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 Are the Most Frequently Asked Closing Questions?

The the process of closing on your real estate purchase can be confusing, especially if you’re a first time home buyer. We’ve put together some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding settlement, to help make sense of the closing process.

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Do I need to purchase title insurance? Lenders typically require that you purchase Lender’s Title Insurance, to protect the financial institution’s interest in providing you a home loan. Owner’s Title Insurance is highly recommended, as it protects your financial investment in the property you intend to purchase. Learn more about both types from our title insurance page.

How long does the settlement process take? The entire settlement process depends largely on the type of mortgage, but the average time to close is 30 to 45 days.

Will seller concessions include my title fees? Yes. Title fees typically include items like title search and the Lender’s Title Insurance premium. Costs like these are covered in transactions where sellers contribute to closing costs on behalf of the buyer.

What do I need to bring to the closing table? You’ll need to present your driver’s license or other government-issued ID. Depending on the lender, two forms of identification may be required. You’ll also need to bring a Cashier’s or Certified Check for the amount of your closing costs.

Have other questions? Here at Linear Title & Escrow, we work closely with lenders and agents to make the closing process as simple, streamlined and seamless as possible. For more information on title and escrow, contact our friendly team at (757) 340-0340 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.

 

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.

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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.

 

 

 

Title Terms to Know: Part Two

In this post, we continue our breakdown of title terminology, specifically relating to the Closing Disclosure (CD) form.

Title Terms Continued

Unless otherwise noted, these terms apply to/appear on the buyer’s side of the real estate transaction:

  • Title Insurance: Protects parties against financial loss should clouds, liens or other claims on title arise. (See our Title Insurance page for more detailed information.)
  • Owner’s Policy: Title insurance covering the homeowner’s interests should a defect on title become apparent.
  • Lender’s Policy: Title insurance covering the mortgage lender’s interests in the event of title problems (required by lenders at the expense of the homeowner).
  • Settlement/Closing Fee: Amount charged by the title agency/closing attorney to process the close of property sale. (May also appear as “Title Services.”)
  • Title Search/Title Exam Fee: Amount charged to research history of title and identify any defects, liens or claims of ownership surrounding the property.
  • Recording Fees/Recording Charges: Fees charged to record the transfer of title from one party to the other with the appropriate municipality (split to satisfy that of both the deed and the mortgage).
  • City/County/State Tax Stamps: Revenue collected on the sale of a property, generally for the purpose of supporting community improvement initiatives.
  • CPL (Closing Protection Letter) Fee: Covers the cost of insurance issued by the title insurer regarding actions carried out by the title agent/underwriter/closer.
  • Grantor’s Tax: Amount remitted to the Clerk of Court for recordation of deed (typically paid by the seller).

At Linear Title & Escrow we remain steadfast in our commitment to excellence, providing exceptional service, streamlining communication, and facilitating a smooth and efficient real estate transaction. For more information on the title terms presented in our two-part series or questions regarding the settlement process, please contact us today at (757) 340.0340.

Title Terms to Know: Part One

Unless you work directly in the title or settlement business, navigating the murky waters of title terminology is a challenge for most individuals, particularly individuals new to the home-buying experience. Even those well-seasoned in the mortgage or real estate industries often find themselves a bit puzzled on what each line on the Closing Disclosure form truly represents. Here at Linear Title & Escrow, “title terminology” and the meaning behind each individual component are our bread and butter, and we’re more than happy to break it down in a clear, obvious way.

Whether you’re an agent or just looking to better understand the settlement process, brush up on your title terms and their meanings with Part One of our handy little guide.

Know These Terms Before You Buy

  • Closing Disclosure Form (CD): A standardized document used to list/itemize credits or fees owed by the buyer (to the mortgage broker or lender) when purchasing or refinancing real estate property.
  • Earnest Money: A sum of money (deposit) placed toward a piece of real estate, indicating the intent of the buyer to indeed go through with the purchasing process. This amount is typically applied to the down payment or closing costs.
  • Origination Charge: Fee charged by the lender to process the loan application for the purchase or refinance of a property.
  • Mortgage Points: A percentage of the loan charged by the lender/broker for the purpose of originating the loan (covers their fees and commissions).
  • Mortgage Discount Points/Credits: Prepaid interest remitted by the buyer at closing for the purpose of reducing the mortgage interest rate.
  • Adjusted Origination Charges: The loan origination charge less the amount paid in discount points/credits.
  • Transfer Taxes: The tax imposed on passing the property title from one party to another, a portion of which is expressed as a percentage of the property value. The percentage amount paid varies per state.
  • Mortgage Insurance: Insurance required by brokers/lenders when down payment is less than a pre-determined percentage of the property’s purchase price/refinance amount. (See MIP and PMI terms below for further information.)
  • Mortgage Interest Premium (MIP): Applies to all FHA loans and incorporated into the total monthly mortgage payment. MIP is required for the life of the loan while the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio remains greater than 90%, and for 11 years if the initial LTV ratio is 90% or less.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Applies to conventional loans when the initial down payment is less than 20% of the property’s purchase price.
  • Aggregate Adjustment: Typically, zero or a negative amount. If negative, this figure will reduce the amount the borrower must place into escrow at closing.

Check back soon for the second installment of our title terminology guide in the article, “Title Terms to Know: Part Two.”

Our professional, courteous team at Linear Title & Escrow is always ready to answer your questions regarding the settlement process for your real estate property. Contact us today at (757) 340.3440 to learn more.