A Day in the Life of a Title Agent

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Ever wondered what, exactly, title agents do all day? Are we busy? Are we bored? Do we sit around drinking coffee and checking our Facebook feeds?

No. Nope. Not even close. We take our coffee on the go (because let’s face it – caffeine is one of the four main food groups). We work non-stop, from the second we arrive at the office to the moment we leave for the day. Our days demand the ultimate in multi-tasking, fine attention to detail, and sheer excellence in time management. But what makes up the fabric of our day? What do we really do that keeps us so busy?

An Average Day as a Title Agent (Though No Day Is Ever Really Average)

When it comes to preparing for a closing, a great deal goes on behind the scenes. The daily responsibilities of a title agent range from preparing closing documents to conducting title searches and reviewing Closing Disclosure (CD) forms. We read and respond to hundreds of emails from lenders, agents, attorneys and other parties involved in settlement proceedings, and prioritize our daily agenda to deliver the highest level of efficiency for each of our clients.

Our duties include (but are not limited to):

  • Prepare closing documents
  • Transfer closing documents to CD forms
  • Review CD forms for upcoming closings
  • Enter revisions on CD forms
  • Compile title binders
  • Execute title searches
  • Research and resolve title issues
  • Prepare files for title orders
  • Ensure funding for loans
  • Coordinate CD instructions with lenders
  • …and a whole host of other title and escrow-related duties

How We Stand Out Among the Crowd

No day is the same as the next. At Linear Title & Escrow, our ultimate goal as title agents is to work diligently, competently and thoroughly at ensuring the most efficient closing possible for our clients. We strive to be quick, but highly efficient (which is important for lenders, clients and ultimately home buyers/sellers). We strive to be competitive with returning title requests back to lenders, typically within one week of said request. And most importantly, we maintain integrity, confidentiality, and strict adherence to regulations and the highest level of standards in our industry.

Yes, we are busy – but we love what we do. For more on how Linear Title & Escrow works  to create smooth, seamless closings, contact our team today!

What Factors Prevent Clear Title?

magnifying-glass-145942_1280The last thing anyone wants in real estate is to be unable to buy or sell a home because of title problems. Defects, or “clouds,” on title at the very least can stall the real estate transaction, taking anywhere from days to months to resolve. Title companies and their agents work diligently to conduct a title search for each real estate transaction. Unmarketable titles not only prevent proper title transfers – they can be costly to resolve and ultimately result in the inability to sell a property.

Barriers to Settlement: Title Defects

A myriad of factors can prevent clear title and interfere with the closing process. Here are the most common:

  • Unknown or missing heirs
  • False impersonation
  • Liens
  • Prior owner judgments
  • Clerical errors in public records
  • Forgery
  • Fraudulent document execution
  • Inaccurate representation of marital status
  • Improper probation of wills
  • Boundary, survey or easement inaccuracies
  • Unreleased deed of trust

How Are Clouds on Title Resolved?

Resolving defects on title varies, depending on the issue preventing clear title and the circumstances surrounding it. The best way to protect against title problems is to work with a highly experienced title agent, ensure a thorough title search is conducted and purchase Owner’s Title Insurance. In some cases, the courts may need to get involved to “clear” title and render it marketable. In others, liens or judgments must be satisfied, or necessary paperwork completed to remove title defects before closing.

A Word About Title Insurance

Title insurance protects the lender and owner against title defects identified after the transaction closes. Most lender’s require a Lender’s Policy, and buyers are strongly encouraged to purchase an Owner’s policy to insure against significant financial loss. In some cases, the cost of an Owner’s policy may be included in seller concessions. Even if title appears to be “clear,” purchasing title insurance is highly recommended. Visit our title insurance page for additional information.

At Linear Title & Escrow, we are unwavering in our commitment to conduct a thorough title search for each real estate transaction. For help with your title concerns and questions, contact our friendly team today!

When Is the Best Time to Close on a Home?

Best Time to CloseBuying a home is an exciting venture, whether it’s the first time or the fifth. It takes a certain amount of strategizing, from finding the perfect location to getting your offer accepted. Once approved for your home loan, the last step is to lock in your rate and count the days until your closing date. But when is the best time to close on a home? Is there a certain time that works more to your advantage?

Closing Date Comparisons

It’s largely assumed that closing on the last day or as close to the end of the month as possible is the best choice. However, this isn’t true for all cases. The following compares the benefits and drawbacks of closing at varying times within the month. Keep in mind the date on which you close affects when your first mortgage payment is due.

