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Real Estate FAQs

What is a "Title Search"?

The title to your home is the legal proof you own it. When a house is purchased, the property's history is reviewed by a title search. It verifies the seller's right to transfer ownership. The investigation will reveal liens, claims, errors, easements, debts or other restrictions on the property. This search is required to establish the integrity, and insurability, of the title to be conveyed to you, the buyer. The mortgage lender, who shares your financial interest in the property, also requires this step. Once completed, title insurance can be issued for both the buyer and the lender.

Just what is "Title Insurance"?

It's the protection against loss if a covered defect is found in your title. It provides a "safety fence" around your property. With the purchase or refinance of your home, you naturally want the assurance that your ownership is absolute and uncontested, both now and in the future. Even though the public record of previous ownership is thoroughly examined for flaws or conflict, hidden or unforeseen problems may exist. Owner's Title Insurance protects the owner after the sale. Lender's Title Insurance protects the lender for the amount of the mortgage. Title Insurance can save you money, time, and trouble.

Doesn't Lender's Title Insurance protect me?

No, if there is a failure of the title, you have no protection and would lose both your property and your equity in the property. You could also incur legal fees and any tax penalties assessed against your property. Your lender would be the only one protected by Lender's Title Insurance.

When acquiring property, it's a good idea for the buyer to get Owner's Title Insurance on the new property. If someone initiates a claim against your title, Owner's Title Insurance provides you with a legal defense, including attorney's fees, as provided in your policy. If your title should fail, you will be reimbursed for the equity in your home up to the face amount of your policy.

To obtain this coverage, you pay a one-time premium at Closing. There are no recurring premiums. Also, the coverage protects you and your heirs and continues even after you sell the property.

How much does Title Insurance cost?

Considering the degree of protection, a title policy is relatively inexpensive. The premium is paid just once, at Closing, for protection as long as you retain title, and beyond. On the average, title protection costs $300-600. Title insurance rates are set by the title insurance companies and your cost will be based on a factor of the title rate and the purchase price of your property (Owner's policy) and the loan amount (Lender's policy). You may be entitled to a reduced title insurance premium. Please discuss whether you are eligible for a premium discount with your title insurance agent.

Are "Closing" and "Settlement" the same thing?

Essentially, yes. Both terms refer to the process of concluding the sale or refinance, the exchange of money or real property, and the recording of all legal documents. The terms are used interchangeably.

How long does Closing take?

Your purchase contract or refinance agreement designates a targeted closing date. Although the final Settlement conference takes less than an hour, the preparatory steps usually require a few weeks to complete.

What is my Realtor's role in the Closing process?

Even though your Realtor is very knowledgeable about the Closing process, s/he does not perform the actual Closing service. That is usually done by a settlement service specialist like David L. Huguenin. Realtors do lend valuable assistance with your financing and can help guide you with settlement arrangements.

What do I have to do during the Closing process?

David L. Huguenin handles all facets of your transaction and keeps you informed throughout the process. You may be contacted for information, from time to time. When all arrangements are made for the designated Settlement conference date, we'll set your appointment at your convenience - even if it must be at other than usual business hours. We are available when you need us. Just ask.

O.K. I want to work with David L. Huguenin, what's next?

Just call us. We work with home buyers, home owners, Realtors, lenders, builders, and developers. We offer simple, convenient, affordable services; provide excellent customer care and work closely with professionals in the real estate and financial communities. Let our reputation, experience and expertise work for you.

Typical Closing Services

- Search Title and issue insurance commitment.
- Arrange survey with surveyor.
- Place homeowner's insurance policy with client's agent.
- Receive loan closing package from lender.
- Obtain pay-off terms from present mortgage holder.
- Order deed from seller's attorney.
- Coordinate information among all parties.
- Establish time and place of settlement conference.
- Assembly pre-closing package for lender review.
- Determine funds needed by buyer at settlement.
- Receive loan proceeds check from lender.
- Conduct settlement conference.
- Record title documents at courthouse.
- Handle all financial disbursements after closing and recording.
- Issue final title insurance policies to lender and buyer.