THE FAQS OF TITLE INSURANCE FOR HOMEBUYERS

For most of us, a home is the largest investment we’ll make in our lives. Title insurance is the smart way to protect your property from legal claims.

To help you understand how owner’s title insurance works, here are answers to common questions:

WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE?

If you’re buying a home, title insurance is a policy that protects your investment and property rights. There are two different types of title insurance: an owner’s policy and a lender’s policy.

  • An owner’s policy is the best way to protect your property rights. Either the buyer or seller may pay for this policy.
  • A lender’s policy is usually required by the lender and only protects the lender’s financial interests. The buyer typically pays for this policy, but that varies depending on state.

WHAT DOES OWNER’S TITLE INSURANCE COST?

The one-time payment for owner’s title insurance costs around 0.5% of the home’s purchase price.

WHAT HAPPENS AT CLOSING?

Closing is the final step in executing the transaction. Upon completion of the closing process, you get the keys to your home!

Reach out to your local Alliance Title office to start your transaction today!

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Futuristic Homes: 3D Saves Inventory?

We all know the real estate market has been tight on inventory – although construction has seemed to pick up and ease buyer tension, there are still labor shortages and rising costs of materials.

So, what could be a possible solution to this growing problem?

3D Printing!

Companies are coming out of the woodwork to offer a new printing technology to help transform the way we build houses and currently see the real estate market.

Mighty Buildings, a construction technology company based in Oakland, is doing just that. They’re printing homes with a synthetic stone that the company invented, called Light Stone Material. Their printer creates 3D panels that are applied to a steel frame. Robots then add insulation and interior woodwork, while finishes that appear to look like siding or brick can be applied to the outside. Features that might be too complicated for a robot to assemble, like cabinets, air conditioning, and appliances, are than added by workers.

The company can print a 350-square foot home in under 24 hours with almost zero waste, since the printer only creates what is necessary.

Other companies in Texas and New York are following suit.

What does this mean for the wider spectrum of construction within real estate?

Experts are agreeing that we’d be looking at more of a hybrid approach when it comes to building. With the technology still being relatively new, there’s a lot to discuss in terms of where it will fall in the cycle of construction.

But the one thing many builders and real estate experts agree on: it is faster and cheaper to build – which may just help alleviate contractors’ burden as of late.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

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Employee Spotlight – Tiffini Woolley

We have a new employee spotlight! Let’s give a round of applause for Tiffini Woolley!

Tiffini is our Escrow Officer for Alliance’s Emmett, Idaho office. Tiffini opens, processes, closes, and funds real estate transactions all while making sure clients have a smooth and memorable experience.

Having been with the Alliance Team since 2018, Tiffini truly enjoys educating first-time homebuyers at the closing table and being able to help them reach such a big life achievement. Of the Alliance Core Values, “Trust and Respect” is her favorite. She explains, “I believe without those, there would be no form of relationship that could be successful.”

When asked whom she admires, Tiffini thinks of her father. She continues, “I admire my dad for showing me a strong example of great work ethic and teaching me to never give up on my goals.”

Outside of the office, Tiffini loves to spend time with her kids – whether that’s through camping, paddle boarding, horseback riding, dirt bike riding, or fishing!

Tiffini’s favorite quote, “The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude to the problem,” is something she tries to keep in mind.

Now that you’ve gotten to know Tiffini a little more, give a shout out to Alliance’s Emmett Branch on Facebook and write them in on your next transaction! Tiffini looks forward to helping make your home closing a simple and smooth experience.

Tiffini Wolley – Escrow Officer, Alliance Title Emmett
tiffini.woolley@alliancetitle.com

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Title Industry Cloud Service Cyber Attack

We’ve published many articles on the seriousness of cyber attacks in the title industry – to read on about how you can protect your investment, check out our articles, here.

Recently, cyber attackers infiltrated a major title industry cloud service provider, Cloudstar. Cloudstar is still, currently, offline following the attack.

According to the American Land Title Association (ALTA), Cloudstar operates six data centers throughout the United States and has more than 42,000 users (Alliance Title currently has not used Cloudstar in the past or presently).

Cloudstar immediately brought in third-party experts to assist in recovery efforts and law enforcement.

Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, wrote to business leaders under the Biden administration this past June on the importance of stopping and punishing ransomware attacks. The letter explains the Biden administration’s urgency to seek to disrupt cyber attacks and holding “countries that harbor ransomware actors accountable.”

