The purchase of a piece of property is an extensive process that involves a multitude of professionals, property inspections, a survey, appraisal, and often a title abstract. This comprehensive, detailed report is usually performed by the title company, and is one of the many documents required to close the sale of a property and transfer title to the new owner. The title abstract is undeniably the authority on information about a property's title.
It takes a great deal of research to get an abstract of title for real property. An abstract of title is distinguishable from other types of title related reports. The term abstract of title can be confusing to the average person and even to professionals in property-based industries.It is common to come across the term when purchasing property; however, there are other times where the abstract of title is utilized, such as with the oil and gas and legal industries.
Whatever the interest in a particular property, it is vital to fully understand its legal history.A property's abstract lists a myriad of legal activities associated with it, and that knowledge is a powerful tool.Having a full grasp of a complete history can give you an edge in negotiating leases, sales, and other property transactions.
Not only will having an abstract of title on hand benefit you when it comes time to negotiate, but it can also reveal potential risks associated with the conveyance or acquisition of a property.
As you know by now, the sky is falling on the mortgage industry. It has been for a few years. Nobody’s borrowing. Fewer still are lending.
But I have a secret to share. They will be borrowing (and lending) again soon. And when they do, you’ll see more business than ever in Texas. Why, you ask?
It’s hard to believe that Hollerbach & Associates opened its doors for the first time almost 3 decades ago. Now that makes me feel old! In 1985, a 30 year fixed mortgage could run some borrowers over 12 percent. Countrywide had just gone public, and the industry was on the verge of a secondary market spurred down-cycle. “Freddy” and “Fannie” did not quite mean the same things that they do today.
I guess the moral of the story is that this is a cyclical industry. Good times are always followed by bad. Bad times will always come to an end. But if I‘ve learned anything in my first 25 years as owner of Hollerbach & Associates, it’s that good business happens when one works with good people. We’ll continue to work with, and seek out, good, honest people to deliver our products. And we’re confident that this is the approach that will see firms like ours through to the next “up-cycle.” After all, it’s worked for the first 25 years.
We read a lot these days about the “consolidation” of the real estate industry. Usually, that means that the big fish are gobbling up the little fish, and that’s a natural part of business everywhere. Technology and other processes are being used to improve efficiencies. From a positive perspective, that means working smarter in an industry with historically narrow margins. For the naysayer, that means jobs are being eliminated. Both are true—such is business.
We hear a lot every day from the national trade publications that the real estate industry is “consolidating.” It’s becoming a struggle for independent, local market title and settlement services firms to compete with larger national outfits. But is this the beginning of the end for the small, local shop? I’m here to argue that it isn’t. And here’s why.
Hollerbach & Associates will celebrate its 25th year in business by advocating for the historical courthouses of Texas. The firm will be promoting the Texas Historical Commission’s Historical Courthouse Preservation Program throughout the year. The program is designed to promote the preservation of the more than 234 historical county courthouses over 50 years old that make up a vital part of the state’s rich and diverse architectural and community history. This nationally recognized preservation program has turned the tide of disrepair and deterioration in these courthouses, and won national recognition. “The Texas county courthouse has always been at the heart of the community,” said Jim Hollerbach, owner of Hollerbach & Associates. “The diversity and history from courthouse to courthouse are stunning, and really represent the same level of diversity and history displayed from county to county in Texas. We didn’t think twice when given the opportunity to promote this worthy program.”
Even in its 25th year of servicing the title insurance and mortgage lending industry, independent research and abstract firm Hollerbach & Associates continues to grow. One sign of this progress is the firm’s retention of title and mortgage industry marketing consultancy, True Impact Communications (www.trueimpactcommunications.com). Principal Brian Rieger has worked with numerous mortgage and title companies nationwide, including national title insurers, title technology firms, vendor management companies and title agencies. True Impact Communications will work to continue the growth of the firm by promoting its Texas-based expertise on a national level. Says owner Jim Hollerbach, “Just as Hollerbach & Associates understands the subtle nuances of Texas title research better than anyone, True Impact understands the subtleties of telling a corporate story to a national audience of mortgage and title insurance-related companies. It’s a natural fit.” True Impact will assist Hollerbach’s established team of marketing and design professionals to continue its consistent branding and marketing effort, while expanding the reach of the company’s story on a national level.
Hollerbach & Associates recently continued its tradition as the only settlement services firm to sponsor the Texas Bankers Association’s Home Equity Seminar series: Home Equity Lending Update 2010. The events took place in Arlington, March 11, 2010; San Antonio, April 7, 2010 and Houston, April 8, 2010 Owner Jim Hollerbach played a major role in the advocacy for home equity lending in the state of Texas, where the product was once prohibited. “Home equity lending is a powerful tool for consumers, and a strong line of business for many banks and mortgage lenders,” he said. “Its prohibition in Texas was based on arcane regulation, and really, was keeping this great state from being as competitive as possible in the national lending space. It didn’t take much impetus for us to get involved in the process of opening the doors to home equity, and we believe the results speak for themselves.” As many as 200 industry thought-leaders were expected at the seminars.
Hollerbach & Associates, an independent title research and abstract firm in San Antonio, will continue its strong partnership with the Texas Paralegal Association, including advertising support for the Texas Paralegal Journal. “The paralegal is the lifeblood of the law firm,” said owner Jim Hollerbach. “These are the people who put glue around the legal process every day,” he said. “We are proud to support the Texas Paralegal Association, which has a long history of promoting and sustaining its membership, and the critical role of the professional paralegal in the legal process.”
