Landmark Team’s CEO, Chris Cartwright, speaks on Title Fraud with Sandy Collins, iHeartCinci Podcast

Landmark Team’s CEO, Chris Cartwright, speaks on Title Fraud, an increasingly problematic problem in America. Chris was invited to discuss this pressing topic with Sandy Collins, host of iHeartCinci Podcast, after Sandy received an FBI alert on the topic.

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The Role of Title Insurance in Real Estate Transactions

The Role of Title Insurance in Real Estate Transactions

In the realm of real estate transactions, the significance of title insurance cannot be overstated. Serving as a critical safeguard against unforeseen ownership disputes and title defects, title insurance plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth transfer of property ownership. In our newsletter, “The Role of Title Insurance in Real Estate Transactions: Best Practices and Case Studies,” we explore the fundamental importance of title insurance, highlight best practices for its implementation, and examine real-world case studies that underscore its value in protecting stakeholders.

Understanding the Importance of Title Insurance

Title insurance serves as a shield, protecting property owners, lenders, and other stakeholders from potential risks associated with title defects, liens, encumbrances, and fraud. Unlike other forms of insurance that protect against future events, title insurance provides coverage for past occurrences that may jeopardize property ownership rights.

A comprehensive title search and examination are conducted during the underwriting process to identify any issues that may affect the property’s title. This diligent review helps to mitigate risks and ensure that the title is free and clear, providing peace of mind to all parties involved in the transaction.

Best Practices for Implementing Title Insurance

To maximize the efficacy of title insurance in real estate transactions, industry professionals should adhere to a set of best practices:

1. Thorough Due Diligence: Conduct comprehensive title searches and examinations to identify any existing or potential title defects, liens, or encumbrances.

2. Clear Communication: Maintain open and transparent communication with clients, explaining the importance of title insurance and addressing any concerns or questions they may have.

3. Customized Coverage: Tailor title insurance policies to meet the specific needs and circumstances of each transaction, considering factors such as property type, location, and intended use.

4. Risk Management Strategies: Implement proactive risk management measures to mitigate potential title-related risks, such as obtaining endorsements or conducting additional searches for specific issues.

5. Continual Education: Stay updated on industry trends, regulatory changes, and emerging risks through ongoing education and professional development.

Case Studies Illustrating the Value of Title Insurance

Real-world examples offer compelling evidence of the critical role that title insurance plays in safeguarding property rights and mitigating financial risks. Consider the following case studies:

1. The Hidden Lien: In a residential real estate transaction, the title search revealed an undisclosed mechanic’s lien against the property. Thanks to the comprehensive title insurance policy obtained by the buyer, the title company resolved the lien issue, protecting the buyer’s investment and preventing costly legal battles.

2. Boundary Dispute Resolution: A commercial property purchase was nearly derailed when a neighboring landowner claimed ownership of a portion of the property’s land. The title insurance policy provided coverage for the legal costs associated with resolving the boundary dispute, allowing the transaction to proceed smoothly.

3. Fraudulent Title Transfer: In a case of identity theft, an individual fraudulently transferred ownership of a property and attempted to sell it to an unsuspecting buyer. The title insurance company intervened, uncovering the fraudulent activity and restoring the rightful ownership to the original owner, thus preventing financial loss and legal complications.

These case studies underscore the invaluable protection afforded by title insurance in real estate transactions, highlighting its role in mitigating risks and preserving property rights.


As demonstrated, title insurance is a cornerstone of real estate transactions, providing essential protection against a myriad of potential risks. By adhering to best practices and leveraging the insights gleaned from real-world case studies, industry professionals can ensure the effective implementation of title insurance, safeguarding the interests of all parties involved in the transaction. Our newsletter serves as a valuable resource for navigating the complexities of title insurance and maximizing its benefits in real estate transactions.

Article published by Real University

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Mapped: What You Need to Earn to Own a Home in 50 American Cities

(Source: Home Sweet Home & Visual Capitalist)

A map of the U.S. with the median home price as well as the salary needed to own a home 50 American cities.

Once a fundamental part of the American dream, the ability to own a home is drifting farther and farther away for many Americans.

Between skyrocketing prices, stagnating wages, and now rising interest rates, the deck seems to be increasingly stacked against home ownership.

Using May 2023 data tabulated by Home Sweet Home, we map out the annual salary needed to afford a 30-year mortgage (at 6.37%) to buy a home in America’s 50 most populous metropolitan areas.

The monthly minimum mortgage payment includes taxes and insurance as well, and is capped at roughly one-third of the income. This analysis also assumes that the homeowner will put down a 20% down payment.

The Least and Most Affordable American Cities to Own a Home

At the top of the list, and at the very west of the country, San Jose is the least affordable city to own a home for the average American.

One would have to earn at least $374,000 a year to afford a $1.6 million dollar home in the city.

To put those numbers into perspective, the median American annual income is $75,000, about one-fifth what’s required to buy a home in San Jose.

Other Californian cities, San Francisco (ranked 2nd), San Diego (3rd), and Los Angeles (4th) all require an annual income of at least $180,000 to attempt home ownership within their metropolitan boundaries.

Boston (ranked 6th) and New York (ranked 7th) represent unaffordability on the East Coast, both requiring at least $160,000 a year to buy homes there.

It’s not just the coasts that are expensive however. To buy a home in Denver (ranked 8th) and Salt Lake City (15th) means earning more than $120,000 a year.

However, cities in the Midwest and South, like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Oklahoma City, and Louisville, are far more affordable, requiring less than $63,000 a year to buy a home.

Interest Rates Rock Home Ownership Chances

Aside from the obvious price differences in housing markets, a key factor that has elevated income requirements across the board is the rapid rise in interest rates in the last year. In fact the average 30-year mortgage has pushed past 7%, the highest it’s been since the 2000s.

This means that while the median price of a house in San Jose has actually come down between 2022 and 2023, the minimum monthly payment has increased from $7,717 to $8,720 this year.

So to afford a median-priced home in the country, an American needs to earn closer to $100,000 a year, up from $75,500 in 2022. And even then, they would be priced out of owning a home in nearly half of the 50 largest cities in the country.

As a result Americans may yet further delay home ownership. Renting is now a far more attractive option, thanks to the biggest difference between rent and mortgages in over 50 years.

Where Does This Data Come From?

Source: Home Sweet Home (HSH).

Note: HSH used different sources for their median home prices, mortgage rate, property taxes and home insurance figures for their analysis. Please visit their website for more information.

Other: If other personal debts exceed 8% of one’s given monthly gross income, this may increase the salary needed to qualify for a mortgage.

The full story is available: What You Need to Earn to Own a Home in 50 American Cities (

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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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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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