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In Part 1, we’ve learned that the closing process is the final stage in the real estate transaction. It is when the homebuyer receives the key to their new home and the home seller gets paid for the sale of their property.

We also talked about the typical closing period for both mortgage-financed home acquisitions and all-cash transactions. Now, we’re going to dive deeper into the closing process and the role of a title service company in a seamless home closing.

Who is present at the closing?

Closing on a house is frequently done in phases and on various days. Although not necessary for every party to be present, the following parties frequently are:

The settlement meeting is facilitated by the closing agent, who also ensures that all paperwork is signed, and documented and that escrow and closing costs are paid promptly.

How Much Are Closing Costs?

The fees you have to pay before officially owning a home, apartment, or townhouse are known as closing costs. Closing fees should be between 2 and 5 percent of the mortgage amount. According to CoreLogic, the national average for closing expenses in 2021 was $6,905 with transfer taxes included. Washington, D.C. according to the same survey, Missouri had the lowest average closing costs at $2,061, while had the highest average closing costs at $29,888.

Depending on the purchase price of the property and the financing arrangement, closing fees might vary, but generally speaking, they consist of:

On closing day, you may have to pay additional fees for an attorney, a notary, and any county or local taxes or fees that certain jurisdictions impose on real estate transactions.

title deed paper with pen and house key

How Important Is The Role Of A Title Service Company In Closing?

From signing the original contract to signing the closing documents, there are numerous processes involved. Many of these actions are quite obvious, such as signing off on negotiations to the terms of the contract as either side, having an inspection of your home done if you are the seller, or submitting financial paperwork to your loan officer if you are the buyer. However, a lot of these actions are less obvious but just as crucial. Many of these can be completed by a title company, including:

Disbursement Of Funds: Following completion of the transaction and signing of all paperwork, the title firm will distribute the money by the buyer, seller, and lender's instructions. This entails settling any unpaid liens or debts on the property and giving the rightful recipients of the leftover money.

Escrow Services: Title companies frequently serve as impartial intermediaries during the closing process, keeping crucial documents and earnest money deposits in escrow until all terms of the sale are satisfied. This guarantees the safe and equitable handling of money and paperwork.

Title Search: The main duty of the title business is to carry out a thorough title search by looking through public records to confirm the ownership history of the property. To make the title clear and marketable for transfer at closing, the title company searches for liens, defects, or encumbrances that may still exist.

Settling Title Issues: The title company attempts to remedy any title concerns found during the title search before closing. This can involve resolving other title problems, fixing inaccuracies in the property description, or collaborating with creditors to pay off outstanding liens. Presenting a clear title is the aim of the title business.

There are a few choices accessible when it comes to choosing a title firm for a dry closing. While some purchasers prefer to select their own title company, others prefer to go with one that is recommended by their lender. It's critical to conduct due diligence and select a respectable title company with an established track record of accomplishments.

Nonetheless, a title company plays a crucial role in the safety of your property and ease of closing, so be sure to take the time to choose one.

Looking for a reliable title service company in Indiana?

If yes, then don't look further! At IndyLegal, our goal is to help home buyers and sellers, banks and lenders, builders, developers, real estate brokers and agents, and more find the best title insurance and services.

We also offer escrow services, settlement services, and investor services.

To learn more about our offers, click this link.

Buying a property is an exciting and overwhelming adventure. From choosing the location to negotiating and buying the home, every process is a new challenge to face. That stays true even during the closing transaction.

It requires a plethora of paperwork, signings, and payments. Knowing what to expect when closing a home can help you learn more about the process and get ready.

What Is The Closing Process?

The last stage of what is frequently a drawn-out real estate transaction process is closing. It might take many months to go from the signing of a purchase and sell agreement to sitting down at the closing table. 

Closing is the day that buyers receive the keys and formally become the property's owner. On the other hand, closing is the day that sellers get paid for the sale.

Numerous crucial tasks need to be finished by the time of closing. The potential buyer will have obtained the mortgage required to buy the house unless they are paying cash. There will have been an evaluation of the house and a condition inspection by an impartial third party. All further conversations regarding expenses, repairs, and fittings will have been resolved to a satisfactory degree. The purchaser is going to do a last inspection of the property. Usually, the vendor has left after packing.

The buyer of the property must sign a ton of documents on closing day to complete the transaction. On closing day, several additional parties are frequently present, such as the seller, the lender, real estate agents, the closing agent, and frequently an attorney who will also be reviewing the documents being signed.

How Long Does It Take To Close On A House?

There can be a range of times between putting in an offer and finalizing the deal. The typical closing period for mortgage-financed home acquisitions is 47 days, as reported by mortgage consulting and technology platform ICE Mortgage Technologies. Closings, however, can happen as quickly as thirty days, particularly in all-cash transactions.

homebuyer paying cash to home seller

Steps To Prepare For Closing On A House

The process of closing on a home is difficult. What you should do to prepare is as follows:

Consult A Real Estate Lawyer

Purchasing a home involves more than just the buyer and seller doing business. It's also a somewhat intricate legal procedure. You might find it helpful to work with a real estate lawyer to guide you through the process and make sure everything closes without a hitch. Generally optional, however having legal representation can help you steer clear of unforeseen problems later on.

Create An Escrow Account

At the beginning of the closing process, the majority of homebuyers open an escrow account, which is normally handled by a title company. This account contains all the cash related to the sale, including an earnest money deposit, before you formally close on the property. After closing, the mortgage provider transfers the monies to the buyer and seller, respectively, guaranteeing a safe and secure transaction.

Do A Title Search

Early in the closing process, do a title search on the property you are buying. Any problems or claims against the house, including unpaid property taxes or liens placed on it by contractors, will be revealed by a title search and might potentially threaten your ability to legally buy and occupy the property. During this time, you should also consider purchasing title insurance, which would pay for any title disputes that arise while you are the owner.

