When you purchase a house, you have to choose many important professionals to help the process. Among those professionals, include the real estate agent, loan officer, attorney, and closing agent. The real estate agent and loan officer are common choices for most borrowers. Understanding the importance of choosing the right agent to close your loan can help you even more though.
Why You Need a Good Closing Agent
First, let’s look at why you need a good closing agent. You might think it is enough to have a loan officer who has your best interests in mind. However, if you have someone without proper training closing your loan, you could be in trouble. This can happen no matter how good your mortgage company is for you. The title company handles many legal aspects of your home ownership. This can have detrimental effects down the road if they go wrong. The title company does more than close your loan. They also examine the title of the home you wish to purchase and issue title insurance. Each of these tasks has a large impact on the outcome of your home ownership.
Do Your Research
Before you accept any title company to close your loan, do your research. The internet offers a wealth of information regarding the choices you have. Read reviews that others wrote and check the Better Business Bureau’s ratings. They rate companies based on their research as well as customer complaints. If you notice a company has many complaints, it is best to avoid them. If you insist on using a particular company with many complaints, make sure the complaints were resolved in a manner acceptable to the customer. Remember, the company you choose will handle one of the largest investments of your life.
Price Should Not Determine Your Choice
Title companies should have similar costs across the board. This is especially true for title insurance. The government regulates these fees, which means most title insurance should cost about the same. If you come across a title company who offers exceptionally low rates be leery of them. The same rule applies for closing agents who offer to waive your closing fee. Rather than accepting the low costs, research your other options. There is usually a reason a title company offers to waive the closing fee and it is never a good reason. They may not have a lot of experience or they have a bad reputation. You want a company who will conduct a thorough title examination and issue proper insurance. This helps to protect you from issues in the future. This is not an area to skimp on costs.
It is okay to interview the closing agent. Remember, they will handle a major transaction for you. Aside from assessing their appearance and professionalism, you should inquire about the following:
- How do they handle potential title issues?
- How many loans have they closed with your mortgage company?
- How often do they stay up-to-date on changes within the industry?
These are just a few questions you can ask. You know what concerns you have and what may pop up with your transaction. Discuss these issues with the title company. This allows you to see how they will handle issues as well as any similar experience they already had.
Is There an Attorney?
You will likely have your own attorney at the closing, but the title agent should have an attorney on staff as well. An in-house attorney can immediately help the title company with any issues that pop up. This includes issues with the title itself, such as easement issues or old mechanic’s’ liens. They can also help with any issues that occur with the closing documents. Your attorney will have your side as far as the seller’s issues. The title company’s attorney works to settle issues for the title company to prevent any delays in closing.
Convenience is a Factor
Home closings do not always occur during the normal 9-5 business hours. If you or the seller will not be available until 6PM or on a weekend, you need to find a title company willing to accommodate your needs. Some title companies strictly adhere to standard business hours and closing only at their location. Other escrow agents will travel to remote locations outside of their office and at any time of day or night. This is another good question to ask of the title company to ensure that the process will be convenient for everyone involved.
Choosing the right closing agent is an important decision. Your home ownership could affect your life for the next 30 years or longer. The last thing you want is a lien haunting you or an ownership issue to arise many years down the road. The closing agent helps to assure you have a clean title as well as that all closing documents are legal. You want an agent who will walk you through the overwhelming process of purchasing a home. If the title company rushes, they may miss something important. You could end up paying the price down the road. Don’t base your decision on the costs, but rather on the experience the agent has and the services the company offers. In the end, you will be grateful you took your time in making your decision on who will close your loan for your home purchase.