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed a ransomeware guide that includes best practices and a response checklist. Review here.

For more real estate industry news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

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Potential Homeowners Overestimate Down Payment

For years and years, consumers have held on to the belief that a 20% down payment is required to purchase a home.

And that 20% becomes a deterrent for many would-be homeowners.

According to the National Association of Realtors’® recent survey, the average down payment among all buyers is actually much, much lower – it’s just 12%.

So where did potential homebuyers get the idea that 20% is the requirement? Financial experts agree that a 20% down payment is ideal, because it helps homeowners avoid extra costs, like private mortgage insurance. Obviously, if a 20% down payment is something in your wheelhouse, then it’s the favorable opinion to put that much down.

But is a 20% down payment reasonable, or even possible for most?

NAR’s example of almost unreachable 20% down payments points to the Los Angeles area, where a 20% down payment could be between $200,000 to $400,000 – and that’s just an entry-level, single-family home. 

So clear the idea that you need 20% to even enter the arena of becoming a homeowner – because it’s just not true. Younger buyers (those aged between 22-30) tend to put down the least, at an average of 6%. Those between the ages of 31 and 40 make an average 10% down payment.

NAR”s infographic

But that’s not even the lowest a potential homeowner can go when it comes to making a down payment. Some lenders allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3%, and even some government programs allow no money down (VA issue loans).

If you’re sweating at a 20% down payment, you’re not alone. There are other options for you to reach your goal – as long as you talk with your lender and real estate agent to better understand your finances and where you’re at.

For more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

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Community Spotlight – Nampa, Idaho

Only 20 miles from the state capital of Idaho sits the largest city of Canyon County – Nampa, Idaho.

Nampa’s mix of small-town charm with amenities of a bigger city bring in plenty of tourists and locals alike.

If you’re looking for an entertainment venue, look no further than the Ford Idaho Center – the largest facility of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. From concerts to hosting the Snake River Stampede rodeo, you’re bound to find the fun!

Visit Nampa’s local farmer’s market, or take a dip in Lake Lowell to escape from the summer heat. If you’re looking to brush up on your plane history, stop by the Warhawk Air Museum!

A five-minute walk from Lions Park, you’ll find our Alliance Title Nampa branch! With 100+ years of title and escrow service combined, the Nampa office is eager close on your real estate transaction!

Business Development Representative, Ashley Houweling, explains why the Nampa office stands out from the local competition: “We are truly a team. We step in and help each other in order to provide the best customer service experience we can. We are fortunate to work with great community servants who really work hard at helping families in our communities, be that through real estate transactions, or giving back by volunteering their time, money, and resources in helping aid families in the community. That is the type of character we love and support.”

The Nampa branch is incredibly involved in the community. Their volunteer work ranges from industry related objectives to community outreach. Recently, Alliance’s Nampa office was a statewide sponsor and participant in the FFA Foundation Golf Tournament Fundraisers. Funds go towards helping FFA chapters throughout the entire state of Idaho. In addition, they also volunteer in the “Pink on the Dirt” event that raises awareness for breast cancer research. The Nampa team is also currently planning their 4th annual Sporting Clay Shoot fundraiser where all the proceeds are donated to a local charity each year.

The Nampa Team celebrating Terri Hays’ recent retirement

Outside of the office, the Nampa branch loves to explore the great outdoors! The Nampa employees have many different interests and hobbies, including fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, camping, exploring hot springs, horseback riding, farming, ranching, and attending horse shows. Stacy Woods’ daughter, Samantha Woods, is currently Miss Rodeo Caldwell and competing for Miss Rodeo Idaho as well!

Alliance’s Nampa Team enjoying Employee Appreciation Day!

Whether you’re buying or selling commercial or residential property in Canyon County, the professionals at Alliance Title’s Nampa location would be delighted to help make your next transaction a success! Give Nampa a shout out on their Alliance Nampa Facebook page!

Alliance Title Nampa
1005 W Sanetta St., 83651
208.465.6600
nampa@alliancetitle.com

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Employee Spotlight – Celina Reynold

Let’s give a round of applause for our newest employee spotlight, Celina Reynold!

Celina Reynold is Alliance Title’s Escrow Officer for our Clarkston, Washington branch. Celina handles all escrow duties and assists with title. She’s thrilled to help you in your next transaction!