Get A Home Inspection

One of the most crucial aspects of closing is getting a house inspected. There may be hidden problems in even the most exquisite homes.

A contractor or qualified inspector will look for significant problems such as leaks, cracks in the foundation, faults with the plumbing or electrical system, and possible safety risks during a house inspection. You may choose to back out of the agreement based on the inspection's findings, or you may request that the seller remedy the problems as a condition of the sale.

Negotiate On Your Closing Costs

Certain charges are negotiable even if closing costs can be high. Check to see if your lender may waive the application fee or reduce the origination fee. Ask your mortgage company whether you can shop around for the cheapest rate instead of paying a set charge to the insurance company of their choice if you need a lender's title insurance.

Confirm Your Closing Date

Verifying the date of your closure is the next step. On this date, the seller will vacate the property completely and you will have the opportunity to move in. Remember that the closing date comes at least one month following the acceptance of the purchase offer. If you encounter unforeseen obstacles when shutting, it may take much longer. You can begin packing your belongings and contacting moving companies as soon as you have the closing date confirmed.

Do A Final Walkthrough

Doing a last walk-through just before moving into a new home is a good idea, even if your initial home inspection went well. There's always a chance that damage happened in the interim between the initial inspection and the day of your move-in. Make sure the seller repaired everything that needed to be fixed and cleared the house and property of everything that wasn't covered by the purchase and selling agreement at the last walk-through.

Understand Your Closing Documents

You will receive many crucial paperwork at the closing. Ask your real estate lawyer or Realtor to go over each document's purpose as there may be up to 100 pages in it. Some of the documents you might anticipate receiving are as follows:

Loan estimate: Key details about your loan, including terms, interest rate, and closing fees, are included in this document. Verify that everything is accurate, including how your name is spelled.

Closing disclosure: This document provides information about your mortgage, just like the loan estimate. This form should be sent to you at least three days before the closure. You have the opportunity to compare the information on the loan estimate and the closing disclosure within this window of time.

Initial escrow statement: Any payments made from your escrow account by the lender during the first year of your mortgage are included on this form. Insurance and taxes are included in these costs.

Mortgage note: This paperwork formally commits you to paying back the mortgage. It outlines the loan's conditions and amount as well as what will happen if you don't make your installments.

Mortgage or deed of trust: If you default on the mortgage note, this instrument secures the note and grants your lender a claim against the house.

Certificate of occupancy: This legal document is required for you to move into a freshly built home. Additionally, get a copy of the survey and title policy.

What Takes Place When A House Is Closed?

The two main things you will need to accomplish on closing day are signing legal paperwork and paying escrow items and closing expenses. The documents you will sign will cover the terms and conditions of your mortgage from your lender as well as the agreement between you and the seller, who is transferring ownership of the home. To ensure you understand exactly what you're committing to, it's crucial that you thoroughly read each of these contracts.

On closing day, you will also need to pay for all escrow goods and closing charges. Getting a mortgage and changing ownership of real estate comes with several costs. These costs consist of HOA dues, utility bills, and property taxes. Typically, the money is sent to the escrow business via wire transfer certified check, or cashier's check made payable to the bank. Personal checks are frequently prohibited.

It's also crucial to find out what kind of identification is needed before closing day. Though some businesses demand two, typically just one form of ID is required. Usually, you have to bring the following items:

Factors That May Cause Closing Delays

Closing delays can be caused by a variety of factors, such as inadequate appraisal, unfulfilled conditions, title issues, and issues with the mortgage money.

Low Appraisal

An appraisal is a professional evaluation, mandated by the mortgage lender, of the value of the house you are considering purchasing. Ensuring the home's sale price is in line with its fair market worth is the aim of an appraisal. If the home appraises for less than the purchase price and/or the amount you are trying to borrow, this step could affect the closing process. The maximum amount the lender will lend you is the appraised value. Therefore, your agreement can collapse if you lack the funds to close the assessment gap.

Failing To Secure Financing

Closing may be slowed down or the loan may be canceled completely if you are unable to obtain a mortgage due to a change in your circumstances, nonpayment of the loan, or other delays.

Unfulfilled Contingencies

In a real estate contract, contingencies give either party the option to withdraw from the agreement if specific requirements are not fulfilled. This could be the result of a home inspection that finds significant issues, the purchase is conditional on the buyer obtaining financing (see above), or the seller buying a new residence. These and other contingency-related issues could stop the deal or make it completely collapse.

Issues With Title

Any real estate transaction requiring a closing needs to have a clear title, meaning there should be no questions or claims regarding ownership. This implies that the closure cannot take place until any form of lien or claim against the property is resolved. If a seller owes unpaid income or property taxes, the Internal Revenue Service or the state government may lay liens on the property.

These are some of the basic things you need to know when closing a home. In Part 2, we’ll dive deeper into the closing transaction and talk about the importance of a title service company.

In the first part, we've talked about the basics of home closing, including what closing on a home means, what happens during this transaction, which parties are present, and what closing documents will be evaluated.

What Are The Closing Costs?

Take a deep breath and stop worrying about closing costs. Just like the rest of the procedure, you should be cautious and patient as you go over your debt. Any charges the buyer incurs when buying a new house are considered closing costs. These are the costs associated with completing the buyer's title transfer and starting the mortgage loan, and they are billed to the buyer by the lender and title business.

It's crucial to remember that various expenses are required to be listed in the closing disclosure, depending on what your lender needs. 

Here are some common closing costs:

Loan Origination Costs: This is an application processing fee that the lender charges you in advance.

Land Survey Fee: To ensure that the lender is funding the property appropriately, a land surveyor will confirm the borders.

Inspection Fees: These are any costs collected by the buyer in employing experts to examine the subject property. Lenders typically mandate preventative inspections. For additional information on inspections, see our closing checklist below.

