FAQs & Resources
Real Time Tracking & Price Quotes
Through Nations' (NLS) proprietary on-line operating system, WebTRAX Nations is able to post real time updates as they are received through our web site.
The NLS clients enjoy a state of the art online LE & CD rate quote engine which is complete with all recording fee, and transfer tax fees in all applicable US Counties.
Fast, Easy Direct Integration Capabilities
Currently, NLS partners with every major national 3rd party LOS interface in the industry such as: RealEC, Calyx Point, Encompass, and many others.
Don't want to use a 3rd party LOS, or Web Portal? Nations in-house development team has built over 50 custom direct integrations with client's proprietary LOS.
Customized Client Reporting Suite
NLS clients have up to the minute status reports available at their fingertips. With the ability to customize any type of title or settlement report, NLS is more than just a "service provider".
E-Signatures & Digital Closings
All of the latest E-Signature and Digital Signature technologies and consumer authentication practices are available at NLS. Consumers enjoy the safety and convenience of closing real estate transactions in their homes.
Security & Compliance
Service and Security isn't just our Policy... it's our Commitment!
Nations Lending Services (NLS) is certified SSAE18 security compliant because of its high integrity in regards to industry TRID Regulations and Best Practices.
- NLS uses state of the art encryption and defense to make sure sensitive information is protected against identify theft and other threats.
- NLS uses secure, redundant backup servers to ensure high operational availability.
- Grant Thornton Certification of SSAE18 Security Levels.
- All NLS locations are licensed as required to conduct business in applicable states.
- NLS maintains top level secure controls of Escrow and Trust Accounts.
- All information security policies are written and followed with the highest levels of protections in mind for Non Public Private Information, or NPPI.
- All NLS associates are trained on industry security, and background checked for consumer protection.
- Title Insurance Policies are issued with maximum protection on a timely basis for both Lenders and Consumers.
- Errors & Omissions & Fidelity coverage are at the top of industry standards with NLS.
- Consumers have a voice to communicate with Nations before, during, a real estate transaction.
Grant Thornton SSAE 18 Audit
Grant Thornton is the world's fifth largest professional services network of independent accounting and consulting member firms which provide assurance, tax and advisory services to help Mortgage Lenders Vet Nations Companies for Compliance: Title, Appraisal, and Default Companies.
- SSAE18 SOC1 Type 2 Audit are much stricter than other standards such as self-verification thru ALTA, or USPAP.
- Grant Thornton Audit Standards include:
- Reviewing and reconciling Nations' output reports,
- Holding periodic discussions with Nations regarding relevant controls,
- Making regular site inspection visits to the Nations organization,
- Testing Nations' controls implemented by members of the Nations' internal audit team,
- Reviewing Nations Type II reports on the Nations TRAX system, and
- Monitoring Nations external communications, such as customer complaints relevant to the services by Nations for mortgage lenders: Title, Appraisal, and Default.
For more information, please visit Grant Thorton site.
What to Expect at a Closing
Let's start at the very beginning: What does "closing", "settlement", or "escrow" on your house mean?
Closing - or settlement as it is known in some parts of the country is a term used for the point in time at which the title to the property is transferred to the buyer and, generally, a mortgage (or "deed of trust") is given by the buyer/borrower to the lender.
Buying a house is an exciting time and the more you know about the process, the more relaxed you'll be going through it. Keep reading, and we'll walk you through what the closing process really means.
Some information about the costs associated with closing on your home should be provided to you before you put a contract on a house. If you are obtaining a loan to purchase the property, your lender has three days from the time of the loan application to provide you with a Loan Estimate (LE) of your loan costs so there are no surprises about costs.
Once the seller accepts your sales contract, the countdown to closing begins. Timing is essential to make sure all the ingredients for a successful closing are in place for your arrival. You can shop around to select a settlement agent to prepare the documents for your closing, or you can rely on a recommendation from your real estate agent or lender. In some parts of the country, the settlement agent is an attorney, title company, or escrow company. Once a settlement agent has been selected, he or she will handle the closing process from there. If you have given the seller an earnest money deposit, the escrow agent, settlement agent, or real estate broker (this varies based on where you live), will see that it is promptly deposited into an escrow account where the funds are held until the time of closing.
