Title & Closing
Common Questions Answered by Local Experts.
Finding a great home is the first step... fast forward to getting the home under contract and now your closing is just around the corner. If you haven't bought or sold recently, you may be asking "How long does closing take?" or "What should I bring?" or "What does the title process entail?"... the list of questions goes on and on. Today we have local expert, Jodi Nieslowski from County Land & Title, in the "hot seat" sharing some helpful insight on the closing and title process. Her 11+ years in the industry as a closing agent provide us a sneak peak into her vast industry knowledge and tactical experience.
On the day of closing you can expect the closing to take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Typically if a lender is involved, it will take about 45 minutes (as there are more disclosures and forms to sign as a part of the loan package). If it's a cash purchase, it will be closer to 20 minutes (will less forms, it goes pretty quickly).
At the closing, you can expect to see your lender there, your agent, and also your closing agent facilitating a smooth closing. You may see the buyer and seller there at the same closing table; however, with scheduling preferences / conflicts, sometimes sellers or buyers in some cases will pre-sign documents.
If you get married after closing and want to add your spouse to the title, you can contact the title company and let them know you'd like to add your spouse to your properties title. In the state of Wisconsin, once you are legally married, regardless if both parties are listed on the title, both will need to be present for the sale of the real property.
Prior to the closing, a title search is complete to ensure the title is free and clear of leans, encumbrances and other judgements that may be tied to the title of the subject property. A judgement lien is anything that is docketed at the clerk of courts. As long as you're making appropriate payments toward a loan and your creditor hasn't recorded a judgement lien against you, you don't need to worry about judgements.
As a buyer or seller, it is not uncommon to have a judgement come up on the title work. The key is getting the judgement taken care of so it doesn't inhibit the ability to successfully close on the transaction. In some cases, the judgements are attached to another individual with the same name (not you). In these cases, the title company is able to remove the judgement by having you sign a judgement affidavit stating that judgement does not belong to you (and in some cases verifying your social security number in order to get the judgement removed). If the judgement is rightfully attached to you, the title company may be able to remove it by working with your lender, or if it is a tax lien, it will need be paid in order to complete the closing.
On the selling side, the same process applies. The title company can have a judgement affidavit signed (if the judgment is attached to a different individual with the same name), or the judgement(s) will need to be satisfied either prior to or at the time of closing, depending on the judgement(s).
When it comes to a refinance, the lender will hire the title company to close the transaction. The reason the title company is involved is they are providing the loan policy insurance to the lender, so they are insured for that new mortgage that is being recorded. The borrower will come in for their closing to protect both them and the lender from any sort of claim.
We just brushed the surface of some common questions that come up regarding the title and closing process. To stay informed of the latest resources available, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
Special thanks to Jodi for sharing her insight - for more information, please reach out to Jodi at the information below.
Getting a Loan
What to Consider When Buying a Home? Local Expert Advice.
Talking to a lender early on in the process is a great idea when preparing to buy a home. They can help you identify what you can afford as you search for your home, what you're comfortable budgeting for, and areas of improvement in credit (if needed) while offering recommendations to improve credit score - which can help you secure a better loan program and better rate in many cases. Things like paying your bills on time and keeping your credit card balance as low as possible are a few of the many things you can do to improve your credit score.
How do buyers decide what loan program is right for them? There are many options when it comes to the type of loan, but to summarize, it comes down to the borrowers credit score, down payment, and the type of property they intend to buy (investment, primary residence, land, etc.). In short, if your credit score is 680 or better, than a conventional loan often is the most typical type of loan and the least expensive one.
Once you own a home, there are ways you can save and watch the market to know when the refinance and when to draw equity. In general, you should consider refinancing if you will be saving about 1.0% interest and if you don't have plans to sell or move within the next 1-2 years, if you currently pay for PMI (private mortgage insurance), or if you have an adjustable rate mortgage you may be able to refinance to the fixed rate mortgage.
The refinancing process takes about 30 - 35 days. The refinance process requires an appraisal which can take a couple weeks to complete and process. If you have owned your home for a few years and are curious on refinancing or getting a better rate, please reach out to our team. We're happy to help connect you with a local lender who can help.
Special thanks to Song for sharing her industry insight with our team and buyers! For lending-specific questions, please contact Song below.
Contact Our Team
Have a question? We’re ready to help. We look forward to connecting with you. Please feel free to reach out to our team via phone call, text or email!