F.A.Q.

QUESTION:
When is the very BEST time of the month to schedule a closing?

ANSWER:
We strongly recommend scheduling your closings EARLY IN THE WEEK AND EARLY IN THE MONTH, whenever possible.

The entire closing process, which involves many separate parties, simply tends to bog down at the end of the week and month. Scheduling your closing for EARLY IN THE WEEK AND EARLY IN THE MONTH will ensure that banks, lenders and insurance companies, as well as, moving companies, utilities and cable service providers are available to assist your customers with making their big move stress free.

Need more info? Give us a call at 603-431-8100 or e-mail info@signaturetitle.com.


QUESTION:
When the tax bill arrives, who owes what - and when? How is the bill pro-rated between the Buyer and the Seller?

ANSWER:
This can be tricky...
If a tax bill is due at the time of the closing or within 60 days following the closing, the amount of the bill (or estimated bill) is usually charged in full to the Seller.

That tax bill amount is then pro-rated between the Buyer and the Seller. This means the Buyer is charged an amount on the Closing Disclosure - and the Seller is credited with that same amount. The amount charged to the Buyer and credited to the Seller represents the Buyer's share of this bill. The actual amount of the pro-ration depends on the tax period covered by the bill. The Buyer will owe the Seller from the day of closing through the end of the current tax period.

NO CURRENT TAX BILL DUE?
When no current tax bill is due at closing or within 60 days of closing, the reverse is true.

At closing, the Seller can be charged for his or her portion of an ANTICIPATED future tax bill. At closing, the Buyer receives a credit for the same amount. Then, when the tax bill DOES arrive, the Buyer is responsible for paying the bill in full - because the Seller will have already paid the Buyer for his or her share of the bill.

A WORD OF CAUTION
Cities and towns can take several months to update ownership records. Therefore, it's very likely that the first tax bill issued after the closing will be issued in the Seller's name. The Seller should immediately forward any tax bill received to the Buyer for prompt payment. If the Buyer knows that a tax bill may be coming due and has not yet received it, contact the appropriate city or town office for a duplicate copy (just in case the original bill was mailed to the Seller in error or not forwarded on to the Buyer).

Need more info? Give us a call at 603-431-8100 or e-mail info@signaturetitle.com.


QUESTION:
What must Sellers of condos and properties with homeowner's associations disclose (and Buyers know) before - rather than after - the closing?

ANSWER:
Sellers of condos and properties like homes in subdivisions that require membership in a homeowner's association should provide Buyers with a copy of the association's formal legal documents, usually filed with the State and/or Registry of Deeds.

These include the DECLARATION, BY-LAWS, and RULES & REGULATIONS of the association. The Seller should also provide the Buyer with a copy of the most recent ANNUAL BUDGET. Buyers must know of any monthly or annual dues, assessments, scheduled expenses or contingency funds for unexpected expenses, like snow removal costs above and beyond budgeted amounts. All of this information can also be obtained through the Seller's Realtor.

Need more info? Give us a call at 603-431-8100 or e-mail info@signaturetitle.com.


QUESTION:
How does the Right of Rescission for Refinancing affect a closing schedule?

ANSWER:
The Right of Rescission is a non-waivable federal regulation that allows a borrower (and a borrower's spouse, even if the spouse is not a borrower on the note) to cancel a refinance decision anytime within three business days of the closing, excluding Sundays and Holidays and sometimes Saturdays.

The Right of Rescission applies to every refinance transaction involving the borrower's PRINCIPAL residence. It does NOT apply to any other lending transaction, such as a purchase closing or a refinance of an investment property or second home.

WHEN IS THE MONEY AVAILABLE?
What this means to a borrower who is refinancing a home for any reason is that the money from their refinancing note is NOT available until the fourth business day after the closing. For closings on Thursdays, funds would not, for example, normally be available until the following Tuesday.

This also means that the payoff for the mortgage that is being replaced by the refinance will also NOT be sent until the fourth business day after the closing.

Need more info? Give us a call at 603-431-8100 or e-mail info@signaturetitle.com.


QUESTION:
Where should the copy of the signed Closing Disclosure be kept, and for how long?

ANSWER:
A signed copy of the Closing Disclosure should be kept in a safe place - preferably the same place all other important paperwork is kept.

The Seller should retain the Closing Disclosure copy for AT LEAST seven years for IRS/tax purposes.