Next, the settlement agent will request preliminary title work. A Nations title professional will search and examine the public records for information related to your home's title. This provides warnings of title flaws that must be dealt with before the property can change hands. For instance, the previous owner may have failed to pay local or state taxes. Or there may be an outstanding mortgage or judgement on the property. Nations Title professionals work hard to see that such obligations are dealt with and resolve any issues they find well before you go to closing, if possible.
If the sales contract calls for a prior mortgage to be paid off, the settlement agent will order payoff figures from the existing lender. If the buyer is assuming the loan, the settlement agent handles that as well. He/she, if directed to do so, also may order property inspections and termite reports. If it is customary in your area, the Nations settlement agent may order a survey.
Finally the settlement agent is ready to prepare the Closing Disclosure (CD) or Settlement Statement. The CD, as it is referred to, outlines all of the costs for both the buyer and seller associated with the closing.
On closing day, the property will be transferred from the seller to the buyer. In most parts of the country, you will sign a number of documents that will be explained by your settlement agent. Contact a Nations representative for more details on how the closing is conducted in your area. Once all of the signing is done, the house is yours! Congratulations on achieving the American Dream!
You should be generally aware that the behind-the-scenes process continues after the closing. The settlement agent still must forward payment to any prior lender, pay all the other parties who performed services in connection with your closing, pay out any net funds to the seller, and order a final search of the title to your new home before finally recording all the documents needed legally to complete your purchase. But you don't have to be involved in any of this. Your Nations settlement agent takes care of these post-closing details!
Why you need title Insurance
When you purchase your home, how can you be sure that there are no problems with the home's title and that the seller really owns the property? Problems with the title can limit your use and enjoyment of the property, as well as bring financial loss. That is what a title search and title insurance are for.
To learn more about title insurance, click on one of the sections below:
The Title Search
After your sales contract has been accepted, a title professional will search the public records to look for any problems with the home's title. This search typically involves a review of land records going back many years. More than 1/3 of all title searches reveal a title problem that title professionals fix before you go to closing. For instance, a previous owner may have had minor construction done on the property, but never fully paid the contractor. Or the previous owner may have failed to pay local or state taxes (See below for some other common title problems). Title professionals seek to resolve problems like these before you go to closing. What happens if a problem arises after you move in? Read on.
The Owner's Title Policy
Sometimes title problems occur that could not be found in the public records or are inadvertently missed in the title search process. To help protect you in these events, as a property seller it is recommended that you obtain an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance to insure you against the most unforeseen problems.
Owner's Title Insurance, called an Owner's Policy, is usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase. It is purchased for a one-time fee at closing and lasts for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property. Only an Owner's Policy fully protects the buyer should a covered title problem arise with the title that was not found during the title search. Possible hidden title problems can include:
- Errors or omissions in deeds
- Mistakes in examining records
- Undisclosed heirs
An Owner's Policy provides assurance that your title company will stand behind you - monetarily and with legal defense if needed - if a covered title problem arises after you buy your home. The bottom line is that your title company will be there to help pay valid claims and cover the costs of defending an attack on your title. Receiving an Owner's Policy isn't always an automatic part of the closing process, and is paid for by different people in different parts of the country. Be sure you request an Owner's Policy and ask how it is paid for where you live. No matter who pays for the Owner's Policy, the fee is a one-time fee paid at closing. The Owner's Policy protects you for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property.
You also have the option of purchasing a policy with expanded coverage. It's called the Homeowner's Policy and it covers more things than the Owner's Policy. Ask your local title company for an explanation of the expanded Homeowner's Policy so you can decide which policy is the best one for you.
The Loan Policy
There are two types of title insurance: Owner's title insurance, as mentioned above, and Lenders title insurance, also called a Loan Policy. Most lenders usually require a Loan Policy when they issue you a loan. The Loan Policy is usually based on the dollar amount of your loan. It only protects the lender's interests in the property should a problem with the title arise. It does not protect the buyer. The policy amount decreases each year and eventually disappears as the loan is paid off.
