Most sellers and buyers think of the agreement as the tricky part of the transaction and the closing as the part they can take pretty much for granted. Agents know otherwise. The transaction isn’t done until you successfully complete this final, challenging part of the real estate transaction.
The closing involves an army of people, we work diligently during the weeks leading to the close to see that the loan, title work, and escrow or document preparation are handled by people on our own closing team. Making it our objective to direct the business to companies and individuals we know will perform in a timely, professional manner. Doing so assures you good service and fewer surprises and reduces the time we invest in closing the transaction.
The loan officer
The loan officer holds a front-line position on the closing team. He or she secures the appraiser, verifies deposit of funds, verifies employment, and, ideally, completes the loan package for the buyer within a few days of contract acceptance.
We make sure that the loan officer on our team is highly organized and able to push transactions through to a seamless close. A good loan officer can smooth out problems before you even hear about them, averting landmines and sparing you significant and time-consuming challenges.
The home inspector
The home inspector is hired to evaluate the condition of the property, spot current or potential defects, and give guidance regarding the proper remedies.
On our closing team, we have a home inspector who can quickly produce an easy-to-read report written in everyday language. If technical jargon is necessary, insist on plain-English translations. Nothing concerns buyers more than problems they don’t understand.
We work with home inspectors who are thorough and who fully disclose all defects and items in need of repair without throwing gasoline on potential problems. Beware the home inspector who’s an alarmist, and instead look for someone who has a “just the facts, ma’am” approach.
Because lending institutions often have the largest stake in a home — greater even than that of borrowers — they hire appraisers to determine the value of property.
The escrow closer
An escrow closer is a neutral third party who coordinates the preparation and signing of documents, holds and distributes funds, and records the documents and deeds involved in a transaction. Some states are non-escrow states, which means the real estate company provides these services or, in some states, an attorney prepares all the legal documents. Check with your broker to clarify the standard operating procedure in your area.
A good escrow officer keeps the transaction on track for an on-time closing. He or she also provides a second point of reassurance for your client by doing the following:
• Staying in close communication with you and the client throughout the weeks leading up to closing
• Sharing updates that confirm things are going well
• Underscoring what a great agent you are and how lucky the client is to be working with you
The escrow company can also be associated with the title company, which researches the home’s previous owners and searches for liens and encumbrances on the property.
Most lenders require title searches to ensure that titles are clear before they issue loans for properties. Lenders are in what’s called first position, meaning that they take control if buyers default on loans.