We want to thank Lisa Smallwood of Capitol Title Insurance Agency for being one of our 2019-2020 Corporate Sponsors.
As one of our Corporate Sponsors, we sat down with Lisa and her group to ask a series of questions and here is what we learned:
- How long has Capitol Title been in Southern Maryland? Capitol Title is an attorney-owned firm which specializes in real estate settlements since 1973.
- How many offices do you have, and where are they located? Capitol Title has been serving the Southern Maryland area since 2005 and currently has more than 13 offices which are located in Dunkirk, White Plains, Annapolis, Clinton, Columbia, Crofton, Severna Park, Bel Air, Ocean City, Rockville, Washington D.C., McLean and Alexandria. Lisa Smallwood is the Branch Manager and Licensed Settlement Officer at the Dunkirk, White Plains and Clinton offices.
- How many officers are in your agency? Capitol Title, part of the TitleConnect Group of companies, employs over 110 people, including full-time licensed settlement officers, attorneys and various support staff. Our group is licensed in 44 States.
- Do you have any plans for growth that you can share? Capitol Title is constantly expanding and adding new individuals to their management team and staff. In some instances, Capitol Title will open a new location to accommodate the new manager and their existing clientele. Lisa projects that Capitol Title will move forward with their plans to expand into St. Mary’s County and possibly add another office in Waldorf by the end of 2020.
- What challenges is your agency facing?
- Industry wide? Some of the challenges Capitol Title is facing is a disconnect between real estate professionals and settlement officers. Lisa has seen an increase of instances over the last five years where both parties involved in the real estate transaction are no longer able to attend the settlement at the same time. She feels this causes many problems as both parties involved no longer have personal interaction with each other making the process more disengaging. This has become a huge problem for many of the Capitol Title locations as the new homeowners rely on their real estate agents for guidance during this transaction and may have questions that Capitol Title cannot answer.
- Southern Maryland? This disconnect has also created a considerable problem for Capitol Title in the Southern Maryland area. Often, Capitol Title is left trying to contact the parties involved to get paperwork signed and disburse settlement checks. Lisa believes this may be irreversible, as “time” has become an important commodity for those involved in real estate transactions and the settlement process is no longer important to people. As a result, Lisa and her team have gone to great lengths to accommodate their clients with special circumstances by providing them settlements during non-office hours.
- What is your view of the Southern Maryland housing market as to expansion or contraction? Lisa’s offices have seen an increase of real estate settlements in the Southern Maryland area and believes the area will continue to expand as the market dictates. In addition, her offices are seeing an uptick in home settlements in the King George, VA area.
- What is something you would like to see from SMAR to assist you in your business? Capitol Title has always been satisfied with the services offered to SMAR Affiliate Members. Lisa feels that the changes that have occurred in the SMAR organization this past year have created additional enthusiasm among SMAR members and affiliates. Capitol Title is especially excited about the value that SMAR is providing to their sponsors this year in the new Corporate Sponsorship program including the Sponsor Spotlight feature. Lisa has been able to create and foster more relationships within the Southern Maryland real estate industry through this sponsorship than ever before. However, Capitol Title would like to get more involved in providing SMAR members “Lunch and Learn” seminars and continuing education classes. She believes their staff of highly experienced and trained attorneys and settlement officers can offer important knowledge and education about the settlement process.
- What is the “one thing” you want SMAR members and the public to know about your agency? Capitol Title wants SMAR members to know that their firm is a long-standing settlement agency that has been providing real estate professionals and new homebuyers closing services for over forty-five years. This has allowed Capitol Title to secure important knowledge and resources that smaller firms do not possess. Capitol Title prides itself in offering their clients top-notch service by experienced and professionally trained personnel who specialize in the real estate industry. As the real estate market and technology continue to evolve, so does Capitol Title and their dedication to building long-lasting relationships with their clients.
- Is there anything else you want us to know about Capitol Title Insurance Agency? Capitol Title has recently expanded its Capitol Keepers concierge program for its clients which offers a plethora of services including a courier service, “For Sale” sign riders install, pickup and delivery of lock boxes, pickup of the earnest money deposit (EMD) and associated paperwork, mobile notary services, client transportation to and from settlements, airport shuttle services for out-of-town clients, transporting leftover trash to the dump, and assisting real estate professionals with their open houses either by picking up and delivering food for the event or providing the agent additional protection. Either way, Capitol Title is devoted in helping to make the process of purchasing a home more stress-free for both real estate agents and new homebuyers. Lastly, Capitol Title is deeply embedded in the community and participates in many charity programs each year including those sponsored by local brokerages and SMAR. This includes Create for a Cause, Thanksgiving Basket Drive, Toys for Tots, Bras and Drawers, and many more. Capitol Title is also the number one provider for the Veterans Airlift Command which serves in transporting injured service members on a national basis.
Thank you for your valuable time in allowing us to learn more about your firm, as well as to personally thank you for your investment into SMAR.