Common Title Problems
Here are three short stories on some common title problems:
Fraud & Forgery
Those involved in real estate fraud and forgery can be clever and persistent, which can spell trouble for your home purchase.
In a western state, an innocent buyer purchased an attractive home site through a realty company, accepting a notarized deed from the seller. Then another couple, the true owners of the property - who lived in another locale - suddenly appeared and initiated legal action to prove their interest in the real estate was valid. Under the Owner's Title Insurance Policy of the innocent buyer, bought for a one-time fee at closing, the title company provided a money settlement to protect against financial loss. As it turned out, the forger spent time in advance at the local court house, searching the public records to locate property with out-of-town owners who had been in possession for an extended period of time. The individual involved then forged and recorded a deed to a fictitious person and assumed the identity of that person before listing the property for sale to an innocent purchaser, handling most contacts through an answering service. Also, the identity of the notary appearing on deeds was fictitious as well.
Fraud and forgery are examples of hidden title hazards that can remain undetected until after a closing despite the most careful precautions. Although emphasizing risk elimination, an Owner's Policy protects you financially through negotiation by the insurer with third-parties, payment for defending against an attack on the title as insured, and payment of valid claims.
Conflicts over a will from a deceased former owner may suggest a study topic for law school. But the subject can take on a reality dimension and all too quickly your home ownership is at stake.
After purchasing a residence, the new owner was startled when a brother of the seller claimed an ownership interest and sought a substantial amount of money as his share. It seemed that their late mother had given the house to the son making the challenge, who placed the deed in his drawer without recording it at the court house. Some 20 years later, after the death of the mother, the deed was discovered and then filed. Permission was granted in probate court to remove the property from the late mother's estate, and the brother to whom the residence initially was given sold the house. But the other brother appealed the probate court decision, claiming their mother really did not intend to give the house to his sibling. Ultimately, the appeal was upheld and the new owner faced a significant financial loss. Since the new owner had acquired an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance upon purchasing the real estate, the title company paid the claim, along with an additional amount in legal fees incurred during the defense.
When buying a home, it's important to remember what you don't know can cost you.
A couple purchased a residence from a widow and her daughter, the only known heirs of the husband and father who died without leaving a will.
Soon after the sale, a man appeared - claiming he was the son of the late owner by a former marriage. As it turned out, he indeed was the son of the deceased man. This legal heir disapproved of his father's remarriage and had vanished when the wedding took place. Nonetheless, the son was entitled to a share of the value of the home, which meant an expensive problem for the unwary couple purchasing the property.
Although the absence of a will hindered discovery of the missing heir in a title search of the public records, an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance issued for a one-time fee at the time of the real estate transaction would have financially protected the couple from the claim by the missing heir. For a one-time charge at closing, an Owner's Policy will safeguard against problems including those even an exhaustive search will not reveal.
An Owner's Policy is necessary to fully protect a home buyer. Lender's title insurance, which is usually required by the mortgage lender, serves as protection only for the lending institution.
I'm refinancing, why do I need title insurance?
When you refinance you are obtaining a new loan, even if you stay with your original lender. Your lender will usually require a new title search and Loan Policy to protect their investment in the property. You will not need to purchase a new Owner's Policy; the one you bought at closing is good for as long as you and your heirs have an interest in the property.
Even if you recently purchased or refinanced your home, there are some problems that could arise with the title. For instance, you might have incurred a mechanics lien from a contractor who claims he/she has not been paid. Or you might have a judgment placed on your house due to unpaid taxes, homeowner dues, or child support for instance. The lender needs reassurance that the title to the property they are financing is clear.
Ask if you qualify for a "refinance" rate, sometimes called a "reissue" rate. These rates are not available in every state, and you might have to meet some criteria to be eligible, so be sure to ask.
I'm buying a newly built home, do I need title insurance?
