Tag: buying

Closings with Karissa: Why Title Insurance?

I routinely hear the question: Is Title Insurance worth it?. My answer, is yes, it is quite important. You wouldn’t buy a house without homeowners’ insurance or buy a car without car insurance. I’m sure you have Health and Life insurance. If you are protected in other aspects of life, why would you not protect the title to your home as well?  and does not have liens attached? The best part is that title insurance is a one-time fee that is paid at closing and you never have to worry about it again. As long as you own the property it is protected. So it would be crazy not to do it!

Who thought up Title Insurance… and why?

Title Insurance used to be done by opinions given by Conveyancers prior to 1876 when Joshua Morris founded Real Estate Title Insurance Company of Philadelphia.  The purpose was to have land conveyances financially guaranteed instead of the old system of relying on opinion-based reporting without financial backing.  Now, instead of “trust me” the industry offered “if we are wrong, I will pay you.” Other companies in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York followed shortly after and ALTA was created to assist in standardizing and unifying the Title Insurance industry.

What is ALTA?

In 1907 the American Land Title Association (ALTA) formed as the primary association of the Title Insurance industry. The association set the precedence for title insurance, they did not standardize title insurance policies nationally until 1929.

What can Title Insurance protect against?

Title insurance protects against hidden issues, liens and encumbrances that can be costly to the new homeowner. The following are examples of potential issues:

  • Lack of Access
  • Unpaid Mortgage
  • Seller claims to have ownership, but do they really?
  • Neighbors have an easement through the property
  • Previous owners deceased family member is buried on the property
  • Legal Judgment for previous owner that attached to the property

No one is exempt from uncleared title issues. Even Abraham Lincoln’s father lost his home to title defects when Abe was a little boy…Twice.

So, why title insurance?

No one wants to live with the fear of losing their home due to a claim by someone else or from a lien that could put their home in foreclosure. Especially if they the option to have an insurance policy that says they own their home and no one else has a claim to it. Title Insurance, while not required, is still very important.

Title Insurance can sometimes be overwhelming and appear confusing.  However, the Tallgrass Title team is here to assist with your title insurance questions, just give us a call!

 

Commitment Issues, Vol. 1 – Title Commitment 101

No, no. This is not about problems with Commitments, or even about Buyers shopping for a home for over a year and still not happy with anything. This is a series about the Title Commitments that we issue and how to make sure you understand what you are reading. We want to go in-depth and help break down just what purpose the Commitment serves as well as its different components. The end goal is for you to be able to receive the Commitment and know exactly what the general items and terms are and how to navigate them.

The Nature and Purpose of the Commitment

The Title Commitment is a report prepared by the title company containing specific information about the property to be purchased or that is currently owned. It also legally binds the title company to issue a Title Policy – it’s a commitment. The Title Commitment, issued prior to closing, is the stepping-stone to issuing the final Title Policy, which is issued after closing. The Commitment is not the Policy, and the Policy is not the Commitment, although there will be similar information given and shared between the two.

Your Commitment will contain four parts: the Commitment Jacket, Schedule A, Schedule B I – Requirements and Schedule B II – Exceptions. Let’s parse out each of these components and give a brief run-down of what each one is.

The Commitment Jacket

The Commitment Jacket is general, non-specific coverage that is issued from an insurance underwriter (the Insurance Company) to the title company (the Insurance Agent.) This will be included with each Commitment that we issue.

Schedule A

A “schedule” in its basic meaning is simply a written form or statement of details. Regarding Title Insurance, the schedules give specific information about the property and transaction. Schedule A gives a general description of property concerning its property address, legal description, how title is currently vested, and what types of policies are going to be issued after the closing takes place.

Schedule B – Requirements

Schedule B of the Title Commitment is broken up into two separate sections: Requirements and Exceptions. The first section (Requirements) details specifically what is needed to pass clear title and issue a final Title Policy. If a purchase transaction, you will typically see some form of deed, mortgage, mortgage release, and an affidavit. If refinancing, the only difference will be no deed to convey ownership. There may be some additional items in the Requirements that will need to be addressed, depending on what is found and listed in the Exceptions.

Schedule B II – Exceptions

The Exceptions contain all things pertaining to and running with the specific piece of real estate as mentioned in Schedule A. The Buyer/Owner has free and clear title to the ownership and use of the said real estate, with the exception that their rights to use the property are subject to all those items contained therein.