Credit Checks: The lender will charge you for any costs incurred in assessing your creditworthiness as a buyer. This could lower your credit score, so before applying for a loan, you might want to speak with a financial expert to find out how your credit is doing.

Mortgage Points: These are credits that you can buy to reduce the effective interest rate you'll pay on your loan. They are also sometimes referred to as discount points.

How Much Does Closing Costs Cost?

Closing expenses depend on your location, the lender you chose, and any third-party suppliers you shop around for before the title transfer -- just like most other steps in the process.

One of the biggest factors influencing total closing costs will likely be the state or area in which you are buying a property, as this will have a significant impact on the projected cost of each itemized closing expense. 

2019 closing costs in Washington, D.C. ranked among the highest average prices of house sales among U.S. states and municipalities, exceeding $25,000 on average. This is a staggering 1,351 percent increase over the average expenditures associated with closing on a home in Indiana.

How To Reduce Closing Costs?

Location plays a huge role in closing costs; however, there are ways to keep these expenses as low as possible.

Create A Budget Plan

To evaluate your capacity to make monthly payments, the lender will require you to provide proof of all the debts you owe. This will be used to know your debt-to-income ratio, which should be less than 43 percent to increase your chances of approval. Setting up a budget for your house mortgage payment lowers the chance that you'll apply for a loan you can't afford over time and makes it more likely that your lender will consider you a reliable borrower.

man reducing closing costs using calculator

Check Your Credit Score

Lenders may find that borrowers with high credit scores—typically 740+—are among the most desirable candidates since they may have a history of more responsible loan payback. Even though you can still get a loan with a lower credit score, if your lender thinks you're a bigger risk, you might have to pay thousands more in interest!

Choose The Right Third-Party Supplier

You may afford to spend less for these necessary expenses upfront if you shop around for house inspectors, insurance companies, value appraisers, land surveyors, and anybody else you'd depend on to thoroughly assess your property and assist you in finishing. Recall that even if your lender could suggest a particular third-party vendor, it is still your call if you want it.

How Long Does Closing A Home Take?

There are different variables affecting the length of the closing procedure. On average, it takes up to two months, depending on all the circumstances.

The length of time it takes to close on a house depends on certain factors that are beyond your control as a buyer, such as how long it takes your lender to process your application, but you may also speed up or slow down the process by making certain decisions. You might expect your closure to go faster if you give it more time to prepare. 

Here are two tips to close on a home quickly:

Work With An Attorney: The closing procedure might run smoother and faster when you have experts on your side.

Ask Referrals For Inspectors: The experts you're working with are not only able to recommend repairs faster; they may also be able to suggest contractors for those repairs who can complete them promptly.

Checklist For House Closing

By now, you may already know how much time, money, and energy a house closing needs. Yes, it's complicated, but knowing what to prepare ahead of time can make closing on a home faster and easier. 

Below is a checklist of things you need to get ready for house closing.

Create An Escrow Account

Opening an escrow account to handle any closing transactions might be a good first step toward protecting your money from fraudulent behavior, even if it's not required by law in every state. 

A third party holds the account that the buyer finances concerning the itemized total that is agreed upon in the closing disclosure form. Escrow accounts are run independently from both the seller and the buyer.

Perform A Property Title Search

By looking up public records to see if anyone else is claiming any portion of the land you want to buy, you may confirm that the title to the property is uncontested. When there are no liens or encumbrances on the property, no evidence of fraud or forgery is found, and no third party is connected to the ownership of the property in any manner, the title is considered clear.

Work With An Attorney

Hiring an attorney might not be required in some areas; however, that doesn't mean you should skip this stage. Having a lawyer who is an expert in real estate and mortgage rules in your state can help you save a lot of money when negotiating closing fees while reducing possible stress and problems along the way.

Evaluate Home Repairs

Finding the help you need is one thing; looking for the right third-party supplier is another. That's why when you seek a home and pest inspector, you should not just hire anyone. 

Hiring the right inspector can help find difficult-to-reach damage from a prior earthquake, fire, or flood that needs to be fixed. Lenders frequently even demand that repairs be evaluated and completed before closing.

Do A Final Walkthrough

It's almost a done deal now, but before anything else, don't forget to do a final walkthrough.

Before the formal closing and title transfer, this is the next-to-the-last phase in the procedure. After the inspections and, hopefully, the repairs, you have to double-check that the home's value justifies what you're going to pay for. 

Pro Tip: When doing a final walkthrough, check everything to make sure that they're working well, such as every light switch, toilet flush, faucet, appliance, and even every door knob. List down any minor damages you can see and you can either reduce them from the home's value or ask them to be fixed right away.

Complete Your Closing Documents

Now that you're moving forward with the settlement, the next thing you need to do is get all the essential documents ready, such as:

Proof of funds for the transaction, such as a cashier's check or wire transfer receipt

Closing disclosure (to be compared to the estimated loan amount)

Access your bank account via a checkbook or smartphone 

Finally, remember to invite your lawyer (or a friend or trusted advisor) to the closing.

Despite the complicated nature of closing on a house, there are resources and services available to ensure a seamless transaction. Making the best decisions for your lifestyle when selecting vendors is one of the many things you can control, and it will provide you peace of mind as you wait to move into your new house.

If you want to learn more about closing on a home or need help with the title, our team at IndyLegal is here to help!

Click this link to see informative resources or call us at 317-214-6023 so we can assist you today!

Real estate can be challenging, and this goes not only for those who have little to no experience with it but also for those who are familiar with the procedure. Therefore, whether you're a repeat home buyer, have experimented with the market but never made a commitment, or were never familiar with real estate at all, creating a solid plan before a closing can help reduce stress when the time comes. 

