What Happens At A Closing And What Is A Closing Agent

Dated: March 20 2019

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Buying a home can be a challenging and long process. Throughout the process, the seller and buyer have one prize in sight---the closing of the deal. A successful closing, of course, means that the seller walks away with his money and the buyer is the proud owner of a new home. It's a time for Celebration when the closing of the deal goes through and the closing is successful because the road to getting to that point has probably been fraught with many obligations that had to be met and probably even a few obstacles along the way. When you close on your home, you will have professionals with you that have been an important part of the process along the way, including realtors, a representative from the lender, a title company representative, and a closing agent. Let's take a look at two of these professionals, the closing agent and the title company, to see how they do or don't differ from each other.

What Happens at a Closing?The closing part of the home buying process is the last step, as the name suggests. This is when paperwork is signed and money and title changes hands. You'll meet at the closing location, which is often at a title company if you use one, or at another location. People who will be present include the buyer, seller, a rep from the lending institution, a closing agent (buyer and seller may or may not be represented by the same parties), a realtor, a notary, and possibly a real estate attorney. Some states require the presence of a real estate attorney at closing, some states don't. A real estate attorney isn't essential if you're in a state that doesn't require one, and typically an attorney is not required unless there are legal issues at play that may require the advice of an attorney.

When the time for closing arrives, you may or may not meet with all of these people at the same time. The buyer and seller, for instance, might not be present at the same time. Some of these people might be associated with the title company, or you may deal with someone from the title company that specifically acts as a closing agent. Depending upon the services they offer, the title company fulfills many of these duties. The closing is the last stop. It's where the whole buying/selling process is completed. This is where you sign the mortgage and all documents associated with the closing. This is also where the buyer gets the keys to the property, papers are officially filed, and money exchanges hands. All of these things are held in an escrow account and ready to be finalized during this process.
What is a Closing Agent?
A closing agent, sometimes referred to as a closing title agent, is responsible for many components necessary to make a successful closing. Like a title company, a closing agent is charged with title research and making sure there aren't any issues with a title that might present the legal transfer of the property, such as undisclosed liens, errors in public records that could affect the transaction or the buyer's rights in the future, disputes over boundaries, etc. Any issues the closing agent finds will be flagged until they can be resolved.

A closing agent is also in charge of reviewing any contracts or other paperwork related to the transaction. They look for accuracy and consistency and flag any errors they find. Some of the documents include financial documents related to the transaction, including commission and seller payments, taxes and fee, etc. The closing agent brings all the paperwork together and sets the time and place for the documents to be signed. The closing agent is also in charge of collecting and distributing the money required for the transaction, including escrow deposit, down payment, or any fees that are associated with the closing.

Closing agents can work independently, but most closing agents are employed through other agencies, such as with title companies or real estate companies. Although a closing agent is primarily there for the closing, they should be involved from the start. It's a good idea to get introduced to the closing agent early in the buying process to get to know them, let them get acquainted with you and your needs, and to ensure they are fully prepared to execute all of the necessary details of the closing when the time arrives.

What is a Title Company?
If you examine the duties of a title company and compare them to a closing agent's function, you will see that a title company and a closing agent are almost synonymous with one another. That being said, a title company's primary role regards the title and its integrity. Like a closing agent, the title company performs the research necessary to ensure a title can be transferred and that no issues are likely to arise in the future regarding the sale of the property and transfer of title. Some title companies expand their role in the closing process by offering escrow services and providing title insurance to sellers, buyers, and lenders. This is done in an effort to provide an all-around real estate transaction service designed to make the process of closing as easy as possible when it comes time to close a deal. A title company has a closing agent working for them, so using a title company with expanded services is really the best way to go. A good closing company has the experience, all of the professionals necessary to organize and finalize a successful closing, and relationships in the real estate business that can help facilitate the closing process.

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Manuel Quiros

My name is Manny Quiros, I’m a real estate professional in the “Disney Area”, I have lived in this area since 1999 and have called this area my home and place my wife and I to raise our three wo....

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