It’s human nature to want to see the best in everyone we come across; this includes the Realtors, lenders, and Orlando title insurance companies we choose to work with when buying or selling property. The truth is that sometimes it’s harder to find a trustworthy closing partner than one might imagine. Case in point: a Minnesota title company, Liberty Title, Inc., and real estate agent, Brandon Doyle.

Between July 2014 and June 2015, Liberty Title offered Doyle multiple hotel accommodations and free meals in San Francisco, among other perks. Over time, more and more of his transactions resulted in the use of Liberty Title’s services. In fact, by 2015, 20 of his 23 transactions closed with Liberty Title. In March of 2017, the Commerce Department hit Liberty Title, Inc. with a $45,000 civil penalty. Doyle, on the other hand, faces a $5,000 penalty. Both parties violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). This act doesn’t allow parties to give or receive “things of value” in exchange for referrals.

Actions like these are actually quite common. Referral business is up for grabs, and some companies find it can be secured by excessively “wining and dining” agents or companies. When accepting over-the-top gifts, the real issue here is that real estate professionals start making referrals based on their own best interests, not the interests of their clients. So, how can you make sure you partner with a trustworthy closing company or real estate agent?

  • Reach Out to Your Network: It’s likely that someone in your personal or professional network has bought or sold a home recently. Reach out to see if they have a recommendation. This way, you know they don’t have a vested interest.
  • Read Testimonials: Reviews can usually be found on company’s websites as well as on review websites like Google, Yelp, and more.
  • Investigate their Independence: An independent closing agency has no ties to any other parties, so they can fully focus on the customer.
  • Ask Your Realtor for Multiple Options: With a few different options, you have the freedom to do some research. A simple Google search can usually reveal much about a company’s reputation, both good and bad.

When dealing with a transaction as important as buying or selling a home, it is important that you are working with professionals that you trust to protect your best interest. To learn more ways to find credible partners, check out our education center. Reach out to us today if you are looking for an Orlando title insurance company with your interests in mind!