Buying or selling a home? Our experienced settlement agents can help you through this important and often stressful process.
Refinancing your home can help you to consolidate your bills and lower your mortgage payment!
Real Estate Agents
& Loan Officers
Clear Title & Escrow is dedicated to real estate professionals and we can provide valuable assistance to enhance your customer service.
What is a Title Company?
Most veteran homebuyers are going to be familiar with real estate title companies and the role they play in real estate transactions, but inexperienced homebuyers may wonder what, exactly, is the role of the title company. A title company (or title agency) is an impartial service provider for real estate transactions. Though normally selected by the seller, this is negotiable. And regardless of which party selects the agency, the title company doesn’t work for one over the other; rather, they work for the good of the transaction. It’s the job of the title agent or agency to ensure that the transaction closes on time and with all necessary documentation and payments needed.
Title companies are best known for beginning the closing and conducting the title search, which ensures the property is clear of liens and legally available for sale. A title company also provides title insurance, which is required in nearly all real estate transactions (even if it happens to be a for-sale-by-owner transaction). Full-service agencies do all of this, with the benefit of smoothing the process by keeping all needed services—including anything related to escrow and notary—under one roof.
With that in mind, the goal of Clear Title & Escrow is to take the frustrating closing delays out of your business environment. Are you tired of long turnaround times and search requests or third party settlement officers canceling another closing? We at Clear Title & Escrow boast the unique distinction of being a full-service settlement company specializing in real estate settlements to include:
- New and existing home sales
- Refinances/home equity loans
- After hour and in-home closings
- Remote locations
- Split settlements
- Short Sales
Clear Title & Escrow handles all details of the closing. Our title abstractors immediately return their searches to our processors who obtain the necessary documents for the closing, which is then handled by our full-time settlement officers. We also handle all notary requirements.
The Four Primary Areas of Responsibility
1.) Research – When a sales contract is received or orders for a title, the company must go to the courthouse of the county in which the property is located and look at the land records to find the owners of record and whatever liens and debts and mortgages may be attached to that property. If it’s a sales transaction, the search must go back sixty years and verify this info as well as that the property title had been transferred correctly. In a refinance, a 25-year search is done.
2.) Closing or Settlement — This is where all of the documents are explained, executed, and notarized. These documents include the deed, note, and mortgage, to name a few. If the property is bought with cash the paperwork is somewhat limited, however, if there is financing the package could be pushing 125 pages.
3.) Funds – “Escrow” means monies held in trust. Clear Title collects all monies, and if all is done and in balance then we will cut checks, record the new documents in the land records and disburse all monies to parties to the deal.
4.) Insurance – This would mean issuing an insurance policy to the new owner and lender if needed to guarantee ownership and lien position on the property.
A title agent's job is to ensure that all paperwork is in order, that the people involved are who they say they are and that no money changes hands until all of the necessary documents and paperwork have been signed. This safeguards everyone's interest in the property. The buyer and lender have the assurance that they are purchasing a clean title and that the escrow funds do not get paid out until the property is closed on and the seller has the guarantee that the buyer is committed to the property purchase.
When and Why Use a Title Company? Can’t an Attorney Do It?
It’s true that an attorney can close on a real estate transaction and do some other things that a title agency can do. But if you plan to work with an insured institutional lender (that is, a bank), that lender will almost always require title insurance to protect its investment, which attorneys are rarely able or willing to provide.
Worse, real estate agents who are eager to make a sale are likely to push you toward an attorney of their choice, which isn’t necessarily in your best interest; a quick closing is pointless if you’re six months down the road and get notice of a lien the real estate attorney somehow hadn’t found—one that you, as the property owner, are now responsible for and which threatens the investment you and your lender have made.
By contrast, a full-service title company like Clear Title & Escrow can do everything an attorney can do and insure your title so that you know your investment is secured against liens and other title defects.
- All title work is written through First American Title Insurance Company and Old Republic National Title Insurance Company.
- Closing can be held in your home, in our office, or in other locations.
- We offer several disbursement options to include wire transfers.
- Programs in place to guarantee the release of all mortgages.
- Clear Title & Escrow is capable of servicing the whole of the great commonwealth of Virginia.
Why "Clear Title"?
This is industry lingo. Any liens or other encumbrances that remain on a deed or title to a piece of real estate subject to sale will prevent the buyer from obtaining "clear" title. This is because every questionable item recorded on the title is classified as a defect, or "cloud." Since banks will not give mortgages to potential buyers unless it's certain that there are no other claims of ownership on the property, one of the essential clauses in real estate sales contracts requires the buyer to deliver a "clear" title of the property to the purchaser by a certain date. Therefore, a quality title company will take all necessary steps to clear up any "clouds" on a title within the time frame mandated by the contract for the sale of the property, and that is exactly what we at Clear Title & Escrow do.