06/21/2017

The Numbers Don't Lie: 9 Reasons Why You Must Attend ALTA ONE

2017-ALTA-ONE-bythenumbers

Click here to register or for more information!

06/15/2017

Promote Your Company on Google With These Easy Steps

Google AdWords Tutorial - HOP Leader Training

Google ads may seem confusing or too costly for your business. ALTA has developed this five-step process to help you get started for just $50 per ad.

SIGN UP FOR ADWORDS

Visit ADWORDS.GOOGLE.COM and enter your email address and include your website address. Then you’ll be directed to create a Google account (important if you are using a corporate email address). Next, you must accept the privacy terms.

SET UP YOUR FIRST ADWORDS CAMPAIGN

Enter your daily spending budget. ALTA recommends $10 per day for testing purposes. Next, choose your location. Feel free to be as specific as you’d like. Next, select your keywords. You should choose between 15-20 keywords. Use variations of your company name, home buying in your state, etc. Be sure to keep your “bid” set at “AdWords automatically sets your bids.”

WRITE YOUR AD

Now, you’re finally ready to create your ad text! First, you’ll enter a website to lead customers to your company or product. Next, you should write two headlines. ALTA recommends using the first header to gain attention and the second header should include your company or product name. Then, you should include a brief description of your business or why a customer should choose you (i.e. We help you protect your property rights at ABC Title Company). Lastly, include a phone number so that individuals can call your company directly when clicking on your ad. This is especially important for mobile users.

SUBMIT YOUR BILLING INFORMATION

Using the “Billing” drop down menu, you’ll select “Billing Preferences.” At this time you’ll create your billing profile including business name, contact information and phone number. Next, you will enter your payment information. You can choose to add a credit card or to link to your bank account. Then you’ll agree to more terms and conditions and your account will be ready!

TIPS TO REMEMBER

You only pay when your ad is clicked on—not when it is seen. You can pause your ad campaigns at any time. And finally, if an ad isn’t working, try something new (including adjustments to your daily budget anytime).

NEED CONTENT?

ALTA members have exclusive access to an array of digital marketing content in the Homebuyer Outreach Program. For more digital marketing strategies, don't miss ALTA's Innovation Boot Camp, Aug. 23-24 in Baltimore.

 

06/13/2017

Create a Facebook Advertising Campaign in Three Easy Steps

Here are three steps to help you create an advertising campaign on Facebook:

  1. From your Facebook page, select “Create Ads,” which can be found by clicking on the arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Next, choose an advertising objective. You can select from Awareness, Consideration or Conversion. As an example, if you want to get more consumers to know about your title company, select “Brand awareness” under the Awareness column. Then click Continue.
  3. Next, you can choose to advertise your page, website or event and then choose the audience, budget, images and text for the ad before placing the order.

ALTA members can utilize content and images in the Homebuyer Outreach Program to help with campaigns.

05/31/2017

ALTA to Launch ‘Whatever You Call Home’ Campaign

Coinciding with National Homeownership Month in June, ALTA will launch an ad campaign titled “Whatever You Call Home” to help educate consumers about the closing process and the benefits of title insurance.

ALTA_HOP-Whatever_You_Call_Home(300x250px)_[40-kb]As the centerpiece of the promotion, ALTA will once again target 25- to 34-year-olds in specific markets on Pandora. The streaming and automated music service now has an additional filter that allows us to target people who plan to purchase a home within the next year. Starting June 3 and running through June 11, we will target this demographic in these areas:

  • Baltimore
  • Chicago
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Kansas City
  • Miami/Fort Lauderdale
  • Nashville
  • Orlando

You can listen to the audio here: ALTA_pandora

Last year, the ad campaigns resulted in more than an 80 percent increase in traffic to HomeClosing101.org. 

In addition to reaching first-time homebuyers on Pandora, ALTA also will target homebuyers through other channels as well, including Google Ads, Facebook and YouTube.

ALTA has created a video that also will direct homebuyers to its consumer education website. The video reminds consumers that before they paint, decorate and make their home theirs, they need to protect their property rights with an owner’s title insurance policy.

Finally, ALTA will distribute a series of press releases highlighting top reasons why homebuyers need title insurance, the key steps in the closing process and a reminder about wire fraud schemes. We’ll share results of the campaign later this year.

 

05/23/2017

Most Voters Say CFPB Should be Run By Bipartisan Commission

A poll commissioned by ALTA, the Consumer Bankers Association and Independent Community Bankers of America, found that 58 percent of registered voters in key battleground states say the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) should be run by a bipartisan commission.

