Timely recordings for DC properties thanks to e-recording

Once a deed is signed, sealed and delivered, the transfer from seller to the buyer has taken place. It is not legally necessary or required for the document to be recorded.  

However, in order to protect the buyer’s interest in the property, Federal Title & Escrow Company records the deed with the Land Records office, providing constructive notice that the property has transferred.  

By recording the deed, another party is prevented from recording a document (such as a lien, judgment or even another deed) that could cloud the chain of title. It also provides notice of who is the owner of the property. 

Back in 2011, Federal Title started using DC’s e-recording process. The results have been outstanding. Previously, a recording had to be physically delivered to the DC Recorder of Deeds.  These manual recordings were often met with recording delays, as the recording process required the coordination of efforts among the Recorder (i.e. the person standing in line for hours at the Recorder of Deeds to obtain the Clerk’s recording receipt) the courier/mailing service, the settlement company and the Recorder of Deed office.  

The manual recording process provided only a Recorder’s receipt at the time of recording, and the recorded Instrument was mailed to the settlement company within six months of the actual recording date.  

Now with electronic recording, the recording process in DC is completed within hours of the settlement, as the process involves only the settlement company and the Recorder of Deeds!  

The best part is, the client is provided not just with a Recorder’s receipt to evidence that the document has been recorded, but also with the fully recorded document upon the completion of the recording process.

What does this mean to clients?  

It means that a deed is on record the same day of your closing, typically within hours. This greatly reduces the risk of fraud, conflicting recordings or lost documents.  

The DC Recorder of Deeds office has been at the forefront of the industry and deserves considerable praise for establishing a method to record that has been easy to use and helps protect the interests of all parties.  

Not all title companies are using e-recording, but Federal Title recognized early on the benefits of adopting e-recordings and our clients are benefitting by knowing that their documents are recorded in the District of Columbia within hours of the closing – just another example of how Federal Title embraces technology to improve closings. 

Maximum VA loan county limits updated for 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Program recently published county "limits" to be used for VA Loans effective January 1, 2015.

Please note, these limits do not reflect a maximum amount that an eligible veteran is permitted to borrow, but rather, reflects the VA’s maximum guaranty amount for a particular county.

The maximum VA guaranty amount for loans over $144,000 is twenty-five (25%) percent of the 2015 VA limit. For example, an eligible veteran may borrow up to $625,500 to purchase a property in Washington, DC (2015 VA limit), with the VA guaranteeing twenty-five percent (25%) of the loan amount, or approximately $156,375.00. These amounts have decreased dramatically in most area of the DC Metro Area compared to the 2014 VA limits.

The limits listed below are for some counties in Maryland and Virginia, as well as for the District of Columbia. To get a complete list of the county limits for 2015, please click here. [Please note, if your county is not listed on the county limits chart on the VA website, the 2014 limit is $417,000.]

State County 2015 VA Limit
DC District of Columbia $625,500
MD Anne Arundel $517,500
MD Frederick $625,500
MD Howard $517,500
MD Montgomery $625,500
MD Prince George's $625,500
VA Alexandria $625,500
VA Arlington $625,500
VA Fairfax $625,500
VA Falls Church $625,500
VA Fauquier $625,500
VA Loudoun $625,500
VA Manassas $625,500
VA Prince William $625,500

Greatest media hits of 2014

We enjoyed some nice press over the past year, including a couple mentions in the Washington Post as well as our first mention in a feature story from Inman News, a real estate tech website.

Coverage mainly focused on our app Close It! and the announcement of our partnership with MRIS to offer a specially licensed version for their agents. Federal Title's version remains available to all and has had nearly 13,000 downloads to date. 

The mobile way to buy or renovate a home (Washington Post)

Close It!: This app "is like Turbo Tax for real estate transactions," says Todd Ewing, president of Federal Title & Escrow in Washington. "The app immediately produces a cash-to-close estimate along with an estimated mortgage payment and a shareable HUD-1 Settlement Statement similar to what the buyer will see on the day of the closing. All the buyer has to do is enter a purchase price and a property jurisdiction."

Apptitude: Wondering what your closing fees will be? Ask Close It! (Washington Post)

A D.C. title company has come up with an app that takes the guesswork out of closing on a local home. Buyers can use Close It! by Federal Title and Escrow to input the purchase price and jurisdiction, and the app will predict how much money they will need for closing and what their monthly payment will be.

