Self-Care Tips While at Home

The world is a little different right now – which can make for high stress and anxiety.

While quarantine is in place, it’s important that you still take the care that you need both physically and mentally. We’ve got some tips for you below to help ease your worries during this time.

Stick to a Routine

Routines help us feel stable! If you’re lucky enough to work from home during this time, be sure to create a routine and stick with it to help create some form of normalcy.

Set times when you’ll get to work, when you’ll take your lunch break, etc.

Limit Screen Time

We realize this might be more difficult if you’re working from home – but limiting the time you are facing a screen and instead taking a moment to freshen up, to take a quick stretch, or to put together a healthy snack can really help you stay positive. Movement is key!

That, and making sure you’re taking breaks from heavy news is also equally important. While it is essential to stay updated with current events, it’s also crucial to maintain balance and step away from the negativity.

Stay Active

As mentioned above, movement is key! Check out a free yoga, meditation, or exercise routine on Youtube! Put on your favorite song and dance around your home! Take a walk around your neighborhood (following social distance rules, of course).

Get the negative energy out of your body by staying active.

Virtual Hang Outs

Spend time with friends – virtually. Schedule times to chat over FaceTime, Skype, or Facebook Messenger, to name a few. It’s important to remember that you are not alone, and that there are still good things in your life and in the world. Friends and family will remind you of that.

Even though we’re in the midst of social distancing, we can be there for each other! Just, virtually.

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

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Digital Tools during COVID-19

These are uncertain times – but that doesn’t mean we can’t go through this together, virtually, of course.

As a real estate agent, you might be wondering how you can successfully continue your work with social distancing and shelter-in-place confirmed in your state. Luckily, real estate has been keeping up with technology – and there are plenty of tools for you to use and count on during this time.

Virtual House Tour & Open Houses

Just because you can no longer meet face-to-face with your client (or future clients) doesn’t mean they can’t see the house they’re interested in!

Think about using Facetime, Skype, or Zoom when presenting a home to your client. If you’re trying to interest a buyer, think about hosting a “Live Open House” on Instagram or Facebook live!

Alliance Title & Escrow Corp. Digital Tools

Net Sheet: Through Title Capture, you can access quotes on titles and fees all online.

Profilez on Demand or Agent Intel: Access to property profile information through our online account.

EMTransfer: Our cloud-based service that allows agents, lenders, and buyers, and earnest money holders to securely document, collect and disburse earnest money 100% electronically.

Plat Map & CCR Search

For up-to-date news and tips regarding COVID-19, check out Alliance Title’s Blog.

COVID-19: Remote Online Notarization Bill in Congress

With many agents wondering how they can successfully and swiftly close their transactions in the middle of COVID-19, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has sent a letter to congress urging lawmakers to include policy in coronavirus response legislation that would pave the way for remote notarizations.

This would help move transactions towards a 100% digital platform nationwide.

The Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020, also known as the SECURE Notarization Act, was introduced last Wednesday by a bipartisan coalition of senators.

Currently, only 23 states have remote online notarization policies – which permit a notary and a signer in different physical locations to safely execute electronic documents. However, some borrowers in these states are still unable to complete the transaction without an in-person notary.

The SECURE Notarization Act would create a safe, multifactor authentication that uses tamper-evident and two-way, real-time audiovisual technology to enable the signer and notary to see and hear each other simultaneously.

NAR Vice President, Vince Malta, explains, “As the nation and world grapple with some of the most difficult and uncertain circumstances of their lives, NAR continues working with the federal government to secure policy and promote public safety and protect this critical driver of our nation’s economy.

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

Employee Spotlight – Isabel Villalobos

Our newest employee spotlight goes to our Servicing Title Officer, Isabel Villalobos!

Isabel Villalobos works for our Alliance Title Nampa, Idaho branch. Isabel’s responsibilities include: commitment distribution, servicing the file throughout the course of the transaction, recordings, policy issuance, risk assessment, and customer service. Having been with the Alliance team since 2002, Isabel is a wonderful and experienced employee to have on your transaction!

Isabel loves that her work is never boring. She explains, “I enjoy solving the puzzle, finding the answer, and thinking outside the box on how to get to the end goal – which is a successful closing and a clean final policy. I also enjoy being in an escrow office where I can participate in conversations that get us closer to a closing. It also gives me an advantage being located in an office where I’m available to my escrow team, clients, buyers, and sellers to communicate openly on their purchase or sale.”

When it comes to Alliance’s Core Values, “Accountability and Teamwork” are Isabel’s favorites. She continues, “What we do requires a very high level of accountability, and without placing accountability at the forefront, we’d experience a lot more claims and losses.”

