New to the process or been a while? Here are some FAQ’s:
WHAT DOES A SETTLEMENT/CLOSING/ESCROW AGENT DO?
A settlement agent will:
1. Review the title commitment for requirements to obtain a clear, insurable title;
2. Contact a surveyor to order a location survey, if requested by you or your lender;
3. Coordinate with your insurance agent to obtain the hazard (homeowner’s) coverage;
4. Obtain copies of termite, well and septic reports, oil prorations and similar documents as applicable;
5. Prepare the settlement statement;
6. Collect prorations of Property Taxes, Special Assessments, HOA or Condo Dues, Ground Rent and or Front Foot Benefit Charges if applicable;
7. Arrange with your mortgage lender the review of your closing documentation;
8. Conduct the closing with you, briefly describing the documents you are to sign;
9. Arrange for keys;
10. Record the documents among the land records; and
11. Disburse proceeds to the parties in the transaction.
WHO ATTENDS SETTLEMENTS?
All purchasers or borrowers and sellers are required to attend in person; arrangements can be made in advance to use a power of attorney in the event a particular person cannot attend.* In sales transactions, the buyers and sellers agents often attend settlement.
*A power of attorney authorizes another person to sign documents on your behalf and must be prepared, signed and notarized. A specific power of attorney form must be approved by your mortgage lender and by Evergreen Settlement to guarantee title insurance can be issued. The original must be delivered to the settlement agent before closing. Sometimes in addition to the borrowers.
WHAT SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO SETTLEMENT?
Buyers or Borrowers must provide a government issued Photo identification (valid driver’s license, passport, etc.), VISA or Green Card, if applicable, and a Cashier’s or Certified check which should be made payable to Evergreen Settlement Company for any amount needed to close. For amounts over $500,000, please contact us directly for wiring instructions.
Sellers also need to provide a government issued Photo identification and evidence of your taxpayer identification number (social security number).
WHAT IS MEANT BY “TITLE”?
The "title" is the foundation of property ownership. it means that you have a legal right to possess that property and to use it within the restrictions imposed by authorities or limitation on its use superimposed on the basic right to possession by previous owners.
HOW SHOULD WE TAKE TITLE ON THE DEED?
If more than one person is purchasing the real estate there are choices as to how title may be taken. The most common ways to take title are:
a) tenants by the entirety – a form or ownership by husband and wife where each owns an undivided interest in the real estate. In the event of the death of either spouse, the survivor owns the real estate without having to go through probate. Other than the federal government, creditors of one may not force the real estate to be sold to satisfy their debts. (Note: Most married couples own their residence in this manner.)
b) joint tenants – when two or more owners take title, so that when one of them passes away their share passes directly to the remaining owners without probate; heirs of the deceased owner have no interest in the property.
c) tenants in common – ownership form for multiple owners when no other is chosen. Property is inherited by heirs of the individual owners. Creditors can force the real estate to be sold to satisfy the debt of one owner.
WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE?
Title insurance protects your ownership interest in real estate. A standard owners policy ensures that;
1. you own the real estate described in Schedule A of the policy; that no one else has a better right to own it.
2. no liens attach to the real estate unless disclosed in the policy (such as limited rights of other to use part of the property for power cables, communication lines, sewer & water access, etc.)
3. you have legal access to the real estate.
4. a reasonable person would purchase the property in the same legal condition in the future.
DO I NEED TITLE INSURANCE?
Most definitely! Title Insurance is a means of protecting yourself from financial loss in the event that problems develop regarding the rights to ownership of your property. There may be hidden title defects that even the most careful title search will not reveal. in addition to protection from financial loss, title insurance pays the cost including attorney fees of defending against any covered claim.
IS A SURVEY NEEDED?
Surveys are ordered by Evergreen Settlement Company if:
1. Your lender requires it as a condition of the loan;
2. You ask to have a survey done;
3. A problem with the property description requires a survey to be done to resolve the uncertainty;
4. An Enhanced Owner’s Title Policy is desired by you and the seller does not have a survey, or will not sign the survey affidavit required for the Enhanced policy; or
5. Commercial property is involved.
WHAT ABOUT GETTING UTILITIES IN MY NAME?
You will need to contact your utility company at least a week prior to settlement to have the account transferred to your name. Talk to your realtor and the seller about this, so the transfer will be smooth.
WHAT TYPE OF COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS DO YOU WORK ON?
Evergreen Settlement works on all commercial cases. In the past we have closed: large hotel and apartment buildings, tracts of land in excess of 240 acres, restaurants, commercial office units and buildings and all associated commercial financing.