Construction of a new home raises special title problems for the lender and owner. You may think you are the first owner when constructing a home on a purchased lot. However, there were most likely many prior owners of the unimproved land. A title search will uncover any existing liens and a survey will determine the boundaries of the property being purchased. In addition, a builder may have failed to pay subcontractors and suppliers. This could result in the subcontractor or supplier placing a lien on your property. Again, lenders want to be sure the property has clear title, and they are insuring the correct property. Purchasing an Owner's Policy will protect you against these potential problems and pay for any legal fees involved in defending a claim.
Finding a Local Title Company
The Right to Choose Your Own Title Agent/Company
A good time to shop for title insurance is when you choose a real estate agent, and, or, a lender has prequalified you for a mortgage.
You'll have an idea of the price you can pay for a home or land, and a title insurance agent or company can use that information to estimate your title insurance and closing costs.
There are several ways you can find a title insurance and closing agent or company:
- You can look up title insurance agents, agencies and companies in the phone book.
- You can check online for title insurance agents, agencies and companies in your area.
- You can ask for recommendations from your real estate agent, attorney, mortgage lender, financial institution or builder.
- Questions to Ask Before You Buy Title Insurance
When you shop for title insurance, be sure to ask the title agent or company the following questions:
- How long have you been licensed to sell title insurance in [INSERT STATE]?
- What title insurance company do you sell policies for?
- Are you related or affiliated in any way with my real estate agent, mortgage lender, home builder or attorney?
- Will anyone be paid a referral fee or commission or be compensated if I buy title insurance from you or a company you represent?
- In addition to title insurance premiums, what other fees and charges will I pay?
- Do you charge a cancellation fee if I don't buy title insurance from you after you do a title search?
When you choose a closing agent, be sure to ask the following questions:
- Can you give me a list of all the fees and charges I would pay if you were my closing agent?
- Are your closing staff licensed title insurance agents?
- How and when do you conduct closings?
- Who will handle my closing?
- When will you give me a copy of the CD or does a lender?
- Do you have references or testimonials available?
Closing your loan can vary from state to state, and even within the same county or city. Nations Lending Services or Nations Title Agency has national coverage, as well all local offices in many areas. Visit our Office Locator to find an office near you. You may save money by choosing the correct title company, so let your realtor or loan officer know you would like to use Nations Title.
How To File A Claim
An owner's policy of title insurance is intended to provide the homeowner with peace of mind about their legal rights to real property.
Whenever the homeowner has any question or concern about his or her rights, he or she should promptly notify the title insurance company whose name appears on his title policy. The title policy includes instructions for contacting the title insurer, usually at the end of the "Conditions and Stipulations" section within the policy.
If you are unable to locate your policy, or are unsure whether you purchased a policy, you should contact the title company, title agent or attorney that handled your purchase and inquire about your coverage. You can determine if you have title insurance coverage by reviewing the settlement statement (CD) provided at the closing of your purchase, which itemizes receipts and disbursements by the closing officer. For example, charges for an owner's policy of title insurance are listed on line 1110 of the standard CD form of settlement statement. Contact information for the title insurer may also be found in telephone directories, on the internet, or by inquiry to your state department of insurance.
When giving notice of a potential claim to the title insurer, you should include the property address, a brief statement of the question or matter that concerns you, copies of any claims documents received, and a copy of your owner's policy (if available).
Remember, the broad coverage of title insurance includes protection against frivolous claims, or "clouds" on title that may not present an immediate problem. So it's best to contact the title insurer promptly, as soon as you have any question or concern about your legal rights with insured land.
Need More Information?
Nations welcomes your questions on title insurance and real estate closings. For more information, contact a Nations representative at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title Insurance FAQs
What Is Title Insurance?
Title insurance is protection against loss arising from problems connected to the title to your property.
Before you purchased your home, it may have gone through several ownership changes, and the land on which it stands went through many more. There may be a weak link at any point in that chain that could emerge to cause trouble. For example, a homeowner along the way may have forged a signature in transferring title away from estranged relatives. Or there may be unpaid real estate taxes or other liens. Title insurance covers the insured party for any claims and legal fees that arise out of such problems.
Is Purchasing Title Insurance Obligatory?
It is if you need a mortgage, because all mortgage lenders require such protection for an amount equal to the loan. It lasts until the loan is repaid. As with mortgage insurance, it protects the lender but you pay the premium, which is a single-payment made upfront.