After working hard in the office, Isabel enjoys getting lost in a good book or movie. She loves spending a good laugh with family – her two girls, one 5 year-old girlie-girl, and one 3 year-old ninja princess, keep her days busy and full of adventure.

When asked whom she admires, Isabel thinks immediately of her grandmother. Isabel explains, “I admire my Grandma Lupe, a single mother of ten. She raised her family on a minimum wage salary doing labor intensive work. She raised hardworking, intelligent, and respectful children who then raised children with those same traits. She was an immigrant who got her citizenship after 35 years. Although she never learned to read or write, she is one of the most successful women I’ve ever known.”

Isabel’s favorite quote, “Life’s a diner, you get what you order,” is something she tries to remind herself of. She illustrates, “I believe if you go in with a positive outlook, a positive outcome is what you’ll get.”

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

Isabel Villalobos – Service Title Officer for Alliance’s Nampa Branch
1005 W Sanetta St., 83651
208.465.6600

Meet our Whitefish, MT Branch

Located in Flathead County and named one of the “Top 25 Ski Towns in the World” by National Geographic, Whitefish, Montana is a picturesque mountain-resort town filled with year-round attractions and activities.

Whitefish is located near Whitefish Lake and is the home to Whitefish Mountain Resort. With plenty of shops, unique coffee shops, restaurants, and activities like skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, boating, and live-professional theater, Whitefish is the ultimate destination.   

Only a 12-minute drive from Whitefish Lake, you’ll find our Alliance Title Whitefish team! With over 55 years of combined title and escrow experience, our Whitefish team is ready to serve you!

Our Whitefish branch is incredibly involved in their community. They’ve volunteered and helped with fundraisers for Kalispell Youth Baseball, Biz to Biz, Montana Children’s Hospital, Kalispell Cancer Support Community, and several fundraisers for local children that have battled illnesses or serious injuries. They’ve also volunteered at Octoberfest, as well as participated in the companywide food drive, “Closing the Hunger Gap.”

Outside of the office, Escrow Officer, Tiffany Simpach, loves to watch baseball. She’s passionate about all things kid related and believes every child deserves a happy childhood. Her goal in life is to make a difference!

Title Officer, Suzanne Jellison, enjoys spending time with her fur babies.

Title Assistant, Brandy Woods, loves to do anything as long as it involves the great outdoors.

As a group, the Whitefish team vows to sample beverages at every local brewery and distillery the county has to offer – and there are quite a few! If you’re not in the market to purchase a home yet, you might just find them at a local spot.

Senior Vice President and Area Manager, Jack Wheir, believes that the team’s “attention to detail and outstanding customer service sets them apart from the competition. They strive to be active members of the community, while still providing excellent customer service.”

Why does the Whitefish team love their customers so much? The group explains, “Our customers are loyal and we strive to make sure our customers have the best experiences from start to finish. The honesty and integrity they exhibit make us look forward to working with them. We don’t have to question sending referrals their way because we know they will get top-notch service.”

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

Alliance Title Whitefish Branch
1581 Baker Ave, 59937
406.862.59937

Our COVID-19 Preparedness Update

A letter from our CEO:

Our employees and customers should know that we are actively monitoring the rapidly evolving situation with the Coronavirus. We will continue to implement plans to protect the health of all of our employees and customers.

In addition to strict cleaning and hygiene protocols, we are limiting travel and participation in large group activities until further notice. We are also monitoring regulatory and health agencies to be sure that we have the most up-to-date information and encouraging the use of online and telephone communications when possible.

If it becomes necessary to close any of our offices to protect the health and safety of all, we have contingency plans in place to maintain continuity of our operations. As always, we will have all hands on deck to serve our customers during this difficult time.

We have no known cases or exposures to the Coronavirus at this time. We are monitoring the situation closely, and we will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Please be aware that it is likely that cyber criminals will attempt to benefit from this crisis to exploit any vulnerability that they may detect. So, be especially vigilant in preventing them from making you a wire-fraud victim.

Please feel free to contact me or your local branch if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Larry Matney
CEO

Let’s Keep Our Communities Safe:

COVID-19 Signs and Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

In addition, for the safety of customers and staff, we are asking all customers and vendors to please refrain from in-person visits unless absolutely necessary. If visiting in person is necessary, please stay in the appropriate area (lobby or closing room) as communicated by the local office.

Practice Social Distancing with our Online Tools:

Place an Order
Lender Closing Cost Calculator
Settlement Guide
Agent Intel
Profilez On Demand
EMTransfer

Reach out to your local branch for more information on remote online closings, e-closings, and other information here.

