COVID-19 Coronavirus Update

COVID-19 Response Update March 21, 2020

Foundation Title’s COVID-19 FAQs

Are you able to accept new orders and perform closings?

Absolutely! Our underwriters have all had time to get their bearings and come up with what we feel are very reasonable solutions to allow new commitments to be issued and closings to be performed. For the most part, your closing experience will remain largely the same, with only an extra document to be signed by the buyers and sellers. An example of the document can be viewed here:

SAMPLE GAP Indemnity Undertaking final 2

But a lot of the county courthouses are closed – how are you doing searches?

Many of the clerks’ offices have online portals that are being utilized by our searchers or the searches are being done through a title plant. There may be some limitations based on the transaction, but the majority of the transactions will be able to be insured. We will be utilizing current owner’s policies (often referred to as “back title”) to fill a lot of the gaps that might come up, along with various different solutions depending on what may arise (affidavits, escrows, etc). Because of this unique situation there will be some limitations on what any title agency can do, but we will explore and exhaust all options before we ever say no.

How are the Deeds and Mortgages getting recorded if the counties are closed?

We have embraced e-recording technology and are utilizing that to streamline the recording process and secure our spot in the recording queue. For those counties that do not e-record, our underwriters have allowed us to still close with the understanding that once the county re-opens, the documents are immediately sent in.

How about Certificate of Occupancies (COs) and Smoke Certifications?

These actually are not title requirements. You might have thought they were because we insisted on them for closings, but that was for the benefit of the buyers and our clients, as a buyer could be fined for not obtaining them if required. However, this is a unique situation, and the buyer has the right (assuming the lender, if any, approves) to close without either if they wish. We do recommend that the buyer consult with an attorney or real estate professional before deciding to do so. On our end, we would require a waiver signed by the buyer acknowledging they are aware of the possible risks.

What is being done to make closings safer?

We are strongly encouraging closings to only be attended by the buyers, their personal representative (attorney or realtor), and our closer. Ideally, walkthroughs are being done a day before closing to work out any issues in advance and sellers are getting all of their documents pre-signed and delivered to closing. We ask that any other parties (realtors, lenders, seller attorneys) refrain from coming to closing unless absolutely necessary and we will overnight all checks. Aside from that, we are doing the standard practices of disinfecting the closing room after all closings, disinfecting the common areas in our offices multiple times throughout the day, and discarding any pens used.

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