For Purchase transactions, an Owners Policy is optional. However, it is heavily advised as a protection against future lawsuits and or challenges.
Does Title Insurance Do Anything For Me?
The required insurance protects the lender up to the amount of the mortgage, but it doesn't protect your equity in the property. For that you need an owner's title policy for the full value of the home. In many areas, sellers pay for owner policies as part of their obligation to deliver good title to the buyer. In other areas, borrowers must buy it as an add-on to the lender policy. It is advisable to do this because the additional cost above the cost of the lender policy is relatively small.
Doesn't the Lender Policy Indirectly Protect Me?
No, title policies are indemnity policies, they protect against loss, and a lender policy would only cover the lender's loss. Of course, the fact that the insurer issued a policy to the lender indicates that the title has been searched and nothing amiss has been found, but no search is 100% dependable. That is why an insurance policy is issued.
When Does Title Insurance Protection Begin and End?
With the exception noted later, title insurance only protects against losses from claims that arose prior to the date of the policy. Coverage ends on the day the policy is issued and extends backward in time for an indefinite period. This is in marked contrast to property or life insurance, which protect against losses resulting from events that occur after the policy is issued, for a specified period into the future.
For How Long Is the Property Owner Purchasing Title Insurance Covered?
Indefinitely. The owner's protection lasts as long as the owner or any heirs have an interest in or any obligation with regard to the property. When they sell, however, the lender will require the purchaser to obtain a new policy. That protects the lender against any liens or other claims against the property that may have arisen since the date of the previous policy.
For example, if the contractor you failed to pay for remodeling your kitchen places a lien on your home, you are not protected by your title policy; the lien was placed after the date of the policy. You will probably be required to get the lien removed before you can sell the property. But in the event the lien hasn't been removed and a search has failed to uncover it, the new lender will be protected by a new policy.
Will Title Insurance Protect Me Against False Claims That Arose After I Purchased the Property?
The standard policy does not. Many events beyond your control can reduce the value of your house after you buy it. If it is a newly-constructed house, sub-contractors claiming they had not been paid by the builder may place a lien on the house. Identity theft can result in a new mortgage you know nothing about. A neighbor could build on your land without your knowledge, thereby adversely possessing and possibly eventually taking your land. Or you may suddenly be told that you must correct a zoning violation of the previous owner.
To deal with these issues, preventative communication with your neighbors, builders, contractors, and neighbors is advisable.
Does Title Insurance Coverage Rise With Increases in the Value of My Property?
No, but coverage under the ALTA policy referred to above increases by 10% a year for the first 5 years after issuance, to 150% of the initial amount. You can buy additional coverage as a rider to the policy.
If your policy does not have such a rider and your property has appreciated sharply in value, you may be able to purchase additional coverage on the same policy by paying an incremental fee. The fee should be modest because no new title search is involved. The coverage will only apply to title defects that existed prior to the original date of the policy. To extend the coverage to events that may have clouded the title since the original policy, you would need to take out a new policy with a new search and pay the full rate.
Why Do I Need to Purchase a New Policy When I Refinance?
You don't need a new owner's policy, but the lender will require you to purchase a new lender policy. Even if you refinance with the same lender, the existing lender's policy terminates when you pay off the mortgage. Furthermore, the lender is concerned about title issues that may have arisen since you purchased the property, such as the lien mentioned in an earlier question. A new title search will uncover the lien, and you will have to pay it off as a condition for the refinance.
Insurers generally offer discounts on policies taken out within short periods after the preceding policy. In some cases, discounts are available as far out as 6 years from the date of the previous policy. Ask for it, it may not be offered if you don't.
Does Title Insurance Guarantee Me That I Will Be Able to Sell My Property If An Unforeseen Claim Arises?
No. Title insurance does not prevent loss of marketability due to a title claim, any more than fire insurance prevents fire. If a claim arises, you probably won't be able to sell your property until the claim is settled by the title insurer. The interest of the owner and the insurer may clash in such cases. The owner usually wants settlement immediately, whereas the insurer wants to minimize the cost of settlement, which may require time-consuming negotiations with the claimant.
