April 16, 2015 02:37 PM

Merger paves the way for Tuten Title and Escrow’s entry into New Iberia.

Tuten Title and Escrow has expanded to New Iberia via a merger with attorney David Groner’s practice.

A lifelong resident of New Iberia, Groner has 30 years of legal experience, having primarily focused on personal injury and commercial cases. Groner’s office at 230 W. Main Street has been converted to Tuten Title and will now primarily offer title and escrow services while engaging in select litigation and other legal services.

Led by attorney Rye Tuten, Tuten Title and Escrow was founded in Lafayette in 2011 and is located at 326 Settlers Trace Blvd.

Companies like Tuten Title coordinate the interests of all parties to a real estate transaction — including buyers, sellers, mortgage lender and real estate agents. It now has four attorneys and a support staff of 15.

“We handle residential and commercial purchases and refinances as well as some matters incidental to purchases and refinances such as successions and LLC and corporation formation,” Tuten tells ABiz. “But we really try to narrowly focus our specialization to real estate closings.” As licensed title insurance agents, the firm also issues title insurance in connection with the residential and commercial transactions that close at its office. The insurance protects the lender and/or owner against lawsuits or claims against the property that might result from disputes over the title.

“All of the processing that takes place in each file prior to closing will take place in one, centralized location, Lafayette,” Tuten notes. “Then on the closing day, New Iberia residents can show up at our office in New Iberia to close and Lafayette residents can show up at our office in Lafayette to close. Technology has come such a long way that it’s basically like having the same office in two cities. This technology and business model will allow us to open up other locations in the future seamlessly.”

The firm works to ease any stress people might feel when finalizing the transaction. “Closing on a home should be a joyous occasion and we make every effort prior to and during the closing to make it a great experience,” he says. “By adding David Groner to our team, we add years of legal experience and a wealth of knowledge, and his personality is a perfect fit for our closing style.”

Tuten says the expansion is a response to real estate agents and lenders urging him to open another location in New Iberia. “The popular trend right now in real estate is to go to Lake Charles, and I think what is going on in Lake Charles is great for Louisiana, but what about the local communities here in Acadiana? Why overlook them?” Tuten asks. “So there was a need, but we needed to find the right ‘fit’ for us to make the expansion happen. When David Groner approached us about forming a joint venture in New Iberia it was almost a ‘no-brainer.’ ... We feel New Iberia is a wonderful community on the verge of some serious growth in the near future and years to come,” Tuten continues. “My father, Dr. Lane Tuten, worked in New Iberia for several years and raved about the great people in New Iberia.”

The local firm has not seen a drop in business, which might be expected in light of falling oil prices. “We have prepared financially in case this drop in oil price causes delayed negative effects to the Lafayette housing market,” the title attorney explains, “but right now we are continuing to grow and gain market share. This year our closings are up approximately 30 percent when compared to this same time last year, and last year was a record year for Tuten Title.”

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