Could it be considered an unlawful rebate if a title company advances the cost of an HOA estoppel letter?

did you know 2

What is the Department of Financial Services’ position on whether a title agent can advance the cost of an estoppel letter from a homeowners association if the agent expects to receive reimbursement at closing?

The Department believes that it is a violation of subparagraph 626.9541(1)(h)3., Florida Statutes, and subsection 69B-186.010(4)(a), Florida Administrative Code, for a title insurance agent and/or agency to pay for an estoppel certificate without being reimbursed for the expenditure. However, if a title insurance agent and/or agency pay for an estoppel certificate, and the title insurance agent or agency is reimbursed at closing for the estoppel certificate, such advance payment for the estoppel certificate does not constitute an “unlawful rebate”. If the closing falls through then the title agent/agency should make good faith efforts to request and obtain reimbursement.


Safety Seminar: Important Information to Help Protect You & Your Clients

are you safe

A special thank you to those who attended the Realtor Safety Seminar in October and also the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser for allowing use of their training facility. As promised, we had Brian MacNeal provide his home protection tips and vendor information so you can be sure that you, your family and clients are well-equipped with the best information and products on the market.

The Crime Prevention Task Force also offers FREE residential burglary surveys as part of our program. Either performed by Brian MacNeal or local law enforcement agencies to help prevent home burglary. Please call the CPTF with any questions or to schedule a burglary survey at 352-777-2162 or Brian MacNeal directly at 813-531-0000.
Crime Prevention Task Force has provided the following steps for preparing your house: 

  • Dead bolts on all entry doors -Including entry door coming in thru garage and on that door only a double key double cylinder deadbolt lock.
  • Cut handle off garage door release string
  • Install padlocks on garage door tracks when leaving on vacation.
  • Sliding doors loop locks on sliders or any lock that prevents door from being lifted out of tracks.
  • Secondary window locks on all windows can be purchased at any hardware store for $2.a window.
  • Safety film is best protection for glass in all windows.

Vendor & Equipment Recommendations:

  • CPTF can safety film installed and sealed in retrofitting to upgrade windows to impact window strength and they can get it at 50% discount from 4 qualified manufacturers for those who attended the seminar.
  • Home security system that do all entry points. We recommend Gardsmen home security system. Can get it for $895.00 – IF you attend program. (Regularly $1195.00)
  • We recommend Protech Security and safety equipment incorporated for most of the products and the film.

Protech Safety & Security | 1971 W. Lumsden Rd. Suite 184 Brandon, FL 33511

  • CPTF sells police strength pepper spray for personal self-defense  $15 for Keychain and $25 for belt clip and/or home model.
  • Extraction flashlights thru AAA are $20 if affiliated with the CPTF program
  • CPTF also sells door wedge travel alarms for hotel use or home use are $25.

Please let us know if you or your team would be interested in attending a Safety Seminar. We would be happy to organize another event for the real estate community.


Pro Lien Search pic

Did you know that title insurance does not insure utility lien search, open building permit search, code enforcement search or estoppel?

Chip Carlton of Professional Lien Search recently attended one of our Lunch & Learn’s as a guest of Foundation Title & Trust. Many real estate agents were surprised to find out that not only are those items not insurable but in addition, it is not required that title companies even perform those searches. Therefore, there are many who do not! This could result in a lawsuit, an insurance claim and ultimately tainted business for the agent involved in the transaction. Professional Lien Search works as a third-party vendor for Foundation Title & Trust and they are sure to perform these extensive searched on EVERY transaction that is closed through their office. This is just another way, we are working hard to earn and keep your business!

3W Lunch & Learn “Legal Talk & Title Fact Check”

The 3rd Wednesday of every month, Lynn Langowski with Foundation Title & Trust, teams up with the Law Office of Leighton Hyde for a complimentary 1.5 hour Lunch & Learn at their Kennedy office near downtown Tampa. This training session covers legal information that all agents should be aware of when working with buyers and sellers as well as the changes expected at closing. All those who attend are granted access to the private FB group: Tampa Bay Legal Talk and Title Check. This private group is monitored by the legal team at the Law Office of Leighton Hyde and the closing team at Foundation Title & Trust so that agents can have a closed discussion with colleagues to ask questions and share concerns within the real estate industry.

