By Travis Gumphrey
AFTER SPENDING some time working at Texas First Bank with his father Charles Doyle, Patrick left for law school.
After graduation in 1992, he became a partner at Bettison, Doyle, Apffel and Guarino, which was under a different name at the time.
In 1995, Doyle started South Land Title and modeled much of his new business after the success he had seen his father achieve with TFB.
“Pat wanted the company to be community based and independent,” South Land vice president of administration Carolyn Sunseri said.
South Land Title is a third-party to real estate contracts and act as a facilitator for closing documents and property background checks.
In addition, it also provides title insurance to protect purchasers from unexpected things that may show up later, like property defects or unpaid property taxes.
The company started as a fee attorney and became its own agency in 2010. Now, they have other fee attorneys at their disposal.
Not only that, the company has the ability to use more than one underwriter, unlike other title companies that are required to use their own underwriter.
South Land is currently licensed to do business with Alamo, Fidelity National, First American, Old Republic, Title Resources Guaranty, and WFG National. So if an issue with a title comes up, South Land has the ability to consult numerous other underwriters.
The dedication to the communities they serve is evident in the extra steps they take to make the processes easier for their clients.
Having several underwriters makes things easier but so does having their own Title Plant where staff examines files and process them and their own Policy Department where completed title policies are processed immediately following closing.
None of this work is outsourced by South Land.
“We are growing as an independent agency,” Sunseri said. “That’s the difference between us and the bigger, mainstream companies.”
And growing they are.
What started as one location in 1995 was already four locations when Sunseri started as a marketing representative in 2000.
Now, there are 18 South Land offices. Additionally, in 2011 the company purchased Brazos County Abstract, the oldest title company in Brazos County. And in 2014, South Land bought Security Title in Abilene and its four offices. That brings the total of South Land owned title offices to 25, spreading the community-based services further into Texas.
But spreading beyond Galveston County hasn’t slowed their reach at home. This past week, South Land opened two new offices in Galveston County with ribbon cutting ceremonies at the new Texas City and Santa Fe locations. The team at South Land will also be opening a Galleria location within the next few weeks.
“Pat wanted to put locations where our customers were,” Sunseri said.
This has allowed South Land to remain community based and independent, just as Doyle intended.