Category Archives: Closing

Title Searches

Importance of a Title Search in Real Estate Transactions

If you’ve embarked on the journey of buying property, one of the most important steps you need to understand is when and why a title search is performed.

So, what is a title search?

A title search is the process of determining the chain of ownership for a property by scouring public records to see who has a claim on the property in question. This includes any liens or zoning violations that may be attached to it.

A lien is an amount owed where the property stands as collateral. For example, the mortgage you obtain to purchase a property is a lien. There can also be liens from contractors, the municipality for taxes owed, or the homeowner’s association for example.

What is the title search process?

Once a purchase contract is ratified, a title abstract is ordered. The ownership of the property will be searched in county records spanning the last 40-60 years. Any defects in the record like unsatisfied mortgages, liens, judgments, and easements which affect the ability of people to use the property will be found. An opinion is then sent to the lender allowing a title insurance policy to be issued on the property. This shows the lender that the title they’re loaning their money against is a clear one. Since the property serves as collateral for the lender’s loan, they’ll want to be sure that the property stands without any other entity being able to lay claim to the property.

The title insurance policy you purchase will cover you in the event something is missed, and an encumbrance is discovered after closing. Title insurance is considered one of the best values in the insurance industry! Instead of a monthly payment, there is a one-time premium you’ll pay at closing that will cover any financial loss you might incur from a claim being uncovered down the road.

What kinds of defects might be uncovered by a Title Search?

Some of the most common issues found are:

  • A break in the chain of title: This occurs when someone who didn’t own the property conveyed it, resulting in the current owner not having a clear title.
  • Pending divorce proceedings, where a spouse could contest the property transfer
  • Tax, mechanics, or creditor liens on the property
  • An easement affecting the property’s usability
  • Building code violations
  • A bankruptcy causing ownership to be questioned
  • Claims by neighbors regarding land ownership
  • Local permits preventing the conveyance of a clear title

A clear title is the backbone of any real estate transaction. Conducting a title search is a comprehensive and meticulous process, making it essential for buyers to partner with a reputable title insurance company like Turner Title. Turner Title offers a detailed title report outlining all easements, restrictions, and other encumbrances affecting the property you wish to purchase. They also assist in securing a Title Insurance Policy, protecting against potential title defects that may surface after closing.

To learn how Turner Title can help with your next real estate transaction, visit our website today.

Three question marks on blocks.

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Title Company Before Closing

Closing on a property in Florida marks an exciting milestone, but it’s vital to ensure a seamless process by selecting the right title company. Turner Title, a trusted name in Florida’s real estate industry, offers comprehensive title services to safeguard your investment. Whether you opt for Turner Title or another company for your real estate transaction, it’s crucial to ask these five important questions.

What Services Do You Provide?

Understanding the scope of services offered by the buisness is essential. While most title companies handle the title search, title insurance, and closing process, it’s essential to clarify if they offer additional services such as escrow services or assistance with document preparation. Having a clear understanding of the services provided will ensure that all aspects of your transaction are covered.

How Do You Handle Title Searches?

A thorough title search is critical to uncovering any potential issues with the property’s title, such as liens, encumbrances, or ownership disputes. Ask the company about their process for conducting title searches and how they ensure accuracy and completeness. Additionally, inquire about any title insurance policies they offer to protect you against unforeseen title defects.

What Fees Can I Expect from Your Title Company?

Closing costs can vary significantly depending on the title company and the complexity of the transaction. It’s essential to obtain a detailed breakdown of all fees associated with the closing process, including title insurance premiums, search fees, and closing agent fees. Understanding the cost structure upfront will help you budget accordingly and avoid any surprises on closing day.

How Do You Communicate Throughout the Process?

Effective communication is key to a successful closing experience. Ask the title company how they will keep you informed throughout the process and who your primary point of contact will be. Clarify the frequency and method of communication, whether it’s via phone, email, or in-person meetings. A responsive and accessible buisness will ensure that any questions or concerns are addressed promptly.

What Sets Your Title Company Apart?

With numerous businesses to choose from, it’s essential to understand what sets each one apart. Ask the title company about their experience, reputation in the industry, and any additional value-added services they offer. Whether it’s their expertise in handling complex transactions or their commitment to exceptional customer service, choose a title company that instills confidence and trust.

In conclusion, selecting the right title company is a critical step in the real estate closing process. By asking these five questions and carefully evaluating your options, you can ensure a smooth and successful transaction. Remember, the buisness you choose will play a crucial role in protecting your investment and providing peace of mind on closing day. To learn how Turner Title can help with your next real estate transaction, visit our website today.

Person signing a closing document.

