Real estate deals are among the largest and most complicated purchases that most of us will ever make, typically requiring multiple layers of agents, lawyers, brokers, lenders, title agents, closing officers, and more to come together. With so many moving pieces and costs associated with closing on the sale of a home, the role played by many of these individuals can feel difficult to understand. One of the most critical yet often-misunderstood members of the team for any real estate deal is the closing officer.
Let’s demystify the ins and outs of closing on a new home — including how a real estate closer or closing officer helps you seal the deal on your new property.
What Is A Real Estate Closer or Closing Officer?
A real estate closing officer can go by many names. They may also be known as a closer, settlement agent, title agent, or closing agent. Whatever specific name is used, the closing officer is a representative who ensures that all parties deliver and receive what they are supposed to when a real estate deal closes.
Among the moving pieces that must be accounted for? The lender provides loan funds to the buyer and receives a note; the buyer receives the funds from the lender, the property from the seller, and the grant deed; and the seller receives the funds from the buyer and a deed of reconveyance from their lender — in essence, a document stating they have paid off their mortgage.
The closing title agent also researches the title to the property to ensure there are no problems such as undisclosed liens, boundary disputes or errors in public records that could affect the transaction or the purchaser’s rights in the future. This title search allows for title insurance policies to be issued, which protect the rights of the buyer and the seller against unknown claims against title.
Importantly, the closing officer is also responsible for reviewing all the contracts related to the transaction for accuracy, and flagging and correcting any issues. This includes a thorough review of all financial information related to the transaction, including taxes and fees, agent commissions, and other fees and costs that are incurred in the closing process. The closing agent also compiles all closing documents for the transaction, arranges and oversees the signing of those documents, and collects the money required for the transaction, such as the escrow deposit, down payment or any fees that must be paid before or at the closing.
How Does A Closer Help Finalize A Deal?
Broadly speaking, the closer doesn’t represent the interests of any one party over another. Unlike real estate agents, attorneys, brokers, or others involved in the transaction, the closing officer is a neutral party whose only job is ensuring that the closing proceeds smoothly. Making sure the conveyance of these documents is properly timed and everyone receives everything they are entitled to can be complicated and requires a diligent, thorough partner.
While you, your attorney, and your agents are taking care of securing financing, arranging property inspections, and negotiating final terms, the closing officer works behind the scenes to search the title, determine the seller and buyer’s share of any complex pro-rata expenses like property taxes, work with the lenders for both the seller and buyer, and follow up on any circumstances or terms unique to your deal.
The closing agent is responsible for reviewing the new lender’s instructions and meeting the lender’s documentation requirements, and ensuring any instructions from other parties to the transaction are followed. If there are any specific requirements for a particular deal, the closing agent will be the point of contact to ensure they are fulfilled.
The agent also holds any deposits in a separate escrow account, prepares closing statements, and helps ensure that lender’s and owner’s title insurance policies are issued. Whether you’re selling or buying, don’t hesitate to ask any questions that come up along the way. The closing agent is an impartial party to the transaction and is there to provide information and facilitate the transfer of the property from the seller to buyer.
What Does The Real Estate Closer Do At Closing?
The closing agent makes sure all documents are appropriately signed and notarized, and often coordinates or schedules the formal closing of the deal. On closing day, the ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer. This day consists of transferring funds from escrow to the seller and the seller’s lender, providing mortgage and title fees, and updating the deed of the house to the buyer’s name.
After the signing has been completed, the closing agent will forward payment to any prior lender, and pay all parties who performed services in connection with the deal’s closing (if they have not been paid). The closer will ensure transaction documents are properly recorded in the county in which the property is located. The owner’s and lender’s title insurance policies will be finalized and forwarded to the appropriate parties.
Landtrust Title: Your Partner for Results
When your real estate agent works with Landtrust Title, you get a partner for results. We do things differently than other title companies — whether it’s personalized support, convenient closing times that meet your schedule, or quick and easy payment methods ensuring everyone gets paid right away, our attention to detail will help ensure a smooth transaction. We’re obsessed with making your experience so seamless, you don’t even have to think about it.
If you have questions about what to expect when your real estate deal closes, Landtrust Title Services can help. Please contact us today at [email protected] or by phone at 312.528.9210.