Beginner's Guide to Title & Closing
Oct 14, 2020 | Homebuyers
Title & Closing Services Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the frequently asked questions we receive. Don’t see your question here? Please call our office at 205.983.8100 and ask one of our professional staff members.
- Title – evidence that the owner is in lawful possession of that property
- Deed – instrument that is executed, acknowledged and recorded in the proper county. A properly executed deed serves to create title in the grantee with respect to the particular property covered by that deed.
- Title Insurance – insurance to protect real estate owners and lenders against any property loss or damage they might experience because of liens, encumbrances or the defects in the title to the property. Each title insurance policy is subject to specific terms, conditions and exclusions.
- Escrow – The process in which the funds of a transaction (such as a sale of a house) are held by a third party, often the title company or an attorney in the case of real estate, pending the fulfillment of the transaction.
- Defects - things such as another person claiming ownership, improperly recorded documents, fraud, forgery, liens, encroachments, easements, and other items that are specified in a title insurance policy.
What Is Title Insurance, Who Needs It, What does it cover?
Title insurance is insurance to protect real estate owners and lenders against any property loss or damage they might experience because of liens, encumbrances or the defects in the title to the property. Each title insurance policy is subject to specific terms, conditions and exclusions. Insurance such as car, life, health etc. protect against potential future events and is paid for with monthly or annual premiums. Title insurance insures against events that occurred in the past of the real estate property and the people who owned it. For a one time premium that is paid at the time of closing, title insurance will protect against claims from defects. Defects are things such as another person claiming ownership, improperly recorded documents, fraud, forgery, liens, encroachments, easements, and other items that are specified in the actual policy. Title insurance is needed by lenders and the person who is purchasing, however, the purchaser also benefits from title insurance being issued.
Who is responsible for paying for title and closing services?
Ultimately your real estate contract or loan application should dictate who pays for what charges. In the absence of such language in your real estate contract and/or loan application, there are market norms that are used. Many times in Alabama buyers and sellers split the cost of title insurance and attorney closing fees.
How much do your services cost?
Title insurance and closing costs vary depending on the complexity of the transaction, purchase price and the loan amount. One of our Closing Coordinators can provide you with a quote based on your specific needs and further explain the costs. Click here to request a quote.
The first step is to perform a title search and exam. The cost is $300.
The next step is title insurance. This cost is based on the purchase/sales price, if there is a loan then also the loan amount is a factor. Additionally, there are additional endorsements and coverages available in some circumstances that require additional premiums to be paid.
Title services fees is an all-encompassing fee for a myriad of services we provided when handling a particular order. It includes extensive research of the title to the property, examination of all matters disclosed in a search and preparation of a title commitment.
Closing fees cover the preparation and coordination of the closing, conducting the closing, notarizing signatures, recording the documents and providing you with copies as well as many other things. Closing fees are $975 for a financed purchase, $500 for a cash purchase, $750 for a refinance.
What should I expect at my real estate closing?
You should expect your closing to take approximately one hour.
A brief explanation of each document will be given to you prior to signing by the closing attorney. If you need further explanation we will be happy to contact your loan office or you may seek legal counsel before signing the documents.
If you would like to review the documents prior to closing please let our office know and we will be happy to get those to you to review.
You can expect to receive copies of all documents in either paper or electronic form. If funds are required at the closing you must have them delivered by wire transfer or in the form of a cashier’s check.
When you arrive at our closing facility or the closing location of your choosing, you will find it to be a relatively easy process. All of our closings are conducted by an attorney. One of our highest priorities is that you leave feeling comfortable with what you were asked to sign and have a good understanding of the process in which you were involved.
We love serving you, so if your closing is at our office, we will offer you drinks and complimentary chocolates!
What should I bring to my closing?
Always bring a government issued ID Card, such as your driver’s license. Some lenders require two forms of identification.
If you are married, your spouse will most likely need to be in attendance and need to have their own government issued ID.
Certified or Cashier’s Check for your down payment and closing costs. You can find out the exact amount you will need to bring by contacting your lender or our office a day or two before your closing. You may also wire the funds and a representative at our office can assist you with this as well.
What is involved in a real estate closing?
You will be there along with (in most cases) someone from your lending company and an attorney from our office acting as the closing agent.
The closing agent’s job is to make sure that all necessary documents are signed and verified and that the money from the sale and/or refinance of the property is properly disbursed.
Other people can and may be present at the closing including your own attorney and the real estate agents involved in the sale.
I want South Oak Title & Closing to do my Title & Closing, how do I contract your services?
When using a real estate agent (Realtor) request that South Oak Title & Closing serve as the title agent and/or closing agent on the transaction before any contracts are signed. If you are an individual or selling by owner, send us your real estate contract. You can send us your contract by hand delivery, mail, e-mail or by fax.
When are you open?
Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. CST.
Upon request, we offer extended hours to facilitate your closing needs.
What services does South Oak Title & Closing Offer?
We can handle all of your title and closing needs on any land, commercial or residential transaction throughout the state of Alabama. We perform title searches throughout Alabama (all counties), provide title insurance, escrow and real estate closing services. Our attorneys also provide real estate contract and review services as well as the clearing of any title issues.