How to Choose a Title Company
You’ve jumped through every hoop, signed every paper and now it’s time to close on your house. But now you’re scratching your head about finding the right title company to help you close! Choosing the right title company or attorney to handle your closing can mean the difference between smooth sailing or rocky rapids. Most often the buyer will want to choose the closing agent, but all things are negotiable and if you as the seller really trust a particular title company you can put that into the contract. But moving forward you’ll want to consider several different criteria when choosing your closing agent.
Criteria #1: Reputation
The first and most important requirement to consider is the company’s reputation. You’ll want to work with a company that has a good reputation in the community and has a proven track record of navigating all the ins and outs of your local laws. Ask your friends and family members in the area, especially those who have recently gone through a real estate transaction, what title company they used? Did they meet their expectations? Did they treat you friendly and communicated with you throughout the process?
Criteria #2: Professional Experience
This next one is a no-brainier but a huge headache just waiting to happen if you don’t double check the professional experience of your title company. Look into the professionalism of the title company, review their website and online presence. You’ll get a good idea if they take themselves seriously, and go the extra mile, or if they do just enough to get by to get a paycheck. You’ll also want to have a phone interview with them and ask dumb questions that you’ve researched out ahead of time on Google. If they give you an answer that is way, way out there then you’ll know something is fishy. Specifically ask if they’ve done any transactions similar to your situation before, and what the process is working with them.
Criteria #3: Office Location
Believe it or not but if you choose a closing agent with an office on the other side of town you might be in for more drive time then you expected. You’ll have to visit your closing agent probably several times between now and closing in order to sign papers, show proof of identification, and deliver checks. So choosing a title company that is close to home could literally save you hours of valuable time, not to mention avoiding rush hour gridlock.
Criteria #4: Fees
The final piece to consider is how much money it will cost you in closing fees to use this title company? There aren’t standard fees across the industry so be sure when talking to your closing agents during your phone interview you ask about their fee structure. You’ll also want to be aware of who is expected to pay those fees, the buyer or seller. The expected person changes from state to state, but whoever is paying the fees should be determined well ahead of time, and is often common courtesy to let them choose the closing agent.
By choosing the title company that commands a great reputation, is professional, experience, has a nearby office and a good fee structure will be ideal. You should expect your closing agent to help you throughout the entire process, answering any and all questions you have. If you follow these important steps in finding a title company you’ll avoid many headaches and be a happy camper at the end of close.