graphic: white background with gren, yellow and pink confetti. Blue outline of an envelop with faded yellow circle for accent and an orange star in the middle foreground.

Email Newsletter Best Practices

Develop more valuable connections to your prospects with a well-written and optimized newsletter. 

Are you looking to ramp up the marketing of your small agency? If so, consider making an email newsletter part of your toolkit. It may be tempting, especially these days, to think that email is no longer effective. Guess again. According to recent data, email marketing has an average ROI of $42 for every dollar spent. 80 percent of professionals say email is an effective tool for customer acquisition and retention.[i] Get started with your newsletter marketing and start building sustainable demand by implementing the following best practices. 

Subject Lines are Key

It is hard to overstate the importance of your email’s subject line, as prospects need to open your email before they can read it. The subject line is essentially your best opportunity to sell the reader on your email’s contents, so you need to make it count. Some main points to remember are to keep your subject lines short, convey the email’s main point or thesis, and avoid using characters like excessive exclamation points, which increase the possibility of your email getting stuck in a spam filter. 

Emphasize Your Value Proposition 

With any marketing strategy, it’s critical to make it primarily about the customer, not your business. The same idea holds true for your newsletter content. People will open and read your newsletter only if they understand there is something in it for them. Think about how you can deliver content that is exclusive, educational and actionable. For instance, your agency could put together a helpful video explaining how consumers can help keep their escrow funds safe from scammers and include it in your newsletter. You could even solicit participation from your audience, asking them to submit their own topics to be covered in a future newsletter. 

Optimize for Readability

Having strong content is only one-half of the equation; you also need to ensure that your newsletter is laid out in an aesthetically pleasing way. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Use strong, active verbs. Whatever you do, do not neglect including images. Nothing will turn readers off quicker than encountering walls of text within the body of an email. Many email marketing platforms now include free graphics that you can easily insert into your newsletter, and several sites offer stock photography either for free or at a relatively low cost. 

Stick to a Schedule

 Amidst all the other responsibilities that come with running an agency, making sure that your newsletter goes out at roughly the same time can seem challenging. Yet it is important to prioritize consistency if you are going to maximize your readership. Sending your newsletter at the same time will make it feel more professional, and it will also help you stick out in your recipients’ crowded inboxes. 

Toward More Meaningful Customer Relationships 

The marketing landscape is growing ever more complicated, with marketers having access to a variety of different channels and technology. But sometimes tried-and-true methods remain the way to go. Despite being decades old, email is still a viable marketing method that belongs in your arsenal. And when executed correctly, an email newsletter can help you build more meaningful and valuable customer relationships. 

[i]10 Email Marketing Statistics You Need to Know (Updated 2021) (constantcontact.com)

Graphic with Jeff Stein's picture congratulating him on his promotion to Senior Vice President and Chief Underwriting Counsel for Alliant National

Alliant National Announces the Promotion of Jeff Stein to Chief Underwriting Counsel and Senior Vice President

Longmont, Colo. – (March 9, 2021) – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, a unique title insurance underwriter that partners with independent agents to improve their competitive position, announces the promotion of Jeff Stein to the position of Chief Underwriting Counsel and Senior Vice President.

Jeff is a highly skilled attorney who has been representing individuals and organizations in the real estate field for more than 40 years. He has extensive experience in title insurance and real estate litigation, as well as claims, underwriting, contracts and estate planning. Jeff is board certified in real estate law by the Florida Bar and is a Florida civil law notary.

In his new role with Alliant National, Jeff will continue leading the company’s legal team in Florida and the Southeast, while also supporting the entirety of Alliant National’s underwriting operations throughout the country.

“I am excited to have been given the opportunity to work with our entire legal team,” says Stein. “I look forward to continuing and expanding the amazing partnership that exists between our agents and Alliant National on a national basis.”

Jeff will collaborate with leadership to help maintain Alliant National’s position as the premier independent underwriter for the independent agent. Lastly, he will take an active role supporting the ongoing education of both Alliant National’s agents and employees.

“Jeff has always been an integral part of our Alliant National legal team,” says Margaret Cook, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer. “He brings his deep understanding of the industry, vast knowledge of real estate law, natural leadership ability and affinity for relationship building to this new role. Jeff’s experience and skill set will enhance Alliant National’s underwriting capabilities as we continue to expand and partner with independent agents across the country.”

“Our underwriters are a key part of what makes Alliant National a great organization,” says David Sinclair, President and CEO of Alliant National. “Having a legal professional of Jeff’s caliber in this critical leadership position will be hugely beneficial for Alliant National’s continued success.”

Alliant National distinguishes itself from competitors by combining strong underwriting capability with independent agents’ in-depth knowledge of local markets. The result is a nationwide network with deep roots in local communities, and a wealth of expertise that is flexible, nuanced, and continuously growing.

Visit alliantnational.com for additional information.