Wednesday, October 21st
12 noon – 1:30pm
4100 W. Kennedy Blvd. Suite 213
Tampa, FL 33609 

Lunch & Learn – Title Check & Legal Talk 101
Special Guest: Chip Carlton with Pro Lien Search

Pro Lien Search pic








  • Chip Carlton will dig into what can be uncovered in a lien search, where the FAR BAR contract addresses lien searches and how valuable this is to review with your clients.
  • Lynn Langowski will speak to the changes to expect at closing due to the TRID roll out and how to start preparing your clients for them. CFPB Break Down Here
  • How to read the new settlement statement and how these industry changes trickle down to change things for agents and their clients.
  • Leighton Hyde will review the differences between the FAR BAR and CRSP contract, who they protect and how to interpret the language to your buyers and seller.

Common legal problems that arise out of
misinterpreting the contracts and/or not recognizing the stark differences. 

Ending with a 15 minute open fourm for legal questions!



May we have a moment of silence?


Whether you are ready to say good ridden or you are fighting the changes ahead… the time has come to say good-bye. We are here for you at Foundation Title & Trust. We also have a monthly lunch & learn that is snowballing in attendance that covers all of the contract changes, settlement procedures, TRID, etc… to keep you in front of the curve ball. This monthly lunch and learn is the 3rd Wednesday of every month and it is held at our Tampa office at 4100 W. Kennedy Blvd. Suite 213, Tampa, FL 33609. Attendance is limited due to the size of our conference room so email me to be included in the next event at If you have a group of 5 or more, we can bring the information to you and present at your next team meeting as well.

We are also always recruiting guest speakers that work in the industry to provide additional training to our Realtor clients. If your company has a program to present, feel free to reach out to me with the details to see if it would be a good fit for one of our training meetings.

Stop in and welcome our two new friendly faces!

Our New Title Assistant!
Our New Title Assistant!

Two New FTT Rock Stars Added to Our Title Team!

Please join us in welcoming our newest FTT team member, Anna Gianino! Anna is a local graduate of Brandon Senior High School, she attends Bell Shoals Baptist and is a proud mom of an adorable 2 year old son, Joshua. Anna’s mom has been in the title business since she was only 8 years old, so in a sense she grew up within the business! She is our new FTT Administrative Title Assistant, so you will often hear from Anna during your transactions with us. Anna is a very thorough, self-starter and we couldn’t be happier with her progress with us so far! Welcome to the FTT Team Anna! 

Deborah Herr
Our Talented Closing Specialist!

Please join us in welcoming our latest asset to FTT, our new Closing Specialist, Deborah Herr!
Deborah has over 18 years in the title industry working alongside buyers and sellers to get their dream homes closed. She has in depth experience working the short sale process and is proud to remain a huge advocate for military families. Deborah and her husband, Troy, have two “boys” that nearly double Deborah in size. Don’t let her height fool you though, she and her husband actively compete in tough mudder competitions and she is nobody to mess with! They all live in Valrico, FL and you will meet Deborah in our Riverview location. Welcome to the FTT Team!

Two Step Process for Signing Up For Our FTT Title App

How does a client sign up for the app?

It’s actually an easy 2 step process!

The first thing a client would need to do is go to your landing (login) page. The URL has been sent to you by TitleCapture, so use that and refer your clients to it. Once on the landing page, there are two buttons, one for logging in, and one for signing up.

If the client doesn’t have an account with the app, he/she needs to create one, so he/she needs to click on the button at the bottom that says “Sign up for your free account”

Then, the user is prompted to choose his/her username and password, some personal details and then choose the office and rep that will server him/her.

This is actually important because who he chooses as a rep (and office) influences his/her calculations results (different offices and reps may have different title fee values).

When they complete the form, they need to click on the button and they will receive immediate access to their account (an email is sent with their login details too). All they need to do then is come back to the login page, key in their username and password and click on the “Sign In” button.

How to Download the FTT App and Save to Your Mobile Phone

How to get the app on the mobile

TitleCapture is a web app so it runs in your mobile’s browser

Normally, when you first access the app from Safari (iPhone) or Chrome, Internet Explorer (Android), you have on-screen instructions that you can follow in order to save the app’s icon to your home screen for easy access thereafter. However, if you miss the instructions here’s how you do it:

On an iPhone

Step 1:
You have to tap on the icon with the arrow pointing up.

Step 2:
Once the dialog window pops up, you need to tap on “Save to Home Screen” to add the app as an icon to your phone’s Home Screen.

Step 3:
Give the app a name that will appear under the icon, so that you can easily identify the app. After keying in the name, tap on “Add” to complete this process.

Your app now sits as a nice icon on the Home Screen. Everytime you need to access the app, just tap on the icon and it opens the app up.

On Android devices


Newer Android version may do this in a different manner.