MRIS partners with Federal Title to launch closing app (RIS Media)

Through a partnership, MRIS, which facilitates nearly $125 million a day in real estate transactions, now offers a custom, specially licensed version of Close It! to calculate total cash-to-close and net proceeds for real estate transactions.

MLS arming agents with app that calculates buyer and seller closing costs (Inman News)

Like the Close It! app, the MRIS version allows users to compare closing costs in different jurisdictions and show the difference in closing on the first of the month compared to at the end of the month, MRIS and Federal Title said.

MRIS and Federal Title launch comprehensive closing costs calculator (Geek Estate)

Mid-Atlantic Multiple Listing Service (MRIS), and Federal Title & Escrow Co. have launched MRIS Close It!, a desktop and mobile app that provides quick and concise closing cost estimates.

Top posts of 2014

As another year comes to a close at Federal Title, we take a moment to look back at some of the most popular articles posted to our blog in 2014. 

Supplemental tax bill catches some Maryland homebuyers off guard
By Catherine Schmitt

A supplemental tax bill is a bill that is issued when a property is reassessed during the current tax year. Often the supplemental bill will be for a specific period, i.e., a quarter, half or three-quarter tax period. This bill is an additional bill that is sent directly to the home owner and is paid directly by the owner.

Maximum VA loan county limits for 2014 released 
By Jackie Kurz

The Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Program recently published county "limits" to be used for VA Loans effective January 1, 2014.

How can real estate agents protect against Internet security threats? 
By Nikki Smith

A solid Web marketing strategy can be a boon to business of any size, but it can also make a business more vulnerable to cyber attacks if proper precautions are not taken.

Headlines: Bizarre story of missing real estate agent ends in tragedy 
By Nikki Smith

The body of missing Arkansas realtor Beverly Carter has been located north of the Little Rock area in a shallow grave, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office said early Tuesday

5 safety tips for real estate agents 
By Nikki Smith

While rare, attacks on real estate agents do happen from time to time and (sadly) women in particular are vulnerable. In light of this recent event, I thought it'd be good to explore the topic and offer some safety tips for real estate agents.

Avoid the DC recapture tax 'surprise' 
By Todd Ewing

DC Office of Tax and Revenue has recently been imposing a recapture tax against properties that were receiving senior citizen tax relief but ineligible due to the property owner’s death – i.e., a change in eligibility.

A wake-up call from CFPB regarding Marketing Service Agreements 
By Todd Ewing

Federal Title has actively taken a strong stance against both MSA’s and Affiliated Business Arrangements (ABAs), recognizing that such arrangements only enrich the referral sources at the expense of the consumer and further drive up the costs of title charges.

New Maryland bill to limit cost of condo resale package 
By Todd Ewing

There's currently a proposal to limit the fee to $50. Hearings on the legislation continue and we will keep you apprised of the final bill.

DC Council passes the Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Relief Act of 2013 
By Joe Gentile

Ten members of the Council of the District of Columbia voted for and passed the "Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Relief Act of 2013" earlier this week. The bill will now be submitted to DC Mayor Gray for his signature.

Real estate predictions for 2014 
By Nikki Smith

"You've got a migration of folks from all over the country trying to crack the DC [housing] market," said Todd Ewing, whose company handled more than 1,400 purchase closings in 2013. "That trend will continue."

Federal Title now a trusted & verified SSI agent

Federal Title is now a trusted and verified title agent, having completed a standardized risk management process through risk management firm Secure Settlements Inc.

We successfully demonstrated to SSI that we meet federal regulatory requirements. Our implementation of the American Land Title Association's industry best practices was also helpful in attaining this new distinction. 

Mortgage industry risk management is a relatively new market niche, and SSI is the first company to offer title agents a standardized risk management process. Increased risk management in the mortgage industry is also a byproduct of the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010, which mandated new consumer financial laws and created an agency known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

Banks are under the CFPB microscope, and they in turn are taking a hard look at third-party service providers to ensure business practices and services are on the up-and-up in terms of the new requirements mandated by Dodd-Frank. Because of the potential for regulatory penalties and legal damages 

We choose to view the increased scrutiny of the CFPB, as well as regulations mandated by Dodd-Frank, as an opportunity to improve our business and further distinguish ourselves from other title companies in the region.

SSI's "Trusted and Verified" seal of approval is a visual queue to our clients that we're looking out for the best interest of all parties involved in the real estate transaction. 

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Our blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. Rate tables and figures that appear on our blog are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For current rates & policies, refer to our Quick Quote and Consumer Guide. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on our blog.