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Inspiring Conversations with Morgane Klareich of Legacy Settlement Services

Today we’d like to introduce you to Morgane Klareich. 

Hi Morgane, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I feel like I should start from the beginning. I come from a very close family because I am not just an only child but a female-only child. My Dad is second-generation American, his grandparents immigrated through Ellis Island in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. They were escaping persecuting from being Jewish in Eastern Europe. My Dad was the first of my family to go to college and worked extremely hard to get a full ride to Cooper Union in Manhattan. Since I was little, he always pushed me to be my best, and honestly, the drive and ambition I have comes from my father. We both believe that if you put your heart and mind to something you can achieve it. He was able to get a degree in Physics and rise the ranks during the big tech boom in Silicon Valley of the ’80s and ’90s. Also, because of his driven focus in his career, he met my mom in France from work in his mid 30’s. I am first-generation American on my mom’s side and she reminds me all the time that I am just as French as American, there is no 50-50, it’s 100% of each. She is also a driving force behind any success I have had. My mom is my biggest cheerleader and supported all my dreams growing up. Without that base in my home life, I can’t say that I would be happily married with a house and amazing career. Then we fast forward to me at North Carolina State University about to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Fashion and Textiles with a minor in Art and Design. For the longest time, I wanted to be a Fashion Designer but realized my heart was not in it strong enough to really start from the ground up in New York City. I ended up in Baltimore city because I accepted a job as a Store Manager in retail. I thrived at the beginning in my role but then soon felt the burnout of the job by 25 years old. I had my quarter-life crisis and needed to get out of retail. Personally, I could imagine myself in my 30’s with a family running a store working 60 hours a week. I felt like if I could get into a sales job where the number of hours put into it, I could make a higher return on commission. As well as I wanted that exclusive work-life balance that I saw some friends achieve. I applied to a lot of outside sales positions and found a roadblock. The companies didn’t consider my job as a store manager enough of sales experience. I had to start from the beginning again as an entry level sales representative. I fell back on what I was taught growing up that you don’t give up and if you set your mind to it, you will achieve your goals. I accepted an introductory job as a sales representative at a copier and office technology company based in Baltimore County. My role was to go and hit the pavement, cold call companies in Towson and get business owners to buy copiers. This was probably my hardest job to date, and probably for the rest of my life. Trying to get people to buy into large expensive pieces of archaic machinery was not an easy feat. About a year in and making a lot more sales than I ever thought I would, I connected with a young entrepreneur, Michael Ruder. He ran sales and operations at a title company in Towson, my copier territory. As soon as we met, I followed up consistently to sell him a copier. Something I learned quickly that title companies printed and scanned a lot. They were stuck in the past and needed copiers. Even though I had absolutely no idea what a title company did! Michael said that he would offer me a job before he ever bought a copier. So then began my path into becoming an entrepreneur myself. I was brought on as a sales representative to learn the business and soon after a year of sales closed 100 transactions and got my title producers license and notary commission. I was starting to do my own settlements soon and building a larger network of clients. Eventually, we hired more salespeople and grew fast under Michael’s guidance. I was able to grow my business, help people get into homes, and finally understood not just what a title company was but title law. Then COVID 19 hit in the beginning of 2020 and we really didn’t know where the industry was going to go. At this point I found the love of my life; my husband John Barry and we bought our own home. Right now, we have an amazing fur family, a Siberian husky named Maverick and Siberian Forest cat named Goose. Yes, after the movie Top Gun. We were very blessed to we grow even more during the pandemic and started out own title company in January 2021, Legacy Settlement Services. Our headquarters is based in Baltimore, MD off the Canton Square. I continue to help bring on new clients but also help with the needs of our company. Just recently I hired a new sales representative that reminds me so much of myself 5 years ago. I see in her what Michael saw in me! Finally, it has come full circle. The next steps for me are helping her grow in the business and attend law school to become a title attorney. Again, I wouldn’t be here today without my family, mentor Michael and my amazing clients. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It was not a smooth road to get to where I am in my life and career. Moving from Raleigh, NC to Baltimore, MD was not an easy task. Most people don’t understand why I would move to a faraway city where I didn’t know anyone. Personally, I wanted a big change but also needed the challenge. When you start a career in sales, they always tell you to start from your personal sphere. However, my longest friends and family were in North Carolina. My territory at the copier & title companies were the DMV. I had to work ten times harder to create trusting and valuable relationships with people I had no prior connection with. I had to build a community for myself from scratch in this market. It was a lot of cold calling which isn’t for the faint of heart. You get a lot of rejections but the clients you make from it are so worth it! I have one client that I met the first few months I was in title from a cold call, and she is like family to me now. I was putting in the hard work outside of “business hours” and meet strangers constantly. Honestly, I am happy I started from scratch because it made me a stronger businesswoman, and appreciate my success more than if I already knew a lot of people. Another obstacle was just being a woman who was not a title attorney in a male attorney-dominated field. I still to this day get push back because I don’t have my law degree yet. Even though my expertise in complicated transactions or “high maintenance home buyers” has brought more than my future law degree. I am happy to break stereotypes that title is a man’s career and add diversity to our industry. Again, I am very thankful my parents always pushed me to be driven and that a woman can do the same careers as men. Sometimes I do get the typical backlash that driven women can get in male-driven industries. I have developed a thick skin so comments like intimidating, and bossy do not bother me at all. Honestly, if I get those critics, I know I am doing my job correctly. Women paving the way in these fields allow for role models for younger women to fill in more of these positions and I happy to be a part of it. My last obstacle is client retention. I have learned over the years the best versions of customer services and how to operate efficiently for my clients. Obviously, not everyone is going to be the best fit and we sometimes grow out of certain relationships in sales, but I am so proud to have clients I met at 5 years ago that I still work with today. I try to never take things personally though and am always there for clients if they want to reconnect. 

