Independent Agency Vs. Affiliated Agency, What’s the Difference?

We at Patriot Land Transfer, Inc often boast about being an independent title agency, and some of you may be wondering what exactly we mean by that. Well, there are two types of title agencies. There are independent title agencies and there are what we call affiliated title agencies.

We will start with the independent title agencies. Independent title agencies are stand alone companies that are not financially affiliated with any real estate company, bank, broker, etc. If you look at the flow chart here, it shows the relationship between involved parties when using an independent company. As you can see all parties are in communication working together to get you to the settlement table. In this situation the consumer chooses the title company, realtor, and lender they would like to use. All three companies are therefore working for YOU the consumer.  The importance of this is that each party has the interests of the consumer in mind. In this model you the consumer are the center of attention, and everyone else involved is working to please their customer, YOU. This model also promotes competition. The companies involved need to be competitive to get your business. In turn you often pay less for better service. Sounds nice right?

Moving on to the affiliated title agencies. This model has become the most common and you will find this in most real estate offices. You will see in the model here that there are financial affiliations between the parties. The “one stop shop” as everyone likes to call it. Which sounds nice in theory, but here is whats really going on. During negotiations it’s often “recommended” that you use their in house title agency, more times than not you will take the recommendation and go with the flow. The reason they recommended it isn’t necessarily because its the best service or the prices are low. Its simple, they want to control the business. In this scenario you as the consumer may take a bit of a back seat. All the parties are working for the same company. Sometimes they may have the interests of each other above the consumers interests, and because the title company is being endorsed by all the agents they don’t necessarily need to be competitive with their service or their prices. Fees are often higher and the service tends to be slower and less personal. This model can be unfair for the consumer because most people don’t realize they have the option to choose their service provider and don’t realize the possible benefits of going elsewhere.

Full Disclosure: we are not saying that all affiliations are bad, and the above does not hold true for all of them. Our recommendation, just do your homework and know what you’re getting yourself into. Remember that federal law protects your rights as a consumer to choose who you want to use. Exercise this right and choose a title agency that will work for you!

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