So you discovered that you have enough money to spend on a new residential or commercial property and you finally decided to give it a go. What now? Do you just contact people who placed their numbers on properties for sale, or do you look for a title agent in Jacksonville who can guide you every step of the way? Normally, people would just try to do things on their own and that’s fine but the thing is, doing things on your own when it comes to real estate property transactions puts you in a vulnerable position if ever issues concerning the property arise in the future. When you work with a title agent, the steps are thoroughly explained to you and you’re protected from possible legal issues concerning the property you want to purchase.
Aside from giving you a lot of complicated legal documents that you need to sign upon closing the transaction, the title agent conducts a thorough search on the property’s records and inspects it for title defects and liens. This is crucial since the last thing that a property buyer wants to have is a defective title. The lending company also needs enforceable and valid liens- an addition to the list of the title agent’s responsibilities since he or she must manage the expectations of all parties involved throughout the transaction process.
Buyers want to speed up the transaction process so they can move in at the soonest possible time, lenders want buyers who are willing to adhere to the requirements, and sellers want a seamless transaction. It’s the title agent’s responsibility to make sure that all parties are satisfied, and that the title is free from defects. If ever after some thorough research the title agent discovers some issues with the title it is his or her job to rectify these.
Upon the ratification of your Sales Contract, the title agent will conduct an investigation on the property title with the help of a title abstract. This abstract contains the property’s history, including the people who used to own the property. The title agent will then ask the buyer to authorize a survey of the property to check for possible problems. If any issues arise while the survey is being conducted, the title agent will then inform the buyer, the lender, and the real estate agent. Once the survey is done, it will be turned over to the buyer of the property during the settlement. Verification of the payment of local and state taxes will also be done by the title agent, along with the confirmation of payments to the Homeowners Association and the water company. The title agent then prepares an insurance commitment for the title insurance policy which will be given to the lender. Coverage for the lender and the owner will also be issued. It is highly suggested that buyers receive an owner’s title policy because this will give them protection should hidden risks, fraud, or unforeseen claims against the property arise. This title insurance policy saves the buyer from financial loss and payment of legal costs that are needed to clear the claims.
The title agent is also in charge of coordinating with the mortgage lender to accept all of the loan documents that are needed for closing. These forms are reviewed to make sure that all of the lender requirements were followed. The HUD-1 Settlement Statement, a document that shows the breakdown of all the costs linked to the sale and purchase of the property, is then produced along with the deed and other necessary documents. The title agent presents the documents to all parties before asking them to sign each one. This process usually lasts for about sixty minutes. Monies collected are disbursed after closing, and vendors such as the surveyor and the termite company are paid. The loan documents are given back to the lender and the property’s existing mortgages are paid and released. The title agent then has to submit the documents at the courthouse and to make sure that they are recorded as a way of updating them about the changes concerning the property.
In a nutshell, the title agent is in the middle of the whole property transaction process. They can look at all the steps as concepts, and they can see angles that buyers and sellers normally wouldn’t see.
To become a title agent, you need to be at least 18 years old and a resident of the state. For states like Vermont, non-residents are given the opportunity to apply and become licensed title agents. In general, you will need to submit yourself to a background check to prove that you are trustworthy and are financially capable because you need to give your clients the peace of mind that you won’t be running away with their money. Since title agents are in charge of the closing process, they must know every single detail about the property, title insurance and real estate requirements, and they must be updated with changes in the laws of each state. There are different specific requirements for each state when it comes to applying for a title agent license. You can go to the Department of Insurance or the Department of Financial Regulation of your state to know what the specific requirements are.
There are educational and experience requirements if you wish to apply for a licensing exam. If you’re a fresh graduate and you do not have any work experience, you have the option to take a state-approved title insurance course that’s worth forty hours. Insurance regulation, real estate transactions, real property transactions, and title insurance are just some of the items included in the standard examination. You must be able to answer all the questions correctly and quickly, especially since there is a time limit for the exam. Once you pass the exam, you will then need to submit another application and pay a certain amount to get your license. If you fail to pass, you will have to take the exam again.
There’s a required continuing education credit for those who want to maintain their license. For some states, the license has to be renewed each year, and six continuing education credits are required. For others, ten continuing education credits are required every other year.
You need a title agent because the whole process of discussing all the necessary details with the seller and following the requirements of the lender is overwhelming. You need an extra pair of eyes that can follow through on what needs to be done, communicate with all parties involved, pay close attention to the details written in the legal documents, and protect you from possible legal issues that might surface in the future. Problems concerning properties are not fiction, they can happen in real life and you wouldn’t want to experience those things.
All these legal information can be a bit confusing and it’s just great that here at Attorneys’ Title Services, a national title provider based in Jacksonville, FL, is willing to guide you as you go about your property transaction. We have a keen eye when it comes to looking at titles because we started as a mortgage and lending firm that eventually grew and became a title company. They know how to check for defects in titles, provide escrow services, and issue a title insurance.
Our office is open from Monday to Friday (9AM – 5 PM. We are located at 12428 San Jose Boulevard #1, Jacksonville FL 32223 and if you wish to call us, you may do so at (904) 260-0105.