Even seasoned professionals may find closing difficult as they negotiate for rates on house insurance all the while taking the home you desire and your needs into consideration. Although it can be tempting to put your emotions aside to come across as a professional and skillful negotiator, many seasoned real estate professionals advise going with your instincts and asking as many questions as necessary about the closing process, regardless of your level of experience.

Getting to know the basics of closing a house is good, but continuously learning about it as much as you can is even better.

In this two-part post, we'll help understand what these are all about.

What You Need To Know About Closing

What Does Closing On A Home Mean?

Closing happens when the buyer obtains the title to the property from the seller. It also means the end of the mortgage loan procedure. Similar to how you "open" negotiations with a seller by making an offer on their home, closing is the final stage of the buying process that concludes when the sellers accept your purchase offer. As you proceed with the transaction's settlement, you will examine, approve, and date the relevant documentation.

Where Does Closing Happen?

Most of the time, the lender is the one who decides where the closing will take place. The closing procedure usually happens at the subject property, although it's more typical to go over the required paperwork in an escrow agency or a title company.

However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, full closing virtually has become possible.

Which Parties Are Present During Closing?

The state and sometimes even the county where you are buying a home will determine who will be present at your closing. In case relevant parties are not present in one place because of the pandemic (or other similar scenarios), a virtual meeting should take place.

Nonetheless, there are certain participants you can anticipate being involved in the process, regardless of the precise location, including:

closing on a home documents

What Closing Documents Will Be Evaluated?

As mentioned, closing on a home is a thorough procedure requiring tons of paperwork. Every stage of the procedure and interaction with the people involved in your closing is recorded on forms. 

Here's a brief explanation of what these documents are:

Promissory Note

This agreement is your promise to your lender to reimburse them for the amount you owe on the mortgage secured by your house.

Deed Of Trust / Mortgage

This serves as evidence provided by your lender of a lien placed on the assets you provided as loan security or collateral. In essence, this paperwork protects your loan and gives your lender instructions on how to move forward in case you are not able to pay the loan.

Closing Disclosure

A closing disclosure, officially known as Form HUD-1 and sometimes referred to as a settlement statement, is an official list of itemized costs along with other pertinent mortgage-related information. This should contain your mortgage payment schedule, the other terms of your loan, and/or any charges required to pay. 

You must receive an itemized closing disclosure at least three working days before the closing date as required by law. Make sure you submit a request with enough time for the lender to react by consulting with your agent or representative.

Depending on standards maintained by your lender or applicable legislation in your state, you can come across additional paperwork during closing. These may consist of:

Initial Escrow Statement

To protect your closing transaction against fraud, many jurisdictions mandate that you form an escrow account or an account overseen by an impartial third party. If so, the amount that your lender will deduct from your escrow account during the first year of your mortgage repayment plan to pay for taxes, insurance, and other costs is specified in the escrow statement.

Estimate Of Loan

This projected, detailed list of all the charges associated with your closing—also known as a good faith estimate—should be formalized in your closing disclosure. Ensuring this document is accurately documented in the final closing disclosure and that there are no significant differences between the two is very important.

Certificate Of Occupancy

This particular paper permits you to live in a newly built home. To find out if you need to receive this paperwork, you should speak with your agent, lawyer, or representative.

In the next part, we'll dive deeper into house closing, so be sure to click this link.

Whether you're upgrading, downsizing, relocating for work, or preparing to retire, the decision to buy or sell a home is difficult. Whatever the reason for your move, there is a lot that happens between the time a "For Sale" sign is pounded into the seller's yard and the buyer receives the keys to the new house.

First-time home buyers and sellers, in particular, may be unsure of what to expect at closing or what a closing comprises from beginning to end. The closing process covers everything happening between the time the seller accepts an offer and the close date or the date when the buyer formally acquires ownership of the home.

The Closing Process

Here's a handy cheat sheet to assist you in comprehending each phase of the closing process:

Real Estate For Sale

Naturally, the seller's first action in the closing process is to market their home for sale. You must pick whether to work with a real estate agent (or listing agent) or sell the home yourself as the seller. An agent promotes the property, enters it into the MLS database, prepares paperwork, and communicates with the buyer's agent. The listing agent will often charge a commission for their services, which they will split with the buyer's agent.

Seller Shows Potential Home Buyers Around The Property

Once your home is listed, you must keep it clean, nice, and clutter-free to accommodate showings, which is a key part of the selling process. Allowing as many potential buyers as possible to view your home may increase your chances of obtaining several bids. It's usually a good idea to leave the property so that prospective buyers may look around without being distracted.

Re-stage the home every day in preparation for impromptu showings. Setting up a few evenings each week for showings could be beneficial. You may also want to schedule viewings by appointment only to give yourself more time to prepare. Your agent will provide a lockbox so they can enter the residence at the agreed-upon time. Your realtor may also advise you to host an open house to reach out to a large number of potential purchasers in a single day.

Buyer Makes Seller An Offer

After generating interest through showings, offers should begin to flood in - especially if your agent appropriately publicized and priced your home. In today's seller's market, this might happen as soon as your home hits the market. However, you may have to wait till after a few showings. In general, the better your home's condition, the more offers you'll receive and the easier it will be to justify the price.

A buyer's willingness to pay, suggested closing and occupancy dates, and any contingencies (such as the sale of the buyer's current home or a satisfactory home inspection) are typically included in an offer. Remember that the highest bid isn't always the best offer. For example, if the offer is contingent on the buyer's ability to finance the property, you could be back at square one. Your agent can help you assess the strength of each offer.

Buyer And Seller Negotiate

Negotiations between the seller and potential purchasers follow. If a seller receives an offer that they believe is too low, they can respond with a counteroffer to start the negotiating process. Furthermore, if a buyer is dissatisfied with the counter price, they may propose another compromise. Of course, negotiation strength is heavily influenced by market conditions.

