UNDERSTANDING THE SETTLEMENT PROCESS
Upon receiving the purchase contract from a Realtor, our office begins collecting contact information from the buyers, sellers, buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, and specifics on the current loan and future mortgage loan from the lenders. We are responsible for conducting a title search and reviewing the chain-of-title, liens, covenants and any other encumbrances that may affect the property the buyer is purchasing. If we uncover any potential errors such as unreleased mortgages, or judgments against people with similar names then these issues will need to be resolved before a title policy can be issued.
A title policy insures your title or ownership rights to the property. At this point the main goal is to ensure that title in the property is insurable. Mortgage lenders always require that title insurance is purchased to protect them against fraud in the land records, and buyers can add coverage for an extra premium. When a lender’s policy is requested at the same time an owner’s policy is ordered, it is included in the owner’s policy premium without an additional charge. Coverage includes protection of the total purchase price, provides security in ownership and provides guaranteed payment of legal costs to defend your title and payment of all covered, successful claims up to the fact amount of the policy.
During pre-closing our office will also contact the Condominium or Home Owners Association, if applicable, to ensure the HOA does have been paid and get instructions to collect any necessary dues from buyers on Settlement day. Additionally, our office will obtain payoff statements from the seller’s current loan in order to satisfy the existing mortgages or liens on the property. During this time our office remains in contact with the buyer’s lender to ensure all documents are accounted for on the Closing Disclosure. We can also prepare the seller documents and a Specific Limited Power of Attorney if a representative for either the buyer or seller will be appearing at the closing on their behalf.
On the day of the closing, the Closing Attorney is responsible for ensuring all payments have been received in escrow and the sale is fully funded. Next, we must review all seller documents to make sure they are properly signed and notarized, in addition to reviewing the Closing Disclosure and Settlement Statement with the buyers and sellers. The Closing Attorney will review the loan documents with the buyers and confirm all lender documents are property signed and notarized for recording. After all documents have been signed or notarized, our office is responsible for making sure the sale is properly recorded in the county where the property is located. Finally, once the General Warranty Deed and Deed of Trust have been recorded our office is responsible for disbursing funds.
As you can see the pre and post-closing process is far more complex and time consuming than it may seem on the day of the closing. By choosing Dozier Law Firm to handle your closing, we understand that you are trusting us to handle one of the most important purchases you may ever make. We will work diligently on our client’s behalf to ensure a smooth and successful closing.