What is REAL Credit™?

In the beginning, we were not distinctive from other title companies. We established relationships that garnered us referrals of business, which often came at an added expense - the cost of doing business, as was the standard line of thinking back then.

But as the Internet came of age, our founder Todd Ewing began to wonder how his title company might leverage the fledgling medium to improve services while cutting costs. He made a decision around that time to end the company's referral relationships and invest instead in technology to streamline the real estate closing process.

The REAL Credit™ has saved our homebuyers upward of $8 million over the years.

In the early aughts, Federal Title became one of the first title service providers in the country to target consumers directly by offering free, instant online quotes with guaranteed accuracy. At the same time, Federal Title began offering an instant credit to homebuyers who ordered settlement services online, which came to be known as the REAL Credit™.

The competition thought Todd was nuts. They said his model was not sustainable and he'd be out of business in months. But word of the REAL Credit™ spread throughout the local real estate community, and eventually many of the naysayers began unveiling their own versions of the REAL Credit™.

Fewer hands in the pie means more pie to go around

As an independent title company, we do not share our profits with referral sources through Affiliated Business Arrangements or Marketing Service Agreements. With fewer hands in the pie, as Todd likes to say, there's more pie for everybody. In this case it means a cost savings of up to $750 for our clients.

Our revolutionary REAL Credit™ reflects costs passed through to consumers who close with other, affiliated title companies. To date, the cost savings hovers above $8 million.

Terms & Conditions

Federal Title & Escrow Company ("FTE"), through its REAL Credit™ program, offers homebuyers a substantial credit to reduce their closing costs. Homebuyers will receive a credit simply by choosing FTE as the settlement agent and ordering services online. The following sets forth the terms & conditions by which a homebuyer may qualify and receive the REAL Credit™:

  • The homebuyer, the homebuyer’s real estate agent, or the homebuyer’s mortgage lender must order settlement services online at www.federaltitle.com.
  • The subject property must be located within the District of Columbia, Maryland or Virginia.
  • A homebuyer will receive the benefit of the credit (or a portion thereof); subject to their lender's underwriting requirements. In rare instances, the homebuyer’s mortgage lender may preclude the homebuyer from accepting the full amount of the REAL Credit™.

FTE reserves the right and has sole discretion to alter, from time to time, the herein stated terms & conditions as well as the credit amounts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you offer such a large credit?

Years ago we made a bold move by shunning all Affiliated Business Arrangements (a.k.a., ABAs, joint ventures, or legal kickbacks) and Marketing Service Agreements. Since we no longer have to share our profits with referral sources (i.e., executives and brokers of large real estate firms), we decided the money made from those arrangements should go to the homebuyer.

The truth about ABAs

Sometimes, several businesses that offer settlement services are owned or controlled by a common corporate parent. These businesses are known as "affiliates," while the relationship is called an "Affiliated Business Arrangement" or "ABA" for short. When a lender, real estate broker, or other participant in your settlement refers you to an affiliate for a settlement service (such as when a real estate broker refers you to a mortgage broker affiliate), the law requires the referring party to give you an Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure. This form will remind you that you are generally not required, with certain exceptions, to use the affiliate and are free to shop for other providers.

Why shop?

In the end, ABAs wind up costing the consumer more money. This is because the referring party usually receives a reward for keeping the transaction in the family, so to speak. The referral fee is covered by the cost of the transaction, meaning the consumer foots the bill. Are you overpaying for settlement services? Find out with a free online quote.

Sounds easy, but what's the catch?

You must order settlement services online from our website. THAT’S IT! By you entering the information online, you save us a lot of time and effort in tracking it all down, and we reward your efforts in the form of a Real Credit™ to your homebuyer.

Is this even legal?

Yes. Claims that the Real Credit™ violates anti-rebating laws is simply false. Our REAL Credit™ has been approved by the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia insurance commissions and is compliant with Florida regulations, too. Most recently, the District of Columbia’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking issued a Bulletin that approves of the REAL Credit™ stating that a title insurance producer may offer a discount or credit "for actions that improve the efficiency of the settlement transaction, such as applying electronically."

