What’s New in the Title Industry
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IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Effective March 23, 2020
Partners Land Title Agency will continue to be open for business according to the Ohio Director’s Stay at Home order which defines title companies as an essential business in Article 12, section i.
We are continually monitoring the COVID-19 crisis and following all guidelines established by health organizations in order to protect our employees, clients, and the community. These are the measures we are taking:
- Closing table is being disinfected after each closing
- New pens are given to each signer at closing and not re-used
- Hand sanitizer is available in our office
- Any employees exhibiting any symptoms of illness are to stay home
- Social distancing is being practiced
- We can separate buyers and sellers, if preferred
In addition, we are asking the following of our clients:
- Schedule closings in our office
- Only essential persons necessary at closing to attend
- Reschedule closing if anyone is exhibiting any symptoms of illness
- Arrangements can be made to send commission checks if realtor(s) prefer not to attend
Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation as we all navigate this ever-evolving time of uncertainty. We truly appreciate your business and want to remind everyone to stay safe.
Wire Fraud Alert
You can NEVER be too careful! Partners Land Title Agency takes security and your client’s protection very seriously. The alert below presented by Old Republic Title shows you why we are so careful and can help you to explain to your buyer or seller why we take such precautions. Any time funds are being wired to or from our company you and/or your client(s) can expect a call from us!
Fraud Through Mortgage Payoffs
Criminals will always look for new ways to scam or defraud the public and try to stay one step ahead in the Real Estate Industry. Take a look at one of the newest schemes presented by Old Republic Title.
**UPDATE TO OHIO’S GOOD FUNDS LAW**
Ohio’s “Good Funds” statute has once again been modified. The following changes become effective for all escrow/closings conducted on or after September 29, 2017.
- Personal, business or cashier’s checks (other than those drawn on a Real Estate Broker’s Trust Account); money orders; and/or, cash totaling $10,000 in aggregate, are considered “good funds” (up from $1,000). Partners Land Title will only accept personal checks on a case by case basis and for funds under $1,000.
- Any Electronically transferred funds are considered “good funds” (now includes internal transfers between accounts held by the same bank).
Remaining unchanged is the exempt status granted to checks drawn on a Real Estate Broker’s Trust Accounts. However, under ORC Sections 4735.18 and 4735.24, funds deposited in such accounts in connection with a purchase agreement are intended to be limited to earnest money funds. As such, it is not a recommended practice to accept significant payments drawn on such accounts as an avoidance of the rules specified above.
As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions!
Changes to Ohio’s Good Funds Law
On January 4, 2017, Governor Kasich signed into law Sub. H.B. 463 which included changes to Ohio’s Good Funds Law and what constitutes “good funds.” (O.R.C. 1349.21) This law will go into effect on April 6, 2017.
The following is a summary of what will be considered good funds under these revisions (O.R.C. 1349.21(B)):
- Business checks drawn on special or trust accounts of a real estate broker;
- Cash, personal checks, business checks other than those described in item (1) above, certified checks, cashier’s checks, official checks, or money orders, as long as:
- Such items, by themselves and in aggregate, cannot exceed $1,000; and,
- Instruments must be drawn on an existing account at a federally insured bank, savings and loan association, credit union or savings bank.
- Electronic transfer of funds through the automated clearing house (ACH) system initiated by, or checks issued by, the United States or the State of Ohio, or an agency, instrumentality or political subdivision of the Untied States or Ohio; and,
- Electronic transfer of funds through the Federal Reserve System.
A few things to note:
- Not only can none of the above items by themselves exceed $1,000, but the total of the same cannot exceed $1,000. For example, if the purchaser needs to bring $8,100 to closing, and does so in the form of nine cashier’s checks, each in the amount of $900, they would not be considered good funds even though each cashier’s check, standing alone, would be good funds;
- Business checks drawn on special or trust accounts of a real estate broker are NOT subject to the $1,000 cap; and
- All of the instruments listed must be drawn on one of the financial institutions referenced. A money order issued by a convenience store or a credit card company, such as American Express, would not be considered good funds. However, a money order issued by the United States Postal Service (USPS) would qualify as good funds as the USPS is considered an agency or instrumentality of the United States.
Items that will no longer be considered good funds are:
- Checks drawn on the trust account of an attorney or law firm; and,
- Checks drawn on the trust or escrow account of a title agency or title company
Although the law is not in effect until April 6th, Partners Land Title Agency will begin implementing this change as of March 1, 2017. If you have any questions regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be more than happy to help!
Cyber Crime Awareness
Take a look at the following video on cyber-crime awareness from Old Republic Title!