Last week I came across a post on a social media site from a real estate agent in PA who was teaming up with their in-house mortgage company and a title insurance company, offering discounts on their services when you hired them to buy a house. The real estate company was offering a modest commission rebate, it wasn’t really clear what the lender was offering, and the title company would waive their settlement fee if you hired them.

As many of you already know, when it comes to offering the consumer exceptional customer service and saving them money, there’s no bigger proponent of that philosophy than me. However, honesty and transparency are two key ingredients to earning your clients’ loyalty and trust.

It wasn’t made clear as to what the lender was really offering and if I can’t get the gist of the offer in plain English, it’s probably not worth much.

As for the title company waiving the closing fee… it sounds good, but chances are that you wouldn’t have had to pay it anyway.  In PA, the cost of performing the closing is included in the title insurance premium.  When you refinance, a title insurance company may charge a closing fee to attend closing at your home or business, or attend closing after normal business hours.  Since 99.9% of real estate closings take place during normal business hours, and typically take place at the office of the title company, real estate agent or builder (for new construction), title companies are not permitted to charge a closing fee. So this particular title company wanted you to believe they were saving you money, when in reality the only thing they were doing was being dishonest.

I consistently come back to the same bottom line. When you buy, sell or refinance real estate, educate yourself on the process and when you come across individuals and companies that lack experience or seem to be dishonest, don’t hire them.

In this particular situation, the real estate agent, who posted this offer for friends, family and neighbors to see, was either purposely misleading those who read it or didn’t know that the offer was most likely a sham. Either way, you should expect more from the professionals that you hire.

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