Category Archives: Transnation

Our Closing at Transnation Title

Scan 7

Six years ago we sold our home on Robinhood Drive and moved into the Balcom’s Cove condominiums on Muskegon Lake. We’ve been renting all of this time because it felt like the right thing to do but we have had so much fun here that we thought it was time to buy.

On the day of our closing as we entered the closing room at Transnation Title my thoughts traveled back to the spring of 1983 when I first started working at this title company which was called Transamerica Title back then. I looked around the closing table and thought about the business relationships my co-workers and I have cultivated over the years. Since I wasn’t able to sign any of the documents I had time to daydream a little.

Sitting across from me at the closing table was Jim Raymond from Chrystal-Anderson. Chrystal-Anderson used Transamerica exclusively back in my early days at Trans so we formed some solid relationships with all their real estate agents. Our offices had a lot of fun together at our annual softball games and occasional cocktail parties. My boss at the time, Tom Olson, was the condo expert in Muskegon then so Tom and our staff worked on projects for Chrystal-Anderson and developer John Darien. Three of the projects that come to mind are Harbour Towne, Just Off the Green and Balcom’s Cove. Ironically, I was at the ground breaking ceremony for Balcom’s Cove but never thought I would ever own one of the condos.

Sitting to my left was Leo Langlois from Greenridge Realty who was our real estate agent. Leo stays on top of things through the whole buying and selling process, his fine attention to detail and his great follow-through skills make working with him a pleasure. I first met Leo when he started working for Westwind Realty and used Transnation for his title and closing services. Westwind Realty later sold to Greenridge Realty and Leo has remained loyal to both Greenridge and Transnation even though Greenridge has their own title company. Thank you Leo, we appreciate your loyalty.

Renee Nyblade from Community Shores Bank was our lender and made the mortgage process really simple and worry-free for Mark and I. I still remember meeting Renee for the first time when I invited her to have lunch with me at the downtown Holiday Inn. Renee was a new mortgage lender at a bank called FMB and I wanted to welcome Renee into the Muskegon real estate world and let her know about the great services Transnation had to offer her. Renee now works for Community Shores Bank, one my favorite banks in Muskegon. I know a lot of the Community Shores employees on a personal level and I always feel like family when I walked through their doors. They are a great community bank in Muskegon.

At our closing I proudly sat back and watched my friend Mindy Prause eloquently explain the closing papers in her sweet voice. My mind drifted back to when Mindy started working at Transnation. She was in her teens and was very timid and shy and now she handles any type of closing with confidence and grace.

I remembered the first closing I did as an employee at Transamerica Title. It was a simple cash sale of vacant land with Larry Rottman as the seller and Rod Horsfall as the buyer. It was a 4:00pm closing and I remember being so nervous all day even though I had practiced with Mark the night before.

Transnation Title was a great career for me. It taught me so much about real estate, the business world and people.

After our closing, we got a tour of Trans’ new expanded offices and I loved seeing many of my Transnation friends again. Trans employees were my family away from home for nearly 28 years. Thank you all.


Working at Transnation Title

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In April of 1983, six months after Kelly was born and Chad was two and a half years old, Mark and I decided Chad needed some sharing experiences by playing with other children so I started looking for a part-time job and thought Chad and Kelly could go to a babysitter. After looking for a couple of weeks, I landed a full-time job at Transamerica Title, now known as Transnation Title. I wasn’t sure what title insurance was and certainly did not understand my new job, but I accepted it thinking it would be a great opportunity for my family and me.

My new job was full of learning experiences and I worked with some great people that were very patient with me and taught me what they knew. Our home life was an adjustment with two little kids, but Mark and I managed like everyone does.

About three months into my job we were eating fish and I thought I swallowed a small fish bone. A week went by and the feeling of the bone in my throat didn’t go away so I visited an ear, nose and throat specialist. After the doctor scoped my throat and didn’t find anything he asked, “Have you experienced anything new in your life lately?” I said, “I started a new job about three months ago.” He asked if it was stressful and I said it was. He told me that stress can show up in many ways in our body and he thought the feeling of a bone in my throat might be because of stress. A week after my doctor’s appointment my fish bone feeling went away. It was stress related.

Throughout my 27 and a half years at Transnation Title as a Marketing Representative I learned so much about myself. Today I look back at my career and this is what I feel. My job in sales was life-changing for me. I met so many wonderful friends in the business. Working at a title company helped me gain knowledge about real estate, which is still valuable in my life today. My job challenged me outside of my comfort zone but I tried not to let it show. I was stressed giving a presentation to a room full of people, I was nervous when I had to golf with my boss and two vice presidents from Community Shores, but I survived. I loved coordinating client events but was nervous walking into a real estate office or bank on a cold call. I felt great after I did it.

Even though Transnation gave me great tools and superb sales training I still struggled asking my clients for their business. I finally figured out why it was so difficult for me. My parents taught me it wasn’t polite to ask for something unless it was a necessity. I know this sounds silly but to ask my customers for title orders just didn’t seem right to me. I knew if they gave me an order, my co-workers would give them a great product and great service but asking never came natural to me. So the only way I felt comfortable was by getting to know my potential customers first as a person and a friend and then as a customer. I made many friends over my years at Transnation, even if they didn’t give me their business.

Another thing I had a hard time with was recognition awards. Because I was in sales, for some reason sales people and managers were the only ones in the company that could qualify for spectacular awards. Because I worked with great people, my sales numbers looked wonderful and I happened to earn two amazing vacations, one to The Ritz Carlton in Orlando and another to The Ritz Carlton in the Camine Islands. Mark and I loved the trips but I thought my whole office should have been invited to join us. One person in an office does not deserve the recognition especially when you have a great team of co-workers working hard.

I want you to know that my friends at Transnation are bright, amazing and work hard. All around my job at Transnation was wonderful and the best part is I made lifelong friends. I have been retired for almost three years and when I walk into the Transnation office, I still feel at home.

Before I end my Transnation story, missing from the photo above is a special friend, Teresa LaVigne. I first met Teresa 20 years ago because she worked for my competitor, First American Title, and she was well-respected in the real estate community and my biggest competition. She finally came to her senses and came to work with me at Transnation about 12 years ago. We bonded immediately and have felt like family ever since. Pictured below is Teresa and her beautiful 100 year old Grandma, Oma.