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Step 1 - Planning

Step 2 - Financing

Step 3 - Selecting

Step 4 - Buying

Step 5 - Owning


The Home Stretch � Going to Closing

Strategize for a Successful, Streamlined Settlement

Most first-time buyers are amazed at the sheer amount of paperwork that�s produced for a single real estate closing. The two keys to a successful settlement are:

  1. having a thorough understanding of the terms of the contract you�re signing; and,
  2. having qualified representation and assistance looking out for your interests during settlement procedures.

How you accomplish that may mean hiring a qualified real estate attorney and/or a buyer-broker. It depends on your needs. You will also need to be able to find a qualified home inspector, among other real estate professionals.

Settlement Tasks Include:

Escrow Agent:
You will need someone to transfer funds from the escrow account to the assigned parties.
Contract Review:
This is actually best done before it is signed, but it doesn�t hurt to have it reviewed at closing to be sure everything has been done according to the contract itself.
Title Search Examination:
Before you close, you have to make sure there are no liens against the property for any reason. A title search is the best way to do this.
Preparation & Review of Loan Documents:
Mortgage lenders will prepare the documents for the closing, but you should have someone review them. Things can change dramatically for you if one small decimal gets in the wrong place.
Preparation & Recording of the Deed:
Once you buy a property, the deed has to be transferred. When a home is financed with a mortgage, the lender holds the deed.
Arrangement for Property Survey:
This is a site survey that tells you about your plot and lot. It marks your property.
Preparation of Settlement Sheet:
The settlement sheet details costs of the settlement and who pays for each item. This should be carefully reviewed prior to settlement, and must comply with the terms of the contract.


A meeting between a buyer and seller (and their respective agents and/or attorneys) at which a sale of a property is finalized and the deed is delivered to the buyer in exchange for the purchase price. Also called "settlement."
Money, documents or other items of value in the care of a third party to be released upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the deposit by a borrower with the lender of funds to pay real estate taxes and insurance premiums when they become due, or the deposit of funds or documents with an attorney or escrow agent to be disbursed upon the closing of a sale of real estate.
Examination of title
The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract of the title.
To place any document or instrument affecting title or an interest in real property in the public records of the county in which the property is located.
The public official sometimes called a "Registrar of Deeds" or "County Clerk" or "Clerk of the Court" who keeps records of legal transactions in a jurisdiction.
Entering into the public records the written documents affecting title to real property, such as a properly executed legal document (deeds, mortgage notes, satisfactions of mortgage) thereby making it a part of the public record. Constructive notice. See recorder.
See closing.
Settlement disclosure statement
A list giving a complete breakdown of costs involved in a real estate transaction prepared by the lender�s agent at closing.
A professionally created drawing or map indicating precise legal boundaries of a property, location of improvements, easements, rights of way, encroachments, and other physical features. The method of measuring boundaries and determining land areas.
Title search or examination
An examination of municipal records to determine the legal ownership of property and to confirm any liens, special assessments, other claims or restrictive covenants filed in the record.
A person or party, either appointed or required by law to administer or manage another�s property. An escrow agent.

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