SureClose Broker FAQ
Posted on October 23, 2013 by AAR
Q: As a SureClose® broker, how are my costs and technical support going to change?
A: In 2014: Beginning January 1, you will be billed by SureClose® $1 per file created. That is a one-time charge that provides access to the file for seven years. You will continue to call AAR Business Services for all training and support needs.
2015 and beyond: Beginning January 1, 2015, you will be billed by SureClose® $4 per file created. Again, that is a one-time charge that provides access to the file for seven years. SureClose® will provide all ongoing support and training after December 31, 2014.
Q: Is there anything special about the new pricing offered by AAR?
A: Yes. Depending on volume, typical SureClose® brokers outside Arizona are paying $10 or more per transaction file. AAR will continue to subsidize your SureClose® fees to bring the price down to $1 per file through the end of 2014. In 2015 and beyond, the $4 per file fee is a negotiated price for all AAR brokers and represents a substantial discount.
Q: What can I expect for training and support?
A: AAR Business Services will continue to be your training and support contact in 2014. However, after 2014, AAR staff will no longer have access to your account. Beginning in January 2015, SureClose® will provide support through its toll-free phone line (888.526.3282). Training refreshers will be available through SureClose® webinars. AAR Business Services will continue to provide limited phone support and links on our website as a service to transitioning SureClose® brokers.
Q: I’ve heard that SureClose® is going out of business; is that correct?
A: SureClose® is part of Stewart Information Services Corp, a large, publically-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE-STC). In August, we were informed by SureClose® executives that the parent company had decided to refocus SureClose® operations on their title insurance and closing companies and discontinue selling SureClose® to real estate brokerages. We were informed that brokers (and associations like AAR) under existing contracts would continue with uninterrupted service.
Our new three-year contract with SureClose® anticipates continuing operations through 2016 with automatically-renewing one-year agreements after that. Our agreement with SureClose® requires the company to provide users with a one-year notice if they decide to discontinue offering services to brokers. In any event, our contract provides for maintaining access to existing SureClose® files for seven years from date of creation.
Q: How do these changes in SureClose® affect other AAR benefits like zipForm® and eSign?
A: AAR plans to continue both zipForm® and eSign and these benefits will not be affected by the SureClose® changes.
Q: Who do I call if I have problems with SureClose®?
A: AAR Business Services will continue to support SureClose® through 2014. That means you should continue to call us with any issues you might encounter. In 2015, SureClose® will take over support using their toll-free support line. We’ll provide additional information as the transition time approaches next year.
Q: What will happen next?
A: In the near future, SureClose® will contact you and set up billing with you. You are under no obligation to continue using SureClose®. If you decide to go back to keeping paper records for a while, simply stop creating new files in SureClose®—you won’t get billed for anything if you don’t create files. You may resume creating files at any time and be billed at the negotiated rate.
Q: How can I compare SureClose® with other systems now available?
A: Call AAR Business Services. We are constantly collecting information on a variety of platforms. We can discuss options with you and provide contact information.
Q: If I change to another transaction management (TM) system, how do I access my old files in SureClose®?
A: All of the files you created in SureClose® will be accessible for seven years from the date created. When you need a file from an old transaction, simply log into SureClose® and pull it up. If you’ve been using SureClose® for a few years, we recommend you start archiving your closed SureClose® files onto mass storage media like an external hard drive. That way, even after seven years, you can look up old files.
Q: If I change to another transaction management (TM) system, how do I move my old files out of SureClose® and into the new system?
A: There is no utility or simple method to move SureClose® files to another system. We recommend that you begin by using SureClose® tools to copy all closed transaction files from SureClose® onto a storage device (a large hard drive is the best and cheapest option). If you’re not sure how to do this, AAR Business Services can show you how. Be sure to store the hard drive in a secure place. Remember, all files created in SureClose® will remain accessible for seven years from the date created.
For files stored in SureClose® that are currently in process, we recommend you create new files in your new system and manually move document out of SureClose® into the new system. Since TM systems are quite different internally, there is no utility for converting one system to another. Although we can’t do it for you, AAR Business Services can help you work through the process and advise you on moving files.
Q: Should I stay with SureClose® or look elsewhere?
A: We encourage our brokers to look at all their options and we can help. SureClose® file fees are currently low compared to other systems. However, we expect to see increased competition for TM systems in Arizona and next year is a good time to begin research. For updated information on TM systems we have looked at, please call our Business Services team.
Q: Can brokers still sign up for SureClose® now?
A: You may sign up for SureClose® before December 31, 2013, under our current terms ($500 startup fee) if you meet the following conditions:
- You are a broker with current AAR membership.
- You are willing to set up billing arrangements with SureClose® for the files fees discussed previously which will begin in 2014.
Q: Can you provide me with some examples of “billable” files?
A: Yes. “Billable” SureClose® files will continue to be counted as they have in the past. Basically, a new listing or closing files are counted as billable, unless they are deleted before the end of the calendar month. (Note: files created and deleted in the same month are not counted.) Also, if a listing file is converted to a closing file, no charge is made for the listing file. Here are some specific examples:
A listing file is created, but the sale is canceled three times; does that count as one file or three?
We teach listing brokers to “convert” the listing files to closing files. Then it counts as one billable listing file—the listing file can be converted any number of times. If a listing broker prefers to set up separate closing files for the same address, a new file is billed for each closing file. This is uncommon, but it happens.
If a broker creates a closing file and the buyer’s deal is cancelled, is it a file?
Yes. From the buyer’s broker side, that would be one billable file. The listing broker would not have a billable file.
If there are 15 rejected contracts on a listing, is it one file or 15?
For 15 rejected offers on a listing, there would be one billable listing file. Please note, there is a difference between a rejected offer and a cancelled offer. Any rejected contracts would go into a catch-all rejection file on the buyer-broker’s side.
If a listing expires and is relisted two months later, should a new file be created?
Probably yes. If ADRE expects there to be a separate file, then the listing broker would need to create a second billable file. If not, the broker could choose to use the “old” file and add to it. Note that files are kept by SureClose® for seven years from the date of creation. If enough time has lapsed, the broker ought to create a new file anyway.
If the listing agent switches companies and both are on SureClose®, how would the file be handled?
Assuming the original broker created a listing file; they would be billed for it. If that original broker allows the agent to take the business with them, the new broker would create a new billable listing file.
If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to call AAR Business Services. We are available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at (480) 304-8930 or (866) 833-7357.
You may also reach Nick Catanesi, AAR Director of Business Services or Ron LaMee, AAR Senior VP of information Services at (602) 248-7787 or (800) 426-7274.