The unexpected arrival of COVID-19 has impacted all of us in different ways.
Fidelity National Title & Escrow is among the businesses that were considered essential during the initial stay-at-home order, so operations continued without interruption; however, as a result of the order and “Fidelity’s commitment to safeguarding its employees and customers,” four physical offices were closed to the public and 70% of staff statewide began working from home.
“We are able to meet with customers on an appointment-only basis, and we have put in place many processes to protect employees and clients against the spread of COVID-19,” said Reta Chin, AVP, Strategic Business Development at Fidelity National Title & Escrow.
She provided the following list of new practices in place:
- Mobile notary services: Customers are asked to allow us to set up a mobile notary service so that a notary can go to their place of residence to sign off on documents.
- Questionnaire: Customers who choose to come in for signing must complete a questionnaire about travel and health-related issues prior to having their appointment confirmed.
- Lender documents: Lenders are asked to DocuSign as many documents as possible prior to meeting, to minimize customers’ time with the notary or escrow officer at signing.
- Sneeze guards: Every Fidelity office has a sneeze guard in the signing room to separate customers and escrow officers.
- Personal protective equipment: Officers wear face masks and gloves at each signing, and customers are provided with gloves and a pen to take home.
- Office cleanings: Offices are disinfected and tables are wiped own after each signing.
“Here at Fidelity, we continue to open new resale and refinance transactions, as well as successfully recording orders. While our processes remain the same, we remind customers that there may be delays with third-party vendors,” said Chin. “As most appraisers, attorneys, inspectors, real property tax office employees, and other employees of state and county offices are also working from home, they may require more time to successfully process and record transactions,” she noted.
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“A comparison of 1st Quarter 2020 vs. 1st Quarter 2019 shows that the Maui real estate market was very healthy and active, as you can see below,” said Chin. For a detailed report, please visit FidelityMaui.com.
“We know that the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2020 will definitely reveal the effects of COVID-19,” said Chin.
A sense of the slowdown in real estate activity during the month of April is apparent in the Sales vs. Pending graph from January 2019 through April 2020. There were only eight fewer recordings in April 2020, including all the escrows that canceled in mid-March. Only 39% of deals went pending for April 2020 vs. April 2019, for a total of 106 vs. 271.
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“Only time will tell how impacted this industry will be long-term,” said Chin. “More importantly, though, our thoughts and hearts go out to the residents of this beautiful state who lost their jobs, who have been furloughed, who know someone who has faced the virus, or who have battled the virus themselves. This state relies so heavily on the visitor industry and we do hope that before we know it, airlines will be flying to and from Hawaiʻi again so our residents can get back to working and providing for their ʻohana.”
***This information is presented for informational purposes only. It is not our intention to provide any legal, financial or business advice. For specific information, please consult a qualified advisor.
AVP, Strategic Business Development
Fidelity National Title & Escrow:
Reta Chin is a contributing writer to Maui Now. Reta’s experience in the Maui escrow/title/real estate industry dates back to 1990. Named Affiliate of the Year by the Realtors Association in 2000 and she’s also been recognized for sales awards in her career. Fidelity National Title is recognized as the leader in the industry, ranked 303 in the Fortune 500. Fidelity is the highest rated and largest title insurance company, underwriting one of three policies, nationwide. One of the offices is located at the Shops at Wailea, at 3750 Wailea Alanui, Suite 22EW in Wailea. You can Follow Reta on IG @RetaChinFidelity.
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Offices of Fidelity National Title & Escrow are available in: Kahului (808) 893-0556; Lahaina (808) 661-4960; Upcountry (808) 573-0110; and Wailea (808) 891-2404.
*All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed, and should not be relied upon without independent verification. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any misprints, typographical errors, or misinformation and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided by the REALTORS Association of Maui Inc (C) and is for consumer’s personal, non-commercial use. Information on this site was last updated (insert publication date). This is not intended as legal or tax advice, and readers are urged to consult with the appropriate professionals to determine the accuracy of information.