How Title Companies Ensure Successful Real Estate Closures

If you are new to the process of selling or buying homes, you might have come across the terms Title Company. What are those? What do they do?

authorWritten by Manuel MartinezMay 29, 2024

Title companies are insurance agencies that provide professional real estate services to all parties involved in a real estate transaction, including buyers, sellers, mortgage lenders, and real estate agents.

They ensure that all settlement requirements are fully satisfied. After a sales contract is ratified, it is sent to a title company for review and to initiate the title process.

This process involves the following steps:

Title Abstract

The title company conducts an “abstract of title,” searching the real estate records in the county where the property is located. This search provides a history of the property and its ownership. The abstract determines the legal owner, reveals any mortgages, liens, judgments, or unpaid taxes that must be satisfied before the property is conveyed, and details any existing easements, restrictions, or leases affecting the property.

After completing the abstract, the title company issues a “title opinion letter” or prepares a “commitment of title insurance” if a title insurance policy is to be issued. Both documents outline the requirements and issues that need to be addressed before the purchaser can receive a “good title.” The title insurance company then prepares the necessary documents and corrects any problems, readying the parties to exchange paperwork and close the deal.

Loan Documents for Closing

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich:

Title companies coordinate with mortgage lenders to receive the loan documents needed for closing. The purpose of the closing is to sign and exchange all documents necessary to convey title, secure the lender, handle collateral issues such as leases and rights-of-way, and clearly explain the costs to each party.

The title company prepares a closing statement, known in the industry as a “HUD-1 Settlement Statement” which includes the mortgage lender’s charges, document preparation fees, title company fees, recording costs, payoff amounts for existing mortgages, prorated city and county taxes, real estate commission fees, survey fees, and other transaction-related costs.

At closing, the title company collects the purchase funds from the buyer and lender, as well as settlement costs from each party. Using these funds, the title company pays all transaction expenses, settles any existing mortgages, and pays the seller the net proceeds of the sale. This process is conducted in accordance with the HUD-1 settlement statement.

Documents Recorded in Court

After closing, the title company records the legal documents (deed, mortgage, and assignments) at the county courthouse and returns the original documents to the correct parties. New owners receive their deed, which should be stored in a secure location. The lender holds the original mortgage documents until the loan is paid in full.

Once the loan is paid, the lender releases their lien against the property at the courthouse and forwards the original mortgage documents to the homeowner.

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