In a seller's market, for example, buyers frequently lack bargaining strength. If a buyer's offer is too low or too laden with contingencies, the seller may choose not to negotiate. In addition, in a hot market, buyers must act swiftly, possibly making an offer the same day they visit the house. If you are a buyer who is not pre-approved for a loan, your offer will almost certainly be rejected in favor of buyers who can provide a pre-approval letter.

Home Inspection Is Arranged By A Home Buyer

After the seller accepts an offer, the buyer must schedule a house inspection. In addition to an appraisal, the buyer will almost definitely seek a house inspection within a few days of signing the contract to ensure they're making a wise investment. A home inspector will look at the house's structure, roof, electrical system, and plumbing. They will also inspect the interior and exterior of the home for faults, dangers, or mechanical problems, as well as pests.

After the inspection, the inspector will provide the buyer with a report detailing what was inspected and which repairs may be required. The seller should have delivered their seller disclosures before signing the contract. Homeowners are obligated by law to provide a complete disclosure of any challenges they face while living in the house that may have an influence on the property value or appeal of the home. Owners of properties built before 1978, for example, must disclose the existence of lead-based paint. The buyer proceeds to the following level if everything appears to be in order.

title service agent talking to home selller

Home Buyers Applies For Mortgage

The buyer should now proceed with the application for a mortgage loan from the lender of their choice. It's an excellent idea for a buyer to acquire quotations from multiple lenders, and you're not required to choose the lender who pre-approved you. Lenders will inquire about your earnings, job, debts, and assets. Prepare to present the following:

The lender can help you determine which type of mortgage is best for you. This could be a conventional or government-issued loan with a fixed or adjustable-rate mortgage (VA, FHA, USDA). You will be given a loan estimate that explains the terms of your loan, including expected closing costs, interest rate, and monthly payments (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance).

Home Seller Gives Contract To Title Company

Following the signing of the real estate contract for the purchase and sale of the home by the buyer and seller, the seller's agent should deliver the contract and earnest money check to a reputable title business, which will develop a working file for the transaction. To protect both the buyer and seller, the title company will open an escrow account and hold the deposit and contract until the closing.

Parties Go Over The Title Commitment

Shortly after handling your real estate contract, the title company will do a thorough title search to validate the property's legal ownership and find any claims or liens on the property. The company will then issue a title insurance commitment, which will be delivered to both the buyer and seller, as well as their agents, and will act as a guarantee to offer a title insurance policy for the property after closing.

Because the title commitment has the same terms, conditions, and exclusions as the actual insurance policy, the buyer should carefully review the document to identify any title problems. It could reveal whether the property has any easements, deed restrictions, or debts. If the buyer objects to an entry on the commitment, he or she must normally do so within a certain time frame, or the flaw will remain as an exception to the final policy.

Home Buyer Receives Mortgage Approval

Receiving mortgage approval, which can take several weeks, is an exciting moment in the closing process for buyers. Before approval, an underwriter will analyze your finances to see whether you can afford the house loan you want and whether the home you're buying provides appropriate collateral for the mortgage. After the underwriting staff has thoroughly evaluated your qualifying qualifications and awarded your loan final approval, you will be able to close on your loan.

Parties Agree On A Closing Date

When the buyer is ready to close, the parties must establish a closing date with the title firm. The closing will take place in your title agent's, real estate agent's, or attorney's office and will mark the completion of your real estate transaction. The parties should expect to sign a lot of documentation, including the deed to the property being transferred from the seller to the buyer. You may be able to sign portions of the documentation ahead of time in some situations. You could even be able to plan an online closing from the convenience of your own home or another place.

Closing Paperwork Is Prepared By The Title Firm

Once your closing date has been determined, the title company will begin preparing the real estate settlement documents for signature.

Buyer documentation could include:

Documents provided by the seller may include:

Home Buyer Obtains A Cashier's Check

At the closing, the buyer is responsible for paying closing costs, the down payment, prepaid interest, property taxes, and insurance. Instead of a personal check, you must submit a cashier's check drawn out in the amount specified by your lender or title insurer before closing day. Your bank certifies that you have sufficient funds to pay the cashier's check amount. Depending on the amount needed for closing, the title firm may require you to use a wire transfer to transfer funds straight from your banking institution to the payee's.

All Parties Are Present To Sign Documentation

On closing day, the parties may convene to sign the documents transferring ownership of the home to the buyer, as well as to pay closing costs, loan fees, and any relevant taxes. While you may be apprehensive as the big day approaches, you can put your mind at ease by gathering your papers, obtaining your cashier's check, and consulting with the title company and your real estate agent ahead of time. They will provide you with a list of items that you must bring to the closure.

Final Requirements Are Distributed

Once the closing is complete, there are only a few things left to do, including:

And You're Done!

After months of due research and preparation, it's time to celebrate - your closing has been 

accomplished, and the buyer is now the official owner of the home!

IndyLegal Is Here To Help!

We understand how stressful the process of buying or selling a home can be. Our knowledgeable title and closing specialists are here to answer your questions and help you with every part of your closing. We strive to make each transaction a great experience for all parties involved, whether you are a buyer or a seller.

Call us at 317-214-6023 to learn more.

Title insurance is a necessary component of the real estate sector, protecting both home buyers and lenders in the event of any unforeseen title issues with the property. 

It is a type of security that protects against financial damage caused by faults in a property's title.

In this post, we'll look at the significance and advantages title insurance provides to all parties involved in a real estate transaction.

To begin with, title insurance protects property buyers. When buying a home, the last thing a buyer wants to worry about is whether or not they have legal title to the property. Title insurance guarantees that the buyer will not be held accountable for any title concerns like liens or outstanding mortgages. Having this kind of protection is invaluable as it provides peace of mind and guidance to help them avoid costly legal issues in the future.

