Now that you’ve decided to buy a home, what happens between now and the time you legally own it? The next step is to obtain title for the property from the title company. A title gives the owner the right to possess and use the property. But before receiving title, the title company will need to complete the following:
Earnest money: To show the seller and his agent you are a serious buyer, you will be asked to give the title company a deposit called earnest money. If the sale goes through, the earnest money is applied toward the down payment. If the sale falls through, the earnest money will not be given back unless it is stated in the offer to purchase that it is refundable.
Title search: A title search is a thorough check of the records concerning the property. It is performed to verify the seller’s right to change ownership. A title search will uncover any demands, faults, liens and other privileges or restrictions on the property.
Document preparation: Appropriate forms are prepared for settlement.
Settlement: Many events happen during settlement. The seller signs the deed, the buyer signs the new mortgage, the old loan is paid off and the new loan is established. The seller, real estate professionals, attorneys, surveyors and others performing services for the parties are paid. Title insurance policies are then delivered to the buyer and their lender.