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!