Title insurance also covers lenders, which is why it is typically required as a condition of a mortgage loan. Any problems with the title could jeopardize the lender's investment and title insurance ensures that loan providers will not lose money if there are any problems with the title.

mortgage approved with keys

Third, title insurance makes the closing process smoother and easier. Without title insurance, the closing process may be delayed owing to the requirement to resolve any title difficulties. 

If there are any concerns in the transaction, the title insurance firm will be able to address them. This allows both home buyers and lenders to proceed with confidence and save all parties involved time and money.

Fourth, title insurance is reasonably priced. The cost of title insurance is normally a one-time expense often included in the property's closing fees. The National Association of Realtors reports that the average cost of title insurance is roughly $1,200.

Furthermore, according to the American Land Title Association, the title insurance industry is a large contributor to the economy, with a total yearly economic impact of $18 billion. This demonstrates the significance of title insurance in the real estate sector.

Last but not least, title insurance gives lifetime protection. Once provided, insurance is valid for as long as the policyholder or their heirs have an interest in the property. This means that buyers and lenders may rest easy knowing that they are covered as long as they own the property.

Bottom Line

Title insurance may sound like an additional expense; however, it is a crucial component of the real estate sector since it protects both home buyers and lenders. 

It provides peace of mind, simplifies the closing process, is reasonably inexpensive, and provides lifetime protection. 

It is also an important aspect of the real estate business, contributing $18 billion to the economy each year. 

To learn more about this topic, you may visit our website today.

The largest obstacle for potential home buyers can be finding the money for a down payment on a home. But how much of a deposit do you require? Usually, that depends on the loan type, your lender, and your priorities.

What Is A Down Payment?

A down payment is the cash you pay upfront to purchase a large asset, such as a house. A loan is used to pay back the rest of the purchase price over time. Usually, the down payment is shown as a percentage of the total cost. A 10% down payment would total $35,000 for a property worth $350,000.

When you apply for a mortgage to buy a property, the down payment is your contribution toward the purchase and represents your initial ownership stake in the house. The mortgage lender contributes the last amount needed to buy the home.

The majority of home loans have down payments required by the lender. However, some federally guaranteed loan types could not call for down payments.

Is 20% Down Payment On A House Required?

While it's true that many lenders utilize a 20% down payment as the cutoff point for mandating mortgage insurance on conventional loans, this is not the actual requirement. A 20% down payment is not required to purchase a home.

The usual first-time home buyer down payment in 2021 was 7%, according to the National Association of Realtors. For repeat buyers, the usual down payment was 17%.

Pro Tip

You might be able to achieve your goal of homeownership more quickly if you put less money down. A larger down payment, however, lowers the principle (and total lifetime interest payments), which can result in overall savings for you. Consider both sides before deciding what is best for you.

Requirements For Minimum Down Payment

Depending on the type of mortgage you intend to apply for, different minimum down payments are needed for different types of homes:

Home Loans With 0% Down Payment

Backed by the U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA), VA Home Loans don't usually call for a down payment. These kinds of loans are available to qualifying surviving spouses and active-duty military personnel. US-backed USDA loans are available. The Rural Development Program of the Department of Agriculture does not additionally demand a down payment. Homebuyers in rural and suburban areas who meet the program's income restrictions and other standards are eligible for USDA loans.

3% Down Payment Mortgages

As long as income requirements are met, some traditional mortgages, such as HomeReady and Home Possible may only ask for a down payment as low as 3%. Conventional loans are not government-backed, but they adhere to the down payment criteria established by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

3.5% Down Payment Mortgages

If you have a credit score of at least 580, FHA loans, which are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, demand as little as 3.5% down. FHA loans require a 10% down payment if your credit score is between 500 and 579.

10% Down Payment Mortgages

Jumbo loans are home loans that exceed the conforming loan restrictions set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Because these large loans cannot be guaranteed by the GSEs, lenders typically need greater down payments to offset some of the risk.

The guarantee is paid for through fees or mortgage insurance, depending on the scheme, with low- or no-down-payment loans.

Advantages Of Big Down Payment

It takes time to save enough money for a sizable down payment, so a zero- or low-down-payment requirement may expedite your ability to buy a property. However, making a bigger down payment offers some advantages, including:

A lower interest rate on a mortgage. If you make a higher down payment, lenders may reduce your interest rate by a few fractions of a percentage point. Lenders are less risky when you borrow less of the home's value, and they tend to reward this with better terms.

More equity in your property. The value of your property less the amount owed on your mortgage is your home equity. In other words, it is the extent to which your property is considered an asset rather than a liability. More equity equates to more wealth.

A smaller mortgage payment each month. Borrowing less of your home's value reduces your principle, which means you'll pay less interest throughout the loan's term.

Lower initial and ongoing costs. Government-backed mortgage programs with low or no down payment minimize lenders' risk by insuring a portion of the loans. If a borrower fails on one of these loans, the lender will be reimbursed by the linked government agency. To help offset some of the costs, these loans may include one-time fees, such as the VA funding fee, or recurring fees, such as FHA mortgage insurance.

How Much Down Payment Should You Pay?

The appropriate down payment for you is determined by your goals and financial position. While a bigger down payment has several advantages, putting down too much may leave you short on cash once you move in.

If you put down less than 20% on a conventional mortgage, you will normally be required to pay for private mortgage insurance. Once you begin making mortgage payments, you can request that PMI be removed once you have more than 20% equity in your house.

Experiment with several scenarios to better understand how changing the quantity of your down payment affects other expenditures. 

man throwing money in the air

Other Things To Remember:

Your mortgage payment is only one component of your total home budget. With that in mind, consider the following variables when deciding on the size of your down payment:

Maintain some funds in the bank. Avoid utilizing all of your savings for a down payment. You could become "house poor," spending too much of your salary on mortgage payments or emptying your emergency fund.

Remember to factor in closing costs. It's also critical to have enough money on hand to meet closing expenses, which are typically 2-6% of the home's buying price.