Stay tuned for the next blog in the series, as we will dive further into discussion about each of the components that make up the Commitment. And even if things are still somewhat confusing afterwards, feel free to reach out and give us a call! It’s what we’re here for!

Closings with Karissa: Security & Real Estate Transactions

Real estate fraud is alive and well as fraudsters find new ways to cheat people out of their money. Whether it be through fraudulent emails or posing as a realtor and calling clients to get them to send money. Title companies, banks and realtors strive to protect buyers’ and sellers’ money as if it was their own money. It is our job to protect our clients and ensure a smooth closing process for everyone. We were asked recently what we do to protect our clients’ sensitive information and protect their assets.  We take this very seriously and want to share a few ways we do this.

ID Verification

When Sellers come to our office to sign documents to sell real estate, we check photo identification. We ensure the party “selling” is in fact the party in title and not a fraudster claiming real estate as their own.

Remote Online Notarization (RON)

Believe it or not, signing documents through a RON environment is more secure than signing in person. Signers must submit their photo ID while on a live audio-visual session, like in person.  But they also answer KBA (Knowledge-based authentication) questions to verify their identity. We simply do not have that kind of capability in person and this adds an extra layer of identity verification.

Secure Wire Instructions

We work with CertifID to send and verify wire instructions. It takes a little extra time to verify your identity and banking information with this process. However, we do this to guarantee funds are getting to where they are supposed to be instead of being sent to a fraudsters personal account.

Earnnest

“You spelled that wrong.”

We hear this a lot, however, I assure you we know how to spell. Earnnest is a payment portal we use to request earnest money from our clients to satisfy the terms of the contract. It works a lot like Cash App or Venmo, is secure, and the Earnest Money goes straight from the buyers bank account to ours. We simply send your buyer a link to our custom payment portal and they complete payment.  This reduces the need to navigate wire instructions and the possibility for human error. There is also a cost savings over cost of sending a wire, in most cases.

E-Signature Platforms

Our office utilizes Dotloop and HelloSign to get documents to clients securely. We can send view only documents or we can send documents with a request for information and signatures. This eliminates the requirement for password protecting a PDF in email and still applies the security necessary to protect sensitive information.

Password Protected

If our office does send out sensitive information via email, we will always password protect it to secure information that is not public knowledge, such as settlement statements. At any time, a fraudster could be hanging out in your email and open attachments that are not secured to see what the proceeds would be for a transaction, then reach out to you with bad wire instructions requesting you send your hard-earned money to then instead of to the title company for your transaction.

Why?

Wire fraud and other forms of cybercrime in the real estate sector resulted in $350 million in losses in 2021, up from $213 million in 2020. While only 12,000 people a year are victims, one in three real estate transactions is a target. This is why we remain vigilant in our own practices and in our efforts to educate our clients.[1]

A staggering 35% of fraud attempts reported in 2021 were traced back to email. If you suspect a fraudulent email was sent to you, do not respond to it, click any links, or open its attachments. Reach out to your realtor, title company, lender, client using known information from a source outside of the email. Stay tuned for a follow-up blog on email security tips!

We are here to answer any questions you may have, protect your information, and help make your closing experience as smooth as possible.

[1] https://blog.alta.org/2022/03/cyber-losses-hit-69b-in-2021.html

But really, have you met RON?

Ever since the State of Kansas passed and implemented permanent RON legislation, we’ve been hard at work to get RON off the ground and running.

We’re thrilled to introduce you to our friend RON.

Who/what is RON?

RON stands for Remote Online Notarization. This is the process of a signer appearing before a notary public (with RON designation) via a recorded audio-visual call. The documents are signed and notarized electronically, and the signer must complete KBA (knowledge-based authentication) identity verification prior to signing.

The implementation of KBA identity verification makes completing a signing and notarization with RON technology even more secure than in-person.

Why does RON matter?

Over the past few years we have come to understand the need to be flexible and introduce remote solutions. Beyond quarantine and illness, we’re living in an increasingly digital world. If you can order your groceries from your couch, why not buy or sell your house? Both are inevitably quicker and contact free.

The significance of RON goes beyond a matter of convenience. Sellers often move before the sale and buyers aren’t always available to close. Our Kansas RON notaries can complete a notarization with a signer anywhere in the United States. Over the past month, we’ve completed deed packets with sellers in Colorado, Iowa, Texas, and right here in the Flint Hills.  These signings took no more than 15 or 20 minutes, proving to be quicker and more cost effective than overnighting documents back and forth to out of state parties.

