At Highland Title + Escrow, we deliver smooth settlements. It’s our goal every time, but what does that mean to a buyer or seller? What happens inside our walls? Today, we open our doors to share how our title professionals help from receipt of a signed contract to closing day with our clients’ satisfaction in mind.
First and foremost, Highland acts as the neutral third party in a real estate transaction. Our interest is complying with the law and making things as easy as possible for the parties and the agents on both sides of the contract.
When we receive the contract, the title is ordered, and the search begins, usually by one of our abstractors. A title search is essentially a history report of who has owned the property in the past, how that property has changed hands, and liens and restrictions that the property may be subject to. (Keep in mind that these days, many searches can take place online, but for many years, we went to the courthouse to search through paper after paper and binder after binder that went back years and years.) By these records, we confirm that the seller has the right to sell the property, as well as bring anything to light, such as a lien that might impede the buyer’s ability to own the property free and clear or an easement that an incoming Buyer may need to comply with.
Concurrent with title searches, we’ll gather all financial data related to the settlement. This includes the seller’s mortgage information, taxes, homeowners association dues, commission information and loan financing fees. A settlement statement will be prepared detailing the sellers’ and buyers’ credits and debits, and we’ll hold any funds collected prior to closing in an escrow account until settlement.
When the title search is complete, we’ll prepare a title binder (the “Commitment” for title insurance), and order a survey, if requested. The prepared title binder will be delivered to the lender and the Buyer, and we will be in communication with both parties should there be questions or concerns. Through our capacity as a title agent, we will issue a lender policy of title insurance to satisfy the loan requirements and can issue an owner’s policy of title insurance, which protects the incoming Buyer for as long as they own the property. Questions regarding these policies can be answered at (703) 723-3300.
As closing day nears, we become the place where everything lands. As the documents filter in from all parties, we prepare settlement statements and closing documents for the buyers’ and sellers’ signatures. We will also calculate how much money the buyer will need at the closing appointment, in addition to working with buyers, sellers, agents and lenders to schedule the closing.
In each of our locations, our title professionals prepare an inviting environment for each party, and everything needed from us for the closing will be ready to go. Everyone’s satisfaction is top priority so we encourage clients to ask questions and provide feedback. It’s how we know we are getting the job done.
Even after signing all of the documents, we are not quite done. In Virginia, we must record the Deed and Deed of Trust at the courthouse prior to disbursing any funds. This process can take as long as 48 hours, not including weekends and holidays, and we’ll give the seller information about when to expect the funds at closing.
Once everything is signed and the funds are where they need to be, we’ll continue coordinating with the lender and provide copies of all of the settlement documents, including the ALTA Settlement Statement and the Escrow Disclosure. Even after you leave our office and after the transaction is complete, you can always call us at (703) 723-3300, or contact us here with any questions.
Whether you are a buyer, seller, lender or agent, you can be confident that Highland Title + Escrow can competently handle all your title and escrow needs. Feel free to call anytime to speak with one of our experienced attorneys, or visit our website for a title quote.