As you know, we think that education is one of the greatest services we can offer to anyone who closes on their home with Foote Title Group. That’s why we’ve put a special focus recently on talking to Millennial home shoppers – first-time home buyers in their 20s.
Why did we spend so much time with this group? We wanted to find out from them what they know – and don’t know – about the home-buying process and specifically about the role of home closing companies like Foote Title Group.
The results have been eye opening. In our one-on-one conversations, we learned that many of these home shoppers have a lot of questions about home closing companies.
Let’s start with some basics of the home-buying process. First, before you go looking at homes, it’s important to know what amount you qualify for. That’s where your mortgage lender comes in. This should be someone you trust because they will find out all of your personal and financial information. Your lender will help you figure out how much home you can afford.
Once you know how much house you can afford, it’s time to meet with a Realtor, the person who will actually show you houses. When you’re prequalified for a loan, you can make an offer on a home right away when you find one you love. It’s important to find a good Realtor. Get referrals from friends and relatives to find a Realtor you truly gel with.
When it comes to choosing a home closing company, your Realtor and your lender will make recommendations. You have the right to choose who handles your closing, so don’t feel pressured to work with the companies they suggest. The home closing company – sometimes called a title company or a settlement company – has three important tasks during the closing process. You should choose someone you trust.
Our first task is to coordinate everyone. Once you’ve written your contract on your dream home and chosen your mortgage and begun the loan process, we take all of those pieces for you and start coordinating. We bring all the paperwork and certifications together and keep them organized. We make sure the paperwork is correct so that when closing comes, all of the paperwork is ready to be signed. So, our first job is to coordinate all the people and all of the paperwork so that the process runs smoothly and stays on track.
Second, a home closing company will search the title of the property and research and fix any problems that arise from that search. We look through public records on the home, find out who the owner of the property is, and who has owned it in the past. We look to find out whether there are any unresolved issues from the past that could affect your ownership. We search the title records whether the seller has owned the house for five minutes or 100 years. In fact, we go back 60 years so that we’re confident that all of the owners have properly signed out of the house and that anything they owed against the property has been paid off. We want to make sure no one can ever come back and interfere with your ownership.
Once the search is done and the issues have been fixed, we issue you a title insurance policy. It’s one of the ways we insure your ownership! And this is why it is important to research the title company you choose to hire. The home closing company’s reputation can have a big impact on your future. If a title company has been in business for many years and has no claims on the title insurance policies they’ve issued, you can be pretty comfortable that they do thorough research when they search a title. You know that they resolve issues found in titles completely and leave no stone unturned.
The third task of the home closing company is to handle the escrow. This is another reason you want to choose a company that you trust. What is an escrow? It’s a fancy word for a protected account where the money involved in the home sale transaction sits until it is distributed to the persons and entities to whom it is owed. We take all the closing money from your lender, you, and the seller. We settle it up and pay all the bills: We pay the seller what they are due, pay off the seller’s mortgage, and pay any fees that are required for your loan. We also make sure settlement fees, recording costs to the county, property taxes, and homeowner’s association dues are paid. We are responsible for making sure all of those bills are properly accounted for and paid.
In some states, escrow is handled by a different company, but not in Maryland and Virginia, which is where Foote Title Group operates. If you haven’t chosen a reputable home closing company, how can you be sure they’re handling your money correctly? We’ve heard of companies that went out of business because they didn’t handle their money properly. Others have taken from those escrow accounts, which are supposed to be hands off, and done other things with the money.
Foote Title Group is proud of the more than 30 years of experience that we have handling home and business property closings in Maryland and Virginia. We’d love to talk with you more about our services and how we would handle your home closing.