By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

When selling a property, everyone wants to collect a big check. Well, maybe not an actual paper check, but lots of money. If you’re getting funds from the sale of your house, there are a couple of ways to collect your money from the title company when it closes. Just a couple.

Would you like a check or a wire? Those are your basic choices. Title companies can also transfer the funds to another transaction if you are purchasing another property. But we’re not going to pay you in real paper cash, foreign currency, with PayPal, Venmo, Bitcoin or anything else.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Home buyers often like the sense of protection they feel when getting a home warranty on the property they are buying. Until they discover their home warranty is much less effective than expected.

Seasoned and savvy buyers know that a home warranty policy offers limited coverage. They aren’t all-inclusive. In my opinion, some are kind of useless.

Why hate on home warranty companies? I order a lot of home warranty policies as part of my job. And I’ve had home warranty policies on my own properties. Seems like we all have stories of rejected claims and paltry payouts.

Most homeowners who get a home warranty policy do so at the time they purchase a home. Sometimes they negotiate for the seller to pay for a one-year policy as part of their purchase contract. That may be the best reason to get one.

“Any person can buy a home warranty in most cases,” says Julie Jones, Vice President of Real Estate Sales for Nations Home Warranty. “There are different plans and different pricing. You might get your best deal if you’re getting it at the time you are buying a home. “

Just what are home warranties and what do they cover?

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

At closing, some items, like real estate taxes, are divided up between the buyers and sellers so that each party pays their share of the expenses. This is called proration. The amount each party pays is based on the number of days in the year (or month) that they own the property. It is only fair that you are charged ownership fees and taxes just for the time you own the property.

The title agency is typically responsible for dividing these kinds of expenses proportionally based on a unit of time. For annual property taxes, we divide the tax amount by 365 days to obtain the cost per day. We then multiply the cost per day by the days the seller owned the home and the days the buyer will own the home. Each party is responsible for their prorated amount.

If the taxes for that year have not been paid, the seller is charged for their share and it is credited to the buyer to pay the total bill. If the seller has already paid the taxes for that year, the buyer is charged for their share and it is credited to the seller at closing.

Of course, property taxes aren’t the only fees that are prorated …

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closing

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Buying or selling a house takes time. How much time you spend closing depends on several of factors. There is a reason we call it the closing process. Many moving parts must come together before title transfers ownership. In Texas, it’s typically 21 to 45 days.

How long does it take to sign all the documents and actually transfer ownership of the property? That part of the process usually happens in a single day. The closing day is when the deed to a property is exchanged for money. The buyer deposits the money due with the title agent and signs the loan and purchase documents. The seller signs the deed and closing statements and receives money due to them. In Texas, the buyer and seller usually sign closing papers separately. Unlike some other states, not everyone sits down at the closing table at the same time.

Signing the closing documents can take anywhere from five minutes to several hours, depending on the situation. The more complicated the transaction, the more paperwork there is to endorse and the longer it can take.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Business conflicts always seem to revolve around money. It’s no surprise that some of the worst disputes we see at title companies are over earnest money: Who wants it. Who is entitled to it. Who thinks they’re entitled to it. Etcetera. It can get uglier than avocado appliances and shag carpet.

When a transaction fails to close, any earnest money that was deposited with the title company must be disbursed to someone. The provisions for this are in the standard contract put out by TREC – the Texas Real Estate Commission. What happens to the earnest money is spelled out clearly. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from fighting over it anyway.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Let’s call this real estate horror film Mission Impossible – Saving the Sale. It’s the sequel to Mission Impossible – The Roof Needs Repair starring Surprised Seller and Upset Buyer. Also featuring Scrambling Realtor and Cautious Escrow Officer.

The scene opens with a pending sale on a property that needs a repair that the seller has agreed to do. However, the repairs cannot be completed before the closing. It could be hail damage to a roof that happens a couple of days before closing. Or wood floors that become damaged when a water pipe breaks just before closing day.

Whatever the scenario, there isn’t enough time to make the repair before closing day. In that case, the parties to the transaction may want to use an escrow agreement to close on time and allow the repairs to occur after closing.

Escrowing for repairs can be a somewhat complicated situation and the procedure often varies from title company to title company and lender to lender. Here’s how it usually works:

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

A reader asks: “Should I make my next mortgage payment before my house closes? We are under contract and scheduled to close on the 14th of the month. “

This is a fairly common question for title companies. And the answer depends on your closing date and time.

Before closing, the title company will order a ‘payoff’ from your current mortgage company. After confirming and calculating what you owe on your current mortgage, we deduct that amount from your proceeds at closing and send that payoff amount to your lender.

For most folks their mortgage payments are due on the first of the month. And they are considered late on the 15th of the month. That kind of makes your situation a little more complicated.

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In the “real world” the typical time it takes to close and fund a home loan can be 30 days, says Bob Johnson (AKA BobMortgage) in his latest brodcast. However, as he notes, it does’t have to take that long. In this week’s BobMortgage Zone episode, we hear from the team on what it means to “go slow to go fast” and how they can help clients win bids by cutting closing time in half.

Find out more about what makes the BobMortgage team at the nation’s oldest private lender, Wallick & Volk, so successful now!

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