How does it work?

Tallgrass Title has partnered with the RON platform Pavaso in order to complete seamless notarizations. Like many other RON platforms, Pavaso boasts KBA identity tools and an environment to perform audio-visual sessions, that are recorded and stored for 10 years (should there ever be any question about a particular signing or document).

Pavaso also allows for your Tallgrass Title closers to act as the notary during these RON sessions, whereas many RON vendors require that you use their contracted notaries. We understand that relationships make up 90% of the work that we do – if you and your client utilize RON through Tallgrass Title, you and your clients will be meeting with your beloved Tallgrass Title closers.

If we decide that RON will be right for your next transaction, we will send the signer and any requested observers links to sign up for Pavaso in advance of the scheduled “closing” time. During this time, the signer will have access to review the documents they will be signing in advance. We feel that this gives the client opportunity to prepare questions for the closing agent and avoid the “rush” feeling that often accompanies in-person signings.

When will this be available?

It’s available now! We have been using RON to complete deed packets for several months now and have found this to be an excellent resource for sellers. We hope to utilize RON for loan packets in the future, but approval will always be up to the individual lender’s discretion. If your lending institution is interested in or already using RON, let’s talk!

That’s a wrap!

If your team would benefit from more information about this awesome resource, we’d love to sit down and provide you with more information and/or a demo! Please keep this awesome resource in mind for your next transaction. And as always, let us know how we can best serve you and your clients – it’s what we’re here for!

Closings with Karissa: Settlement Statements

As we prepare to close a transaction, we create settlement statements, which are documents demonstrating all debits and credits associated with the transaction. The American Land Title Association (ALTA) has provided a standard template for these forms, so they are recognizable and readable, no matter which title company you close your next transaction with. Whether the transaction is cash or financed, our office will provide ALTA Settlement Statements to both the Buyer and Seller. The Buyer and Seller statements are unique to their respective side of the closing and can only be shared with the other party if we have express permission in writing.

Sellers

When reviewing the Seller Settlement Statement you will find the sales price, any applicable credits the Seller gave to the Buyer in the contract, a tax proration (either a credit or debit depending on the time of year and if Seller paid them prior to closing or not), title expenses that consist of closing fees and title insurance premiums owed to the title company, any commissions due to realtors, payoffs of current liens, and any invoices or repairs that the Seller has agreed to pay for.

Buyers

When reviewing the Buyer Settlement Statement you will find the sales price, any applicable loan amounts, any applicable Seller credits the Seller agreed to within the contract, a tax proration (either a credit or debit depending on the time of year and if Seller paid them prior to closing or not), loan closing charges determined by the lender, impounds for the Buyers new escrow account collected at closing by the lender, title expenses that consist of closing fees and title insurance premiums owed to the title company, recording fees to file the deed and mortgage of public record with the county register of deeds office, and fees for any inspections or additional work the Buyer has requested prior to closing.

Buyer Settlement Statements may also be referred to as Buyer Settlement Statements.

Bottom Line

Both the Buyer and Sellers statements will include an amount that is either due from or due to that party.  If an amount is due from, this represents the amount due to the title company to close the transaction. If an amount is due to, then you should expect a proceeds check following closing!

This Buyer/Borrower settlement statement reflects the amount the due from the borrower in order to finalize the transaction.
This Seller settlement statement reflects the proceeds the seller will receive after all seller costs are paid.

Signing

As part of “closing” Buyers and Sellers need to review and sign their respective ALTA settlement statements in order to acknowledge their acceptance of the breakdown of debits, credits, and bottom line.

Sellers are more than welcome to sign in our office, with their realtor, on their own or electronically.

Buyers of cash purchases can do the same as above but in the case of a loan will need to sign with the title company, lender or mobile notary.

Questions?

If you have questions about you or your client’s ALTA Settlement Statement, give us a call! We are here to help make this a positive experience.

What the heck is a 1031 exchange?

The concept is simple enough. Sell one property (the relinquished property) and use proceeds money to buy another property (the replacement property). If you do it right, you can defer the capital gains tax on the property you sold. Of course, in practice, there are quite a few details that go into “doing it right”.

This article addresses a few basic details about 1031 exchanges. However, this article is not intended to provide, nor should it be relied upon for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should always consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Why is it called a 1031 exchange?

