Knight Barry Title United won Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce 2020 Employment Services, Housing and Real Estate Business of the Year, and the team was excited.
Knight Barry Title United is a title insurance agency that provides title related services to consumers, lawyers, real estate professionals, lenders, builders and developers.
Jodi Bach, the firm’s Minnesota state manager, answered questions about how they were affected by the pandemic, about the award, their 2021 goals and more.
Did you think you’d win this award?
I knew we deserved to win, but so did many other businesses. I never thought we would win, but didn't rule out that we could. We are solid. We work very hard for our customers so again, I knew we deserved the recognition, but the other businesses in our category were some of our best customers as well. It is all relative and slightly awkward.
How did you react when you heard you won?
We were very excited! The days and weeks have been long and stressful so to have the community recognize us in such a public and fun way was very exciting.
How was your business impacted by the pandemic?
We were essential. We never had to lay off or halt work.
As a matter of fact, during COVID-19 the real estate market and title industry has been booming. We had to make changes in how we got the job done such as limiting attendees at closings, shifting some employees to working at home, etc., all while seeing record high orders, but we managed, we adjusted and we continued to thrive the very best we could. Our staff is top notch, the best of the best!
Q: What goals/hopes do you have for your business in 2021?
We have already met some of our 2021 goals. We added staff to our Red Wing location. We shifted a great deal of statewide work to flow out of the Red Wing office. Essentially, we have made our Red Wing office, which is one of 13 locations in Minnesota, our hub for title production. It has been a lot of planning and hard work, but the groundwork has been laid, the talented staff added and the process has begun.
Our goal is always simply to do quality work while giving the best service and pricing we possibly can. We also want to create the best work environment and culture for our team. We spend a lot of time together, we want to build a family atmosphere here and so far we have been successful at that!
Q: What advice would you give to potential home buyers in today’s market?
Hire an agent! We see a lot of “for sale by owners.” Some go just fine and if you have some background in the business or an attorney to consult with, we say go for it, but agents bring a wealth of information and knowledge that more than pays for their commission.
Don't be fooled by the myth that you can "save money" by going on your own. Negotiations are getting tougher. On average, agents get you more money and guide you through the process. We rely heavily on our agents. They simply make the process smoother.
Also, talk to your local lenders before applying with online lenders. We have some amazing local lenders that can offer as good of rates and fees as online lenders do, but they can give you better service and communication.