In our daily lives, we do so many things repeatedly that it’s just second nature, but buying, selling and closing on a home isn’t one of those things. The Highland Title + Escrow team understands that you may have questions regarding the process, and we welcome the opportunity to answer them.
So today, we have some questions (and answers) that you should consider asking title and escrow professionals when navigating the closing process. (Take note…there are a LOT of questions you should ask so this one will be our first two-part blog.)
- Who chooses the settlement company? In Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C., the buyer chooses the settlement company. The seller has the ability to hire an attorney to help them through the process, but the title company chosen by the buyer is the “Settlement Agent” for the contract.
- When does settlement occur? The settlement date is agreed to by the parties in the contract. Normally, enough time is allowed to satisfy the conditions of the contract and to arrange the financing. Settlements on refinances are scheduled when the lender is ready to proceed with the loan.
- What happens at settlement? All parties will review the settlement statement for accuracy. The seller executes a few documents, including a deed transferring title to the property to the buyers. Buyers and refinancers review loan documents and have arranged for a wire or bring a cashier’s check to pay the amount due on the settlement statement. The entire process normally takes one hour.
- What should I bring to settlement? Everyone signing documents at settlement must bring a valid picture identification issued by a government entity. Sellers should also bring items such as keys, garage door openers, manuals, and parking or pool permits. Buyers must bring certified funds made payable to Highland Title & Escrow for the amount due for their purchase if a wire payment hasn’t been made. Anyone expecting to receive funds from a settlement and wishing to have it wired to a bank account should bring wiring information for that account along with their checkbook.
- What will it cost to settle? For the most part, our fees are based on the type of transaction. Title insurance premiums are calculated based on the sale and/or loan amount. All parties pay government recordation/transfer taxes. Borrowers will incur lender’s fees, interest and tax and insurance escrow. Borrowers should contact their loan officer prior to closing to determine the number of funds needed. Remember, the settlement agent is required by law to collect readily available funds such as a cashier’s check. Click here to access our Settlement Calculator.
- What if I can’t be at settlement? Buyers, sellers and refinancers who can’t attend settlement can appoint someone as their attorney-in-fact to attend settlement on their behalf. To do this, the person who will be absent from the settlement must sign a power of attorney in the presence of a notary public. The power of attorney must be approved by us, and in some cases, the lender. Also, the original power of attorney must be provided to us at or before settlement.
Did you think of any more questions? If so, we would love to hear from you at (703) 723-3300, or contact us here. Don’t forget to come back for part two.