We’ve been impressed with Legacy Settlement Services, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Legacy Settlement Services is a full-service title company that handles the real estate transaction from a legal end. So, we will hold the funds in escrow for the person buying the home, make sure that the title of the house is clear of any liens or judgments, work with the mortgage company and realtors, and execute the settlement where buyers and sellers sign a phone book of documents. After you buy your house, we make sure the house transfer is complete and all parties are paid. The celebrations at the closing table with the buyers and sellers is my favorite part. Seeing how happy people are getting their new home makes everything else in the job worth it! Legacy as a company is licensed in MD, VA, DC, PA, FL & SC. I am personally licensed in MD, VA, and DC. What we are known for is setting ourselves apart from other title companies with our customer service, celebrations at settlement day, and social media marketing. Not only do we utilize unconventional and cutting-edge marketing techniques, but we love to teach our clients how to mimic the same things in their businesses. All any realtor, loan officer, home buyer, or seller needs to know that they are truly safe in our hands for their experience. At the end of the day, we are not saving lives like a doctor, but we are helping people achieve an amazing feat, buying a home! Some of our homebuyers never thought they would become a homeowner and seeing them crying tears of joy at settlement is so worth it. It should be fun, exciting, and the lowest stress we can achieve for all parties involved. We want to make sure the people involved whether its clients or our employees feel like they are a part of the Legacy family and enjoy the experience. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I honestly don’t believe in bad luck because everything happens for a reason, and I was raised those forces outside of your control put you through things to end up in a specific situation. There were moments I was tested to what I believe to be G-d but ended up exactly where I needed to be after going through some hardship. I feel like people at my company can relate even more to that such as my partner Michael Ruder. It’s like the phrase what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If I didn’t have a store close in my retail career, then I wouldn’t have ended up at a different retailer. Then I went through some employees who stole and lied to me which pushed me into working in outside sales. My experience at the copier company was very hot and cold. I am grateful for the training in sales and introduction to Michael through networking. You could say that was luck meeting him! But I mentally and physically went through a lot of pain. The company culture was extremely toxic in the way that salespeople were treated like just a number and pushed too far to work for too little. Everyone seemed replaceable in management’s eyes, and no one seemed to care about us on a human level. At times my stress levels were so high my physical started to deteriorate. But I wouldn’t have gotten into title without that job, and it didn’t kill me but made me stronger. Michael and I had to deal with some struggles with our old title company. We didn’t see eye to eye with the owner on how to operate and structure the company. Hence, how we ended up being pushed to start our own. Where we are today made everything worth it. And I wouldn’t be the same wife, friend, or businesswoman without my luck or fate. 

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