Why Are There Such Large Variations in the Cost of Title Insurance in Different Parts of the Country?
One major reason is that the services covered by the title insurance premium vary in different parts of the country. In some areas, the premium covers not only protection against loss but also the costs of search and examination, as well as closing services. In other areas, the premium covers protection only, and borrowers pay for the other related services separately.
To complicate it further, in some states the charges for title-related services are paid to title insurance companies, which perform the functions but charge separately for them. In other states, borrowers may pay attorneys or independent companies called abstractors or escrow companies.
Of course, what matters to the borrower is the sum total of all title-related charges. These also differ from one area to another in response to a variety of factors. The 50 states have 50 different regulatory regimes, which affect charges. So do local costs, competition in local markets, and other factors. This is a largely unstudied segment of the economy that would make a nice PhD dissertation for a student in economics!
Does a Borrower Have the Right to Purchase Title Insurance Direct?
Yes, although few exercise it the shopping for Title and Closing agents is strongly encouraged. Most leave it up to one of the professionals with whom they deal - real estate agent, lender or attorney - to select the carrier. This means that competition among title insurers is largely directed toward these professionals who can direct business rather than toward borrowers. This is changing due to strongly written TRID regulations suggestions consumers deserve to shop.
If a Borrower Does Shop For Title Insurance, Would it Pay?
It is a good idea to ask an informed but disinterested local professional whether it pays to shop in the area where the property is located. Just keep in mind that those likely to be the best informed may not have any involvement in the transaction at hand.
Are Title Insurance Premiums Deductible?
Under existing rules, they are not. If the tax code was logically consistent, however, premiums paid by borrowers on lender policies - those that protect only the lender - would be deductible. The same is true of mortgage insurance.
Learn about the LE & CD
LE / CD Walkthrough: Explaining Closing Costs
Closing your home should be exciting, and once you understand the process and how it works, it can be.
Here you will find a list of costs commonly associated with closing on a home. Fees may vary depending on where you live, so be sure to talk to your lender, real estate agent, or Nations representative specific information.
All closing costs must be listed on your LE / CD settlement form, a document that is required to be filled out prior to finalizing the purchase of your home.
What are My Closing Costs?
In addition to the sales price of the home, there are a variety of costs associated with finalizing the transaction. Click on any of these links below for more information on these costs:
Real Estate Broker Commission/Fees
If you use a real estate agent to help you in buying your home, the cost of the agent's services can be paid in one of two ways. Generally, the seller pays for all agents in a transaction in an amount usually stated as a percentage of the sales price. While this amount will be deducted, along with other seller-paid closing costs, from any amount the seller might otherwise be paid and is usually stated on the LE / CD, this will not be your charge. Increasingly, buyers in some places are engaging their own so-called "buyer's broker or agent". How they are paid and by whom varies from place to place and can be negotiated in many cases. Sellers frequently also pay for such services on behalf of buyers but if a charge is paid by the buyer, it will also be stated on the LE / CD and added to the amount you'll need to bring to closing.
Items Required by the Lender to be paid in advance
There are certain items the lender may require you to pay at the time of closing or in advance of the actual closing date. These could include:
Interest - Lenders usually require payment of loan interest from and including the day of closing through the end of the month of closing. After that, interest is accrued and paid as part of the monthly loan installments.
Mortgage Insurance Premium - At the settlement, you may be required to pay your first year's mortgage insurance premium, or a lump sum premium that covers the life of the loan. This fee is payable to a Private Mortgage Insurance Company. If the loan is being federally insured (FHA) or guaranteed (VA), the mortgage insurance or funding fees for those government loan programs would be charged here.
Hazard Insurance Premium - Oftentimes lenders require payment of one year's hazard insurance, commonly referred to as homeowner's insurance, against fire, windstorms and natural hazards. In order to bind the coverage, the premium is often paid in advance of closing.
Flood Insurance - Depending on the location of your home, flood insurance may be required and payment of the first year's premium must be made in advance of closing.
