In the third quarter, the purchase market continued to show little change from the 2016 market. (charts pages 13-15) Sales of property which are not the buyer’s primary residence enjoyed the strongest third quarter since sales disclosure data became publicly available ─ about 6 years. This made up for softening in the market for properties that became the buyer’s home.
Recorded mortgages however came in with the second weakest third quarter since 2009. (page 7) Counter to the overall trend though, mortgages between $200K and $424.1K were much stronger compared to smaller loans in prior years. (charts pages 9 & 10)
It’s a “no news is good news” market. And I’m more than OK with that!
Team Member Changes at John Bethell Title
I’m happy to announce that Julia Francke joined our closing team at the beginning of October as a pre-closing processor. Julia had been a Realtor® in Florida and became a JBT title team member in April 2016 after relocating back home to Monroe County. Prior to becoming a Realtor®, Julia did mortgage processing for nine years. Combined with Julia’s year and half on our title team her skills and experience are a perfect fit for her new role. Julia will be working with Rebecca Spencer’s and Amy Thomas’ closing team.
Julia succeeds Willow Spencer in this role. Willow recently left us to for the challenges of becoming a Realtor® with Millican Realty. We will miss Willow. She handled her role exceedingly well. We wish her all the best in her new profession and we’re looking forward to working with her as a successful client!
September wasn’t quite as dynamic as the prior four months but it was busy nonetheless. We helped 406 people buy, sell or refinance their properties. Our closing team delivered seller side closing statements two or more day prior to closing for 95% of our transactions. And our title team continued to rock and produced Monroe County title commitments in four days or less 91% of the time with average turn-time of 2.94 days.
~ John Bethell
We’re already starting to get questions about the November real estate taxes so I thought that I would touch on that this month.
As we approach the due date, lenders require that the November 10th installment of real estate taxes be paid at closing. If the seller is currently escrowing taxes and the closing takes place shortly before the 10th, we are not always able to confirm payment. This usually occurs because the lender’s payment from escrow is in transit and unable to be verified with the Monroe County treasurer. In these situations we will hold in escrow from the seller an amount equal to the tax payment plus ten percent. Post-closing, if we confirm that the payment was made on time, we’ll refund the escrow to the seller. If the payment was not made, we’ll pay the taxes due plus the penalty from the escrow.
Our team enjoyed a terrific August. The title team’s average turn time for Monroe County orders was 2.81 days. Eighty percent of our orders were sent out within 3 days and ninety two percent in four days. Because the average time was less than 3.14 days, everyone in the company will enjoy some pie!
For the four weeks ending September 1st, the closing team produced seller side closing statements 93% of the time 2 or more days prior to closing. And we helped 511 people buy, sell or refinance their properties.
Have a great fall!
~ John Bethell
This month’s report includes the quarterly market recap that I was unable to include last month.
The purchase market is a bit down from 2016, but not significantly. (chart page 7) Existing housing inventory is still tight, and that’s probably what’s holding the market back. Given the low inventory levels, it’s somewhat remarkable that sales are not off more. Sales of non-owner occupied properties were actually better that a year ago. (chart page 9) After a closer examination of the sale disclosure data though, that appears to be a result of an increase in higher end vacant lots being sold this year.
Overall the market for the last two years seems to have arrived at a point of equilibrium between transactions and inventory. (Factoring in seasonal differences, of course). As always, our market is at risk from events happening outside of Bloomington, in Indianapolis, Washington D. C. or elsewhere. But absent any such shocks, it looks to me like its “steady as she goes.” That’s good thing!
We are delighted to have helped 1089 people buy, sell, or refinance their properties during June and July. For all of 2017 we’ve helped over 2700 people so far. During the same two-month span, our closing team produced seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing for more than 95% of our transactions. Just outstanding! Our title team kept up too and averaged 5.4 days turn time on Monroe County transactions in June, and 4.5 days in July.
~ John Bethell
John Bethell Title and Hoosier Hills Food Bank have teamed up for a Food Drive in the month of July.
Please stop by and help us fill our food drive bins with non-perishable food such as: soups with beans/meat, boxed pasta, mac & cheese, protein or other granola bars. Monetary donations are also accepted.
Summer is typically a slow time for food donations. Please join JBT in helping our neighbors and community!
We’re at the height of the homebuying season. Buyers, sellers and bad guys are out in abundance.
Attempted wire fraud against realtors, lenders and title companies continues to increase. The bad guys now know there’s lots of money moving around before a closing. This is a real problem and people are losing real money.
John Bethell Title encrypts all emails including wire instructions, account numbers and other personal private identifying information. Most of the time, our emails will be delivered as normal with a header that the email was encrypted. Users with older email platforms may receive a link to a secured website from which our email may be downloaded.
Most wire fraud attempts involve compromising email accounts hosted by public domains such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail. Bogus wire instructions are then forwarded to the party suggesting that the real wire instructions have changed. We are aware of at least one attempt involving a BBOR member. If you use a public domain for your business, I’d suggest that you reconsider.
This is a friendly reminder about ways to protect yourself and your clients when working with John Bethell Title.
- Do not forward wire instructions via unencrypted email.
- Direct buyers to call us for wire instructions. We will send the instructions to them via an encrypted email.
- Advise your clients that John Bethell Title will never ever ever change its wire instructions for a transaction already in process.
- Advise your clients to treat any communication purporting to change wire instructions as highly suspicious.
If we all stay vigilant, the bad guys will look elsewhere!
Effective July 1, 2017, the fees for recording documents with county recorders will finally be predictable regardless of the number of pages the document contains. Recording deeds on or after that date will be a flat $25. (This does not include any fees charged by the county auditor or other offices.) A mortgage will in most instances be a flat $55. Other documents, such as powers of attorneys, will in most cases also be $25. This will make determining final cash to close figures much easier for you and for us.
During the four weeks ending May 26th, our team helped 420 people buy, sell or refinance their property. Our closing team produced seller side closing statements two or more days prior to closing 93.6% of the time. Our title team produced 83% of our Monroe County title insurance commitments in four days or less with an average turn time of 3.6 days. Thank you for your continued confidence. We greatly appreciate your referrals.
~ John Bethell
June 13, 2017