What exactly does a title company do?

While we talk all the time about the importance of shopping for title services, it's about time we address what it is exactly that a title company does. Let's take a closer look at what goes on between the time when you agree to purchase your property and when you legally take ownership.

An order is placed. Once you have a ratified sales contract, you are ready to order settlement and schedule your closing appointment. To complete your order, either you or your agent will provide contact information of all parties involved in the transaction along with the purchase price, loan amount, property jurisdiction and type of loan. A pre-closing manager oversees this phase in the process.

Title work begins. A title abstractor goes to work to ensure clear title. A title abstractor is someone who searches records and files pertaining to a specific property to find its history. This can include transactions between current and previous owners in buying and selling the property, as well as any liens or judgments against the land or house.

Meanwhile, your lender's loan processor works to fund your loan and communicates with members of the settlement team to produce a final HUD-1 and other legal documents you will sign at closing. A settlement coordinator acts as a liaison between the title company and buyers, sellers, agents and lenders. 

Time to sign. Once clear title is established and your closing documents are assembled, it's time to go to settlement. Signing all the paperwork will take about an hour. Buyers sign more documents than sellers. Once all the documents are signed, it's time to celebrate: You are now a homeowner.

End of the line. Work on your closing doesn't end with your signature, though. Your case moves on to post-closing, where the post-closing manager disburses escrowed funds, such as a final water & sewer bill. Post-closing is also your point of contact should an unexpected property tax bill, utility bill or lien come to light after settlement.

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