bio elizabeth weintraub

A Title Insurance Background Helps a Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Sacramento-home-for-sale.300x225Most people don’t know that this Sacramento real estate agent got her start in real estate in the early 1970s as a title searcher at First American Title. After a few years of standing for hours in 6-inch heels at the courthouse (without A/C) and hoisting up those heavy Grantor and Grantee books on the counter, I changed career paths and eventually became a Certified Escrow Officer. This meant using carbon paper to type from scratch escrow instructions, preparing grant deeds and explaining truth-in-lending statements to buyers — much the same duties an escrow officer handles today, sans the typewriter.

Back then I handled about 60 escrows a month. Ordering beneficiary demands, obtaining pest completions and appraisals. Since I worked in Southern California, which handles escrows differently than Northern California, much of the work in an escrow was and still is completed upfront. Sellers and buyers came to my office to sign escrow instructions shortly after contract acceptance.

My days were filled with phone calls and face-to-face interaction with customers. That meant I generally didn’t get any actual work done during business hours, so I would stay late to catch up on the paperwork. It seemed to me back then that I was doing all of the work in a real estate transaction by helping agents structure owner financing and earning a pittance of what real estate agents made. So, I switched careers in 1979 and became a real estate agent in southern California, and later a Sacramento real estate agent.

Now that I’m handling a huge volume of paperwork as a Sacramento real estate agent, though, I’m finding that my days are about the same as they were 30-some years ago. That title and escrow background has been helpful because I learned how to be organized. Because the vast amount of paperwork that is required in any given transaction for an agent today is enormous.

I wonder how other agents deal with all the paperwork without an escrow background? I suppose they hire an assistant. I won’t go down that path, though, because I feel the need to personally touch every document myself. I know, it’s anal and crazy. My transaction coordinator handles the disclosures, but I still look at them.

For example, I read every preliminary title report and appraisal for my buyers. I caught a cloud on title last week and called the title company. Turned out the back portion of an alley was never properly conveyed to the present sellers. Without a deed from that owner of record, my buyer would not receive the proper conveyance. Fortunately, the title company has now taken steps to obtain a quitclaim deed from that former seller but only because one of the present sellers knew that person.

Otherwise, we could have been up a creek. But, let me tell you, being a Sacramento real estate agent beats standing in high heels at the courthouse.

While Elizabeth is on vacation, we are revisiting her favorite blogs from previous years.

Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub\'s Blog via email