Morning Consult, which polled voters in Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and West Virginia, found that three in five voters said a commission would lead to consumer protections that are fairer, more accountable, more representative and more transparent. The poll, which found that just 14 percent said the CFPB should keep its current structure, shows that consumers support structural changes at the bureau.

“It's hard to find any policy position in Washington that a majority of Americans agree on,” said ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo. “So when 58 percent of consumers said the CFPB’s authority to supervise financial institutions, write rules and enforce penalties is too important to be controlled by a single director, Congress should listen to them.”

Converting the CFPB into a bipartisan commission would make the agency similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board and the National Credit Union Administration. Three of the five federal banking regulators also are led by commissions. The other two, the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, are led by single directors.

Changing CFPB leadership from a single director to a commission is an issue with bipartisan potential. In meetings last year with the heads of partner trade associations, ALTA found support for a narrow bill focused on a commission. This initiative garnered support from moderates on both sides of the aisle. This year has been different as legislators on both sides of the aisle have staked out extreme positions on the issue. On the left, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is devoted to protecting the current structure of the CFPB at all costs. On the right, Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) is seeking to severely limit the power of the CFPB as part of his Financial Choice Act.

“CBA and its members have long championed what the poll results revealed: a bipartisan commission at the CFPB would increase accountability, fairness, and transparency,” CBA President and CEO Richard Hunt said. “With the 2018 elections coming up, members of Congress in key battleground states may find these results useful, as voters, regardless of party affiliation, believe the best way forward for consumers and small businesses is through a commission made up of a diverse and bipartisan group of experts similar to that of the FDIC. Now’s the time for lawmakers to act.”

Aggregate Key Findings

  • 58 percent of surveyed voters support establishing a bipartisan commission at the CFPB.
  • By a 3-1 margin, these voters prefer a bipartisan commission over a single director.
  • Only 14 percent of respondents said they believe the CFPB should be left the way it is now.
  • By a 4-1 margin, voters agree the CFPB should be structured as a commission like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).
  • More than half of voters believe a commission would help consumers and small businesses.
  • Three in five voters said a commission would make the CFPB fairer (63 percent), more representative (62 percent), more accountable (62 percent) and more transparent (60 percent).
  • 57 percent said the CFPB’s authority to supervise financial institutions, write rules and enforce penalties is too important to be controlled by a single director.
  • 59 percent also said a commission would better position the CFPB to help consumers over the long run.

Key Findings State-by-State

  • In Indiana, by a 4-1 margin, voters agree the CFPB should be structured as a commission like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
  • In Ohio, by a 3-1 margin, voters prefer a bipartisan commission over a single director.
  • In Maine, 63 percent of voters support establishing a bipartisan commission at the CFPB.
  • In Michigan, voters said a commission would make the CFPB fairer (62 percent), more representative (63 percent), more accountable (62 percent), and more transparent (60 percent).
  • In Missouri, voters said a commission would make the CFPB fairer (61 percent), more representative (61 percent), more accountable (62 percent), and more transparent (58 percent).
  • In Montana, 60 percent of voters support establishing a bipartisan commission at the CFPB.
  • In North Dakota, by a 4-1 margin, voters prefer a bipartisan commission over a sole director.
  • In West Virginia, three out of five voters believe a commission would help consumers and small businesses.

Cfpb_poll

04/20/2017

Closing Times Sink to Pre-TRID Days

The average time to close a loan is now shorter than it's been since 2015, according to the latest Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae.

Pages from Ellie_Mae_OIR_MARCH2017The survey found that the average time now sits at the lowest level in two years, coming in at 43 days in March, down from 46 days in February. 

For refinances, the time to close dipped to 43 days from 47 days in February. The time to close a purchase dropped to 43 days, down from 45 days in February.

“The purchase market continued to heat up in March, representing 63 percent of total closed loans,” said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae. “We also saw the time to close shrink to the shortest duration since February of 2015 at 43 days across all closed loans, purchases and refinances, as Ellie Mae lenders automate more mortgage processes to improve efficiency, quality and compliance.”

In addition, home loans for purchases increased to 63 percent in March, up from 57 percent the month prior.

The Origination Insight Report uses data from a sampling of approximately 80 percent of all mortgage applications that were initiated on Ellie Mae’s loan origination system, Encompass.

03/28/2017

ALTAprints Adds Training Materials and Door Hangers

To bring more value to members, ALTA has added training materials and door hangers that can be customized and printed from ALTAprints.

ALTA_Doorhangers_Page_5The door hangers work great for use with real estate agents and to help grow your For Sale By Owner (FSBO) market. The door hangers are available immediately.

