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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, September 18, 2015

Foundation Title serving both clients and Realtors




Herby Dixon, Charlotte Mabry, and Wendy Dixon are the co-owners of Foundation Title, a new company aiming to introduce innovative services to the title insurance market. Vera Shved (far right) is the title officer. - (Photo by David Laprad)

Everything at Foundation Title looks and smells new. The paint is fresh, the carpet is clean, and the furniture is unblemished. Some of the ideas are new, too.

Among the innovations is an office focused on serving real estate agents. As Realtors, co-owners Charlotte Mabry, Herby Dixon, and Wendy Dixon know what agents go through to complete a transaction, and they want to help. Amenities include an office with freely available computers and printers, as well as a store where agents can purchase a last-minute gift to congratulate a client on the purchase of a home.

“We want to make life easier for the agents that use us to close a transaction,” Mabry says.

Foundation Title is still setting up what could be its biggest boon for agents: a service that will allow Realtors to pay someone to handle one or more aspects of a closing. Mabry explains:

“We’ll be offering a menu of services agents can purchase,” she says. “Those of us with teams have team members who do these things for us, but Realtors who are on their own have to do everything themselves. We’re going to have someone on staff a Realtor can hire on a per-transaction basis.”

Mabry says Foundation Title will also be doing “great title work.” The company’s title officer, Vera Shved, has been in the title business “for a long time,” Mabry says, and the rest of the staff has collectively closed thousands of loans.

Mabry’s team will be working in conjunction with Foundation Title’s home office, which is based in Franklin, Tenn. Franklin is also the home of Chris Cantrell, founder and owner of the company. Mabry says Cantrell took the concept of the title company and “systematized” its services to run through a central location, which works closely with more than a dozen local offices throughout Tennessee and Kentucky.

This appealed to Mabry, a full-time Realtor who leads a large team at Keller Williams Downtown. She’d been looking to invest in a title company for three years, but hadn’t seen an entry point that would suit her busy schedule. When she met Cantrell at a Keller Williams meeting and learned about Foundation Title, she was sold.

“I was able to simply step in as an investor,” Mabry says. “Foundation then modified their office model to suit what I wanted to do, which was bring a new level of creativity to this industry.”

Mabry didn’t want to go in alone, so she invited long-time friends and KW colleagues Herby and Wendy Dixon to join her. Like Mabry, the Dixons lead a large team of Realtors, albeit through their office in Ooltewah.

“I could have given out pieces of my pie, but we’re actually making the pie bigger,” Mabry says. “They’re a growing team, which made them a good fit.”

The Dixons were thrilled to climb aboard. “We have a lot of respect for what Charlotte has accomplished over the years,” Herby says. “When she came to us with this opportunity, the only possible answer was yes.”

Herby says he and Wendy aren’t getting into the title business to make money, but to join Mabry on a venture they hope will please customers. “Wendy and I have never chased a dollar,” he says. “This is a way for us to offer a great service.”

Mabry says she’s focused on service as well. “This is an ancillary part of my business I want to make sure is done well,” she says. “We’re going to serve our customers the best we can.”

With the housing market on the upswing, conditions are ripe for new companies to crop up. But Mabry says Foundation Title isn’t a fly-by-night operation. “We’re here for the long run,” she says. “We want to be a player in the title business, and because we’re going to offer good service to the people who will be closing loans with us, as well as stepping outside the traditional role of a title company to serve agents, we expect to succeed.”

For more information about Foundation Title, call (423) 602-1939.