1. May a title company allow a real estate broker to use its fax machine to conduct real estate business (to receive offers, counteroffers, etc.) even if the title company is providing the title and/or escrow as part of the transaction?
No. This is specifically prohibited. See WAC 284-29-260(8) (www.apps.leg.wa.gov) for details.
2. May a title company provide real estate agents or brokers comparable or demographic information in a listing package if the title company charges them for the information? If the cost to the title company to compile the data is less than $10, may the information be provided without charge?
The title company may only provide comparable or demographic information, as well as Exhibit A legal descriptions and parcel numbers, to real estate agents or brokers for a fee that covers the actual cost to compile and provide the information - even if the cost is less than $10. See WAC 284-29-210(5) (www.apps.leg.wa.gov) for details.
3. May a title company advance recording fees and only bill or invoice for the fees once a month, and receive a lump-sum payment for the monthly billing?
No. WAC 284-29-255(5) (www.apps.leg.wa.gov) allows a title company to advance recording fees, but only if it is actually repaid promptly. Based upon title insurance industry practice, payment once a month is not “promptly.”
4. Can a title company teach a free title or escrow education course for a trade association and not have it count as one of its three sponsorship opportunities?
No. The title company must count the course as one of its sponsorship opportunities. It’s considered a donation or contribution for an educational seminar. See WAC 284-29-220(6)(b) (www.apps.leg.wa.gov) for details.
5. Is it legal for a title company to provide a producer information on deed position and encumbrances for a parcel of property that is going up for foreclosure auction?
It's legal only if the title company charges and receives payment for the information. See WAC 284-29-210(5) (www.apps.leg.wa.gov) for details. However, if in providing this information, the title insurance company provides any assurances as to the information's accuracy, then the title company could be issuing a title insurance policy. This would then require the title company to submit the appropriate rate-and-form filing to our office.
6. Can a home warranty company that's affiliated with a title company give away free items of value the title company cannot give to producers? For example, free marketing templates the producer can customize with his or her contact information.
Yes, but only if the items are not given by, through, or in conjunction with the title company or its employees, agents, etc. The title inducement requirements don't apply to home warranty salespeople, but they do apply to title companies and their employees. See RCW 48.29.210 (www.apps.leg.wa.gov) for details.