Fraud Protection

Fraud protection is essential in the title industry. Fraudulent wiring instructions have caused dramatic financial losses for title agents, realtors, homeownership, and homebuyers.

We want to keep you safe.

What we know:

    • Changes to wire instructions are not normal
    • Lender payoffs are being manipulated
    • Large losses are occurring in the industry
    • Payoff instructions are not verified

Safety Measures:

    • Question every single change to wire instructions, change requests are not normal and probably fraudulent
    • Do not reply directly to emails requesting the movement of money
    • Instead, use the “forward” option and type in the correct email address or select it from your email address book
    • Validate new payment instructions received via email—even if it is internal
    • Always verify the authenticity of each wire transfer request
    • Call, using a number you have previously called—not one from the current wire transfer request—to verify verbally
    • Verify payment instructions with any new vendor
    • Verify changes to payment instructions for an existing vendor
    • Verify pay-off account numbers before wiring funds

How can you avoid fraud?

  • Establish a verification protocol
  • Enforce the protocol with all employees
  • Re-review on a regular basis
  • Implement multi-factor authentication
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Important Notice for Listing Agents

Please inquire with your sellers if they took advantage of the FORBEARANCE Programs due to Covid-19. Our underwriters are finding that these types of programs create a ‘Partial Claim Mortgage.’ This is separate from their original mortgage, which potentially creates an additional mortgage recording at the county.

In the event that the seller did participate in the Forbearance program, their payoffs can require additional documentation. Further, they can take additional processing time, some up to 10-14 business days to return 3rd party requests due to additional calculation.

To be proactive (if possible), please have the seller request the payoff in advance and forward to you (the agent/admin) or to Landmark via FAX 937-432-6075 or Email:( making the payoff good 1 week past the contract close date.

We are also happy to speak with the seller regarding this if we know in advance of the Forbearance. With your help we can stay on top of any possible delay should a Forbearance payoff be involved.

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Recording fees set to increase October 17, 2019

Effective October 17, 2019, recording fees for most documents will increase by $6 due to the passage of HB 166 by the Ohio Legislature.

The new recording fee will be $34 for the first two pages and $8 for each additional page. Half of all recording fees collected are required to be submitted to the state to the credit of the Ohio Housing Trust Fund.

Ohio Revised Code 317.32 and 317.36


Sample Fee Chart

Number of Pages Fee*
1 page
2 pages
3 pages
4 pages
5 pages
6 pages
7 pages
8 pages
9 pages
10 pages
  • $4 marginal fees and standardization guidelines still apply.


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Long-awaited FHA condo rules | boost to affordability


The following news is shared from an announcement by the National Association of Realtors.

HUD to announce long-awaited FHA condo rules | will give affordability a boost

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is expected to release updated guidance tomorrow on FHA-insured condominium financing. The new rules should benefit real estate clients and customers by allowing more buyers to obtain low down-payment mortgages on affordable housing options.

Specifically, the new rules will:

  • Extend FHA certifications on condo developments from two years to three years, reducing the compliance burden on condo boards.
  • Allow for single-unit mortgage approvals-often known as spot approvals-which will enable FHA insurance of individual condo units, even if the property does not have FHA approval.
  • Secure additional flexibility in the ratio of investors to owner-occupants allowed for FHA financing in a condo building.

The full guidance will go into effect in mid-October, 60 days from publication.

“Condominiums are often the most affordable option for first-time homebuyers, small families, and those in urban areas,” said NAR President John Smaby, in a statement issued to the media Wednesday morning. ‘We are thrilled that (HUD) Secretary (Ben) Carson has taken this much-needed step to put the American dream within reach for thousands of additional families.”
Since 2008, NAR has championed policy changes in condo lending. NAR has sought rules that would allow the owner-occupancy level to be determined on a case-by-case basis and that
would extend the approval period for project certification to five years.

