The Title Company

The title company has a lot of responsibilities. One of these is to make sure there are no liens on your property.  Any property that is transferred must be free and clear of any liens.  If they find a lien on the property, then they must work with the seller to resolve it prior to closing.  Sometimes, you will see on the settlement statement that certain seller liens are being paid off at closing from the seller's proceeds. This is quite normal. One of the obvious liens would be the seller's payoff of their current loan on the property.  However, another lien may be back taxes or back HOA fees owed. The point being, all seller liens will be satisfied and taken care of before or at the closing table so the property is conveyed to the buyer free and clear of any defects.

It is important to note here that trying to resolve lien issues can be very challenging at times for the title company and buyers may never know just how much time and effort goes into settling these challenges behind the scenes. Often times, a property may be transferred to another buyer just fine, without the title company involved ever finding any liens on that property.  However, when that buyer - who is now the seller - goes to sell that property, the next title company may find a lien that was missed by the prior title company.  There are all kinds of situations that can come up and some are quite challenging. In some cases, the lien is so challenging it cannot be remedied and therefore, the property cannot be conveyed which can be devastating for not only the buyer, but the seller as well. These are rare situations, but most title companies have seen their share of challenging liens and are always pro-active in trying to get these resolved.

Title is also in charge of the escrow.  That means that all money involved with the closing flows through them. When you bring money to the table for your down payment as a buyer, the check or wire transfer goes into the title company's escrow.  When a seller receives proceeds at the closing table from their final sale with you, the check is written to them from the title company's escrow account.  The lender must fund the same escrow account with the full amount of the loan.  Broker commissions are also written from the escrow account.  Every single check that pertains to your closing is either deposited or written from the title company's escrow account to satisfy every single entry on the final settlement statement. The title company is the steward of all the money associated with the closing. 

The title company also has several other responsibilities, including gathering HOA payoffs, obtaining seller loan payoffs, ordering the deep prep, and generally preparing for when the lender gives them a final closing order.  With an exact closing date, the title company can prepare the final figures which constitute the final settlement statement the buyer and seller sign at closing.  Your lender and agent should be able to go through each line of the settlement statement and explain who is paying for what and define the actual expense. Everything must be transparent and recorded in full site on the closing statement. All this sounds simple, but there are so many things that the title company must account for and many times they run into several snags.  Just know that both the lender and the title company sometimes go through many hoops you will never know about in order to complete all the necessary tasks to get you to the closing table.  A good agent will stay tuned and check in regularly with the lender and your title company to make sure things are moving forward.  If there is an issue brewing, the agent should know and can alert you if it is significant enough to cause a delay in closing.

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