Aug 16 | 2017

EasyFund is Now Available Directly Through
The Conveyancer®

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EasyFund is now available directly through The Conveyancer®At FCT, we’re always looking for ways to make real estate transactions more efficient for everyone involved. To do this, it’s important to ensure that any new innovation is integrated easily and seamlessly into the existing closing process.

Do Process shares our goals to streamline practices and provide innovative solutions to the legal community. We’re happy to announce that EasyFund is now accessible directly through The Conveyancer platform*. This integration is another way we can provide our customers with greater efficiencies in the closing process. They can now enjoy a truly end-to-end solution through The Conveyancer.

“FCT has found the Holy Grail for Canadian real estate lawyers: electronic transfer of funds between solicitors… and now they’re making it even easier.” Mitch Kowalski, author, advisor and innovator in the global legal services industry.

EasyFund was created in response to a need from the legal community to provide greater efficiencies in the cumbersome practice of paper cheques delivered between offices during a real estate funding process. It is a secure online service that offers legal professionals the ability to safely manage the transfer of real estate closing funds, effectively reducing the need for certified cheques, bank drafts, direct deposits and couriers. It allows legal professionals to manage the payouts of a transaction quickly and easily without leaving the office.

Now, through our integration with The Conveyancer, the payout process can be completed securely and even more efficiently in two simple tabs.

How will this integration benefit you?

  • It will eliminate the need to re-key client information which saves you more time
  • Provide you with an end-to-end solution to process your deals
  • You will remain in control of the entire process
  • You will gain access to a larger network of lawyers who use EasyFund, making your transaction process easier

Join the growing network of law firms who already enjoy easier and faster closings with EasyFund by enrolling now! Contact us at 1.877.313.0505 or easyfund@fct.ca for more information.

*EasyFund is currently available in Ontario only.
Aug 1 | 2017

Is Your Cottage or Investment Property Vulnerable to Fraud?

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Is your cottage or investment property vulnerable to fraud?While people may see the value of getting title insurance for their homes, it is equally important to title insure any property you own – a cottage, summer home or even an investment.

Fraudsters may target properties that appear vacant or are rented out, especially ones that are mortgage free, and can either illegally transfer the deed to themselves and sell it out from under you or take out a mortgage on it and escape with the proceeds.

In one instance, a young man decided to use some of his savings and invest in real estate. He purchased an investment property for $204,500.00, as well as an FCT homeowner title insurance policy. Two years after the purchase, he received a notice stating that the mortgage was in default and that the lender would be taking possession of the property. Confused, he went to a lawyer as he knew that his mortgage was in good standing. An investigation revealed that though the man’s original mortgage was not discharged, the title was fraudulently transferred from the insured homeowner and a mortgage in the amount of $165,000 had been registered on the title. Mortgage funds were paid to the fraudster, who was now nowhere to be found.

Luckily for the young man, he was protected by an FCT title insurance policy. We coordinated and retained a lawyer on his behalf, and ultimately paid out $12,548.09 in legal fees to remove the fraudulent mortgage from title and rightfully transfer title back. The young man was able to keep his investment property, while being spared the time, expense and hassle of having to defend himself against the fraud.

While it’s not feasible to prevent fraud from taking place, the easiest way to protect yourself is to purchase title insurance. It will ensure that you are able to defend and retain the title to your property without experiencing all the stress and the costs associated with it, in addition to protecting you from a host of other title and non-title issues.

Have any questions about fraud protection? Share it with us in the comments section!

May 31 | 2017

Does Your Client Really Need Title Insurance?

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Does your client need title insuranceThe topic of title insurance may come up when clients are purchasing a new property, and a common question is, “do I really need it?”

Well, title insurance in Canada has come a long way from when we first introduced it to the market over 25 years ago. It offers the best defense against title fraud, as well as survey and title issues/defects. It can also protect your clients from unexpected costs that may threaten their financial status.

For instance, Jason and June* finally found their dream home after years of saving and searching for the right property. Once financing was approved, they happily moved into their newly purchased home. Shortly after moving in, they received a notice from the city about outstanding tax and water utility charges amounting to over two thousand dollars. This was a very unwelcome surprise given their tight budget as first-time homebuyers. Luckily their lawyer had recommended they purchase a title insurance policy, which covered outstanding tax and utility bills. Because of their title insurance coverage, they were spared the extra expense when the claim was paid out by FCT.