Navigating the Closing Process

The closing process is a crucial step in any real estate transaction, marking the final stages before property ownership officially changes hands. At Turner Title, we understand the significance of a smooth and transparent process for our clients in Florida. In this post, we will walk you through the various aspects of the closing process, shedding light on the essential steps and considerations.

1. Earnest Money Deposit:

Once your offer is accepted by the seller, and the executed contract is received, a file is initiated, and an assigned escrow officer takes charge. This officer will initiate contact to coordinate the submission of the earnest money. Typically, this amount is deposited into an escrow account, where it remains securely held until the closing date. Acting as a neutral intermediary, the escrow account securely holds both funds and essential documents until all sale conditions are met. Turner Title plays a pivotal role in overseeing this process, guaranteeing a smooth and well-organized transition. Thanks to Zoccam’s mobile deposit app, your agent can conveniently deposit the check from virtually any location worldwide, eliminating the need to physically transport it to our office.

2. Title Search and Examination:

A crucial step in the closing process is the title search, conducted to identify any potential issues with the property’s title. Turner Title’s team of experts painstakingly examines public records to uncover any liens, judgments, or other encumbrances that may affect the property’s ownership.

3. Title Insurance:

One of the key services provided by Turner Title is title insurance. This crucial protection offers peace of mind to buyers and lenders, safeguarding them against potential legal and financial risks associated with the property’s title. Our YouTube video on the importance of title insurance can provide more in-depth information on this topic.

4. Preparation of Closing Documents:

Once the title is clear, Turner Title works with all parties involved to prepare the necessary closing documents. These documents include the Closing Disclosure, which outlines the final terms of the loan and costs, ensuring transparency for both buyers and sellers. Using our software, Qualia, you are informed every step of the way – from opening your file through closing it.

5. Closing Day:

The closing meeting is the culmination of the entire process. Turner Title facilitates this meeting, bringing together buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and possibly lenders to finalize the transaction. During this meeting, all required documents are signed, and funds are disbursed accordingly. We offer a mobile notary, convenience to close anywhere, or closings can be done in our office.

6. After Closing:

After the closing meeting, Turner Title ensures that the new deed is recorded with the appropriate county office. This step is crucial for officially transferring ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. Finally, Turner Title oversees the distribution of funds, ensuring that sellers receive their proceeds, and any outstanding payments or liens are settled. This attention to detail is what sets Turner Title apart in delivering a seamless closing experience.

Understanding the closing process is essential for anyone involved in a real estate transaction. At Turner Title, our commitment is to guide our clients through each step, providing expert knowledge and ensuring a smooth and successful closing. If you have any questions or require further clarification on any aspect of the closing process, feel free to reach out to Turner Title – your trusted partner in real estate transactions in Florida.

Role of the Title Company in Your Homebuying Journey Image

The Essential Role of Title Companies in Your Homebuying Journey

Navigating the intricate world of real estate can be a bit like learning a new language, with contracts and real estate lingo flying left and right. In the midst of it all, it’s easy to overlook a key player in your homebuying journey – the title company. We will shed some light on the vital role these companies play in the process and why Turner Title is your go-to choice for all things title-related.

What’s the Deal with Title Companies?

A title company is your impartial partner, distinct from the lender, buyer, and seller. Their mission: to transfer property rights from one owner to the next while ensuring that the property you’re eyeing has a squeaky-clean title. They verify the seller’s ownership and their right to part with the property, making sure there are no lurking claims, liens, or issues that might surprise you post-move.

The Title Company’s Many Hats

Title companies have a handful of critical tasks during the homebuying process:

  • Clearing the Title: They dive into the property’s history to ensure that the title is crystal clear, revealing any liens or easements that might cause trouble.
  • Legal Protection: Title companies often dish out title insurance to shield both homebuyers and lenders from financial losses stemming from a problematic title. Think conflicting ownership claims, record errors, forgery, or undisclosed easements.
  • Closing Process: They’re the backstage crew making sure all documents are in order for a smooth transaction at the closing table.
  • Objective Third Party: Being independent keeps the process transparent and fair, ensuring that all parties involved are on the level.

Why Turner Title for Your Homebuying Journey?

Turner Title isn’t just another face in the crowd; we are your steadfast partner in a successful homebuying journey. Here’s why you should consider us:

  • Experience: With years of experience, Turner Title knows how to make real estate transactions a breeze.
  • Powered by Qualia: Turner Title leverages Qualia, the leading digital real estate closing platform, for secure buying, selling, and borrowing experiences.
  • Mobile Deposits with Zoccam: Say goodbye to in-person trips for check deposits. Turner Title embraces the convenience of Zoccam, allowing you to deposit checks via a mobile app from the comfort of your home.
  • Customer-Focused: We put customers first as we understand the stress that often accompanies home buying. Our mission is to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.
  • Always Accessible: When you need help or have questions, Turner Title’s employees are there to assist you, even on weekends!