  • Beginning of the Month: Closing early in the month does require that you pay a good deal of interest for the remaining days of the closing month. But it also leaves you almost two full months before making that first mortgage payment. (For example, if you close November 4th, your initial loan payment is due January 1st of the following year.) The benefit is the substantial cost savings you’ll gain by not having to make a mortgage payment for nearly two months.
  • Middle of the Month: Closing between the 15th and the end of the month sets your first mortgage payment a full month out. (For instance, if you close between October 15th and October 31st, your first loan payment is due on December 1st.) You must take into consideration the amount of interest you’ll incur and be required to prepay during the closing month.
  • End of the Month: Closing towards end of the month ensures the amount of daily accrued interest you pay is minimized (for that month). This can add up to a significant savings in closing costs, when you consider paying interest on one to two days as opposed to 15 or more. Like the middle of the month example, your first mortgage payment would be due a full month out.

Consider the Circumstances

Many people prefer to close at the end of the month, to avoid paying additional interest. But bear in mind that the last few days of the month are the busiest times for lenders and title companies. Loans can often be pushed through more efficiently during slower times. The “funnel-effect” at the end of the month, at times, leads to closing date delays.

You may not have full control over which day your closing actually takes place. Certain factors may cause your closing to be delayed, and even moved into early days of the next month, depending on how the days fall. In such as case, you’ll pay more interest, but have nearly two months before you’re expected to remit your first mortgage payment.

Have questions on the closing process? The Linear Title & Escrow team is always here to help! Contact us today at (757) 340-0340.

 

What Goes Into the Appraisal Process?

Appraisal

If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, or are currently in the process, the term “appraisal” is likely one with which you’re very familiar. An appraisal is a process that determines the fair market value of a home or property for sale. It’s also a crucial part of whether or not a lender decides to approve a home loan. If the appraisal comes back lower than the asking price, the loan request will likely be denied.

What Goes Into a Home Appraisal?

The lender is the party that orders the appraisal. An approved appraiser is contracted to complete the process, and visits the property to perform the assessment. A number of things factor into the final appraisal value of a property, such as the following:

  • Condition of interior and exterior portions of the home
  • Overall size of the home and lot
  • Age and location of the home
  • Square footage of each room
  • Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.
  • Features, upgrades or improvements made to the home
  • Unique geographic aspects, like water-front, beach or mountain views
  • Comparable information (recent home sales in the neighborhood, zip code and surrounding area)

If the Appraisal Comes Back Low, Should You Spring for a Second?

Typically, the seller pays for the appraisal. However, some lender’s require the buyer to cover this cost. The seller wants the highest price possible, but the buyer also wants to be approved for the loan. If the appraised amount comes back off the mark, either party has the opportunity to order a new appraisal, at their own expense. According to HomeAdvisor.com, the national average cost of a home appraisal is currently $316. (The average for the Hampton Roads area is a bit higher, at around $450.)

Appraisals are an integral part of the home buying and selling process, and almost always required for residential real estate transactions.

Have a question about a real estate transaction or the closing process? Contact the Linear Title & Escrow team today at (757) 340.0340!

 

 

 

 

How to Expedite the Closing Process

Closing on a new home is one of the most exciting things consumers have the privilege of doing. After months of searching for the perfect place, submitting an offer and negotiating terms of the sale, the time to closing can seem like an eternity. While this procedure may seem arduous, and at times emotionally taxing, there are a few things you can do to expedite the closing process.

closing-process

5 Tips for Streamlining Settlement

When purchasing a new home or even refinancing your current property, keep the following tips in mind for the most efficient, expedited closing possible:

  • Complete pre-approval process and loan application promptly. The sooner you submit your application to the loan officer, the faster you can get the ball rolling on the closing process. Ensure the information you provide on your application is accurate, though, or else you will experience a delay.
  • Have all required paperwork gathered in one location and ready to go. This includes important documents like pay stubs and proof of other income sources, W-2’s, tax returns for the previous two years and all bank statements. The settlement process is often delayed due to waiting for all necessary paperwork and information be submitted; this inevitably lengthens the time it takes for loan packages to be completed, and ultimately time to close.
  • Request a home appraisal as soon as possible. This is contingent upon getting all required documentation for your loan application submitted as quickly as possible. Once this occurs, your loan officer can initiate the appraisal request.
  • Stay in constant communication with your representative. Remain active in the communication process by frequently checking in with your agent. It’s also crucial to reply to inquiries about your loan as soon as possible, providing a quick response to phone calls, letters, emails and requests for additional information.
  • Be available to sign the Closing Disclosure (CD) form 3 days prior to settlement. Be aware, this document is submitted via email and signed electronically. The longer you wait to sign, the more time accrues until that closing day. Keep a close watch on your email account so that this step can be completed as early as possible.

Linear Title & Escrow has been providing settlement services to the Greater Hampton Roads area for the past 10 years. We take great pride in providing a streamlined, efficient and highly professional closing experience, and look forward to serving the needs of our community for many years to come. Learn more about how to expedite your closing process by contacting our friendly, experienced team today at 757.340.0340.