While people are generally familiar with the term title insurance, few understand what to expect from a title company when they first work with one. If this is your first time working with a title company, Settlements, Ltd. wants you to understand both what we do and what you should expect.
Once the buyer, seller, and realtor sign a purchase or sales contract, and the signed document, you can expect the following:
Typically included on the cover letter for these documents is the closing agent’s name and his or her contact information. This is the number used to identify the file when you communicate with the closer. This process is often referred to as “opening title.”
In addition to conducting the closing, your closer communicates with all parties throughout the process to gather required documents, request surveys or tax statements, and finalize your Closing Disclosure. At the actual closing, the buyer, seller, and closer all come together and loan documents are signed .
Once the title has been opened, Settlements, Ltd. will perform a title search to later issue the buyer and seller a title insurance commitment. The buyer is advised to carefully look through the title commitment to note any disclosed defects.
Closing documents, which include the Settlement Statement itemizing all fees and charges to be paid by both the homebuyer and seller, the deed, and all loan documents, aren’t typically prepared. All closing documents must be carefully reviewed prior to the scheduled closing date. Check the math to ensure you’re getting all credits you’re entitled to, confirm taxes are allocated properly, and verify all names are spelled correctly and the property address/description is correct.
It’s important to remember that Settlements, Ltd. is a neutral party and represents neither the buyer or seller. This means we act as an escrow agent and documents in escrow until it’s time for disbursement per contract terms.
In certain cases, either the buyer or seller may feel they’re entitled to the earnest money prior to the closing date. For example, earnest money may be disbursed to the buyer per contract terms if they opt to pull out DURING an option period, they cannot get the lender financing described in the contract, the seller fails to make repairs required in the contract, or the seller defaults on the contract in any way.
Comparatively, disbursement may go to the seller if the buyer opts to pull out AFTER an option period or otherwise defaults on the contract.
At the closing, you’ll be presented with one document after another to sign. It’s important to ask the closing agent for clarification if there’s something you don’t understand or something has changed since you originally viewed the document. Please take your time and don’t feel rushed. Once the closing is finished, all documents have been signed, and all funds have been disbursed, it’s a done deal.