Do I have to work with a particular lender or agent?

Nope. Homebuyers may work with the lender and agent of their choosing and still receive the Real Credit™.

So you must inflate your fees then...

Not a chance. We do not inflate fees to cover the Real Credit™. In fact, take a look at this fee comparison chart among DC Metro Area title companies, and see that Federal Title ranks among the lowest in settlement fees, thanks in part to our Real Credit™.

How can you guarantee your quote?

Our Web-enabled proprietary software, the Automated Quote Generator (AQG), produces the exact costs of closing once the user has entered the required information: purchase price, loan amounts, property jurisdiction, etc. In turn, the AQG delivers an instant, online, guaranteed cost quote to you and your homebuyer. Other advantages:

  • Save time & Guesswork — Eliminate the phone calls and time involved in requesting costs/fees from the settlement company and lender.
  • RESPA Compliant — To satisfy HUD's recently released Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act requirements, the AQG allows any lender to instantly and accurately prepare a Good Faith Estimate.

But really, how can you offer such a large credit?

With your help entering the details of your real estate transaction through the online order form, you save us a lot in terms of overhead. It takes fewer people to track down information and we reward the efforts with our Real Credit™.

Why would you do this?

Federal Title is a forward-thinking company. We recognize consumer-driven market pressures, as exemplified by HUD's recent changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act (RESPA) that aim to bring more transparency to the title industry, and we seek to offer your homebuyer substantial closing costs savings combined with a streamlined closing process.

Is the REAL™ Credit a true credit?

The Real Credit™ is an absolute TRUE credit to the homebuyer. Unlike many of our competitors with similar credit incentive programs, we do not inflate our customary settlement fees and title insurance premiums to offset the credit.

Furthermore, Federal Title gives all homebuyers a clear choice between the standard (less expensive title policy) and the enhanced title insurance policy. Many of our competitors issue the enhanced coverage without giving homebuyers a choice.

Are there any terms or restrictions in order to qualify for the REAL™ Credit?

Read our FEW and SIMPLE conditions and restrictions. They are as follows:

  • Settlement services must be ordered online at www.federaltitle.com. Homebuyers will receive the benefit of the credit (or a portion thereof), subject to their lender's underwriting requirements.
  • The subject property must be located in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia or Florida.
  • No other Federal Title & Escrow Company programs may be combined with this offer for additional discounts.
  • The homebuyer must agree to the Real Credit™ program's terms & conditions as stated above.

Why do I have to order online to receive the REAL™ Credit?

Saving time is saving money. The more time that we save in data retrieval/input, the more savings we can pass along to your homebuyer. Therefore, we require you or your homebuyer to input the data (i.e., buyer/seller names, agent names/address, sales price/loan amount, property address, current address, lender info, email addresses, etc.). Requiring you or your homebuyer to input data also eliminates a lot of potential errors. The approximate time to complete an online order is about 5 to 7 minutes.

What are some other benefits to ordering services online?

If qualifying for the Real Credit™ isn't enough to order settlement online, there are other compelling reasons:

  • Homebuyers will receive an instant, online, GUARANTEED quote for services that will reflect the REAL Credit™. The quote will include ALL title charges, government recording charges and transfer/recordation taxes.
  • A Real Credit™ partner (agent or lender) can order settlement services on behalf of their homebuyer and, by providing the homebuyer's e-mail address, Federal Title will email the GUARANTEED quote to their homebuyer along with the following compliment:

    Dear [Homebuyer's Name], Your Realtor, [Your Name] of [Your Company Name], has saved you $750 by ordering settlement services online through the REAL Credit™ program. This email confirms that settlement services have been ordered for your upcoming closing. See the Guaranteed quote below.

Can a seller receive the REAL™ Credit?

Unfortunately, no. Only homebuyers can receive the credit.