Back in 1985 as I was making my agency rounds in central Texas, I stopped in the little town of Marlin to meet the owners of Guaranty Abstract Company, which was located in a little downtown office. David Anderson, a Baylor Law School grad, had purchased the company in the early 1980’s and worked there with his wife, Ann, and an abstractor. They were an agent for Stewart Title Guaranty and were looking to add another underwriter. So began our 30-year relationship.
As their business grew over the next decade, they relocated the title company to an old movie theater in downtown Marlin that had been remodeled to fit their needs. It was during this time that I was introduced to Stephen Johnson, another Baylor Law School grad, who seemed to always be at Guaranty Abstract when I made my visits. David and Ann ran Guaranty Abstract Company, and Stephen worked closely with them through the Anderson & Johnson law firm.
In 1995, Mr. Robert Carter, the owner of their only competitor, Falls County Abstract, made the decision to retire. This gave the law firm partners an opportunity to become title company partners. David and Stephen quickly made the decision to purchase Falls County Abstract, which included the sovereignty plant. The two companies were combined and incorporated as Falls County Title Company.
They elected to relocate their new operations into the historic building on 122 Bridge Street. In an interesting twist of fate, it was at Falls County Title Company that I first ran into DJ Horn, their agency representative for Stewart Title. As it happens sometimes, one agency representative is leaving an appointment as the next agency representative is arriving. In this case, DJ was leaving, and I was arriving. I used my time with David to quiz him about DJ and his strengths as an agency rep. Within the month, DJ was no longer with Stewart Title and had come to work with me.
Over the next two decades the company consistently grew their operations. Additional staff was added as the demands increased. However, David and Stephen were faced with the challenges other owners of title companies in rural Texas face–how do they recruit abstractors and escrow officers to rural towns like Marlin? Through sheer determination and lots of patience, they built a team of experienced and conscientious employees that enjoy working in Marlin and the pace of life in the country.
David’s wife, Ann, retired a few years ago prompting David to consider his future and develop a transition plan. That plan is now a reality and after 30+ years in the title business, David sold his interest to his long-time partner Stephen and has officially retired.
DJ and I made the trek to Marlin a couple of weeks ago for several reasons. We wanted to thank David for being our agent and friend for 30 years, to honor his career in the title industry, celebrate the difference he made in his community, and to wish him well in his retirement. We also celebrated Stephen’s acquisition of the title company and offered our support as he faces the future without his partner. Falls County Title Company is a great company and will continue their proud traditions with the help of Stephen’s wife, Rene, and son, Will. FNTI wishes the best for both David and Ann in their retirement and to Stephen and his team at Falls County Title Company.
To learn more about FNTI and how we can help you succeed in 2015, visit our website at www.fnti.com. Also, be sure to check out our new mobile real estate title app—FIRST App, now available for download in the Apple and Google Play store. To see how easy it is to bring your business with you on the go with FIRST App, visit www.fnti.com/firstapp for a fun preview!