Building Success…

As seen in the O.C. Register, written by Bill Quinnan

buildWhen Chief Executive Officer Ed Lorette learned that his company, Western Resources Title, had been nominated for a Top Workplaces award by one of its employees last year, he saw it as an opportunity to make his company even better.

“I felt that getting the feedback from the survey process was more important than winning, because it gave us an opportunity to find out what concerns employees had with the company so that we could either change those things or at least explain why they couldn’t be changed,” he said.

The fact that the company did make the Orange County Register’s Top Workplaces list was just an added bonus. Lorette said what made the recognition meaningful was that it truly came from the employees rather than the leaders of the company.

As to what makes Western Resources Title a Top Workplace, “Number one, I think, is the company’s culture, which focuses on helping everybody be successful,” he said. This begins with putting the right employees into the right positions, so that they are not only competent at their jobs, but also enjoy the work they do.

Being the right person for the position means more than having the necessary skills, Lorette explained. Even more important is being able to fit into the company culture and work successfully with fellow employees.

“Another key is finding people who are self-managed and self-disciplined, so you don’t have to micro-manage them,” Lorette said. “Our culture just doesn’t accommodate people who want to be told what to do every day.”

Lorette noted that maintaining a positive work environment is an ongoing process requiring constant reinforcement. Employers cannot expect to make major improvements by making one or two changes on occasion.

Western Resources Title is one of the top 10 independent title agencies in California and one of the top five independent title agencies in Southern California.

The Orange-based firm is a full-service provider of Real Estate title insurance and escrow services for residential and commercial property. The firm provides a range of products serving real-estate agents, lenders, and attorneys, both statewide and nationwide. With three additional offices, including one in Escondido and two in San Diego, Western Resources Title serves the five Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.

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Southland Home Sales Drop; Record Yr/Yr Gain for Median Sale Price

As seen on

Southern California home sales fell in June amid a still-tight supply of homes for sale, rising mortgage rates and a letup in investor buying. The median sale price rose at a record year-over-year pace to the highest level – $385,000 – in more than five years, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 21,608 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was down 6.2 percent from 23,034 sales in May, and down 2.1 percent from 22,075 sales in June 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Last month’s year-over-year sales decline was the first for any month since last September. June sales were 20.9 percent below the June average of 27,315 sales since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. Over the past seven years Southland sales have been below average for any particular month.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county region was $385,000 last month, up 4.6 percent from $368,000 in May and up 28.3 percent from $300,000 in June 2012. Last month’s median was the highest for any month since April 2008, when it was also $385,000, and the year-over-year increase was the highest for any month in DataQuick’s records back to January 1989.

The median price has risen on a year-over-year basis for 15 consecutive months, with those annual gains ranging between 10.8 percent and 28.3 percent over the past 11 months. June’s median remained 23.8 percent below the peak $505,000 median in spring/summer 2007. The median fell by $256,000 from that peak to its $249,000 trough in April 2009, and it has now regained just over half – 51.8 percent – of that peak-to-trough loss.

In a sign of continued market confidence, Southern California home buyers continue to put near-record amounts of their own money into residential real estate. In June they paid a total of $4.7 billion out of their own pockets in the form of down payments or cash purchases. That was down from May’s all-time high of $5.5 billion, and up from $4.1 billion a year ago.

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Common Methods of Holding Title as Sole Ownership

Sole ownership may be described as ownership by an individual or other entity capable of acquiring title.  Examples of common vesting cases of sole ownership are:

Single Man/Woman
A man or woman  who is not legally married or in a registered domestic partnership.  For example: Bruce Buyer, a single man.

An Unmarried Man/Woman
A man or woman who was previously married and is now legally divorced. For example: Sally seller, an unmarried woman.

A Married Man/Woman as His/Her Sole and Separate Property
A married man or woman who wishes to acquire title in his/her name alone. The title company insuring title will require the spouse of the married man/woman acquiring title to specifically disclaim or relinquish his/her right, title and interest to the property. This establishes that it is the desire of both spouses that title to the property be granted to one spouse as that spouse’s sole and separate property.  For example: Bruce Buyer, a married man, as his sole and separate property.

A Registered Domestic Partner as His/Her Sole and Separate Property
A registered domestic partner who wishes to acquire title in his/her name alone. The insuring title company will require the domestic partner of the person acquiring title to specifically disclaim or relinquish his/her right, title and interest to the property. This establishes that it is the desire of both domestic partners that title to the property be granted to one partner as that partner’s sole and separate property. For example, Sally Seller, a registered domestic partner, as her sole and separate property.