Though he sold the company in 2009, David Contarino is still proud that Southwestern Title & Escrow redefined what service means in the real estate industry.
Southwestern Title & Escrow (ST&E) was founded in 1994 and opened in 1995 recalls David Contarino. Along with wife Linda Marquette Contarino, the couple opened the doors with just eight employees and the intent to help people insure their dreams through a local and reliable source.
David Contarino explains that ST&E offers real estate customers title insurance and escrow resources. As a locally owned company, David Contarino says there are numerous benefits to working with ST&E, including the company’s strong link to local commerce. Included in the company’s lineup of local partnerships are the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, the New Mexico Land Title Association, and the Santa Fe Area Home Builder Association. David Contarino notes that ST&E is also active in the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce.
David Contarino and Linda Marquette Contarino sold the company in 2009 to Santa Fe native John Fox, a veteran real estate attorney. Fox has been a figure in the Santa Fe legal community since 1978. He is a second-generation law professional, explains David Contarino, and worked alongside his father, Robert Fox, until the mid-1990s.
Today, ST&E continues the mission that inspired David Contarino and Linda Marquette Contarino to open this now very successful title company. According to David Contarino, the title and exam department is managed by Mike Thompson. Thompson is an industry pioneer with more than 20 years of experience, reports David Contarino. With nearly 40 years performing title searches, Senior Examiner Fred Barela is a stickler for quality. Senior Policy Preparer Joyce Arellano has diligently served the industry for more than two decades, says David Contarino.
Lead Escrow Officer Kay Jones has stayed one step ahead of the ever changing title and escrow environment since the 1980s. David Contarino emphasizes that Jones provides each and every client with the greatest protection available, while always keeping budget concerns in the forefront of her mind. David Contarino says that Jones is a great member of ST&E’s team of escrow officers, which includes Cassandra Vigil-Mondragon, Maria Salazar and Carla Pogemiller. David Contarino reveals that Pogemiller is something of an industry leader, with more than 30 years of experience. She has received several awards including affiliate of the year from the Santa Fe Association of REALTORS®.
The closing process
David Contarino explains that, as a title and escrow company, ST&E is given the important task of making sure the real estate transaction is protected. According to David Contarino, the company discovers, identifies and remedies potential conflicts to eliminate title hazards that may interfere with the intended purchasers’ home-ownership rights. David Contarino emphasizes that a successful closing always begins with a complete and accurate title search. Essentially, the title company is ensuring the homeowner that they have performed a diligent search and there are no issues at signing. David Contarino explains that the search may include divorce records, sales history, deeds and mortgages, and previous court judgments, liens and delinquent taxes.
David Contarino remains an avid supporter of Southwestern Title and Escrow. He is active in the real estate community and owns several commercial and residential properties throughout the Santa Fe area. David Contarino is also a political consultant with nearly 30 years of experience in both politics and real estate.