Ready to embark on your homeownership journey? Head over to Turner Title’s website at www.TurnerTitle.com or give us a call at (727) 914-4590. Let us be your guiding light on the path to owning your dream home.

Closing Costs

Who Pays the Closing Costs?

So you’ve found the perfect new house, and are ready to make an offer… Great! Naturally, you want to make your offer as attractive as possible. But as you comb through your budget, it occurs to you… Who pays the closing costs? 

It’s at this time that you begin to frantically research a topic that you now wish you had looked at beforehand: Closing costs. What are they, and who pays them? 

Closing costs are the fees paid upfront at closing by both the buyer and the seller. They cover expenses such as the title search, property taxes, real estate fees, inspections, title insurance, and closing fees. In Florida, these expenses are shared by buyers and sellers. Buyers frequently pay the fees associated with home inspections and obtaining a mortgage. Sellers usually pay the agents’ commissions and taxes. In most cases, buyers can expect to pay roughly 2.5% to 3.5% of the total sale price in upfront closing costs.

Buyer closing costs cover items such as:

  • Survey Fees
  • Appraisal Fees
  • Inspections
  • Recording Fees
  • Loan Origination Fees
  • Credit Report
  • HOA Fees

Seller closing costs pay for:

  • Agent Commission
  • Taxes
  • Promissory Note
  • Title Search

Closing costs are due upfront, meaning they usually can’t be rolled into the mortgage. Although there are scenarios where the lender might pay for some of the closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate, this is rarely in the buyer’s favor. Because of this, it’s important to plan ahead and be ready to pay closing costs in addition to your down payment.

With that said, if adding closing costs to the bottom line of your “cash due at closing” puts you just out of reach of your dream home, could you ask the seller to pay more of the closing costs in your offer? Sure – go ahead! You can always ask. …Or you could ask for that same $5,000 to be taken off of the sale price, and enjoy lower payments over the lifetime of the loan. Depending upon what you can swing upfront, the latter might be the wisest choice.

Regardless of whether you approach closing from the buyer’s perspective or the seller’s, a bit of pre-planning will help to make the reality of closing costs less of a strain. If you have questions about the closing process, feel free to contact the team at Turner Title! We’re here to help, and can’t wait to guide you through the process of purchasing (or selling) your home.  

Meet the Team at Turner Title

Turner Title is the best company of closers in Florida. But don’t take our word for it – meet the team! Let us introduce you to each of our stupendous, professional, competent, courteous, fun-loving staff members.

Lisa Gudath – President

Lisa is a Florida native raised in Brandon and Tampa. She attended Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. Lisa began her Real Estate career in Phoenix. She then launched her 20+ year career as an Information Technology Professional. She went on to administer networks in the Hospitality Industry and Educational sector. In 2005 she earned her master’s degree in education.

In 2014, she circled back to both real estate and Florida, where she now calls Treasure Island home. Lisa became a Licensed Title Agent with Turner Title in 2022. Her experience from all sides of the closing table allows her to create a title experience with happy clients and seamless transactions.

Arieal Calhoun – Customer Service Specialist

Arieal Calhoun is a Tampa Bay Native with extensive knowledge of the Tampa Bay real estate market.  Her career in real estate and title is aligned with her core values of providing exemplary customer service. She is committed to ensuring each client is provided with a smooth and complete transaction and is happy to be a part of the team with Turner Title. When not working with clients, Ariel works to advocate for children and families within her community.

Miranda Zaldivar – Escrow Officer/Closer

Miranda is a second-generation Cuban and Puerto Rican American who has made the Tampa Bay area her home for the past 6 years. She is originally from Miami and fell in love with Tampa Bay after attending the University of South Florida. Her fluency in both Spanish and English helps ensure all of our clients are receiving adequate and passionate care in their native language. She is devoted to making the process of buying or selling a home as easy and stress-free as possible.

Fareedah Pretto – Post Closer

Fareedah is an experienced Title Processor/Closer that has been working on a national title level for over 15 years. As a Pinellas County native, it is her passion to serve her community. Specializing in purchases, refinances, foreclosure deeds, and new construction homes, as a processor. She is committed to meeting the needs of each client for her community to thrive. Fareedah’s career has catapulted as her passion for title work has motived her to learn every facet of the business. Currently, she holds a position as Post-Closer with Turner Title. Her outgoing and enthusiastic personality captivates not only her family but her clients also. Fareedah’s commitment to excellence and service ensures that each client is cared for, just as she would her own family – with the utmost care!