Additionally, ALTAprints recently added training materials for use with staff, real estate agents, builders and lenders. These training worksheets help you walk through the benefits of title insurance, identify the jargon used by others in the real estate transaction and introduce more effective language to explain owner’s title insurance. The training materials are available in dry-erase format for an evergreen and interactive education experience. Title Insurance FAQs Worksheet-1

If you need help accessing these materials or want ideas on how to implement anything on ALTAprints, email Wayne Stanley, ALTA’s director of public affairs.

ALTAprints is ALTA’s online portal for its Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP) where members can print, customize and download education materials. Please log in with your ALTA ID and password and agree to the Terms of Service to begin. Not an ALTA member? Click here or email membership@alta.org to get started today.

 

03/14/2017

ALTA Members Get Creative Using HOP Material

More and more ALTA members are using material in the Homebuyer Outreach Program to educate consumers and others involved in the real estate transaction about the benefits of title insurance.

Through HOP, ALTA members have access to many resources to communicate with homebuyers, real estate agents and others about the benefits of owner’s title insurance.

Western Title HOP - 2-27-17In Nevada, Western Title Co. purchased an advertorial in its weekly business newspaper. The full-page advertorial titled “Home Buying Simplified” describes how Western Title implemented HOP to better inform consumers about the home-buying process, including the benefits of title insurance and escrow.

“Often in the past, Western Title marketed and spoke directly to real estate professionals,” said Sylvia Smith, Western Title’s president. “While we still advocate the use of these professionals, Western Title is trying to break down barriers and boundaries to speak directly with future homebuyers in new ways, and explain what we do in easy terms. This has been accomplished by our newest education tool, the HOP Program.”

Western Title provides HOP flyers to help explain why a buyer needs to protect their property rights and purchase an owner’s title insurance policy. The title company also makes daily posts on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Instagram to help explain title insurance.

“Since our renewed role on social media, we’ve had a large number of consumers call to ask more questions,” said Chad Felix, vice president of marketing and sales for Western Title. “We have also had Realtors tell us that their clients have mentioned seeing Western Title online and feel more inclined to use our services.”

In addition, Western Title holds bi-monthly seminars for prospective homebuyers.

“These seminars act as a lightening rod to inform the people and help them act with confidence,” Smith added. “By the end of the seminars, these future homebuyers will know what Western Title does, how it helps them and how they can protect their property rights.”

Meanwhile, Republic Title of Texas has used HOP marketing material in its corporate office.

“We have two large training rooms dedicated to providing education classes for our customers,” said Lindsey Carroll, vice president of marketing and communications for Republic Title of Texas. “We branded and blew up some of the ALTA pieces along with pictures of our employees for an impactful HOP-themed wall.”

ALTA HOP Wall - Republic Title

 ALTA members can modify and brand material with their company information at ALTAprints.com. Through the website, you can customize material and download PDFs for free or order prints that can be delivered directly to you. 

What’s available to print:

  1. Advertisements: These multi-purpose, customizable advertisements can be used as flyers in coffee shops, handouts at first-time homebuyer seminars and ads for your real estate clients.
  2. Marketing Flyers: Use these one-pagers as handouts at a housing conference or you can add them to your new Homebuyer Outreach Program consumer introduction packet.
  3. Rack Cards: ALTA’s rack cards are full of information about the benefits of title insurance in a handy, two-sided, half-sheet rack card. They are the perfect item for any real estate function.
  4. Posters: These advertisements are customizable to print and ship to your next housing seminar, staff training, legislator/regulator meeting or open house.

How have you used HOP material to educate others about the benefits of title insurance and promote your business? Share your story by sending comments, photos or video to communications@alta.org.

03/02/2017

Technology Driving Change in Lender, Real Estate Business

Consumers’ mobile experiences with leaders such as Amazon are reshaping their expectations in all aspects of their lives. This includes financial and mortgage decisions as well.

According to survey results released in December by Fannie Mae, demand for and usage of mobile mortgage products has almost doubled over the past 12 months. The survey covered 1,200 low- to moderate-income homebuyers who bought homes in the last year and have a mortgage guaranteed by Fannie Mae.

“This is a startlingly large increase reflecting the pervasive and growing use of mobile technology among consumers at all income levels,” wrote Steve Deggendorf, director of market insights research for Fannie Mae. “Although this research focused on low- and moderate-income homebuyers, our prior research suggests the results would be even larger for mobile usage and interest among higher-income consumers.”

Fannie_mobile_surveyThe survey suggested that interest in mobile mortgage products will only increase among consumers in the coming year, particularly among first-time buyers and younger consumers with a college education. Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, covering the third quarter of 2016, noted the growing number of lenders that were making mobile apps part of the process. Additionally, Deggendorf said there is significant opportunity to meet consumer demand beyond using mobile devices to research homes for sale.

