TitleOne acquires Land Title, expanding NW footprint

TitleOne, a subsidiary of Realogy Title Group, announced today the acquisition of Land Title of Nez Perce County in Lewiston, Idaho.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Land Title of Nez Perce County was previously owned and operated by Joe Strohmaier, a 25-year industry veteran who will continue to manage Land Title’s operations.

“The decision to join forces with TitleOne was an easy one,” Strohmaier said. “Combining our companies allows us to streamline operations and capitalize on efficiencies, while offering our customers an expanded range of products and services.”

It’s been a busy two years of acquisitions for TitleOne, which snagged Sandpoint Title Insurance in 2019, and Columbia Title Company, Payette Title Company and Washington Title Company in 2020.

Mergers and acquisitions have picked up across the country, with even small- and mid-sized title companies expanding their footprints to take on bigger players. In fact, Knight Barry Title purchased independent firm Title One‘s Minnesota office in 2020 as it expanded its operations in the Midwest (Title One has no relationship to Realogy’s title vehicle).

Not to be outdone, Foundation Title & Escrow expanded its footprint in Alabama through its merger with Paulus Title, and National Title and Escrow acquired Mississippi County Abstract and Loan.

That’s not even addressing the “big four” title companies of Fidelity National FinancialFirst American Finance Corp., Old Republic National Title and Stewart Title. The Federal Trade Commission even shot down an attempt by Fidelity to purchase Stewart Title in 2019 due to antitrust concerns, saying that turning the big four into the big three and giving one company an estimated 43% of the market share would “substantially reduce competition” and be harmful to consumers. 

Roughly $4 trillion in mortgages were originated in 2020, and though economists expect an overall slowdown, purchase volume is forecasted to rise in 2021.

“If you’re a title agent and you’re supporting a mortgage origination client, you’ve had a great year. And you may try to leverage that great year into some sort of expansion,” Tom Huddleston, head of Vylla Title Services, told HousingWire in January. “But the other side of the coin is if you’re a small title agent in a very limited geography – maybe you’re an attorney as well – and you made a majority of your revenue off of default, this is the worst of times because of the pandemic and the CARES Act, we were in a foreclosure moratorium.”

TitleOne’s Tuesday announcement means it now serves now serves the Northwest counties of Ada, Canyon, Gem, Blaine, Boise, Bonner, Bonneville, Butte, Kootenai, Sandpoint, Payette, Washington, Minidoka, Cassia, Twin Falls, Jefferson, Jerome, Gooding, Lincoln, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Salt Lake and Lewiston.

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