Business Services Update
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SureClose Broker FAQ
Q: As a SureClose® broker, how are my costs and technical support going to change in 2015?
A: Beginning January 1, 2015, you will be billed by SureClose® $4 per file created. That is a one-time charge (per file) that provides access to the file for seven years. SureClose® will provide all ongoing support and training.
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 has negotiated a special price of $4 per file for Arizona member brokers who wish to continue using SureClose.
Q: What can I expect for training and support?
A: Beginning in January 2015, SureClose® will provide support through its toll-free phone line (888.526.3282) or via email at email@example.com. Training refreshers will be available through SureClose® webinars.
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 2013, we were informed by SureClose® executives that the parent company had decided to refocus SureClose® operations on their title insurance and is no longer signing up brokerages for SureClose®. We were informed that brokers (and associations like AAR) under existing contracts would continue with uninterrupted service.
Our 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: SureClose® will provide direct support through its toll-free phone line (888.526.3282) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What will happen next?
A: 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: AAR Business Services has created a matrix to assist brokers in evaluating alternative transaction management systems. The matrix is available on our Arizona REALTOR® web site at https://www.aaronline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TM-Matrix.pdf.
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. SureClose® file fees are currently low compared to other systems. However, we expect to see increased competition for TM systems in Arizona. For updated information on TM systems we have looked at, please see the Transaction Management Comparison Matrix at https://www.aaronline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TM-Matrix.pdf.
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.
Broker Letter Regarding SureClose
In 2008, AAR began offering transaction management (TM) through SureClose®. At the time, few choices existed in the marketplace and it was expected that SureClose® would become a statewide platform. Since 2008, numerous other TM systems have been developed. Some existing SureClose® brokers have even moved to other systems and, as a result, monthly SureClose® file counts have been in decline since 2011. AAR has also been informed that the parent company of SureClose® has discontinued selling SureClose® to brokerage firms outside of its existing contracts to focus future SureClose® support and development on title and escrow business.
After a great deal of discussion and consideration, AAR is now phasing out the SureClose® product as a member benefit. Beginning January 1, 2014, AAR will continue to financially subsidize the majority of the TM cost; however SureClose® will charge and invoice SureClose® brokers a fee of $1 per transaction file created. Each file will be accessible for seven years, just as in the past.
AAR Business Services will continue to train and support our SureClose® brokers through 2014, when training and support will be assumed by SureClose®. AAR will continue to evaluate new and current TM systems and will assist brokers in selecting TM systems.
On January 1, 2015, AAR will discontinue financial and technical SureClose® support and has negotiated a $4 per transaction fee through 2016. Automatically-renewing, one-year agreements will continue under the same terms after 2016.
For more information, please see our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list below. Updates to this FAQ list will be posted here .
Transaction Management White Paper
The widespread use of electronic Transaction Management systems among Arizona brokerages was initiated by AAR in 2008. This paper describes the rationale for using these systems as well as important factors to consider in choosing one. Click here to download this document.
Looking for a Transaction Management system? Where’s the best place to start looking? AAR has compiled information on some of the leading Transaction Management companies in the market today in the Transaction Management Comparison Matrix. The matrix was developed to give brokers a glimpse at the functionality available and how to contact them to get more information.
Simply click on the image below to download the matrix. (Matrix updated 3/1/2016)
If you have any questions, please call Business Services at 866-833-7357 or email email@example.com.