The 1031 part of the name comes from the relevant section of the tax code.  That section can be found here: United States Code Annotated, Title 26 Internal Revenue Code, Subtitle A Income Taxes, Chapter 1 Normal Taxes and Surtaxes, Subchapter O Gain or Loss on Disposition of Property, Part III Common Nontaxable Exchanges, Section 1031 Exchange of Real Property Held for Productive Use or Investment.

The exchange part of the name describes what is happening: you are swapping (or exchanging) one property for another property.

Who can do a 1031 exchange?

Any taxpayer can do a 1031 exchange. However, the taxpayer selling the relinquished property must be the same exact taxpayer buying the replacement property. So, if your LLC or family trust sells relinquished property, you cannot buy the replacement property as an individual; your LLC or family trust must buy the replacement property.

What type of property qualifies for a 1031 exchange?

Both the relinquished property and the replacement property must be real property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment. So, for example, you cannot exchange an unaffixed mobile home because it is personal property not real property. Also, you cannot exchange your primary residence because it is held for personal use, not for business or investment purposes. Further, you cannot exchange dealer property, which is real property held primarily for resale.  The IRS does not consider holding property for resale to be the same as holding property for business or investment purposes.

However, you can exchange one type of real property for another type of real property. You can sell a carwash and buy an office building, or sell a restaurant or hotel and buy an apartment complex, or sell farmland and buy a retail shopping center. As long as both the relinquished and replacement properties are real property held for business or investment purposes, the specific type of real property sold or bought is immaterial.

Why would anyone want to do a 1031 exchange?

Reasons include deferring capital gains tax and increasing cashflow.

A 1031 exchange defers capital gains tax on the relinquished property sale, but it does not eliminate the capital gains tax. Whenever you sell the replacement property, you will owe capital gains tax on both the relinquished property and the replacement property sales, unless you do another 1031 exchange when you sell the replacement property. In theory, you could keep doing 1031 exchanges, one after the other, deferring the capital gains tax indefinitely. If you do it right, when you die, your heirs may take the property(ies) at a one-time step-up in basis.  This would allow them to sell the property(ies) without paying the accumulated deferred capital gains taxes. In that sense, you may be able to effectively eliminate the capital gains tax.

A 1031 exchange can increase your cashflow because you are investing money in the replacement property that otherwise would have been sent to the IRS for capital gains tax. So, that money is working for you instead of the IRS.

Should I do a 1031 exchange?

This is a question best asked of an accountant, preferably a Certified Public Accountant with experience doing 1031 exchanges. The accountant will ask several questions about your specific situation, perform some financial calculations, and let you know whether a 1031 exchange would be beneficial to you.

How do I do a 1031 exchange and who will help me?

After you talk to an accountant and decide a 1031 exchange would be beneficial, the next step is to notify both your real estate agent and your title company as soon as possible.

If your title company is Tallgrass Title, LLC, your closing agent will notify an attorney at our sister company, Pugh & Pugh Attorneys at Law, PA, and they will facilitate the exchange by (1) drafting the required closing documents, (2) retaining and coordinating with the Qualified Intermediary (the entity that holds the seller proceeds from the relinquished property sale until you are ready to buy the replacement property) and the Exchange Accommodation Titleholder (if it is a reverse 1031), and (3) tracking critical deadlines (for a forward exchange, you have 45 days after the sale of the relinquished property to identify replacement property and 180 days after the sale of the relinquished property to complete the purchase of the replacement property).

After the exchange is complete, you will take the executed closing documents from both the relinquished property sale and the replacement property purchase to your accountant.  They will assist you in filing the tax return documents required to report the 1031 exchange to the IRS.

We are here to help!

While the basic concepts are relatively easy to understand, exchanges can get complicated very quickly depending on your specific circumstances.  This is especially true if you get into reverse 1031s, construction 1031s, rules for related party exchanges, or multi-property exchanges.

Our goal, as your 1031 exchange facilitator, is to make the process as easy as possible for you. If you have any questions about 1031 exchanges or would like to start an exchange, please contact our office today.  We would love to help you accomplish your investing goals!

Marital Status and Holding Title

When it comes to selling your property, getting that contract signed and sent to your local title company is the first step to a smooth closing. To ensure the process goes as effortlessly as possible, there are few additional things to keep in mind when you put your John Hancock on that very important sheet of paper.

