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Ask Nick | March 2018

In this installment of “Ask Nick,” Fortune Title President Nick Timpanaro addresses who, related to the heirs of the property, should be named in a tax foreclosure complaint if the original property owner is deceased. Nick points out that judgments can be run on people who ultimately are not named in the final complaint. Question: Hi Nick. I have a general question that came up during our preparation of tax sale foreclosure complaints. If the property owner is deceased, and we name the heirs instead in the complaint, do we need to have judgment searches of the heirs and name the heirs’ judgment creditors as defendants? The answer, according to Nick, is that there should be judgments run on anyone who potentially has interest in the property. He also specifically addressed four possible scenarios you should consider. Nick’s Answer: The underwriters always want judgment searches run on anyone who has a potential interest in the property. If any of the heirs can claim the property through specific devise in a written will, I would say, YES, you need to do a judgment search. If the decedent leaves the property to his/her heirs through a residuary clause in a will, but it is within one year of the original owner’s Date of Death, I would answer NO.    If the decedent leaves the property to his/her heirs through a residuary clause in a will, but it is over one year of the original owner’s Date of Death, I would answer YES, you need to do a judgment search. If the case is intestate (i.e., the owner dies without a will), I...

Wire Fraud Tips

One of the things everyone in real estate needs to be worried about in 2018 is something we’ve been fighting for years: criminals using wire fraud to attempt to steal money from our clients. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Realtors, mortgage lenders, and yes, title insurance and closing companies, have become popular vehicles for criminals targeting the unsuspecting public. Unfortunately, no one expects that trend to slow anytime soon. The people behind these scams are experts. In New York, for example, scammers swindled a state supreme court justice! You need to do all you can to protect yourself, your business – and your clients. So, what can you do? 1. Be clear with your clients about how the closing process works. ​​​​​​​ Once money is sent to one of these scammers, it’s nearly impossible to get it back, so you can never take too many precautions. You should remind your client to NEVER wire money without confirming first. Tell them to be suspicious if they get an email that you didn’t personally tell them they would receive. Remind them if they have any doubt of a message’s authenticity they can call you personally or check with Fortune Title. And of course, remind your clients to never send financial information, such as account numbers, via email. Just like their banking information, tell them that any person legitimately working on their account should already know their information. 2. Use good email practices We know you’ve heard this before but never click a link in an email you’re not expecting. Password strength remains important too. For example, Password1 and abc123 are NOT secure. ...

Support | Compassion | Drive

Have you ever considered what you value most in your working relationships? If we’re asked about our personal values it’s easy to list what’s most important to us. It’s important that our Fortune Title team can articulate the collective values of our company. Knowing what’s most important allows us to better serve our real estate agent, lender and attorney. Last month we shared some initial values (family, integrity and accountability) and today we’re happy to highlight more of what makes Fortune Title work better for our clients. Support: It’s no secret that Fortune Title is a family. Not just a family business, but a family that supports each other in everything that we do. That goes beyond only supporting each other with cheers and affirmation. That also means making sure that Fortune Title is structured so that every team member and department is helping all their colleagues achieve customer satisfaction for every project we work on. So, when you choose Fortune Title, you are choosing an entire family to work on your transaction with you. Talk about a support team! Compassion: The Fortune Title team believes in being compassionate both in and outside the office. Being compassionate outside the office is easy thanks to our Fortune Cares program. We’re very proud of the multitude of opportunities this program has afforded our employees and the benefit it provides the communities we serve. It’s often said that the person giving their time gets more out of the experience than the individual receiving the service. Fortune Cares embodies that sentiment. Compassion inside our office is harder to define. But we know that maintaining a flexible and understanding...

Ask Nick | February 2018

This installment of “Ask Nick,” with Fortune Title President Nick Timpanaro, originates from a question on what a lender should do when there are judgments against the potential buyer of a property, but those judgments have no attachment to the property itself. Our writer reached out to Nick on the behalf of a lender after it was discovered that the buyer had an active judgment against him from an investment capital firm. In her question on how to proceed, Jen said it did not appear that the buyer was in position to pay the judgment. The question is not being re-printed because it discloses specifics about the case it is addressing. Nick’s Answer: Be advised that the judgment you refer to is against the purchaser and does not affect the property in question. It does not attach to the property until he is in title. The lender would have a Purchase Money Mortgage, which gives the lender priority over any prior judgments against the borrower. This is not a title issue. We hope this Ask Nick is helpful to your work. If you have a question you’d like to Ask Nick, please email nickt@fortunereo.com. Under no circumstances is Fortune Title Agency, Inc. or any of its employees giving any legal advice. The Ask Nick Q’s and A’s are based on situations that the company has experienced and is sharing with the public for informational purposes only. Always contact your attorney for any legal...

Family | Integrity | Accountability

Legendary coach John Wooden once said that “good values are like a magnet, they attract good people.” Fortune Title’s company values has allowed us to build a tremendous team of professionals and provided us with the opportunity to work with a variety of real estate agents, lenders, attorneys, builders and so many others in the real estate community.  This month I’m sharing three of our company values and what they mean for our team and our customers. Family: Fortune Title is a family company and values the families of our team. We appreciate the our history and know that we’re stronger because of our family bond, trust and humility.​​​​​​​ Families have each other’s backs and while that’s true internally, it’s something we bring to the table for every single customer we have. We want your real estate experience to be exceptional, and like a family, we’ll lend a hand when needed to make sure your transaction exceeds your expectations. Integrity: Some definitions of integrity focus on moral high ground, however, our definition centers on honesty, fairness and trustworthiness. We treat our team with respect and expect a high level of professionalism in their work. We operate with integrity on behalf of our customers to provide the best title search and closing experience throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. Accountability: Providing a great experience for our customers means that we’re responsible for your transaction or project from start to finish. We value our customer’s business and that means we hold ourselves to a high standard to ensure your experience is on-time and without hassle. We are responsible for ensuring your real...

The 2018 Economy According to Jeffrey G. Otteau

On January 11, 2018, Fortune Title was thrilled to host economist Jeffrey G. Otteau for a “state of the economy” discussion at the Wyndham Hamilton Park Hotel in Florham Park, New Jersey. With more than 100 real estate professionals in attendance, we learned tips about the 2018 economy and how to succeed in an ever-changing market. Otteau recapped the ups and downs of the 2017 economy and went over a very positive forecast for 2018. He discussed the anticipated changes across residential and commercial real estate markets and even discussed the new tax plan and it’s anticipated effect on the real estate market. The event was co-sponsored by Customers Bank, Fidelity National Title Group, Fran Kelly Professional Liability LLC, SWK Technologiesand Signature Information Solutions. “I love hosting events that connect our customers with experts that can make their business stronger and more profitable,” said Nicole Plath, Fortune Title CEO. “We value the business our customers bring to Fortune Title and we host these events so that we can learn something new and allow our industry to network with one another at the same time. Don’t miss the next Fortune Title event! Be sure to watch for our events, news and other information on our Facebook page by clicking...

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