Commercial property owners also benefit from protecting their multi-million dollar investments with title insurance as it covers issues like encroachments, zoning violations, unpaid taxes and utilities, etc. For example, a developer Jack*, purchased a golf course with plans to develop it into a larger golf course and resort. The municipality provided confirmation that the land could be developed for these purposes. Unfortunately, after closing, he was notified by the municipality that there was an error and the land was zoned as “open space/residential” and applying for re-zoning was not an option. As a result, the land could continue to be used as is but development plans could not proceed. Because FCT had insured the value of the land along with the approximate value with the improvements, Jack received a claim settlement for the loss in property value because of the zoning error. With the claim settled, he had the choice to use the property in keeping with current zoning, or sell the property without incurring a financial loss.

So does your client really need title insurance? You decide.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients. This information is provided as general information only. For further details please review the subject policy.

May 24 | 2017

8 Tips for Selling your Home

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8 tips for selling your homeCompetition can be fierce in the real estate business, especially in these uncertain times. One day it’s a seller’s market and the next it’s not. So how do you make sure your home stands out in the marketplace?

While there are a lot of factors beyond a homeowner’s control—such as market conditions and regulatory environment— there are certain things a homeowner can do to maximize opportunity and profit.

Here is a quick list to help you make the most of your selling experience before you even put your home up for sale.

  1. Ask yourself the important questions – Is now the best time to sell from both a personal and a marketability perspective? How much do I want/need to get in terms of a selling price?
  2. Prepare yourself to have people in your home. Potential buyers will scrutinize your living space and you should be ready for the feedback.
  3. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and do a thorough walkthrough, critiquing your home from their perspective. Making a few small touch-ups and repairs can make a big impression.
  4. Clean, de-clutter and de-personalize your home so that prospective buyers can envision living in the space. For a complete listing of areas to consider when making your home look its best, click here.
  5. Gather paperwork such as utility and tax bills, warranties, property surveys and permits that will answer any questions for a prospective buyer.
  6. Maximize curb appeal to create a powerful first impression. Here are some good ideas to make your home more inviting, as suggested by MoneyTalksNews.com.
  7. Interview several realtors before selecting one to represent you. It is important to choose one that specializes in your area and type of home; one that has a solid reputation and valid credentials.
  8. Consider using the Certified Resale Home service – a pre-listing home inspection backed by an 18-month transferrable warranty to help your home stand out. By understanding what repairs your home needs, you can get in front of potential conditions that can delay or kill a deal. Visit thecertifiedresalehome.ca for more information on how to put FCT’s innovative service offering to work for you.

Do you have any other tips to share?  Please comment below!

 

Mar 20 | 2017

Your Feedback Counts

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See what improvements you’ve inspired at FCT17-025_Health_Check_Blog_Box_03-17_v1

Tell us what you love about working with FCT, and what you don’t.  Our online customer survey for legal professionals runs twice a year; the next survey invitation will arrive in your inbox soon!

Your feedback helps us identify key areas where improvement is necessary, so that we can implement solutions to make your FCT experience that much better. Recent survey results have inspired various process improvements such as:

  • Reduced call transfer wait times
    When you’re in the middle of placing an order and have a question for the underwriter, you can now be placed on a three-way call to get your question answered and then continue with your order.
  • More efficient ordering process
    We’ve improved how you order over the phone by structuring the order forms to be consistent with the sequence of questions from the underwriter. This helps you prepare for the call and organize your files accordingly, ensuring a fast and smooth experience. You even have the option to order by email to further speed up the process.
  • Faster issue resolution
    When you provide feedback in the survey and indicate that you would like to discuss it further, our team will reach out. This has helped deals that appeared to be in jeopardy close on time, as we believe it’s important to action survey feedback quickly.

While FCT is a driving force for change and innovation in the real estate landscape, the one thing that hasn’t changed in 25+ years is our unwavering focus on you – our customers. We consistently strive to improve our products and services so they work better for you. One of the ways we identify how to improve is through our customer surveys.

If there are any improvements you’d like to see at FCT, be sure to complete the survey!

If you want to share your feedback directly, you can contact our Chief Customer Officer, Colleen Reitzel at creitzel@fct.ca or 888.771.0065 x 763455.