Marital Status

We often see this left off the initial contract, but it is very significant, especially for the seller. The popular maxim- “what’s yours is mine, what’s mine is yours”- is a good way of understanding why indicating marital status is so important. The State of Kansas recognizes that spouses have rights to real estate through what is termed marital interest. Even if you bought a property in your name individually, your spouse has an interest in that property and must participate in the future sale.  Therefore, we require disclosure of both parties’ marital status.  This allows us to ensure any married persons’ spouses are involved in order to pass clear title.

Taking Title

There are two common ways of taking title when buying real estate and it’s crucial that your contract indicates how you intend to hold title.

Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship

The most well-known way of taking title is by Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship, also known as JTWROS. This means that the two (or more) people buying a property will have full ownership interest upon the death of any others who are on the deed.  There are no restrictions on who can take title in this manner: it could be you and your spouse as a married couple, or it could be you and your three siblings. The surviving title holder(s) automatically receives the interest of the other title holder upon their death.

Tenants in Common

The second common way of holding title is as Tenants in Common.  Whoever receives interest in this manner retains their rights to the property for their heirs or whoever they choose to pass it to. For example, Bob and Joe, identical twin brothers, buy a few hundred acres of land with the intention of starting up a cattle ranch, taking title as Tenants in Common. Rather quickly, Bob discovers he is much better suited for his old Title examiner job in the city and wants out. Joe loves it, however, and refuses. Bob decides to sell his portion of interest anyways. He cannot transfer Joe’s rights, only his own, so whoever he sells to, will only have a 50% interest in that property. The interest in the land is split, and will continue this way, unless one of the interest holders deeds his interest to the other, or both of them to a common third party.

To wrap up

An important conclusion from this is that your marital status does not determine the way in which you take title. Therefore, we require both pieces of information on the contract. In Kansas, if the deed does not specify how title is to be held, it is automatically considered tenants in common.  It is important to clarify the way you desire to take title as married couples generally opt to take title as JTWROS to ensure that their spouse receives their interest in full at one’s passing.  Similarly, if marital status is not stated on the deed, it leaves the door open to issues down the road, such as claims of interest from a past untitled spouse.  Keeping these things in mind will be helpful when you are buying or selling real estate.

If you or your clients have questions about marital status or vesting on a current or upcoming transaction, please give us a call! It’s our job to help.

Legals with Lippman: Government Lots

Imagine this: you’re reviewing an informational or a commitment from the title company and you notice the legal description contains a tract in a government lot. What does this mean? Is this a concern for my transaction? This is one instance in which the word “government” is nothing to worry about!  Legals with Lippman is back to discuss government lots and what they mean to you or your client.

Government lot is a term used within the Public Land Survey System a.k.a PLSS. We briefly talked about PLSS in our first Legals with Lippman. PLSS dates back to 1785 in the United States and is the system that breaks real estate into Section-Township-Range (STR).

  Fun fact: Not all states adopted the PLSS, most notably the Thirteen Colonies.

So, what is it?

A government lot is an irregular portion of a Section as formed by a meandering body of water, impassable object, or another boundary (state, reservation, grant, etc). These “lots” are used in Sections with an irregular shape or acreage (containing less than or more than the 640 acres seen in a standard Section). While called lots, these are not the type of lot that you would see in a platted subdivision. These lots are surveyed by the government (see example from Township 10, Range 8 below) and unlike a platted lot, do not have the zoning regulations, setback lines, or restrictions that are sometimes seen on plats.

In Riley County, for example, we see government lots formed by the Big Blue River and by Fort Riley. More specifically, if we examine a survey of the government lots in Township 10, Range 8, we see how Sections 5, 4, 9, and 8 are encompassed by the Big Blue River, making them slightly irregular.


On modern versions of an STR map you can see how these Sections have some variation in size; this is another indication of the presence of government lots.

From Riley County GIS

In an STR legal description you will see these irregular portions referenced as either a ‘government lot’ or a ‘lot.’ This is an example of a tract from Section 5, Township 10 South, Range 8 East, which is located near the Big Blue River. Another county might refer to these tracts as “government lots 9 and 10.”

So, what does this mean for my property? Owning part of a government lot is no different from owning land with any other STR legal description. There are no special restrictions or government regulations. A government lot is simply a way to make abnormal shapes and acreages fit into a standard section in the PLSS. If you see a government lot listed in your legal description, there is nothing to worry about!

We love helping and we love legal descriptions; if you have a question about your or your client’s legal description, give us a call!

Closings with Karissa: Property Taxes

Closings with Karissa is back with a few helpful reminders on property taxes and second half payments.

