Questions? We’ve got answers!
There can be a lot of questions that come up when buying a home. We took a crack at answering a few of the most common ones for you:
Buyer and Seller Basics
What is a Closing?
Closing, also known as “settlement” or “escrow,” is when all necessary documents are signed, the title to a property is transferred from seller to buyer, and the keys are exchanged.
Closing used to typically be held in the title company’s office and involved the completion and execution of all documents to finalize the transaction between buyer and seller.
Even though a closing used to be held in the title company’s office, it’s becoming more commonplace in today’s digital age for all parties to be in different locations when signing documents. As we mentioned already, Artesian Title offers you the ability to close anywhere anytime using one of Our Concierge Closers. In some cases, we can handle the signing of documents exclusively online with electronic signatures.
In addition, all financial issues are settled at closing, referred to as closing costs. Proceeds are sent to the seller and the necessary documents are filed in the public records, which successfully transfers the title.
What are Closing Costs?
Closing costs are all the fees required to close the real estate transaction. They can include:
- Loan points
- Loan origination fees
- Private mortgage insurance (PMI)
- Title insurance
- Attorney fees
- Closing fees
- Recording fees
- Surveying fees
- Property taxes
- The balance of your down payment
- And more
Prior to closing, review your final Settlement Statement to ensure all the calculations are correct, including credits for past deposits and any other agreed upon buyer and seller credits. Also recheck all lender, title and escrow fees to make sure they’re accurate.
What is Title Insurance?
There are two types of Title Insurance Policies:
A. Owners Policy—As the name states, this protects the owner of the property. It CANNOT be transferred when you sell it or quit claim it into another entity. If you’re buying a home in an Enity (Corporation), make sure you purchase the title insurance in that entities’ name too.
B. Lenders Policy—This protects the lenders and is usually paid by the buyer. This policy is only needed if the transaction involves a loan.
What You Need to Know About Closing your Home?
Both the Seller and Buyer have signed the contract? Now what happens?
What exactly does a Title Company do?
We prepare the documents that make the transaction happen, disburse all payments, record the deed and mortgage, all while making sure we keep you informed and communicated with throughout. In the end, we also make a big deal about actually celebrating the closing day for our clients. Below is a more detailed description:
- Hold the earnest money deposit in an escrow account (if applicable)
- Run a title search and perform an examination of the title
- Work to clear any potential title issues
- Order any necessary payoffs, estoppel letters, municipal lien searches, surveys, etc.
- Prepare all necessary documents to clear and transfer title
- Coordinate the day and time of the closing with all parties involved in the transaction
- Facilitate the signing and notary of all required documents
- Record the necessary documents after signing
- Issue any title insurance policies
Why do I even need Title Insurance?
Investing in property is a major financial step! To do so without Title Insurance is risky and foolhardy. Title Insurance usually costs as little as one half (½) of one percent (1.00%) of your Purchase Price . Exposing yourself to possible title challenges and losses, legal fees, mountains of paperwork, and days spent in litigation and a courtroom only to find you don’t actually own the property you believed you purchased is a monumental risk. For deals involving a loan, the lender will require Title Insurance.
What does title insurance cover?
Examples can be:
A fraudulent or forged prior deed
An angry contractor filed a construction lien against the property
A name is incorrect
A past notary forgot to sign
A mortgage was never paid off
The prior owners took out a Home Equity Line (HELOC) which was unpaid
A judgment lien against the seller was never paid
Assessments were not paid
These or any other flaws could impact your ownership—unless you are protected by Title Insurance. For a one (1) time payment, not only are you covered, legally and financially, from any flaws in your superior ownership of the Property arising from the time before the property was yours, but you are also covered for as long as you own the property, be that 1 year or 100 years.
How much does Title Insurance Cost?
There is a one-time Premium payment based on the purchase price of the home. This fee is set by the State of Florida. Typically it costs less than your annual car insurance premium, yet it will provide complete coverage for as long as you own the property.