Oct 31 | 2016

The FCT 25 Years $2,500 Giveaway Contest

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giveawayThe celebration continues…

Although our year-long 25th anniversary festivities are winding down, the party isn’t quite over yet. And trust me; FCT knows how to throw a party! In fact, we may have saved the best for last with the launch of our exciting new contest open to FCT customers across Canada (excluding Quebec)…

It’s incredible that 25 years have already passed since FCT pioneered the Canadian title insurance industry. So much has happened since — so much to be proud of and so much to commemorate. Because it wouldn’t be a proper celebration without those that have helped us achieve this important milestone, we’re giving you a chance to win one of five cash prizes of $2,500. It’s just another way for us to say “thank you”:  thank you for being there to support us over the last two and half decades with your honest feedback, partnership and support. As I said in an earlier blog Your voice. Our compass, we would not have been able to grow, evolve and succeed without you and we’re very grateful.

We invite you to enter The FCT 25 Years $2,500 Giveaway Contest by visiting FCTcelebrates25.ca. The contest ends November 9th.

I want to wish all those who enter good luck and would like to take this opportunity, once again, to thank you for being part of this amazing year-long event. It’s been so much fun celebrating with you!

We hope you will join us on our journey to our next milestone!

Aug 17 | 2016

Certified Resale Home: Delivering a superior customer experience

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customer experienceIt’s pretty clear that brands with a good understanding of the value of customer experience manage to be so successful in large part because of word of mouth. This level of exposure is what every company strives for!

Looking at real estate, agents are typically chosen based on referrals and/or repeat business (having worked with the same client previously). But what really underlies this choice?  In my opinion, CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

There have been numerous technological advancements that have made buying and selling a home much easier (i.e. online property searches, buy and sell checklists, electronic transaction platforms with e-signature etc.) but the secret ingredient will always remain the same – give a customer a great experience and they will come back for more or let others know about it.

When it comes to return on investment, delivering a superior customer experience will go beyond any marketing spend. It was one of the key opportunities we identified when FCT started to devise our Certified Resale Home service. Of course, it helps that delivering superior customer experiences has been our core value for the past 25 years.

Certified Resale Home is an impartial, honest and expert assessment of a home that provides greater transparency and information so that the seller, realtor, and buyer can make informed decisions.

Here’s what it can do for everyone involved:

The seller – get the best possible offer, quicker

  • Immediately differentiate the property and make it stand out
  • Optimize purchase offers
  • Enhance buyer comfort

The buyer – reduce anxiety and reduce the buyer beware environment

  • Build trust by offering more transparent information through a recognized ‘brand’
  • Ensure they have an impartial and honest inspection to rely on and peace of mind and confidence with a warranty to fall back on

The agents – increase customer satisfaction and generate referrals

  • Take control of the situation and get out in front of issues for their client
  • Reinforce their value with a superior full-service experience
  • Time is money – close listings faster

We are currently piloting with RE/MAX Niagara (Ontario) and Century21Carrie.com (Winnipeg).  If you are a homeowner looking to sell in those areas, contact us for more information. All pre-listing home inspections are fulfilled by AmeriSpec® Inspection Services.

Warranty Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited
® Registered Trademark of AmeriSpec Inspection Services.

Jul 19 | 2016

We have your back

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IntegrityIntegrity. It’s a loaded word. It’s also one of FCT’s core values that we don’t take lightly. To me, doing business with integrity demonstrates to customers that we say what we mean and we mean what we say.  It says that we stand behind our coverage and are there with the support customers need when they have a claim. It’s about having the reserves in place and the overall financial stability to be able to pay our claims.

In fact, our claims-paying ability is what sets us apart from many of our competitors. Customers rely on the coverage they purchase and we rely on our in-house underwriting experts to always try and find a way to say “yes” to coverage. Otherwise, it’s just lip service and frankly, that’s just not what we’re about.

Our goal at FCT is to protect our diverse customers to the best of our ability. We see a lot of cases where a lender policy has been ordered on a transaction but a homeowner policy is not ordered at the same time. When a title issue arises some time later, a homeowner will call to inquire about their coverage only to learn that they don’t have protection as there is only a lender policy. In most of these situations the homeowners would have received coverage but were not afforded this opportunity due to the simple fact that a homeowner policy was not requested at the time of order.

