branch Manager, Tami Randall, explains why Alliance Title is the best choice in Asotin County, “We are always doing what we can to do the best job possible for our clients. Each transaction is unique in its own way, and we’re always ready for the challenge!”

Our Clarkston team is always ready to support the local community. They help support the Special Olympics in Washington, the Soup-Shelter for the local YMCA, the Tri-State Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees, the Quesenberry Foundation, and supports the local Teacher of the Month.

Outside the office, the Clarkston office staff loves to enjoy the outdoors, or take up new hobbies – like knitting!

Whether you’re buying or selling commercial or residential property in Asotin County, the professionals at Alliance Title’s Clarkston location would be delighted to help make your next transaction a success!

Alliance Title Clarkson Branch
735 5th St., 99403

Bigger vs. Smaller Home – What Downsizers Miss

The grass is greener on the other side – but, is it?

Homes.com released a survey focusing on homeowners who have recently downsized; the survey found that while downsizing was the better option for them financially, it didn’t necessarily mean immediate happiness.

Half of the respondents cited “getting rid of possessions” as a major challenge when downsizing to a smaller home, with loss of space as one of the greatest challenges.

If you had to decide between keeping your comfy sectional couch, or your antique dining room table, you’d have a difficult time too!

Another interesting find: 19% of homeowners became more distant from family and friends after they moved into a smaller home.

The survey also highlighted that on average, parents with adult children waited 5 years after they moved out before deciding to downsize – giving their children the option of moving back home, if need be.

Check out Homes.com’s infographic below!

Infographic provided by Homes.com

Want more real estate news? Check out Alliance Title’s Blog for more!

Employee Spotlight – Joy Denning

We have a new Employee Spotlight – Joy Denning!

Joy Denning is a Servicing Title Officer for our Blackfoot, Idaho branch. Joy helps customers understand their commitments and answers their questions. She also records, supervises recordings, and completes inspections. Before becoming a Servicing Title Officer, Joy started out posting and recording for 6 months before jumping into searching and examining.

Joy truly loves what she’s able to do – Joy explains, “I enjoy the research of history and old documents as well as helping customers resolve their issues.”

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Teamwork,” is Joy’s favorite. She explains, “I could not do my job without everyone on my team. We have a great office, and we all work well together. There is always someone ready to help out. My team in Boise also jumps in, helps us satisfy customers, and answers my endless questions. I have others on my title team in various Alliance offices that let me discuss situations with them too. It sometimes takes all of us to get the deal closed.”

When asked whom she admires, Joy immediately thinks of her parents. Joy continues, “I admire my parents for their values and integrity that they have instilled within me. Hopefully I have passed their lessons on to my son for our future generations. They lived through the depression, at a time when the most valuable thing they had was their family and integrity. They have sacrificed so much for us, and helped so many in need. What a great example they were to me.”

Outside the office, Joy loves to spend time in the great outdoors – especially exploring both Idaho and Utah. She loves to go camping, biking, hiking, fishing, and traveling to new places. Joy also loves woodworking, handmade items, and trying new dishes at restaurants. Joy says, “Although I like to cook, I enjoy other people’s cooking the best!”

But most of all, Joy loves being a grandmother – “What a joy they bring to my life!”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Joy a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Blackfoot office and write them in on your next transaction! Joy looks forward to helping make your home closing a simple and smooth experience.

Joy Denning – Servicing Title Officer at Alliance’s Blackfoot Branch
246 W Pacific St., STE. A, 83221

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Social Media Guide

Blogs and experts throw it at you all the time: social media is king!  As an example, take a look at all of the articles we’ve posted for you on the subject!

But, social media only helps you so much – if you’re not engaging with your audience, then it is almost like your social media doesn’t even exist. While it’s important to receive likes, comments, and shares, it’s also important that you reciprocate and do the same.

For 2020, set a goal to create and sustain better social media engagement! Here are some quick tips to help plan you year:

Schedule the Time

To boost your business on social media, you’ll have to treat the time you spend on apps as though you’re on the clock. Set and schedule time each day to craft and post genuine responses.

If someone has left a comment on your post, respond! If someone has messaged you with a question or a comment, respond! If you see something you like that a fellow real estate agent has posted, reply or even share it to your own page!

