Memos & News

The Dream Girls of title searches



Sometimes, hard work gives you that shove to start your own business.

Jodi Brust worked for a title company in Center Moriches for 13 years, concentrating on conscientious customer service. Then, she got a wakeup call.

“I said, ‘I should be doing this for myself,’” Brust recalled. “I left in February 2006 and opened here two months later.”

Yes, there were naysayers.

“‘You’re crazy opening at the worst time,”’ she said of those referring to the real estate market that tanked. “So, we worked our way up.”

Brust is owner and president of American Dream Abstract Inc., based in East Patchogue. A Shirley resident, she is a William Floyd graduate who, with her staff, conducts 30 title searches a month.  “For refinance, it’s usually 24 to 48 hours because we don’t have to search that far back,” she said of their turnaround time. “Full title takes seven to 10 days standard.”

She gave an example of the process involved.

“We do title searches that include people purchasing a home or refinancing a current home,” she said. “A real estate attorney or mortgage company wants to make sure there’s a clear title, that is, property with no federal tax liens or judgments. We have independent examiners we use in every county in New York State, all 62.” Brust’s company orders the title search and the examiners research the abstract of title, that is, a condensed history of land ownership, including specifics such as deed transfers, covenants or restrictions. Certification that the information is accurate and complete is then issued. The information is needed, “so you are well aware of things you can do or not do, like easements,” she said.

She likes the challenge because “every transaction is completely different,” she said. “There could be an owner who passed away and we may have to have a surrogate court proceeding to make sure no long-lost relative will lay claim to it,” she said.

Her company also conducts single and separate searches for builders or those constructing additions as well as co-op searches. Also, “title certifications are big with the town,” she said.

An efficient calm pervades Brust’s office off Patchogue-Yaphank Road in spite of the volume; her staff is mostly comprised of women. Brust, who grew up in Mastic Beach, has three children and a supportive husband. It’s taken 10 years to gather what she calls her “dream team,” dependable and knowledgeable with no drama issues.

While the atmosphere is productive, “we do have pretty funny conversations and inside jokes,” she said.

“I can tell you a million stories about survey inspections,” inserted senior account executive Amy Anthony, who’s been with Brust since she started.

“We’re one of the few abstract companies I know who hosts a holiday party for our customers because we want to embrace them in our growth,” said Anthony. Clients become friends, she said, and this year, 65 of them were feted at East Wind in Wading River.

Brust will admit that with success comes hard work; she regularly hauls file crates between the office and home. “If a client asks for something, we reply,” Brust said. “There are a lot of abstract companies out there and my mission is customer service and no mistakes.”

The company will celebrate 10 years on April 3 and, yes, a big party is planned.