It’s that time of year again.

Real estate taxes are due to the county treasurer. Do you pay them before closing? Will the Title Company pay them before closing? What if the seller’s lender pays them before closing and the Title Company collects for them too? These are some of many questions that might swirl around homeowners’ heads right before closing.

First & Second Half

Taxes are available for payment in November of the current year with due dates of December 20th of the current year and the following May 10th. Taxes can paid in full in December or paid half and half in December and May. They first half is considered delinquent on December 21st and will start accruing late fees and penalties on that date. The second half is considered late on May 11th and will start accruing late fees and penalties on that date. If your closing is taking place after one of those dates and you do not have taxes set up in escrow, it is advisable for payments to be made prior to closing to avoid extra charges.

Taxes & Your Closing

Taxes are considered a lien on real estate. They are always there (unless the landowner is tax exempt) and will be in first lien position to all other liens – including mortgages. This means that taxes will always be paid out first in the event of a court action and your closing agent will make sure that tax payments are up to date.  If current taxes are not yet paid, they will apply that payment to your settlement statement to be paid at closing, including any applicable fees.

If closing takes place in October or November, it is likely that the seller rather than the buyer will receive the annual tax statement.  This is because the county treasurer’s office may not have new owner information updated prior to mailing out November tax statements.  If this happens the taxes are still the responsibility of the party that agreed to pay the year’s taxes as part of the real estate contract.

Things to remember:

  • Taxes are due December 20th and May 10th
  • The Title Company will pay off taxes based on the terms of the contract
  • The Title Company will never keep funds collected for taxes already paid, they will always refund payments rejected by the treasurer for previous payment.

If you have more questions about taxes, please reach out to your closing agent and they will walk you through taxes and prorations. It is our job and our pleasure at Tallgrass Title!

Closings with Karissa: Contract Best Practices

The heart of any real estate transaction is the contract. It is the meat and potatoes.  Everything that the realtors, lenders and title company need to know to close a deal is in the contract and any amendments or addendums that follow.

Therefore, it is important to have everything that the parties desire within the transaction clearly outlined in the contract . This might include a seller credit or home warranty, Or if certain appliances are to stay or go with the seller. All these things must be included in the contract to set a standard of expectation. It also prevents incidences of: “Well that was my washer and dryer” and the seller running off with appliances the buyer is expecting. Or even worse: “That other lot was supposed to be included.” If it wasn’t on the contract, it won’t get conveyed.

 

Here are some helpful tips to make sure there are little to no issues when writing your real estate contract:

Identify the Real Estate

Know what you are selling. Even if all you have is an aerial from Google Maps with a hand drawn outline of what is intended to be sold and an address. Send that to your title company and ask for a preliminary report. In their search process, they will the correct legal description to include on your contract, preventing issues later with lots or tracts being omitted or included by mistake.

Identify the Parties

A preliminary report will include how the real estate is currently vested. So, if John and Jane Smith want to sell their house, the preliminary report will note that the property is actually owned by John A. Smith and Janice Smith (their legal names) or Jane Smith’s Trust.

The Buyer in the transaction will direct how they want to take title to the real estate on the contract.  The buyer might prefer to take title with first, middle and last names or just first and last.  Or they may request to take title via a trust or a company.  This should all be included on the initial contract or a follow up Addendum.

Set a Purchase Price and Terms

Agree on a purchase price. Once the purchase price is decided, set the terms. Who will pay closing costs to the title company, title insurance and any? Will there be a Home Warranty and who will pay that and how much? Is the Seller willing to offer a seller credit to help with the buyers closing costs? What stays and what doesn’t stay with the property? Never assume that appliances stay, even if it seems logical.

Pick a date to close

Closing dates can be very flexible and easily changed with addendums so long as all parties agree to it. Often contracts will state “on or before” and that just means that at any time before the stated close date in the contract the transaction can be closed if all parties agree. In the current market, unless it is a cash deal, give yourself, your client, and lender time and set closing out 30 to 45 days. Best practice is to avoid closing on the very first or last day of the month as these are the busiest days for closings, and it may be difficult to get the time you want unless you schedule early.

Ask questions

If something doesn’t seem right to you, ask questions! For Buyers purchasing or sellers selling a home this is a huge change and can be very tense. We understand the stress of each transaction and are here to help and answer any questions. Even if they seem trivial, we are happy to assist and walk you through the process, it’s our job!