The Buyer, however, should hold on to the Closing Disclosure copy for as long as he or she owns the property. There are many occasions when trying to resolve title matters or discharge problems that a subsequent Title Company will want to know information about the purchase.

  • Was a mortgage paid off?
  • Who was the Title Company that handled the closing?
  • Was Owner's Title Insurance purchased?
Because of the time-sensitive nature of real estate closings, the faster the old Closing Disclosure is produced, the faster the Title Company can begin to work on addressing problems.

Need more info? Give us a call at 603-431-8100 or e-mail info@signaturetitle.com.


QUESTION:
Prepaid interest? Transfer taxes? Tax stamps? Points? What closing costs can a Buyer tax-deduct?

ANSWER:
As a general rule, when you purchase a primary residence, the only costs you can deduct are prepaid interest, points, and certain real estate taxes. These items can be deducted for the tax year in which you buy the house IF you itemize your deductions. For specific tax advice, check with your tax advisor.

Need more info? Give us a call at 603-431-8100 or e-mail info@signaturetitle.com.


QUESTION:
If a Power of Attorney is appointed to attend a closing and sign the closing documents, can this create problems that might jeopardize the closing?

ANSWER:
Yes, it can! Especially if the Title Company is not informed ahead of time. Some Lenders may not allow the Buyer to appoint a Power of Attorney under any circumstances. Most Title Companies will not allow a Seller to appoint a Power of Attorney to sign the deed.

There have been many occasions where a Power of Attorney is rejected because the Buyer or Seller tries to appoint a Power of Attorney using a standard form found on the Internet, generated from a computer program, or purchased from an office supply or stationery store. Such forms may not contain the requisite state law or statutory language, or may not be specific enough to the particular transaction to satisfy Lender requirements (if a Lender is involved). As a result, a Power of Attorney form that may be acceptable for other purposes (Estate Planning, for example) may not be accepted for a real estate closing.

If the Title Company has ample warning that a Power of Attorney may be used, and can review the signed Power of Attorney prior to the closing, the Title Company can usually identify and resolve most problems. In other words, the more notice we are given, the more likely that your closing will proceed smoothly.

Need more info? Give us a call at 603-431-8100 or e-mail info@signaturetitle.com.


QUESTION:
Why is NOT having Owner's Title Insurance so risky? If the Buyer already has paid for Lender's Title Insurance as part of the deal, isn't more insurance simply redundant?

ANSWER:
Sometimes, what seems logical can wind up leading to "The Danger Zone."

Here's why:
1.) Lender's Title Insurance protects the Lender, not the Buyer, as the insured policy holder. Without OWNER'S Title Insurance, Buyers are at risk, since they have no rights to make claims under the Lender's Insurance Policy.

2.) The Lender's policy insures the balance the Buyer owes on the mortgage. Without an OWNER'S Title Insurance policy, the Buyer's equity in the property is completely unprotected.

3.) The Lender's right to make a claim against the policy begins when the Lender suffers a loss - which normally would not occur until after the mortgage has been foreclosed on.

4.) Most importantly, in any situation where severe title issues occur, the Lender's Title Insurance company could decide to pay off the Lender and buy the mortgage - leaving the Buyer out in the cold, having lost the property while still being responsible for making payments on the borrowed money.

Owner's Title Insurance is the sole safeguard that protects the property interests of Buyers. Lenders, Realtors and closing agents should recommend it as a matter of course. In fact, Lenders, Realtors and closing agents who make any statements to the effect that Owner's Title Insurance is unnecessary open themselves up to the risk of being sued by a Buyer who elects not to buy the coverage but winds up needing it.

Need more info? Give us a call at 603-431-8100 or e-mail info@signaturetitle.com.


QUESTION:
What is the difference between Tenants-in-Common and Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship?

ANSWER:
When two (or more) people take title to a property, what happens when one of them dies?

If more than one person takes title to a property as JOINT TENANTS or JOINT TENANTS WITH RIGHTS OF SURVIVORSHIP, the surviving owner(s) inherit - without the need for probate.

If the parties take title to a property as TENANTS-IN-COMMON - or if the deed does not state any "condition of tenancy" - the surviving owner(s) must go through the probate process. This may take considerable time, since either a Will (or if no Will exists, state law) determines who gets the deceased person's share of the property.

Avoiding probate can save time and money.

However, there may be situations where Tenants-In-Common is the best way to file.

Need more info? Give us a call at 603-431-8100 or e-mail info@signaturetitle.com.