How many years have you worked with MBH?
I've worked with MBH Settlement Group in their Old Town Alexandria office for 20 years. I was an antitrust attorney in the City out of law school and decided that real estate was my calling in April 2000. It's certainly been a great ride.
What makes your services unique/different than other title companies?
At MBH, we pride ourselves on our relationships. Having spent two decades working with Aaron and his fellow Realtor® colleagues, we've come to develop wonderful friendships both personally and professionally with our real estate agents. Those bonds give us added motivation to go the extra mile when our clients need us. Anecdotally, as I write, I'm in the office with an agent at 8pm awaiting a loan package for his first-time homebuyer clients so that they can close this evening and meet the moving truck early tomorrow morning.
How does title come into play in the buying/selling process?
Once the buyers and sellers have ratified the sales contract, we come into the picture. At the heart of our role is the seller's duty to convey marketable title to the buyer and the need for someone to move all of the funds, assist the lender in providing the financing, and record the deed in the land records. To that end, we facilitate the settlement, as well as insure the title for the lender and for the purchaser.
Well, we certainly believe that it does. While title insurance is essentially a fungible commodity, like any good or service, there are great ones, there are very bad ones, and there are many that fall in between. We like to think that our leadership in the community and our longevity (last year, MBH celebrated its' 25th Anniversary) speak to the quality of our customer service and client experience.
What should someone look for when selecting a title company?
Reputation and word-of-mouth are key. Speak with your Realtor® and your loan officer about title companies with whom they've had great experiences. They won't be shy about detailing those settlement companies with exceptional service and those without. Further, reach out to the company and have a discussion with them about the settlement process.
Can you briefly discuss the difference between title insurance and home insurance?
Homeowner's insurance protects the actual home and your belongings within from damage due to fire, flood, burglary, or any other insured hazard. By contrast, title insurance protects the homeowner's equity and interest in the property from the myriad of title claims that could arise during their ownership and beyond. While the list of risks is quite lengthy, this could include mechanic's liens, zoning and permit issues with the municipality, boundary disputes with a neighbor, supplemental taxes, and fraudulent conveyances to name a few. The great majority of most peoples' net worth lies in the equity of their home. It's certainly prudent to be certain that equity is insured and protected.
Tell us a bit about your experience working with Aaron Podolsky of Compass?
I've known Aaron for quite a long time and have always enjoyed working with him and his clients. Aaron's experience, professionalism and knowledge are invaluable to buyers and sellers alike when navigating complex real estate transactions.
What’s the best part about your job or working in your industry?
There's nothing like helping a first-time homebuyer achieve the dream of home ownership. It's something that I never take for granted and always savor the moment when I get to congratulate them on their major life accomplishment.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for buyers/sellers?
That one is easy . . . Hire a Realtor®.
Any funny, interesting stories you have at the closing table?
Where to begin? We've certainly seen a bit of everything over the past two decades, but when asked for a funny story, my mind always goes to 2005. It was in the middle of the real estate boom and transactions were at their highest. A successful Realtor® had just purchased a brand new Cadillac and arrived late to closing. He parked right outside of my conference room on S. Washington Street in Old Town. As he arrived, he was bragging to each of the parties about his new wheels. A collective eye roll ensued. About 5 minutes into the closing, someone took the turn from Duke Street onto S. Washington Street a little too quickly and crushed the new Caddie between his truck and the big maple tree on the side of the road. The Realtor's® reaction was priceless as he saw his totaled new car. It's a valuable lesson in life . . . Never get too high or too low -- Life has a way of changing quickly.
If someone wants to work with you what’s the best way to get in touch?
If someone wants to know more about what you do where can they find out more?