Bachmeier celebrates 50 years in title business
In the realm of estate, it’s very rare that any property quickly changes hands. Before the time comes to sign the heaps of paper for purchase agreements, promissory notes and mortgage documents, the parties must first establish who actually owns what and ensure there aren’t any additional hurdles to jump through before the closing.
That’s usually when Paula Bachmeier’s phone would begin to ring, as it no doubt has countless times during her 50 years working in the title industry in Minot.
On Wednesday afternoon, Bachmeier was celebrated at The Title Team’s Minot office by coworkers and industry peers in recognition of her decades of work in residential and commercial real estate.
“I answered a blind ad in the paper two weeks before I graduated and she hired me on the spot. I got recruited to play basketball at UND-Williston and went away for a year to play basketball. I came back toward the end of the summer and never left,” said Bachmeier. “I was making 200 bucks a month and thought it was too good of money to leave.”
Her first gig at Divine Abstract lasted for 35 years, beginning first as a typist before eventually taking on title insurance and managing real estate closings before joining The Title Team, which was known at the time as North Dakota Guarantee and Title. Ultimately, it was more than money that kept Bachmeier in the industry, as she genuinely found purpose and passion in the work and actually enjoyed peeling back the layers of history within every chain of title.
“It’s like a history book. To follow the history of it and get it in order and to have the knowledge to know what the attorney needed so that he can make his opinion based on the facts we presented him,” Bachmeier said, “it was always just fun. In the ’80s we started doing title insurance and in ’83 I did my first closing and started meeting people.”
Bachmeier said she’s closed more than 55,000 transactions during her career, which have provided a wealth of experience and awareness for the variety of title issues that can crop up along with the appropriate remedies for them. Along with experience, Bachmeier cited the increased access to information afforded by technology and automation as a huge leap forward. Typically, such information only lived in dusty yellowed tomes in county courthouses, but now can be summoned to a screen with only a few clicks.
Despite the wild west of AI machine learning algorithms looming on the horizon, Bachmeier doesn’t see an end for the human element in her vocation.
“Where before we just typed abstracts and didn’t really know what we typed, now when we do closings, we have to able to interpret and understand what fixes things,” Bachmeier said. “We’re a bigger part of things than we used to be. The automation is amazing, but you still have to have the human factor. We have to make the determination and to explain the documents. What are you signing? You’re going into debt here. You better have somebody who knows and has experience to explain documents to you.”