“Though some lenders have begun building out the mobile experience for consumers, all lenders should evolve their online and mobile capabilities to address the rapidly changing consumer demand as well as the potential for competitive shifts,” Deggendorf wrote. “The potential for the competitive repositioning in the broader mortgage market value chain is high, maybe much higher than in many years, as next-generation technologies and providers focus on offering exciting mobile opportunities to improve the consumer experience through digitization and by removing inefficient manual processes.”

Regulators have taken notice in how consumers and industry have embraced mobile technology. In December, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced it will start granting limited-purpose bank charters to financial technology (fintech) companies. In a speech, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said “consumers want better, faster, more accessible products and services, and they are willing to switch providers or use multiple providers to get what they want. These consumers expect to be able to transact basic banking and financial business anywhere, anytime, from the palm of their hands.”

Fintech companies that obtain a limited-purpose bank charter will still have to comply with several regulatory requirements, including the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money-laundering provisions, as well as relevant consumer protection laws.

Concerns about usurping state regulation were quickly expressed by the New York State Department of Financial Services. In a statement, the department’s superintendent said her state would not allow consumer protections to fall into the void and opposed “any effort to federalize what states have been doing for over a century.”

“Any reliance on a federal fintech regulatory framework, such as the proposal contemplated by the OCC, would be irresponsible if it were to ignore the states’ historical role and longstanding expertise in this arena,” Maria Vullo said. “History has demonstrated that states, not the federal government, have the requisite knowledge and experience to effectively regulate nondepository financial service providers and guard against predatory and abusive practices.

Real Estate

In the real estate space, executives at Redfin have asserted that technology will play a role in speeding up the homebuying and selling processes as well. According to a report from the online real estate brokerage, the next generation of real estate technology will see innovation shift from online listings to hardware and real-world services that increase the efficiency of real estate transactions.

“More and more there are buyers who are comfortable with an online offer process that makes it easier and faster to close a deal,” said Karen Krupsaw, senior vice president of real estate operations at Redfin. “There’s a new mindset that the home purchase isn’t the once or twice in a lifetime move it once was and the wide acceptance of technology makes online offer writing a reasonable and often preferred approach for buyers. People see it as more of a transaction. They want to get it done efficiently and move on.”

As an example, Caliber Home Loans recently launched a digital mortgage process that allegedly can close a loan in 10 days or less. Called the “Ultimate Homebuying Experience,” the company said the program takes nearly all of the mortgage process online, using various technological advancements to automate the process, from application all the way through closing.

Opendoor, another company with an online focus, plans to expand beyond the two markets where it’s currently available thanks to a round of funding that reportedly values the company above $1 billion.

The company, which launched in 2014, is an online marketplace that buys homes direct from homeowners and currently operates in Phoenix and Dallas-Fort Worth. With this model, a homeowner seeking to sell a home can go to Opendoor, enter details about the property and get a near-instant price quote. If the seller accepts, Opendoor then allows the seller to close on the sale when they’re ready, rather than on the timeline of the eventual buyer.

According to details provided by the company, it is currently handling $60 million in home volume each month and has served more 4,000 homeowners since it launched. The company said that it will use the $210 million in funding it has received to expand market share in flagship markets and to extend its service to 10 cities in 2017.

Despite more consumers flocking to websites to get help with the homebuying process, usage of real estate agents continues to grow, according to the 2016 homebuyer profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The report showed that while 44 percent of recent buyers started the search process online, 88 percent purchased their home through a real estate agent. This percentage has grown steadily from 69 percent in 2001.

Jeremy Wacksman, chief marketing officer at Zillow, sees technology shifting the role of real estate agent from an information negotiator to a local market expert and service provider. Title companies also will need to adapt to the changing needs of their clients and consumers.

“Before, you spent a lot of time doing information gathering, and collecting, and response,” he said. “The Internet really opened the doors. Agents are freed up to help get the deals done. But now they have to be agent, negotiator, price setter and a community resource.”

02/21/2017

5 Things to Know About ALTA’s Best Practices Maturity Model

ALTA’s Best Practices Maturity Model introduces an alternative method of reporting the results of your company’s Best Practices assessment. But what are the most important things to know about this new tool? Check out the graphic below to learn more!

5 Things - web

 

The public comment period for the Maturity Model ended July 29. Comments will be considered before the Maturity Model is finalized and becomes effective Oct. 7.

To learn more about the Maturity Model, register for ALTA's Annual Convention. The session titled "The Ins and Outs of ALTA's Best Practices Maturity Model" will discuss how your company can use it to elevate its procedures to meet the Best Practices.