Having been with the Clarkston team for almost 15 and a half years, Celina is the knowledgeable employee you want on your team! Of the Alliance Core Values, “Teamwork” is Celina’s go-to. She explains, “I think teamwork is the best value to have, because if you work together, then everything else will fall into place.”

When asked whom she admires, Celina thinks of the people in her life she’s closest to. She continues, “I admire my parents and Tami Randall, our Vice President and Branch Manager, and also, my friend. They support me in what I do and are strong-willed and caring.”

Outside of the office, Celina loves to spend time in the great outdoors – whether that’s through camping, swimming, or hanging out with family and friends.

Now that you’ve gotten to know Celina a little more, give a shout out to Alliance Title’s Clarkston branch on Facebook and write them in on your next transaction! Celina looks forward to helping make your home closing a simple and smooth experience.

Celina Reynold
Escrow Officer – Alliance Title Clarkston, Washington
celinareynold@alliancetitle.com

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Commercial Spaces on High Demand

Covid has changed a variety of ways on how we live our lives – and shopping is one of them. Real estate is seeing businesses trying to search for bigger commercial spaces to house the products they need for growing e-commerce demands at record pace.

JLL, a commercial real estate services firm, released a new report showcasing big businesses – Walmart, Target, Big Lots, TJX, and Costco – aggressively competing for more warehouse space. The main reason? Amazon has been locking down and buying up warehouses across the country; other businesses are trying to catch up.

What does this surge in commercial spaces mean for prices? According to CBRE data, commercial spaces surged nearly 10% in the first five months of 2021 compared to the year prior.

A great example of warehouse prices spiking is in the town of Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is predicted to jump 61% in 2021 compared to 2020 – because nearly half of the nation’s population is within a one-day drive.

Craig Meyer, President of JLL Industrial for the Americas, explains, “We’ve been on a long-term journey of shifting consumer behavior from buying in stores online. That’s the existential driver for demand in the U.S.”

Real estate experts are turning their eyes to the commerce industry – and we’ll have to wait and see how 2021 shapes up.

Stop by Alliance Title’s Blog for more real estate news.

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Corporate Step Challenge

Every year, Alliance Title participates in a company-wide step challenge to get us all up and moving!

2021’s theme this year is Steppin’ for the Gold, which is in support of the Summer Olympics held in Tokyo. Click here to read up on this year’s Summer Olympics!

The purpose of the program is to encourage employees to adopt healthy activities and incorporate these activities into their daily lives. The program also encourages teamwork, camaraderie, a sense of community, and celebration of teams and individual goals.

The program consists of two separate competitions – Branch/Operation and Individual. The dates of the 2021 challenge is from July 1st through August 31st. Each participant will need a step-counting device or app – for example, a Fitbit, smartphone, smartwatch, step counter, etc.

There will be 1st and 2nd place branch winners. The 1st place branch winner gets bragging rights and will receive the Annual Step Challenge Traveling Trophy to display proudly. The plaque will be engraved with the winning branch, program year, and average steps that gave them their win. The 2nd place branch winner will also have bragging rights and will receive the Annual Step Challenge Traveling Plaque to display proudly.

The winning teams (1st and 2nd place) will also have a meaningful celebration provided by their local management team.

The Individual competition of the Annual Steps Program Challenge will have three activity levels an employee may participate in:
New category levels in 2021 –
Category 1: 20,000 steps/day
Category 2: 10,000 steps/day
Category 3: 5,000 steps/day

Individual competitors have the chance of winning the pool money that was required to pay as a fee to enter!

Let’s give a round of applause for all of those who are participating! We encourage a healthy lifestyle for our employees – and of course, a little fun and lighthearted competition!

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Home Value Rises When Going Green

If you’ve always been on the fence about “going green” for your home – the statistics prove it: the upgrade is worth it in the long run.

According to Porch.com, homes with solar panels list 56% above the average home price. Just how much more, you ask? Well, solar paneled homes cost an average of $680,000 – about 48% more than the average home in the area.

Obviously, the states that are better friends with the sun turn a higher profit than those who don’t. The study found that the top 25 cities with the priciest homes with solar are in California.

Home buyers are searching for homes that are environmentally friendly, while also helping them save on energy bills in the long-run. And if it boosts your home value, why not?

Looking for more real estate news, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog!

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