Post closing tips for homebuyers from a title perspective

As a home buyer, almost all interaction with the title company is prior to closing. But what about after the closing? Here are some tips on what you as a home buyer should look out for and do post settlement.

Keep copies of your closing documents.

It may sound obvious, and yet, buyers are constantly losing/misplacing/throwing out their closing documents. In most cases, you will need a copy of your HUD-1 Closing Disclosure Form when you file your taxes. Also, having the ability to check and review the loan information that you agreed to could come in handy.

Keep the Owner’s Title Insurance Policy (and remember where you put it)

At Federal Title, we provide you with your owner’s title insurance policy at the closing. So it is part of your closing packet and can be saved along with the HUD-1 Closing Disclosure Form and other closing documents. Unfortunately, this is not the standard practice. Most title companies mail you the Owner’s Title Insurance Policy months (sometimes even years!) after closing. Consequently, it is not part of the closing packet and it often gets misplaced. Remember that the Owner’s Policy is your protection and might prove fundamental when trying to sell or refinance your property. 

Look at your real estate property tax bills (if being escrowed or not)

Make sure that any discounts (Homestead, Senior Citizen, etc.) are reflected on the bill. Even if a Homestead is filed with the deed, the tax office may incorrectly fail to apply the proper credits or discounts.

If you have waived the escrow account and are responsible for paying your property taxes directly, make sure you know when the property tax bills are due. 

Just because you did not receive a bill does not excuse you from paying the taxes.  Almost all jurisdictions allow you to view and pay the bill online.

If your taxes are being escrowed, make sure the lender pays the bill.

This is especially important to check for the first tax bill after your purchase. Typically, you can view escrow payments on the mortgage lender’s website or you can call the mortgage lender’s automated number.

If you purchased multiple lots, ensure all real estate property tax bills being paid.

This typically applies to a condominium with a separately taxed parking space. Sometimes the lender will pay the property tax bill for the unit, but will neglect the smaller parking space bill.  Over the years this issue has come up many times.

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