Make a budget for the ongoing costs of homeownership. Even if you're buying a move-in-ready house, it's a good idea to budget for home maintenance and repairs, as well as unforeseen emergencies. Overall, you want to ensure that your down payment allows you to cover all of the expenditures of purchasing a home — as well as outfitting it once you've moved in. 

Look around. Do your homework and compare mortgage rates from three to five different lenders. Don't forget to look into lender programs and down payment help possibilities, especially if you're a first-time home buyer. 

These are just some tips when preparing for your dream home's down payment. If you have more strategies on how to do this, please feel free to share them below.

Are you a good borrower? Do you pay back your loan payments and credit card on time? If you do, you might have a high credit score. 

But first, what is a credit score? 

A credit score or credit rating is a prediction of your credit behavior on how you pay your loans back on time. It is based on your information from the credit reports. 

It is a number that determines the borrower’s creditworthiness that ranges from 300 to 850. The higher the score, the more likely for you to get approved for loans at a better rate. 

Normally, they will base the credit history on your: 

Why Is Credit Score Important?

A credit score helps banks, lenders, and companies know if you can pay the loan on time. It is the key to helping lenders to decide if they will offer credit and the terms to be agreed upon. 

Based on reports, lenders will decide if you’re worthy of the loan or not. Meanwhile, financial companies, such as banks, will use the credit score to decide whether they’ll offer you a credit card, mortgage, auto loan, and other products. They will also determine the interest rate and the credit limit you will receive based on your capability to pay. 

The credit score will depend on the data used. It will differ based on the scoring model, which will be determined by the type of loan product as well as the source data that was used, and the day when it was calculated. 

credit report

As mentioned above, the factors used to calculate the credit score include repayment history, types of loans, length of credit history, debt utilization, and whether you've applied for new accounts or not.

FICO also known as Fair Isaac Corp. created a credit score model and is used by financial institutions as a standard for giving loans. You can get a free annual credit report each year from credit bureaus. Some of the agencies that dominate the market are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They collect, analyze, and disburse consumer information in the credit markets.

How Can You Improve Your Credit Score

When you pay your loans, the information on your credit report changes. Your credit score changes every time you pay on time or not. There are some ways where you can improve your credit score.

You can also raise your score by enrolling in services that include payment information, such as bills (rent payment and utilities payment) that are not included in the credit scoring. Having a good record can help raise your credit score quickly as long as you pay them on time.

Good Credit Score To Have

A good credit score is determined by the lenders. It will range depending on the credit score modeling. Credit scores range from:

Limiting your credit applications is also one way to keep your credit score healthy. Applying for credit frequently can make lenders think that you’re overly reliant on credit. Each application will have a record and will be reported to the company or lender you are trying to apply for. So, it's safe to have one or try to space out any applications. 

Avoiding defaulted accounts as it can also have a significant impact on your credit score. This occurs when your relationship with the company has broken down because you’ve missed several expected payments.

Borrow what you can only afford. You don’t need to borrow a sum of money if you think you can afford to pay it later on. Getting into trouble with debt can lead to you being harassed by the lenders or at worst threaten your life. These will also stay on your credit report and will have a significant impact on your credit score. 

What Are The Benefits Of Good Credit Score?

A high credit score means that lenders, banks, and companies see you as a lower risk. Therefore, having a big chance of approving credit. You can get a better chance for a credit card, mortgage, and loan approval. You can also have lower interest rates and better terms that can save you money. Higher credit limits can have a significant impact on your financial life. 

Having an excellent credit score offers tons of benefits so before you make any financial decisions, such as borrowing a huge amount of cash from banks or lenders, be sure to weigh its pros and cons. Nonetheless, you can always seek help from professionals so you can come up with informed decisions.

Purchasing your first-ever dream house takes a lot of courage. You have to be mentally and financially ready as it involves a lot of paperwork and patience. Weighing things before what you want and what you can afford. 

Most people purchase it with a mortgage as it is often the most extensive personal investment people make. They will tell you the maximum loan amount you are qualified for. You also have to know how much you can borrow and take a closer look at your budget so you will know how much you can afford without exhausting it. 

Keep in mind that a mortgage that is two times or two and a half your gross income is affordable. What is gross income, you ask? Gross income is the level of income a prospective homebuyer makes before taking out taxes and other obligations. It’s generally your base salary plus any income like bonuses or income from other earnings like business, part-time earnings, social security benefits, and more. 

Gross income plays an important part in determining the front-end ratio as this ratio percentage of your yearly gross income can be dedicated to paying the mortgage monthly. Monthly mortgage payments are composed of the principal amount, interest, taxes, and insurance. The annual gross income goes through paying the mortgage and should not exceed less than thirty percent, that’s the mortgage-to-income ratio or front-end ratio. 

While the calculating percentage of your gross income that is necessary to cover the debt is your back-end ratio and should not exceed forty-three percent. What are these debts? It includes your credit card payments and other outstanding loans if there are any. 

A credit score is essentially as important as the gross income as lenders will look at the applicant's credit score. It will be a factor in whether the lender can borrow at low rates. Applicants with low credit scores expect to pay a higher interest rate or annual percentage rate on their loans. Be sure to pay close attention to your credit score and maintain good credit.

mortgage lender holding calculator and pen

Knowing How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

It’s a good idea to have some understanding of what lenders think you can afford and ask them also how it arrived at that estimation. Lenders will tell you how much loan you qualify for based on your entire financial income. Think carefully and choose only a mortgage you can afford to pay later on. 

Being in a house-poor situation where most of your wealth is tied up in your house and all the income goes toward the mortgage debt and related expenses is a no-no. It is possible to have the house foreclosure if things get out of control. 

Taking into account the annual income, the expected loan term, interest rate, monthly debt payments, and home-related expenses. Sometimes lenders offer a quick pre-approval process online that makes it easier for borrowers to know all the details before accessing the lender's website without having to go personally. Usually, It will be processed in a matter of minutes.

