Archive for August, 2010

What Is Escrow?

August 21st, 2010 No comments

It all started with a vision to ‘streamline the escrow process, both real and personal property’ and as we celebrate our 10th Anniversary I thought it might be a refresher to define the exact purpose of Escrow.  Escrow is sometimes known in other parts of the US as Closing, Settlement, etc and the information presented here was taken from a pamphlet prepared by the Escrow Institute of California to be handed out by escrow companies to their clients. We decided to present it pretty much as written because escrow companies very rarely get to explain what goes on in escrow in their own words. Usually your lender or Realtor explains the function of escrow to you:

Prepared by the Escrow Institute of California

Escrow: What is it?

Very simply defined, an escrow is a deposit of funds, a deed or other instrument by one party for the delivery to another party upon completion of a particular condition or event. The California Escrow Law: Section 17003 of the Financial Code: provides the legal definition.

Why Do I Need an Escrow?

Whether you are the buyer, seller, lender or borrower, you want the assurance that no funds or property will change hands until ALL of the instructions in the transaction have been followed. The escrow holder has the obligation to safeguard the funds and/or documents while they are in the possession of the escrow holder, and to disburse funds and/or convey title only when all provisions of the escrow have been complied with.

Escrow: How Does it Work?

The principals to the escrow: buyer, seller, lender, And borrower: cause escrow instructions, most usually in writing, to be created, signed and delivered to the escrow officer. If a broker is involved, he will normally provide the escrow officer with the information necessary for the preparation of your escrow instructions and documents.

The escrow officer will process the escrow, in accordance with the escrow instructions, and when all conditions required in the escrow can be met or achieved, the escrow will be “closed.” Each escrow, although following a similar pattern, will be different in some respects, as it deals with your property and the transaction at hand.

The duties of an escrow holder include; following the instructions given by the principals and parties to the transaction in a timely manner; handling the funds and/or documents in accordance with the instruction; paying all bills as authorized; responding to authorized requests from the principals; closing the escrow only when all terms funds in accordance with instructions and provide an accounting for same: the Closing or Settlement Statement.

Over the past several years we have provided electronic escrow and e=Closing services and will continue to assist moving the Industry towards a complete electronic and paperless Real Estate escrow transactions – from Opening through Closing. We applaud our ‘early adapters’ customers for sharing our vision!


Making a Difference-One e-Signature at a Time!

August 12th, 2010 No comments

“Making A Difference – One e-Signature at a Time!”

Recently, I was asked “WHY do you do what you do?” my first reaction – WOW-what a great question! (needed to stall so I come up with some ‘genius’) Actually, I didn’t have to dig to deep-we live our passion every day.

Back in the late 90′s and after 25 years of selling real estate, I made a leap to the escrow/settlement side of the business. We needed to come up with a competitive ‘differentiator’ -At the same time the Internet was coming into its’ own and I thought” Wouldn’t it be great if we remove the stress and friction associated with largest transaction most consumers would ever be involved in. By giving back the agent a ‘lifestyle’ change and not having to chase signatures and documents all over town (and sometimes the World when clients were traveling) this would surely be a ‘Game Changer’ (name of the book I co-authored to be released in October, 2010). With over 25 years of domain experience we understood that we would nned to start with ‘the end in mind’ and by getting ‘Buy-in’ along the way. We also knew this would be a tremendous challenge as there are so many entities/parties that are involved in the transaction; Buyers/Sellers/Borrowers, Agents, Lenders, Title, County Recorders, Notaries, Secondary Investors and Escrow/Settlement/Closing agents.

When we initially approached lenders extolling e-signature benefits they knew it was a ‘No Brainer’ but the response was ‘if you get Title to issue Insurance against the process and Fannie Mae to buy the electronic Promissory Notes – I’m in! When we spoke to Title they said “great idea-if you get the County Recorder to accept these e-Signed docs – we’re in! You guessed it – County Recorder’s said ‘if you get approval from the Attorney General” and Notaries said “if you received the nod from the Secretary of State” – no problem. So, for nearly 8 years we have spent each and every day checking these players off the list. Thankfully, along the way, President Clinton signed the e-Sign Act which gave us a little more validation.

In 2004, we became the first company to go live with e-Signing, e-Notary, e-Recording and in 2007 we added ‘Certified by MERS e-Registry and selling e-Notes to Fannie Mae’. Still today we are the ONLY e-sign Solution provider that has taken the time and spent the resources to deliver this Compliant End-to-End Solution. (One of our e-Sign competitors continues to boast that they have spent over $3o million of Venture Capital – just to deliver an email signature!) The process is so unique that we received a patent in the US and Australia! (Patents pending is the US, Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong and the EU)

We plodded through, worked with Industry leaders and pioneers, and we never looked back-WHY? Because our mission from day one was to Streamline the entire real estate/mortgage transaction and have become the first and only platform that can boast a TRUE end-to-end transaction over the internet-no Faxing, No Scanning and No Paper!

Next question, “This has taken nearly 10 years to gain Buy-In and to develop – besides your clear Vision to Disrupt the way future RE transactions would be processed  - where did you get the perseverance to sustain yourself, especially in a industry without any Early Adopters? Another great question…”We believed that if given a chance to legally sign/execute documents/contracts over the Internet why would any REALTOR® want to drive all over town chasing signatures and documents to open  and/or close a transaction. It just made to much sense that Agents would not want to be tethered to a fax machine, scanner or worst yet to an expensive overnight carrier” (OOPS – sorry we closed at 5pm)

So here we are today, introducing e-Signing to the folks that ‘Start’ the entire process-REALTORS®. It didn’t make much sense to get Agents on Board until we received total Acceptance from all the parties afore-mentioned. Since we have now trained thousands of Agents we are being asked “what Escrow/Settlement companies are processing escrow related docs electronically?” These’ early adopter’ agents are now anxious to complete the entire process electronically since they  have introduced e-Signing to their Consumers and now to have to Open escrow with a company that is still so 90’s – nothing more frustrating to have to now go back to original paper and Wet-signing!

We have now come full circle, Escrow companies have now been licensing our patent and technology and it won’t be long before we see the ‘tipping’ point where every real estate transaction will be processed over the Internet- in minutes vs. days!

We are currently embracing REALTORS® to join our Cause and truly ‘Make a Difference-One e-Signature at a Time!’- that‘s WHY we do what we do every day and enjoy every minute of it!


CALIF First Time Buyer Credit Expires Soon

August 12th, 2010 No comments

Sunday Deadline For California First-Time Buyer Credit in News > Residential Mortgage by on Tuesday 10 August 2010 California’s The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) says it will stop accepting applications for the First-Time Buyer Credit at midnight on Sunday, Aug. 15. As of Aug. 4, FTB has received 31,460 applications. The FTB stated that because some of the applications are invalid or duplicates, it will continue to accept them through Aug. 15 to ensure that enough valid applications are received to properly allocate the full $100 million. FTB estimates that it can award approximately 17,500 to 20,000 credit certificates to unique and valid applicants. The credit will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis using the date and time stamp on the fax submission, until the money is exhausted. The tax credit is available to those who purchased a qualified principal residence and did not own one during the last three years. This credit is equal to 5% of the purchase price or $10,000 – whichever is less, and taxpayers must claim the credit on their tax return in equal amounts over the following three tax years. SOURCE: The Franchise Tax Board


NEW User to First Live transaction – Less than 30 minutes!

August 10th, 2010 No comments

We have been made aware of a new client that signed with us the other day, needed to be trained so he could send docs to Canada to make an offer on a California home and all was successfully completed in 30 minutes. Click here to view a quick video testimonial…