Step 1:
Access the app in your browser (Internet Explorer shown here) and tap to bookmark the login page. You normally have to then tap on a “Add bookmark” link.

Step 2:
Give your bookmark a name that will appear under the icon on your home screen. Then tap on “Save” to save the bookmark.

Step 3:
After saving the bookmark, you need to access the bookmarks menu and find your newly saved bookmark. Tap on it and hold until a menu comes up. From that menu, you need to choose “Add shortcut” to effectively add the icon to your home screen.

Your app now sits as a nice icon on the home screen. Everytime you need to access the app, just tap on the icon and it opens the app up.

#1 Way to Avoid Legal Trouble! #RealtorProblems

Sharing some legal wisdom that all of our clients can benefit from hearing. This is from our affiliates over at the Law Office of Leighton J. Hyde!

Rule #1 The Contract Should Be Legible

I started this blog to help real estate agents become better at their chosen craft and to avoid the legal pitfalls associated with the industry.  My hope is that this information will inspire you to become a better real estate agent, acting in the best interest of your clients.

Some of this information may seem basic and intuitive, but I can assure you that I see some of these actions and errors on an almost daily basis. This leads me to my first topic: a legible contract.

First, I get it. I was an active agent trying to juggle the many plates you carry as an agent. I was also guilty of the very thing I am talking about so you are not alone. You write the offer and submit it to the listing agent, or you are the listing agent and receive the written offer from another broker. Your clients counter in writing back and forth several times. You finally get a deal but the contract looks like an Etch a Sketch of a two year old.

I have had agents call me in a panic because the deal is breaking down and people are starting the throw around the word “lawsuit.” The first thing that I or any other lawyer is going to ask you is to look at the contract. If you send me what purports to be a real estate contract but in practice looks more like an ink blot test, an attorney may not be able to help you.


As a professional (if you hold a real estate license you are a professional in the eyes of the law) you are held to a higher standard. When things go bad in a real estate transaction, the agent is often the target of a law suit. Many times, the real estate agent has done nothing wrong. However in today’s litigious society a plaintiff may go after whomever they think has deep pockets to pay for their loss (whether it is real or fancied). A real estate agent is an easy target for several reasons.

Let’s suppose this happens to you and you did nothing wrong. Your client may not even be considering suing you but calls you for a copy of the contract. You send them fifteen (15) pages of ink blots. How do you think this makes you look? If you are being sued for professional negligence (remember you are held to a higher standard) this is not a good first impression.

Forget a law suit. The title agency, lender or insurance agent asks you for a copy of the contract. When you hand them a Rorschach test (the ink blots) how are they supposed to do their jobs?

Oftentimes you do everything right but the “other guy” doesn’t know how to email, sells only one house per decade and has to fax from his analog machine. Sometimes you have to be the “one” to make it happen. Go the extra mile and drive across town or spend thirty (30) minutes on the phone walking him through the email process. Your client may or may not appreciate your diligence in jumping through hoops to get a legible contract but it will help you in many ways. You will maintain your reputation as a professional and you won’t give the other side free ammunition in the event of a law suit.

Finally, you might consider adopting an online platform for signing contracts. There are several out there including one that comes with your membership as a Florida Realtor®.

– See more at:

How Does Foundation Title & Trust Provide the Ultimate Closing Experience?

Just a few attributes of our team that sets us apart from the other title agency folks…photo (1)

1. LISTEN…..we are focused intently on not only doing the details of our job but also honing in on what our clients want and need to make their job easier. We are there to provide this at all times. It is what we like to call “Good Ol’ Fashioned Customer Service”, a long lost art of the 1900’s.

2. PREPARE….prelims closely resemble a complete HUD…we add the tax prorations, fee(s) to HOA….our goal is to be as detailed as possible from the beginning to ensure there are no last minute surprises that could shake the deal for our customers.

3. NO …..Not a word is not a word in our vocabulary…if it CAN be done, it will be done

It should be said that we follow true to this without compromise to any laws, rules or ethics!

4. YEARS….of experience in the real estate industry …when everyone else thinks it can’t be done, we find a way to get it done. Utilizing our vast collective experience and our affiliation with the Law Firm of Leighton Hyde has proven to be invaluable when closing difficult deals.

5. We talk to people on the PHONE….we don’t hide behind email. This seems simple but it is one of the most common things we hear from our clients when they first start to do business with us… “Wow, you answered! I can never reach ____ at the other title company”.

6. We are dedicated to the community…… Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, Riverview Kiwanis and Faces of Courage are just a short count of the community organizations that one or all of our team members volunteer with and support on a regular basis.