Will the Price of Title Insurance be the same at every Title Company?
The cost of Title Insurance is set by the State of FL, so it will be the same at every title company. Artesian Title is the only title company that offers the Real Rebate to lower that cost to their clients.
Do I get a discount on the Title Policy if I bought my home in the last 3 years?
Yes you do, it’s called a Re-Issue credit. The credit amount is set by the State of FL and is based on the amount the home was purchased for (the amount the original title policy was issued for). Not all Title companies honor this, but at Artesian Title, we do because we are all about saving you as much as we can.
What Junk fees should I not be paying?
The State of Florida has made it clear that Title Companies cannot charge things like Fed Ex fees, Wire Fees, or Document Storage Fees to the consumer. All of these items must be in the Settlement Fee. Many title companies charge a lower settlement fee and then charge these fees separately. This is not allowed, but often consumers aren’t aware of the fees until days before closing, or the day of. Check out reviews before you make your final title company choice!
Why does my lender require me to get title insurance when I Refinance my home?
When you refinance your home your old loan is paid off and the lender’s title policy expires. Therefore, when you refinance, your lender will require a new loan policy on your new mortgage to protect their investment in the property. You will not need a new owner’s policy. The good news is in Florida you get a reduced rate (Re-Issue Rate) on a refinanced mortgage for the title policy.
When I refinance do I need a new Owner’s Policy?
No, you do not new Owner’s Policy. You will only need to have a new Lender’s Policy.
When refinancing, who picks the Title company? And what are the fees?
The home owner has the option to choose the title company.
Settlement fee – set by the Title Company
Title Policy – set by the State
Search fee – set by the Underwriter
Govt Recording fee – set by State
Doc Stamps – set by County
I’m buying a new construction home from a builder; can I choose the title company?
It depends on the builder and your contract. Most things are negotiable. You need to make sure your incentives are not tied to choosing the builder’s title company. The builder usually owns their title company, or a percentage of it, and it has the best interest of the builder in mind. It’s usually best to find a title company that will represent your best interest, and most times we can match or even come in lower on overall fees.
How should the title as Owner appear on the Deed?
Sole ownership title is held solely in one person’s name, thus no one else is shown as sharing an ownership interest except for the named titleholder.
Tenants by the Entireties: For spouses who are currently married, the property can be titled in both of their names and held as a tenants by the entireties. This is one of Florida’s best forms of asset protection from outside creditors because the property is not divisible by creditors to satisfy the obligation of only one debtor spouse.
Joint Tenancy With Rights Of Survivorship(JTWROS) means you hold title with someone else equally (i.e. 50%/50% for two people, 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 for three people etc…) and when one of you dies the entire interest passes to the remaining surviving joint tenant(s) rather than to the heirs of the one who died. Note however, that if a co-owner conveys their interest to a 3rd party, the property loses its survivorship status as to that portion and defaults to being held as tenancy in common.
Tenancy In Common Several parties can own the property in whatever different percentages they want. Any party can sell their interest to anyone without notice to the other. And upon the death of one of the people on the title, their interest goes to their own estate to be distributed according to their will or to their heirs through probate.
Why do I need a Survey and is it recommended I get one?
Most lenders require a Survey to make sure the property does’nt have any problems. We actually recommend Cash buyers also get a Survey, while rare every year we see problems arising after the transaction closed regarding easement encroachments and boundary line disputes. Bottom line is spending the $250+(All based on size of property) on a survey could save your thousands down the road when you have to sue someone because their fence is on your yard.
Working with Artesian Title
How do I hire you?
The first step is to send us the fully signed contract. You can click the following link or call us to get the correct email to send in a new contract. Once we have the contract, we are going to need to get the escrow deposit from the buyer. There are 3 options for sending the earnest money deposit: DOWNLOAD our secure app, ZOCCAM, to take the picture of the check, WIRE the funds from a bank account, or a MAIL us the check. There is ZERO fee associated with using the Zoccam App, so most of our clients prefer it. Know that because of increased WIRE FRAUD we will never give you the full wire instructions, you will always have to call our office to get the last few digits of the wiring instructions.