Although the lender isn't required to provide an estimate of the reserves they will be collecting, it is important that you be aware of whether the lender will or will not be "escrowing" for taxes, mortgage insurance (if any), hazard and flood insurance. The use of an escrow/impound account to build up the funds needed to pay these items as they become due can often be a good way for borrowers to budget rather than having to pay these large sums out-of-pocket when they come due. Be sure to ask your lender in advance of closing how these items will be paid on a go-forward basis.
Title and Closing Charges
These fees cover the administrative costs of a title search, title examination, issuance of the title commitment/binder and final title insurance policy(ies.) Also included would be charges for conducting the closing/settlement/escrow. You are free to select the title company to conduct your closing/settlement/escrow, so let your realtor and/or loan officer know you prefer to use Nations.
Settlement/Closing Fee - A fee must be paid to a settlement agent who has prepared documents, calculated figures, and oversees proper execution of closing documents. This fee is often split between buyer and seller but can be negotiated as part of the sales contract.
Abstract of Title, Search, Title Examination, Title Insurance Commitment or Binder - In order to ensure that there are no pre-existing problems with your property, a title insurance professional must perform a title search and produce documentation on the home's title. In some places, one or more of these charges will appear separately on the LE / CD and in other places they may be included within the title insurance premium. When a mortgage loan is involved, there may also be added charges for special endorsements that will accompany the lender's title policy.
Document Preparation - Some settlement agents charge for the cost of preparing legal papers such as the mortgage, deed of trust, note or deed and/or other loan and title documentation. If a lender charges a document preparation fee, it will typically appear in the Loan Fees/Direct Loan Costs section of the LE / CD.
Notary Fee - Because there are legal documents involved, a licensed notary is required to acknowledge the fact that the proper people signed these official documents in their presence. Notaries often charge a fee for their services.
Attorney Fees - Both the home buyer and the seller might have their own legal representation to prepare and record legal documents. Frequently, however, where an attorney is acting as a settlement agent, there may only be one involved in the closing. Who pays for those services is a matter of contract negotiation but is often handled like fees paid to any other settlement agent/title agent.
Title Insurance - There are two kinds of title insurance policies: Loan and Owner's policies. The cost for the Loan Policy is based on the loan amount and the cost for the Owner's Policy is based on the sales price of the home. Who pays these one-time fees at closing varies from state to state. Ask your settlement agent how it is handled in your area. In some circumstances, discounts may be available (such as a "reissue rate" or "reissue credit") when the property has recently been insured by a title insurer. Be sure to ask if you are entitled to any discounts.
You also have the option of purchasing a policy with expanded coverage. It's called the Homeowner's Policy and it covers more things than the Owner's Policy. Ask your Nations representative for an explanation of the expanded Homeowner's Policy so you can decide which policy is the best one for you.
Recording/Government Filing Fees
Buying a home is not only a big investment, it is also a matter of public record. The property information and the loan information are required to be filed at the county courthouse or other local government recording office.
Recording Fees - The recording fee is paid to a government body which enters an official record of the change of ownership.
Transfer Taxes, Document or Transaction Stamps - These are government charges based on the amount of the mortgage and, often, also on the purchase price. Depending on your location, there could be a city, county or state tax involved, or some combination.
Other, Miscellaneous Charges
Survey Fee - Lenders and title insurers often require a surveyor to conduct a survey of your property to define the property size and boundaries and to see if any part of the building or other improvements are "encroaching" on a neighbor's yard - or the other way around. They are also looking to see if there are any setback violations or other material matters that are considered problematic.
Inspection Fees - When homes are sold an inspection is often recommended and in some cases the contract may even be contingent upon an acceptable inspection report. This fee covers the cost of an inspector to check the dwelling for any structural problems or issues. Frequently, this is a sales contract term imposed by the home buyer to obtain an accurate assessment of the condition of the property. The work is done prior to closing but the fee is often collected at closing. There are several inspections that a future homeowner might want to request and a lender might require. These could include pest inspections (termites and other wood-destroying organisms), lead paint inspections (for structures built before 1978), roof inspections, water/well certifications, structural or mechanical inspections, or additional specific inspections based on the property type and location.