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Cathie Beck
303.241.0805
cathie@capitalcitypr.com


About Alliant National Title Insurance Company
The Independent Underwriter for The Independent Agentsm – Alliant National believes in empowering people to thrive. The company protects the dreams of property owners with secure title insurance and partners with 500+ trusted independent title agents as a licensed underwriter in 27 states and the District of Columbia.

White background graphic with blue-lined house bearing a sign that read's "SOLD(almost)". Above the house are 3 circles. The left circle is bright green with a sign that reads part 1. The middle circle is faded pink with a sign that reads part 2. The right circle is faded yellow with a sign that reads part 3.

Common Closing Issues – Part I

Agents should prepare themselves to handle these routine scenarios.

Real estate closings require a delicate balancing act. Not only is speed of the essence, but closings also require accuracy and professionalism. Often there is no time to correct errors, and customers need to feel confident that their transactions are being carried out correctly.

Many issues can arise during the closing process. The following is the first of a three-part series that will explore some of the most common scenarios agents need to keep in mind.

Fiduciary Responsibilities

As escrow officers, title agents have fiduciary responsibilities and must act as neutral third parties, impartial arbitrators of contractual arrangements with conditions agreed to by both the buyer and seller. Escrow officers do not make decisions regarding a transaction and do
not advocate for any one party. Instead, they ensure that written instructions are carried out properly.

Authority Issues

Within this purview, there are a variety of common issues that may arise during closings. Issues can and do vary state-to-state. In Texas, for example, one such issue is determining who has authority to act for an entity, with a pertinent example being an LLC. When dealing with this type of entity, agents will need to review operating agreements. In the absence of an agreement, a certificate of authority can be examined. These certificates are helpful when dealing with sole manager and member LLCs. 

For corporations, agents should examine bylaws and subsequent amendments, and shareholders may be required to sign an affidavit. Nonprofits and churches conduct business differently. But in each context, the agent only needs to be concerned about authority when money is being borrowed or the entity is the seller.

Another authority question is power of attorney (POA). This is also mandated by state law. In Texas, agents must accept, reject or request a certification when presented with one. In reviewing a statutory durable power of attorney (DPOA), agents need to analyze if the powers have been limited, if it is durable and review the revocation clause. It is advisable to rely on a DPOA until there is a notice of revocation. As a best practice, certification for statutory DPOA should be required. The agent should also call the principal to verify if they are alive, that the POA has not been revoked and that a POA is being used to sell property. With trusts, it is prudent to maintain a full copy, and in its absence, obtain the certification of the trustee.

Information Security

Given the sheer volume of paperwork in real estate closings, data security is important. When possible, personal customer information should be heavily redacted. And all company policies should also be adhered to when processing this information. 

Spouses and Marital Status 

First, each state has its own spousal and/or marital law that dictates how agents must address issues. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws of your state.

In Texas – again, as one example – agents must be prepared to address transactions where only one spouse is listed in the title. Anyone with an interest in the property should be checked for involuntary liens and sign the deed. The marital status of the parties should be questioned if only one party is given as the seller, buyer or borrower.

With a married couple, both spouses must sign a deed of trust. If an agent is insuring a purchase money lien and one spouse is taking the title, an agent may accept a deed of trust signed only by the purchaser. The warranty deed is also required to include the vendor’s lien language. If the property belongs to one spouse while the other spouse lives in another property, one signature can be accepted and a Homestead Designation and Disclaimer will be executed.

In a sales transaction, agents should investigate the possible homestead character of the property, inquiring if there is an exemption and if the property address is the mailing address of the individual(s). The residency of the individuals should also be established. Sometimes a deed will be accepted signed solely by the spouse in the title, especially if permission is received by underwriting beforehand. It is necessary, though, to discern that the property to be insured is the separate property of one spouse and not the other spouse’s home, and a Homestead Designation and Disclaimer will need to be executed. 

When dealing with spouses, it is always important to compare the sellers and buyers on the contract with the grantors and grantees on the deed – and to resolve differences. Some examples are:

  • The contract shows the buyer to be Joe Smith, but the grantees on the deed are Joe and Mary Smith. 
  • The title is vested in and signed by Fred Farmer. The deed of trust is signed by “Fred Farmer and Susan Farmer pro forma to perfect the lien as to her homestead interest only.”
  • The title is vested in Harry Jones, but the note and deed of trust are signed by “Harry Jones and Cindy Jones.”

In the first example, the contract should be amended to add Mary Smith if she plans to take title. The case of Fred and Susan Farmer would be acceptable if there is evidence on file that the property is Fred’s separate property – either acquired before his marriage to Susan or inherited. Lastly, there is not much to worry about regarding Harry and Cindy, as this is a preferable way to handle the situation.

