The response to our #GoodDeeds campaign highlighting the creative processes ALTA members have developed to help get deals closed, as well as the ways members are helping their communities during the COVID-19 crisis, has been inspiring.
From virtual dog therapy sessions and helping those in need, to offering remote online notarization or curbside service to get deals closed, the title and settlement industry has responded to meet the needs of their customers.
Here’s a look at some more #GoodDeeds:
To help during the crisis, Andrea Ewan, manager of Dearborn Title Insurance in Lawrenceburg, Ind., helped found The Dearborn County Mask Coalition Inc. The coalition will hold its third county-wide mask distribution on April 25. The masks provided are the paper surgical masks, which can be worn alone or underneath a cloth mask for extra protection.
In addition to the public distribution of masks, Ewan said the group have given over 20,000 paper masks to local health care workers and first responders. She acknowledged one of her friends who she said, “has a heart of gold and continues to impress me with his generosity and desire to give back to the community.”
Ewan said they also were able to get 500 N95 masks, which were distributed to our local first responders.
From Sleeping Bags to Masks
Lorna Koberlein, a senior abstractor with Stewart Title Insurance Company in Owego, N.Y., shared how she is making masks for a hospital, local hospital and the Mercy House, as well as family and friends. Koberlein and her good friend, formerly of the Law Firm Coughlin & Gerhart, transitioned from making sleeping bags for the homeless to making the masks.
Supporting the Front Lines
Christina Kass, president of Vanguard Title Co. in Michigan, shared how her company helped a nurse close on her property while working in the thick of the crisis.
“She was so tired. She was so patient. She was so kind. She was thankful for us,” Kass said. “We were in tears.”
The nurse would have to take a break from the closing to greet patients and ask them COVID-related questions.
“We couldn’t see what was happening because she would have to put the phone down, but we could hear it. We could feel it too,” Kass wrote. “It brought the full reality of this time to heart. Our team, in this surreal reality, helped her through an incredibly difficult time.”
RON to the Rescue
Randy Gilbert of Florida’s Title Insurance Co. shared a story how his company used remote online notarization to facilitate a transaction between a man in Georgia who was selling property to a doctor in Illinois. Gilbert said the doctor was coughing throughout the closing, but it got him to think how his company could help during this crisis. The title agency decided to waive the cost of RON for each transaction through April. “It’s hard cost to us, but frankly during this time, it’s necessary,” Gilbert said. “It’s important during these times that we can march forward.”
Donating Portion of Fees
Laura Pate Rodier, the marketing director for The Title Professionals in Fredericksburg, Va., said they are supporting their local community by donating $20 from every closing to the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank to address the growing needs in their area. The company also set up a virtual food drive to benefit the food bank. “This allows our clients to easily help keep the shelves of the food bank stocked by using a simple link,” Rodier said. The company is also making masks to provide to Mary Washington Hospital Center.
Alexxa Haddock, a title agent with Douglass & Nelson Inc. in Covington, Ind., writes that her company is finding creative ways to keep working with a sense of humor. Until RON gets squared away, Haddock says their closings are a mixture of modified closing tables in the office, curbside closings or mail aways (which still require a notary).
The company has some splendid sidewalk chalk art to great customers and general pedestrians in their downtown. They also print and hang funny internet memes on their office door. The top one is a Shaun of the Dead reference, while the bottom one is Seth Rogen looking essential.
Speaking of Essential
As an essential business, Jessica Hamm, a closing agent for North Florida Title Company in Panama City Beach, Fla., wants to be ensure they are doing their part to keep the real estate market going by helping clients close their transactions. “Our top priority is to offer safe and secure closings for our customers. To adhere to CDC guidelines, they implemented curb-side closings. “We have already closed about 15 transactions and it has gone very smoothly,” Hamm said.
Share Your #GoodDeeds
Community is not based on our ability to physically see and touch each other, but rather the connection and care we show for each other—especially in times of need. ALTA would like to hear how you are continuing to serve your customers and communities during this uncertain and unprecedented time. We know how involved you are in your local market even when there’s not a pandemic, so we know you are actively involved in helping those that might need it most. We would like to highlight all the great volunteerism that is happening across our industry and the creative ways you’ve modified processes to get deals closed.
Here are three ways you can share your story with us:
- Email your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Post your story in the comments section on our blog.
- Share your story on Facebook or Instagram, use #GoodDeeds and tag ALTA.