NAR’s existing-home sales report for June showed condominium and co-op sales at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 580,000 units, a decline of 3.3% from May and 6.5% from the same time last year. With more than 8.7 million condo units nationwide, only 17,792 FHA condo loans have been originated in the past year.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently noted that even though median prices for existing condos have risen slightly, their relative affordability means condominiums remain a natural answer to inventory shortages holding back home sales growth.

“Condos are typically more affordable than a detached single-family home, but only a small fraction of condos are FHA-certified,” Yun said last month.

NAR has advocated for changes to FHA’s condo policies that include allowing owner-occupancy level determination on a case-by-case basis, granting up to 45% commercial space without documentation and including a five-year approval period for project certification.

The FHA issued proposed changes to its condo rules in 2016 that would have allowed individual condo units to become eligible for FHA financing, but the proposed rules were never finalized.

HUD estimates that these new rules could cause anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 condominium units to become eligible for FHA-insured financing annually.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Interim Guidance for the Blue Water Navy Act of 2019

The following is excerpted from a notification from the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association.

VA Releases Circular 26-19-23 on August 12, 2019
Circular 26-19-23, interim guidance for the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. Some key provisions of the Act, effective with loans closed on or after (and not before) January 1, 2020, are:

Veterans with loans amounts over $144,000, with full entitlement, will not need a down payment regarldess of purchase price;

The guarantee for loans at $144,000 and less will not change;

For Veterans who have previously used entitlement that has not been restored, the maximum amount of guaranty is the lesser of 25 percent of the loan amount OR the maximum amount of guaranty entitlement available. The maximum amount of guaranty entitlement is 25 percent of the Freddie Mac Conforming Loan Limit, reduced by the amount of entitlement previously used (not restored). In other words, the loan amount without a down payment could be 4 times the remaining entitlement. 25% down payment would be required over and above that loan amount.

Funding Fees will be as follows for all veterans, regardless of whether Regular Military, Reservist, or National Guard:

Type of Loan Downpayment Percentage for First Time Use Percentage for First Time Use
Purchase and Construction Loans None
5% but less than 10%
10% or more
Cash-out Refinance Loans n/a 2.30% 3.60%
IRRRLS n/a 0.50% 0.50%
Loan Assumptions n/a 0.50% 0.50%

Purple Heart recipients will be exempt from paying the Funding Fee.

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Mortgage terms | the basics


Buying a home can be daunting with all of the jargon and terms. Here are five basic terms that will be helpful to you during your loan shopping and purchase.

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (APR) – The cost of all credit and finances as determined by the length of a year, including the interest rate, points, broker fees, and other credit charges obligated to the buyer.

CLOSING COSTS – Also referred to as transaction costs or settlement costs. These may include various fees and charges associated with finalization. Closing costs can relate to application fees, title examination, title insurance, property fees, settlement documents, and attorney charges.

DOWN PAYMENT – Just like purchasing a new car, the process typically involves a downpayment. Larger sums of money are involved with most mortgages. The downpayment is the amount paid by the homebuyer to make up for/lower the gap between the purchase price and mortgage amount. It is generally advised this amount be no less than 10% to 15%, with the average magic number being 20%, of the purchase price. Avoiding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and lower interest rates are key goals in the downpayment process.

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE (PMI) – when a homebuyer places less than 20% of a downpayment on their home purchase, PMI is typically required. This insurance protects the lender in the instance of possible loan default. PMI is an added expense tacked onto the monthly mortgage payment and can take years to pay down.

LOAN ESTIMATE (LE) – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, requires lenders to issue a Loan Estimate within three business days of the mortgage application. The Loan Estimate details the loan terms and also estimated closing costs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Moving checklist

Moving Checklist

You may not be able to move mountains, but you can plan an organized move with a little help from this step-by-step timeline.

