As a child, I spent days and days thumbing through the Sears Catalog in order to write my letter to Santa. Looking back, I think, even then, I knew some things were beyond Santa’s ability to deliver, but that didn’t keep me from circling them in the catalog and holding my breath for a big Christmas surprise.


In the spirit of wishfulness…….here’s my letter to Santa.



Dear Santa,


All I want for Christmas are the things listed below.


1. A title industry that respects itself.


            What we do is important. Without our work…our GOOD work….anarchy would rule the real estate world. We provide the assurance of ownership and lien priority. We keep neighbors as good neighbors rather than bickering over property lines. We protect the public use of easements and rights of way. We keep the public property records accurate and make sure lien instruments are properly recorded…..and released.


2. Regulators who understand that good regulation keeps the industry safe.


            If our industry is not financially safe and procedurally sound, misery will be visited upon unsuspecting consumers. For every regulator that seeks political advantage by touting their “consumer protectionism” and “low price” positions on title insurance, I wish they would be visited by the “smart angel” and come to an awareness that driving title standards lower is the ultimate consumer betrayal.

I do not know many regulators who can discern a quality title product from an inferior one. We need good regulations from good regulators. Oh, and Santa……please inform them of the differences between a commission and a split. While you’re at it, could you help them understand what title agents do?


3. An underwriter/agent system that doesn’t abuse one another.


            Agents must write good clean paper. That means good searches. Underwriters must live by the same rules. Agents should remit on time. Underwriters shouldn’t sign every Donner and Blitzen as agents. Agents must be willing to have stringent audits. Underwriters must quit the race to the bottom on standards. Underwriters must honor the agent system…..or declare their animosity towards it. Agents must quit shopping underwriters for approval of bad deals. Neither agents nor underwriters can have it both ways.  We are all ruining this industry with selfish business practices.


4. More real estate and mortgage professionals who put their clients before their self- interest.


            Santa, this CONTROLLED business thing has gotten out of hand. Tell me again how requiring the use of a specific settlement provider is good for the consumer. Oh, I know you can’t do that…..but I don’t live at the North Pole. It happens EVERY day in EVERY way in the real world…..and it is virtually impossible to regulate. Maybe the agreement is well written, but (wink, wink) if more business can be directed……ummm , I mean recommended….maybe Joe Real Estate Agent could win (wink, wink) a trip to Italy. 

            Now Santa, before you give me a lump of coal, let me quickly add…..there are people and companies who do things exactly by the letter (and spirit) of the law. God bless them Santa…..I hope you bring them something special for Christmas.


My point is……do we really need the grief of permitting arrangements that are this hard to police?


Finally, Santa….


Could you help everyone understand that there are some things more important….more lasting…. than personal and corporate greed? Could you make our country’s business community understand that even though we are in a global economy……the security of our nation depends on building industries that will endure because of their commitment to values….rather than just a quick buck? 


Please give Mrs. Clause my best wishes. I will leave milk and cookies for you…..and a carrot for Rudolph.



Mike Pryor