Thursday, May 31, 2012

Should You Choose Your Own Closing Agent?

In the process of buying a house, you have to make decisions about a number of aspects, including your loan options, choosing a real estate agent, getting the house inspected by a professional, etc. Similarly, when it comes to closing a real estate deal, you may wonder whether to choose your own closing agent. But before making this decision, you need to first understand who a closing agent is and what role he or she plays in closing a deal.

A closing agent is a person or a company who coordinates all procedures and formalities required to complete the sale or purchase of a property. He or she ensures that all documents are in order before you sign a deed and also interacts with your lenders to obtain details concerning the disbursement of funds and closing instructions. Once all these documents have been gathered, the closing agent prepares a settlement statement and the required affidavits.

In general, a closing agent does not work for a buyer, seller, lender or real estate agent. However, he or she may have to work with all these parties to obtain the necessary documents, such as the sale contract, inspection report, home warranty documents, and so on. The closing agent also ensures that you are in agreement with the opposite party that all papers obtained are in order and collects checks required for covering closing costs and other deposits.

Lastly, the closing agent records the deed and mortgage with the appropriate courthouse, and then he or she returns the original deed to you and the original mortgage document to the lender.

Why Hire a Closing Agent?

First of all, an experienced, reliable closing agent can close a deal smoothly and more rapidly and help you avoid a complicated or delayed closing process. Secondly, closing agents have vast experience in real estate transactions, and therefore, they have better knowledge about the types of loans available and which loan would suit your needs best. They also draw up all the necessary paperwork and handle the payoff to the seller. This drastically reduces the burden on you.

So Should You Choose Your Own Closing Agent?

While as a buyer you reserve the right to choose your own closing agent, it is wise to enlist the services of the closing agent affiliated with the seller. This is because sellers work with a regular set of closing agents who are well accustomed to all procedures and formalities. For example, when it comes to REO properties or bank owned houses, the closing agents working with the bank may have more experience with the paperwork necessary to complete the closing, as opposed to someone chosen by you. Sellers also prefer to work with these agents because there is a mutual understanding of their Service Level Agreement (SLA) and turn-around-time. This makes the process much smoother.

For you to opt for your own closing agent, you must be familiar with closing agents in your state, which you probably are not. Leaving the choice to the seller comes with other benefits too. Most sellers offer to pay for your title insurance policy and other related search fees as an incentive for allowing them to choose the title provider and closing agent. And by leaving the choice of closing agent to the seller, you can ensure a faster closing time.

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