Here are some helpful tips for closing that we would like our buyers to look over.  Please call us of you have any questions.

Funds for Closing – If the amount required to close is less than $500.00, Benefit Title Services can accept your personal check at closing. If it’s more than $500.00, we ask that you send a wire transfer of the required cash to close. If that’s not possible, you must bring a cashier’s check payable to Benefit Title Services.  We cannot accept ACH transfers, personal checks for more than $500.00, cash, or two-party checks.

Liquidity and Availability of Funds – If you’re drawing money from a brokerage account, you must have previously sold all stocks or funds and have the cleared cash balance in your account. It sometimes takes longer than expected to get a wire from a brokerage account so please plan accordingly. Most financial institutions require that you visit the branch personally to initiate a wire so call your bank ahead of time! We had a client once who had to drive to Miami to visit her bank’s branch in person to initiate her wire.  Don’t let this happen to you!

Identification – Since many lenders now require two forms of picture identification, we suggest you bring your driver’s license as well as your passport (if you have one) or another picture ID to closing. Make sure your license hasn’t expired. If you don’t have a valid driver’s license or passport, please ask your closer about other forms of identification that may be acceptable.

Spouses – If the property you are buying is going to be your primary residence – and you are married – your spouse will need to be present to sign the mortgage and several other documents at closing.

Deadlines – Please be aware of the deadlines you have agreed to under the terms of your contract.  They are very important and are there for a reason. Don’t get caught missing an important deadline!

Inspections – There are several inspections you can have done prior to closing that will give you a better understanding of the condition of the property you’re about to buy, including: Home Inspection, Survey, Radon, Ground Stability, Pest, etc.  Let us know if you need a referral!

Survey – There are standard exceptions that appear on a title insurance commitment and the subsequent policy that’s issued. We can only remove those exceptions when presented with an acceptable survey of the property. If you are obtaining a mortgage, your lender requires that we remove those exceptions from their title policy so an acceptable survey will be necessary. If you’re a cash buyer, you can close without a survey but the exceptions will remain on your title policy. A condominium property does not require a survey – a townhouse does.

Homeowners and Flood Insurance – Benefit Title Services recommends that you begin shopping for homeowners and flood insurance as soon as possible, which could require an additional inspection of the house. Ask your real estate agent to fax or e-mail the declarations page and invoice to us so we can collect the premium if needed, as well as inform the loan processor.

Tips for working with a lender – Your loan application will go through numerous hands throughout the process of obtaining a mortgage (Loan Officer, Processor, Underwriter, Closer, Funder, and maybe more). Be prepared to quickly respond to the lenders requests for document copies or information. Ask if there’s anything else you can supply to help them keep your file moving towards the closing deadline.

Time to Close – Please allow 45 minutes to one hour to close a mortgage financed purchase transaction. Cash closings usually take between 20 and 30 minutes.

Association Approval – If the property you’re buying has a condominium association or homeowners association, please contact the association immediately to find out if they have an application process to approve you as a new buyer.  You must be approved before taking title to the property.

Power of Attorney – Sometimes, it’s impossible for a borrower to be present at the time of closing. When this happens, they must give power-of-attorney to someone else who can sign their loan documents for them. If this is the case, first ask your loan officer if the lender will allow it and if they have a specific form they want used.  Second, talk to us. We need to review the lender’s form if they have one, or we can prepare one specific to the transaction for you. It will need to be executed in the presence of a Notary and one other person, with both signing as witnesses. Benefit Title Services will need the original, fully executed document for recording purposes.

Manner of Taking Title – We use the contract to establish the manner in which you want to hold title to the real property you are buying. This is especially important when two unmarried individuals are buying property together.  Here is a link to an article on the website that may help you decide.  Call us if you have questions, or consult with your attorney.

Funding Approval Prior to Being “Closed” – There are many things that need to be completed before a deal is officially “closed.” Sometimes we have all the signed paperwork, all the money has come in, and it seems like the deal is done – but there is one exception. The Lender has a requirement to review signed documents before they will issue a Funding Number. That means although we have received their wire, we do not have their permission to disburse the loan proceeds yet. If your lender has a requirement like this, we should schedule your closing for earlier in the day to ensure we receive funding approval from the Lender before they go home for the evening. Please talk to your loan officer about funding requirements.

No New Debt Until Your Close – Do not take out any new loans until you have closed on your new home. No furniture accounts, no car loans, and no new credit cards. This can really throw off your mortgage approval if you take on new debt just before closing.

Call the Utilities – Place a call to the utility companies (electric, water, telephone, cable, gas, etc.) that service the house to ask about setting up new service in your name. If you’re a prior customers, you may be able to avoid costly deposits.

Our Refinance Rate Calculator helps lending professionals estimate title insurance fees, recording fees and transfer taxes, and provides accurate numbers for Good Faith Estimates.