Hollerbach & Associates, an independent title research and abstract firm based in San Antonio, will celebrate its 25th year of servicing local and national clients by continuing its long standing partnership with the Texas Bankers Association. One of a select group of settlement services firms explicitly endorsed by the organization, Hollerbach & Associates enters into its INSERT year of partnership with the prestigious organization. “The Texas Bankers Association has been a trusted partner to us for a long time,” said owner Jim Hollerbach. “We’ve seen the industry change quite a bit in the past decade, from the markets to the introduction of home equity products in Texas,” he said. “But the TBA has always remained ahead of the curve, and we are happy to continue our association.”
After starting up as a small, independent title research and abstract firm almost three decades ago, only some things have changed at Hollerbach & Associates, which is celebrating its 25th year of service to the mortgage and title insurance industry in 2010. Today, the firm is larger, better-known and serves clients from around the country with title research needs in Texas and beyond. Owner Jim Hollerbach observes that the firm’s customers today include large national mortgage lenders, national vendor management companies and title insurers as well as a wide variety of Texas-based and southwestern lending institutions and mortgage companies. But other things have remained the same. The common denominator? “Texas,” answers the owner. “We’ve stuck to what we’ve always done best—title research and abstract work with emphasis on our understanding of our own backyard.” Of course, in Hollerbach’s case, the “backyard” is the greater Southwestern U.S, and the firm has done work in most of the 50 states. However, as Hollerbach observes, “Texas is a unique state with unusual and varied regulations and processes when it comes to property data,” says Hollerbach. “If one doesn’t know a county well, it’s easy to run into unanticipated delays in the search process.” The firm remains independent and family-owned 25 years later, and plans to remain so. “Our clients are happy with us and what we do—and we still love doing it!” said Hollerbach.
The site encompasses a group of five frontier mission complexes situated along a stretch of the San Antonio River basin in southern Texas, as well as a ranch located 37 kilometres to the south. It includes architectural and archaeological structures, farmlands, residencies, churches and granaries, as well as water distribution systems. The complexes were built by Franciscan missionaries in the 18th century and illustrate the Spanish Crown’s efforts to colonize, evangelize and defend the northern frontier of New Spain. The San Antonio Missions are also an example of the interweaving of Spanish and Coahuiltecan cultures, illustrated by a variety of features, including the decorative elements of churches, which combine Catholic symbols with indigenous designs inspired by nature.
For more information and a closer look, check out reimaginethealamo.org
Sounds simple, but a good vetting process which is reviewed and updated periodically can save a lender time and money in the long run. Your partners don’t just help you deliver a loan product. They’re also your face to the borrower in many cases. Carefully qualify your new settlement services and mortgage partners, and audit them regularly. Check references. Check their tech. Then, check again. Do they know the geographic market you are asking them to service? Are they experienced with the non-traditional lines of business such as default or commercial REO—or did they just add the services when the refi boom ended? Ask your customers how that vendor is performing. A good vendor can have a real impact on your margin. The “cheaper” option may end up costing you far more down the road.
Mortgage and real estate lending success begins with the little things. From time to time, we’ll let you know what we hear from our lending partners, and refresh you on the details that make a good mortgage lender great!
The mortgage and real estate market may be struggling a bit right now, but many of us in Texas are staying busy with the oil and gas boom fueled (yes, pun intended) by the Barnett and Eagle Ford Shales. For land research firms like Hollerbach & Associates, that means working on due diligence of mineral assets; mineral exceptions and convergences of trusts, amongst other things. That’s one of the beautiful things about Texas. Our economy is not a one-trick pony. Although our housing market may be a bit slow at the moment, we are able to rely on the drive for new energy sources, a growing population and a business friendly government, which allows for a good amount of diversity in the types of economic engines here. Nonetheless, we’re expecting a bounce back sooner or later in the residential real estate market (especially if we continue to grow as we are). In the meantime, there’s plenty of work to go around in O&G!
I know the economy isn’t hitting on all cylinders right now. I know that we all have to work a little harder these days. But I can’t help but wonder how much our economy stutters when the media chooses to focus on the negative day after day. I’ve heard that the stock market, in particular, is as much psychology as science. Investors work with numbers, statistics and….hunches. “Confidence” is so important to our economy that the Consumer Confidence Index is actually a key economic indicator. But I can’t imagine many out there feel confident in making investments or purchases right now when they’re bombarded with negative reports and, worse, commentary. This is not to suggest that the media shouldn’t cover these things. However, we all know that how it’s covered, how often it’s covered, and how it’s analyzed by the talking heads has a real impact on the viewer.I, for one, would like to hear a little good news now and then. It’s out there. We’re just not hearing about it.
Well, it’s that time again. The Legislature of the State of Texas will be convening for its regular session this January. And of course, this fall will bring election season. Now, I know that this tends to elicit skeptical remarks and a generally cynical attitude on the part of the general electorate. Perhaps some of our elected leaders (here and nationally) have earned that.
But I’d ask all of us to consider just how important the political process is in our lives. We can choose to ignore or criticize it from afar, which is the easy way out, as far as I’m concerned. That usually allows for the worst possible results. Or we can get involved. We still live in a democratic republic. Skepticism aside, we can still make a difference. At the minimum, get educated on the issues impacting your life by using more than political advertisements and water cooler conversation. Make your voice heard. And if you don’t like something, get involved! That, in my humble opinion, is the Texan’s way.