I’m located in a city where you don’t have a physical office location. What now?
We have 5 office locations throughout Florida, but if none of these are close to you, OR you prefer to close at the location of your choice, this is our specialty.
We actually have a team of “Concierge Closers” located in every county in Florida that will come to you to close ANYTIME, ANYWHERE for no additional fee. It’s all part of our service. Our Concierge Closers can answer and explain every single document that you have to sign. They are not there to just be a notary and leave.
As of, Jan 1, 2020 the State of Florida is allowing for all closing documents to be signed Electronically. This means you will be able to use a Face to Face video product and go through the process of closing electronically. **Banks have not approved this yet, so this type of closing is available for CASH ONLY deals for now.
What is the Real Rebate?
We are the only title company in Florida to offer a Real Rebate. It’s a Rebate on the Owner’s Title Policy of up to 20 % based on the purchase price. The only rules are below:
- Settlement services have to be ordered through Artesian Title.
- The property in question must be located in the state of Florida.
- No other programs under Artesian Title can be combined with this offer to gain additional discounts.
- The Buyer or Seller (whoever is paying for the Owner’s title policy) must agree to all Real Rebate™ terms and conditions above.
The Quote I got from another Title Company is lower than yours, how is that possible?
Many Title Companies will quote you one thing now and when it comes to closing, they will throw in junk fees that they didn’t tell you about that add up. We offer a Price Match Guarantee, see the next question.
Compare our reviews to those of other Title Companies. We Guarantee that our Settlement fee and Title Policy Premium combined cannot be beat or we match it.
What is the Price match Guarantee?
We believe in our product quality and service level so much that we Guarantee what you are paying for both the Settlement fee and Owners Title Policy Combined. We will match what anyone else has quoted.
If Title Insurance is set by the state, what fees are different at each title company?
Most closing cost fees are items title companies don’t control and would be basically the same wherever you go. Doc Stamps, Title Insurance Premium, Search fees, and HOA Estoppel Fees are all items set by either the State or another third party that NO title company can control and are simply a pass through to the consumer.
The Settlement fee is something that varies by Title company. The good title companies include everything in this and DON’T add junk fees.
When picking a title company, you’re basically focusing on Service (Look at their reviews) and things like the Real Rebate and credits if you’ve purchased your home in the last 3 years. If you bought your home in the last three years you are eligible to get a discount on the Title policy. Not all Title Companies ask or even try get this savings for their consumer.
Florida Real Estate and Title Laws
I’m from a State where typically an Attorney (and/or) an Escrow Company facilitates the closing. How does it work in Florida?
In Florida, one company handles everything – from holding the escrow to getting the closing documents executed, to funding the transaction, transferring ownership, and issuing title insurance. Either a Title Company or a Law Firm is chosen to handle the whole process. At Artesian Title, every single transaction is touched by our attorneys. They actually work on each one, which is a very different situation from most law firms (where paralegals do the work and attorneys just review).
Do all Florida Title Companies have Attorneys working on their transactions?
From our experience, most do not. This is a good question to ask when comparing title companies. We strongly believe in the experience and expertise offered by Attorneys, and this is the reason we have more than one working on each transaction.
Is Title Insurance Transferrable in Florida?
No. Title insurance is never transferable when the ownership of a property changes. It can’t be assumed by a new owner. In fact, a title insurance policy itself terminates when the legal title on a property changes.
Who pays for what fees in Florida when it comes to closing a Real Estate Transaction?
We created a whole section to address this question. Click the link below. BUT** ALL things are negotiable. We have simply placed what is standard practice.
What makes us better?
Artesian Title doesn't have to share profits with referral services, so we pass savings to our clients with up to a 20% rebate from their closing costs. Cool huh?
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