By PETER LAMASTRO (as published in REAL Magazine)

Two Months Before

        • Sort and purge. Go through every room of your house and decide what you’d like to keep and what you can get rid of. Think about whether any items will require special packing or extra insurance coverage.
        • Research. Start investigating moving company options. Do not rely on a quote over the phone; request an on-site estimate. Get an estimate in writing from each company, and make sure it has a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number on it if you are moving to a different state. If you’re moving within a state, some states require a USDOT number, check here to see if your state does. You can also check with your state’s public utilities commission, moving association, or Better Business Bureau.
        • Create a moving binder. Use this binder to keep track of everything—all your estimates, your receipts, and an inventory of all the items you’re moving.
        • Organize school records. Go to your children’s school and arrange for their records to be transferred to their new school district.
        • Six Weeks Before
        • Order supplies. Order boxes and other supplies such as tape, Bubble Wrap, and permanent markers. Don’t forget to order specialty containers, such as dish barrels or wardrobe boxes.
        • Use it or lose it. Start using up things that you don’t want to move, like frozen or perishable foods and cleaning supplies.
        • Take measurements. Check room dimensions at your new home, if possible, and make sure larger pieces of furniture will fit through the door.

One Month Before

        • Choose your mover and confirm the arrangements. Select a company and get written confirmation of your moving date, costs, and other details.
        • Begin packing. Start packing the things that you use most infrequently, such as the waffle iron and croquet set. While packing, note items of special value that might require additional insurance from your moving company. Make sure to declare, in writing, any items valued over $100 per pound, such as a computer.
        • Label. Clearly label and number each box with its contents and the room it’s destined for. This will help you to keep an inventory of your belongings. Pack and label “essentials” boxes of items you’ll need right away.
        • Separate valuables. Add items such as jewelry and important files to a safe box that you’ll personally transport to your new home. Make sure to put the mover’s estimate in this box. You’ll need it for reference on moving day.
        • Do a change of address. Go to your local post office and fill out a change-of-address form, or do it online at But in case there are stragglers, it’s always wise to ask a close neighbor to look out for mail after you’ve moved. Check-in with him or her two weeks after the move, and again two weeks after that.
        • Notify important parties. Alert the following of your move: banks, brokerage firms, your employer’s human resources department, magazine and newspapers you subscribe to, and credit card, insurance, and utility companies.
        • Forward medical records. Arrange for medical records to be sent to any new health-care providers or obtain copies of them yourself. Ask for referrals.

Two Weeks Before

        • Arrange to be off from work on date of closing and moving day. Notify your office that you plan to supervise the move and therefore need the day off.
        • Tune-up. Take your car to a garage, and ask the mechanic to consider what services might be needed if you’re moving to a new climate.
        • Clean out your safe-deposit box. If you’ll be changing banks, remove the contents of your safe-deposit box and put them in the safe box that you’ll take with you on moving day.
        • Contact the moving company. Reconfirm the arrangements.
      • One Week Before
          • Refill prescriptions. Stock up on prescriptions you’ll need during the next couple of weeks.
          • Pack your suitcases. Aim to finish your general packing a few days before your moving date. Then pack suitcases for everyone in the family with enough clothes to wear for a few days.

A Few Days Before

        • Defrost the freezer. If your refrigerator is moving with you, make sure to empty, clean, and defrost it at least 24 hours before moving day.
        • Double-check the details. Reconfirm the moving company’s arrival time and other specifics and make sure you have prepared exact, written directions to your new home for the staff. Include contact information, such as your cell phone number.
        • Plan for the payment. If you haven’t already arranged to pay your mover with a credit card, get a money order, cashier’s check, or cash for payment and tip. If the staff has done a good job, 10 to 15 percent of the total fee is a good tip. If your move was especially difficult, you might tip each mover up to $100. Don’t forget that refreshments are always appreciated.

Moving Day

        • Verify. Make sure that the moving truck that shows up is from the company you hired: The USDOT number painted on its side should match the number on the estimate you were given. Additionally, you can check if the moving truck has the company’s branding, or vehicle number that was listed in your confirmation. Scams are not unheard of.
        • Take inventory. Before the movers leave, sign the bill of lading/inventory list and keep a copy.
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