Get Creative

Social media allows you to have fun and be creative – so why not use those filters, gifs, or stickers?

Instagram is a great social media platform to inspire creativity! They have “poll” features that can allow your followers to ask questions (i.e., “how are mortgage rates looking these days?”), you can go live when at an open house, or you can post a countdown to your Stories!

Don’t Always Promote Your Brand

Audiences will grow tired if you’re constantly advertising yourself to be their next real estate agent. You have to show them the why – and the best way to do that, is to show them who you are.

How can you do this?

Think about posting:

  • Behind-the-scenes (i.e., setting up an open house, grabbing lunch at a new restaurant, networking events)
  • A hobby you enjoy participating in (hiking, painting, cooking, etc.)
  • Your family, friends, or your cute doggy!

Engage, Engage, Engage

Don’t forget – the best way to improve your business social media game is to ENGAGE.

  • Comment on posts
  • Reply to comments / questions
  • Participate in conversations
  • Share articles / posts that are relevant to your market

Another tidbit to not forget: social media is FUN, so don’t forget to enjoy it too.

For more real estate tips and tricks, check out Alliance Title’s Blog.

Real Estate of the Decade: How Did Neighborhoods Fare?

With 2020 approaching, it’s time we take a step back and look at how far real estate has come since 2010. After nearly a decade, some drastic changes have been implemented into the market.

At the start of 2010, real estate was in some tough waters: home values were at their lowest and delinquency in mortgages was high. But now, as 2020 approaches, home values have recovered (along with the economy) and mortgage rates are at a historic low.

The new challenges of 2020? Well, much of the country is still grappling with housing affordability and lack of homes for sale.

Below, you’ll find Redfin’s research of the housing markets that have experienced the most dramatic changes over the past decade.

Take a look here:

  • Highest % increase in home prices: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Biggest contrast between increase in home prices and decline in incomes: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Largest dollar value jump in home prices: San Francisco, California
  • Greatest decline in days on market: Long Island’s Nassau County, New York
  • Steepest drop in home supply: Salt Lake City, Utah

We’ll have to wait to see what 2020 will bring – but with the decade coming to a close, it’s interesting to see where real estate has come.

The Year Ahead: Real Estate 2020

With 2020 on the horizon, it’s time to start preparing for what clients are wanting. Alliance Title has the knowledge and expertise you need to close quickly and efficiently.

Let us help you reach your 2020 market goals.

Real Estate 2020 Stats:

  • Millennials will look to “Hipsturbia” communities – a blend between suburb and city life. *
  • 1 in 4 households will face bidding wars compared to only one in 10 in 2019.**
  • There will be 35 million 65+ households in the U.S.***


Real Estate Tip of the Week: Holiday Gift Guide for Clients

Struggling with holiday gifts to send your clients? We’ve got you covered!

To inspire repeat clients and encourage referrals, it’s important that you continue building relationships with your past leads. What better way to inspire and encourage a continuing relationship, than to send out a little holiday gift?

*It’s important to note, however, that each state has its own regulations with what can be purchased as gifts for clients. Be sure to check with your state regulations.

You’ll want to make sure your gifts are thoughtful and personal – your previous (or current) clients will be able to tell the difference!

Holiday Card

Pick out a set of holiday cards and personally write your warm wishes inside for each of them. A handwritten note is a special touch, and really does go a long way!

Food / Drinks

Homemade cookies, a bottle of wine, or a sweet candy treat are all great options to send! Keep your client in mind, though – not everyone has the same tastes!

If you need more of a direction, local hits are always a great gift. If your state specializes in jam, wrap up the jar in a cute bow!

Plants / Décor Items

A lovely poinsettia (what better holiday plant?) or a unique vase / planters are great ways to spruce up your holiday gift giving. Another option – a holiday wreath to hang on their front door!

“Home for the Holidays” doormat or sign, or a cozy holiday candle are perfect staples as well.

The holidays are a perfect excuse to show your clients you care! A small gift can be a great reminder to use you again in the future, or to refer someone to you.

Check out more real estate tips and tricks – stop by Alliance Title’s Blog here.