To prove how committed we are to “having your back,” we’ve added a new member to our existing underwriting team that already boasts some of the most experienced professionals in the industry.

Not only does this individual bring solid experience as legal counsel with insurance litigation firms, a membership in the Barreau du Québec and the Law Society of Upper Canada, but also a perspective that coincides with the FCT ideology — he believes in helping people. Funny story: when he joined our team, he was impressed by our approach to paying claims; describing the difference of finding a way that he could say “yes” to the claim.

I realize I may be slightly biased, but I think we’re the best in the business for a reason: we care and we’re ready, willing and able to help when you need us to. It’s that simple.

Do you have a story to share where FCT came through for you when others said “no”? I’d love to hear it. Please feel free to comment below.

Jun 23 | 2016

Your voice. Our compass.

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16-202 Social Bank_smallHow 25 years of customer input has driven our growth and success

We’ve been very busy here at FCT as of late. After all, it is our 25th anniversary in Canada and there is so much to celebrate, right across the country. I invite you to use the hashtag #FCTcelebrates25 to participate in the fun on social media or to find out more about upcoming festivities.

Although we are beyond proud of this milestone, I’m not alone in recognizing that we didn’t get this far on our own. Without the support of our customers and their direct, honest feedback, we would not have been able to grow and evolve as we have — nor would we have been able to achieve the level of success we’ve enjoyed for over two and a half decades now.

But that’s not to say that the road to success has always been completely smooth. I can assure you there have been plenty of bumps along the way, and that’s okay. I firmly believe that there can be an even greater opportunity to learn from mistakes and challenges than solely from triumphs.

“Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.”
Denis Waitley

Because we realize how important a role our customers play in directing our products and services (and ultimately their own satisfaction), several years ago we decided to create a new position specifically to listen to the collective voice of our customers — a position quite different from anything else we were seeing in the industry at that time: Chief Customer Officer.

Today, this demanding role is held by Colleen Reitzel, who has a mandate to ensure customer input continues to facilitate change and innovation at FCT. It’s about listening to feedback surrounding customer experiences and understanding what customers expect from our products and services.

We want you to know that we’re listening whether it’s a compliment . . . or a challenge.

“The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”
Woodrow Wilson

So as we continue to celebrate this wonderful milestone, we want to drive home the idea that your voice has always mattered to every employee at FCT and always will, well beyond our next milestone, in fact. If you have ideas, questions or concerns, please reach out to me or Colleen Reitzel directly, or feel free to leave a comment below.

May 12 | 2016

25 years and counting . . . Why FCT’s decades of experience matter to you

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16-187_FCT_Blog_Renzo_Exper_SquareAnyone working in this global marketplace knows that business today is characterized by relentless change. For a company to succeed, it needs to constantly adapt to stay relevant and innovative in order to add real value and meet customer needs.  After all, our success rests squarely on the shoulders of our customers’ success; customers we see as long-term, highly respected partners.

After more than two decades and thousands of commercial policies issued by our niche experts across the country, you can be rest assured FCT has your commercial needs covered. We’ve been listening to our customers since day one — listening so that we truly understand what they want in a partner. Our goal has always been to offer trusted solutions and support to help grow businesses and shape the future of the industry. And in this competitive insurance market, I can say without reservation that Experience Excellence® makes all the difference.

But why should our experience matter to you? I think that a quote I came across in an online marketing blog called Why “EXPERIENCE MATTERS” sums it up rather nicely:

“The nature of business is about constantly adapting to change and starting anew, but each time with deeper experience, greater knowledge, stronger relationships and more confidence.”

Although this particular blogger is writing about the benefits of experience in the world of marketing, the same holds true for any business, including the title insurance industry.

Having been a leader in the Canadian real estate industry since 1991, FCT is in a unique position to offer you unparalleled customized underwriting solutions. Plus, with experienced legal professionals on staff who combine in-depth title insurance knowledge together with years of hands-on real estate practice exposure, we can offer you a customer experience like no other in the industry. This experience and acumen equal confidence for you: confidence to move ahead with your commercial deal, regardless of the complexity, knowing you’re backed by a leader.

As we reflect on the last 25 years, can you think of a time when FCT provided you with a solution that closed a difficult deal? Feel free to comment below.