Determining Mortgage Loan Amounts

All mortgages maintain their criteria of affordability and your ability to purchase. When you buy a home the question that always comes is how much you can afford and how much you can borrow. 

Lenders will be interested in the applicant's income and how many demands are there in that income. Your income, down payment, and monthly costs are the basic requirements, while your credit history report and score will determine the rate of interest and the financing itself. Despite the stress of asking for and being approved for a loan, lenders are frequently willing to lend you more money than you expect.

They will offer you various terms of loans but will depend on your income as well as your assets and liabilities. They will offer you the most expensive mortgage you can qualify for but always leave room for extra expenses like emergency funds so you won’t need to have another loan as lenders want to loan you more money and the bigger the amount the better. Why? It’s because of the interest rate you’ll have to pay over the loan. 

It will be a big number and might shock or even eat you alive if you won’t be able to pay for it. So, you must assess yourself and know how much you can afford through your financial capacity, and from there learn how much money you can borrow.

Calculating Down Payment 

A down payment is the amount you can afford to pay out of your pocket using cash or liquid assets. Lenders typically demand a higher down payment. Depending on the lender some can purchase a house with a smaller percentage. Remember that the more you pay for the down payment, the less financing you’ll need to pay later on, and the better you look in the eyes of the lender. 

Mortgage Terms

This can have a significant impact on your monthly payment and the total interest rate you’ll have to pay. Choosing a mortgage loan of 30 years to pay will be more affordable but you’ll pay a lot more interest over the long term. 

Having to cut it to lower with a fixed rate mortgage will cost less interest over the life of the loan but your monthly payment will be considerably more. Remember, the long you have to pay the lower the payment but the interest will be higher and the shorter your payment loan the higher your payment will be but the interest rate will be much lower. 

You can also pursue having an adjustable-rate mortgage or a conventional mortgage. It will have a lower initial interest rate that is fixed for five years (depending on your years to pay the loan), but the rate changes every six months.

Bottom Line

Before purchasing a new home, consider the amount of the house if you are financially ready as it will affect your life and budget once you get the mortgage loan. Always look for different options and choose what you think is best for you. 

Before taking the loan, take the time to calculate all the finances you have. Take into consideration your lifestyle and situation not just in the present but in the future as well.

When you’re almost at the finish line of the home-buying process, getting a final walkthrough is important. It would help make sure that everything is in order before you move into your new home.

But First, What Is A Final Walkthrough?

As the word suggests, your final walk-through is the last task you do before you become the official owner of the house. It is an essential step in the home-buying process as this allows you to inspect everything before the official closing. It will allow you and the real estate agent to go through the house room by room. Therefore, you should take this seriously. 

Checking the house for the last time gives you the chance to see if any necessary changes or repairs are made after the initial walk-through or home inspection. Before doing this, create a checklist to make sure that you won’t miss anything. 

How Long Will It Take?

The time that will be spent in the walk-through will depend on the size of the house. For most houses that are big, it takes at least an hour depending on if there are many questions the buyer has on the house. While smaller houses can take up to 20 minutes. 

What Should Be On Your Checklist?


Check all the appliances. Look for the following:

Inspecting all of the appliances on your walk-through can save you a lot of time, money, and stress.

real estate agent showing home to new buyers

Purchase Agreement On The Sale

The agreement you both agreed on after you make an offer will state what’s included in the sale. For example appliances, such as chandeliers, ceiling fans, blinds, or other window treatments, etc.

Make sure that the seller has already moved out. Why? First, walking through an empty house will make it easier to move around and see or spot new defects that have accidentally occurred when the previous owner is moving out. And, ensuring that the homeowner has left the property clean and most of all damage free as possible.

Windows, Locks, and Doors

Make sure your home is secure and safe before you move in. You can try and test all the window latches and door locks to make sure everything is working properly. You can also open them to test if they are easy to open or have door sticks (which can be a major hazard in the event of a fire or other emergency). 

Check if any window screens are missing. Additionally, you can equip your home with an alarm system that signals you if a window or exterior door is open. Arm your alarm on all your doors and windows and make sure the sensors are working.


Never forget the requests for repairs that you make to the seller. The last opportunity to confirm all these required repairs is through the final walk-through because this will be the last time you can ensure that all repairs are up to your standards and all are in quality work. 

The seller must agree to make repairs before closing. Double-check if all requested repairs have been completed. It’s a bonus when the seller provides all the receipts and warranty of the repair so you can follow up with them if something breaks and is still under the warranty. 

Molds and Pests

None of us wants to have mold in our house. Aside from molds becoming large, it can also be an expensive problem. It can spring up anywhere that is moist so carefully inspect areas that have moisture, like the kitchen and bathroom. 

Pest can move in at any time even if the seller has cleaned the house during the inspection. Make sure there are no critters, rodents, and ants, especially in areas like garbage. You can also check for termites by looking for dry rot, spongy floor, and crumbly timbers that have signs of it. Wood mark bites are also signs of other invaders, such as mice.


Buying a home might sound tedious because of the steps you have to follow. However, this will help make sure that everything is ready before you and your family finally move to your new place.

For instance, the final walk-through will give you the last chance to inspect the house thoroughly and look for house issues, if there are any. Usually, buyers always go through this in good condition as they already fixed all the problems on the initial walk-through. So the best thing to do is to keep a closer look at your checklist thoroughly.

If you still found a problem along the walk-through you can address this to the seller or consult your real estate agent. You can also ask the seller to repair it or delay the closing until all of the issues are addressed. 

In case you want to change or update anything in your new home, you can always do so by discussing the improvements once you finally move into your dream house. As long as you have the budget, you can always consult an expert for these improvements on your house without stress.

8315 W. 10th Street
Indianapolis IN 46234

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