Conclusion

Numerous issues can pop up during closings, from entity authority to navigating transactions involving spouses. Agents can do a lot to circumvent any thorny problems. It starts with understanding the most common scenarios that arise during the closing process and then being prepared to take prompt and deliberate action. The next part of this series will continue to explore various challenges agents may face during closings, covering items such as funding and family transactions.

Welcome Mara Alyson, Florida Underwriting Counsel for Alliant National

Announcing new Underwriting Counsel in Florida

Longmont, Colo. – (February 25, 2021) – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, a unique title insurance underwriter that partners with independent agents to improve their competitive position, announces the hiring of Mara Alyson, Underwriting Counsel Florida.

Alyson is a highly skilled attorney with over 20 years of experience in title insurance, transactional and real estate litigation. She began her career practicing criminal prosecution before moving into real estate law. Working for several law firms, in addition to a regional title insurance underwriter, Alyson gained extensive expertise in underwriting both commercial and residential real estate transactions, closings and contract negotiations. She is also well versed in business development and title curative, and in fostering positive, long-term client relationships.

“I care deeply about the underwriting process, as well as supporting independent agents and protecting the interests of those involved in any given transaction,” said Alyson. “Joining the Alliant National team is an incredible opportunity to work for a deeply committed group of title insurance professionals, and I’m looking forward to many happy years here.”

Alyson’s past professional experiences will serve her well in her new role. She will be responsible for advising on underwriting decisions, drafting guidelines for examination and underwriting, and analyzing risk in title transactions.

“Mara is a seasoned legal professional who has an incredible grasp of all aspects of the title industry – from abstracting and examining to closings and underwriting. There is no doubt that she will be an exceptional addition to our team and operations, or that her diverse expertise will allow Alliant National to be an even more powerful force in the title insurance field,” said Brenda J. Cannon, Regional Counsel Florida and Senior Vice President.

Mara Alyson graduated with honors from Florida Atlantic University. She earned her JD from Nova South Eastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center. Mara is a member of the Florida Bar and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District.

Alliant National distinguishes itself from competitors by combining strong underwriting capability with independent agents’ in-depth knowledge of local markets. The result is a nationwide network with deep roots in local communities, and a wealth of expertise that is flexible, nuanced, and continuously growing.

Visit alliantnational.com for additional information.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Cathie Beck
Capital City Public Relation
e : cathie@capitalcitypr.com
p : 303-241-0805

ABOUT ALLIANT NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

The Independent Underwriter for The Independent AgentSM – Alliant National believes in empowering people to thrive.

The company protects the dreams of property owners with secure title insurance and partners with 500+ trusted independent title agents as a licensed underwriter in 27 states and the District of Columbia.

Alliant National Academy logo being revealed by owl

Announcing the Launch of a New Learning Platform

Alliant National Academy takes company’s educational offerings to the next level

Longmont, Colo. – (February 16, 2021) – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, a unique title insurance underwriter that partners with independent agents to improve their competitive position, announces the launch of Alliant National Academy, an online portal that pairs the company’s in-depth content and expert instructors with industry-leading education technology to provide an all-new learning experience.

Alliant National Academy is a convenient way for Alliant National agents to access the company’s catalog of live-st ream and on-demand webinars, many of which are approved for continuing education (CE) credit. CE courses are currently available to Alliant National agents in Texas, Florida and Alabama, with additional states coming soon.

Access to the system is also free of charge for Alliant National agents.

“Every agent’s education needs are different, and Alliant National has built a reputation for delivering customized solutions to meet those needs,” says Alliant National President and CEO David Sinclair. “Alliant National Academy is a new standard for online learning in our industry, and we’re excited to make this powerful tool available to our agents and their teams.”

Alliant National Academy enhances the educational experience before, during and after the course. Specific features of Alliant National Academy include:

One-click course registration after completing initial registration.

Improved course player that allows for pausing and completion of on-demand courses at the agent’s convenience.

Streamlined, all-in-one course completion system that easily provides the necessary verifications to obtain credit. No need to download, unlock and email required forms.

The ability to track course progress from a customizable personal dashboard.

Downloadable certificates of course completion that can be viewed and printed at any time.

Transcripts detailing all completed courses.

Learn more about the features of Alliant National Academy

Alliant National distinguishes itself from competitors by combining strong underwriting capability with independent agents’ in-depth knowledge of local markets. The result is a nationwide network with deep roots in local communities, and a wealth of expertise that is flexible, nuanced, and continuously growing.

Visit alliantnational.com for additional information.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Cathie Beck
Capital City Public Relation
e : cathie@capitalcitypr.com
p : 303-241-0805

ABOUT ALLIANT NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

The Independent Underwriter for The Independent AgentSM – Alliant National believes in empowering people to thrive.

The company protects the dreams of property owners with secure title insurance and partners with 500+ trusted independent title agents as a licensed underwriter in 27 states and the District of Columbia, with annual revenues exceeding $126 million.

This blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on this blog.

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