For more information on how to protect yourself and what to do if you have symptoms, please visit the CDC website.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Closing on a Home Checklist

You’re at the finish line – you see the light at the end of the tunnel – you can almost hear the sound of your client’s house keys opening the door to their new future…..

BAM. Something was forgotten during the home closing, and there’s a bit of a lag now.

Don’t let this happen to you and your client!

When you’re closing on a home, it’s important that you follow the steps needed to correctly and efficiently close the transaction. 

Here are some tips to help ensure smooth sailing during you and your client’s home closing.

Clear Contingencies

Most purchase agreements will have contingencies. Contingencies are projects that buyers must complete before the transaction becomes official. Here are the most common contingencies:

  • Home inspection contingency
  • Appraisal contingency
  • Financing contingency

Purchase Title Insurance

Buying a home means that the home owner will become the title owner to the property. Make sure you and your client work with the mortgage lender and closing team in completing a title search and purchasing title insurance. This will insure that their title will be cleared from any possible issues (past owners saying they actually own the home, for instance) and can ensure peace of mind.

Wait for Underwriters

Make sure your client understands that they’ll have to wait for their home loan to go through the underwriting process before meeting at the closing table. Underwriters make sure that your client has been truthful during the financial stages and that there isn’t any false information on the loan application.

Be sure to check our tips on what to do and NOT do during the underwriter process, here.

Look over Closing Disclosure

This is also known as the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. Your client will want to read this document that outlies their mortgage payments, the loan’s terms, and the additional fees – like closing costs. Be sure to help them with any confusion over this document.

Bring Documents to Closing

Make sure you and your client bring:

  • Proof of homeowners insurance
  • Home inspection reports
  • A copy of the contract with the seller
  • Paperwork the bank required to approve your loan
  • A government-issued ID

Some sales contracts allow a final walk-through of the property – if yours is the case, you and your client will want to make sure that anything that was asked to be fixed during the home inspection has been updated to code and to the buyer’s liking.

Buying a home isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, but as a real estate agent, it’s your job to help make it smooth and efficient – after all, the client is looking to you for guidance and advice!

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

Generational Trends for Home-Buying Preferences

Yes, Millennials enjoy shopping through Amazon and making avocado toast – but it looks like they also enjoy the same housing preferences as Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

According to the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, most age groups were motivated to live near family and friends, with 53% pointing to this major factor when selecting a neighborhood.

Between Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers, newer homes were more enticing – most citing a newer home as the main reason for a purchase.

However, there are differences between the generations:

Those aged 22-29 stated that their main reason in purchasing a home was to own a home of their own (60%), whereas those aged 55-64 fell to 17%.

Younger buyers are also more concerned with their commute time – around 74% of buyers aged 22-29 selected “convenience to job” as a priority to buying a home. For older buyers, “quality of neighborhood” took precedence.

Check out NAR’s infographic below!

For more real estate news, check out Alliance’s Blog.

Employee Spotlight – Tiffany Kotschevar

Let’s give a round of applause for our newest employee spotlight – Tiffany Kotschevar!

Tiffany Kotschevar is an Administrative Assistant for the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho office. She assists managers with multiple day-to-day office duties and helps with funding’s for the Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, Lewiston, and Clarkston offices as well. Having been with Alliance Title for the past five years, Tiffany has been a wonderful and amazing person to have on our team!

When asked what she likes most about her job, Tiffany explains, “I wear a lot of hats in my position, and I love that every day is different. I enjoy the challenges that come my way. I love being able to help my co-workers accomplish daily goals. I come from a banking background and that aspect of my job is a lot of fun too!”

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Integrity” is Tiffany’s favorite. “Honesty and doing the right thing is very important to me. I have strong moral principles and it’s great that the company feels the same way.”

Outside of the office, Tiffany loves to spend time with her family – especially her husband and daughter. They enjoy going camping, jeeping, kayaking, snowmobiling, and doing anything outdoors.

Of whom she admires, Tiffany immediately thinks of her husband. She explains, “He is the kindest, hardest working, and most loyal person I know. He would do anything for anyone with a smile on his face no matter what. I love that my daughter has a role model like him in her life!”

Tiffany’s two favorite quotes, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” and “My main focus is to remain focused,” are mantras she tries to stick by. Tiffany continues, “I don’t let things that are out of my control bother me. I like to remain calm and focused in my life, job, and anything else that comes my way.”

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

Tiffany Kotschevar – Admin Assistant for the Coeur d’Alene Branch
2157 N Main St., 83814
208.667.3402
tiffanykotschevar@alliancetitle.com