Chicago Title Co.
Specialty: Title Services
Recent Deals: Provided title insurance on the $130 million purchase of Citicorp Plaza by TrizecHahn Corp. and on the $250 million purchase of 10880 and 10960 Wilshire Blvd. by Beacon Properties.
The deals involve massive gleaming highrises, often with price tags in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The dealmakers are of the highest caliber Douglas Emmett, Richard Ziman and the like.
But who do they call on to get the deal done? Frank Jansen.
Jansen heads up a small office of Chicago Title Co. in downtown L.A. that provides title insurance and related services necessary to close huge real estate transactions.
His five-person office handles anywhere from 50 to 70 closings a month, involving roughly $10 billion worth of transactions a year. With an average transaction amount of $10 million to $12 million, the office can earn $15,000 per closing. That is triple the industry average of $4,000 to $5,000 a closing, said Jansen.
So how has Jansen managed to capture the lion’s share of the mega-deals?
It’s his skill at handling business relationships and marketing savvy, says Carl Muhlstein, a broker with Insignia Capital Advisors.
“Frank takes business relationships and treats them like family, and he has a hard time saying no to family,” Muhlstein says.
Muhlstein also says Jansen was one of the first in the title industry to look past local boundaries to obtain business. “He is one of the top people in town and nationally, and he’s one of the pioneers in the title industry to go for national accounts,” he says.
Jansen, who has been working for Chicago Title for 20 years, says he knows the players and understands the game. “One of the things our office does well is the research that we do that gives us the vision into changing markets. We know who’s investing and where investment in real estate will come next,” he says.
He counts among his clients Arden Realty Inc., Apollo Advisors and Alexander Haagen companies, says Jansen, “that are in the growth mode and want consistency in title-related services.”
Clients like these help boost the profitability of the office. “Our client base does higher-liability transactions,” says Jansen. “I look for a steady, consistent clientele at a level that’s profitable for us.”
Lisa Steen Proctor