Randi Golemme – Account Executive

Randi Golemme has been in the real estate industry for over 20 years. She was born on Long Island, New York, and moved to South Florida in 1990 and now calls SE Polk County her home since 2007. Randi is a licensed Florida Realtor and a Certified Salesperson with the National Association of Home Builders. She specialized in new home sales and new construction along with a background in title. She has now joined the Turner Title team as an Account Executive.

Massiel Seijas – Escrow Officer/Closer

Massiel has been serving Tampa’s top real estate agents, lenders, and mortgage brokers since 2012. Born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, she is fluent in both English and Spanish, and can skillfully close real estate transactions in either language. Massiel is passionate about the Tampa Bay community and regularly participates in local events.

Christy Sexton – Escrow Officer/Closer

Meet one of the newest members of the Dalton Wade team! Christy brings outstanding professionalism and responsiveness to the table, and is an expert in her field!

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to meet the team at Turner Title, check out our website for more information about us, or schedule a call to learn more about the resources we can offer you. Looking for Florida real estate? Check out listings on Dalton Wade Real Estate’s website.

Who Pays the Closing Costs?

So you’ve found the perfect new house, and are ready to make an offer… Great! Naturally, you want to make your offer as attractive as possible. But as you comb through your budget, it occurs to you…

Who pays the closing costs? 

It’s at this time that you begin to frantically research a topic that you now wish you had looked at beforehand: Closing costs. What are they, and who pays them? 

Closing costs are the fees paid upfront at closing by both the buyer and the seller. They cover expenses such as the title search, property taxes, real estate fees, inspections, title insurance, and closing fees. In Florida, these expenses are frequently shared by buyers and sellers. Buyers frequently pay the fees associated with home inspections and obtaining a mortgage. Sellers usually pay the agents’ commission and taxes. In most cases, buyers can expect to pay roughly 2.5% to 3.5% of the total sale price in upfront closing costs.

Buyers usually cover items such as:

  • Survey Fees
  • Appraisal Fees
  • Inspections
  • Recording Fees
  • Loan Origination Fees
  • Credit Report
  • HOA Fees

Sellers often pay for:

  • Agent Commission
  • Taxes
  • Promissory Note
  • Title Search

Closing costs are due upfront, meaning they usually can’t be rolled into the mortgage. Although there are scenarios where the lender might pay for some of the closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate, this is rarely in the buyer’s favor. Because of this, it’s important to plan ahead and be ready to pay all of your upfront fees in addition to your down payment.

With that said, if adding closing costs to the bottom line of your “cash due at closing” puts you just out of reach of your dream home, could you ask the seller to pay more of the closing costs in your offer? Sure – go ahead! You can always ask. …Or you could ask for that same $5,000 to be taken off of the sale price, and enjoy lower payments over the lifetime of the loan. Depending upon what you can swing upfront, the latter might be the wisest choice.

Regardless of whether you approach closing from the buyer’s perspective or the seller’s, a bit of pre-planning will help to make the reality of closing costs less of a strain. If you have questions about the closing process, feel free to contact the team at Turner Title! We’re here to help, and can’t wait to guide you through the process of purchasing (or selling) your home. 

Virtual Closing

Online Closing is Here to Stay

Online closing makes real estate sales and purchases simple! Imagine this scenario… your real estate client has just accepted a new job in a new town. It’s time for her to pack everything up and put the house on the market!

Even if your seller accepts an offer the very first day that her home is listed, there likely will be at least a three week waiting period before closing. By then, she might have already moved. And now you have to ask her to travel all the way back just to sign the closing documents?

Luckily, the days of relying on snail mail and over-priced airline tickets to close long-distance business deals are behind us. The real estate boom of 2021 coincided with the COVID-19 epidemic at just the right time to fan into flame the growing popularity of online real estate closings. But what does this mean for realtors? 

First, if you haven’t recently brushed up on your Zoom skills, now is the time. In most cases, there will be some sort of online conferencing component to the closing process. Buyers and sellers won’t necessarily be up to speed on their remote technical skills, so be ready to provide some light “IT” help as needed.

Second, make sure that you’re working with a closing company that can handle the online closing process. One of the great things that sets Turner Title apart from other title services is our ability to transition easily between in-person and online closings, and even provide a mobile notary to both the buyer and seller!

Finally, as always, make sure to remind your clients not to respond to emails containing Wire Transfer Instructions. Wire fraud is a growing issue. Help your clients stay safe by personally providing them with the exact contact information of their closing team. A direct introduction is even better! Remember – just because the closing is happening remotely doesn’t mean that the process needs to be impersonal. Let your buyers know that they can reach out directly to a member of Turner Title’s team if they have any questions about the origin of any communication they’ve received.