QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK WHEN INTERVIEWING TITLE AGENTS
It would never occur to you to enter into an agreement with a Realtor to list your home for sale or to represent you in the purchase of a home without conducting an interview of several Realtors to insure that their experience, licensing, continuing education etc. meets all of your criteria. Nor would you place your trust in a lender wtihout conducting interviews of several lenders to insure that they are offering you the most competive rates and best services. Why then would you not do the same with the title agent/settlement officer handling your transaction?
The title agent/settlement officer is the one of the most important people in your closing transaction. It is their job to insure that the title to the real estate you are purchasing is insurable, they act as the final coordinator between you and all other parties in the transaction, they insure that all funds are properly disbursed, loans are paid off and released and that your deed is properly and promptly filed. So, what do you need to know about your title agent?
- Are they licensed? Seems obvious, but, really you need to be sure
- Who is their underwriter; are the title insurance rates filed with the State, where can you get a copy
- How long have they been a professional title agent/settlement officer
- Will they provide references from CONSUMERS as well as professional associates
- Do they have a web-site? If so, how can you access that site
- Do they have social media sites? Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Review those sites.
- Are they affiliated in any way with either the lender or the Realtor? If so, are they receiving compensation from the affiliate entity; and if so, how much or what percentage, and are you, the consumer paying an additional premium or fee for usiing their services.
- Are they conducting an industry standard 40-60 title year search locally, or are they outsourcing that work to another company, and if so, to whom is the work being outsourced? What is the fee for the title search?
- Will they provide you with copies of the title commitment and all exceptions prior to closing for review and discussion
- Will they provide the final HUD-1 closing statement 24 hours prior to closing
- What is their cancellation fee, if any
- What are their hours of operation
- Where will the settlement take place
- What form of payment will they accept
- What is their fee and what specifically does that cover. DEMAND AN ITEMIZATION OF THEIR FEES
Please take the time to interview at least 3 title agents who work in the area where the property is located. Local rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and it is important that your title agent know the local rules to ensure a smooth closing process for all parties.
For more information, or to interview me, call 410-663-7444.