Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Alpha Title & Closing

 

Question: What makes Alpha Title & Closing different than other Title, Closing and Escrow service providers?

Answer: We are invested in assisting people with what is likely the largest financial investment they are going to make in their life; home ownership. We pride ourselves on superior customer service and providing all parties involved in the transaction with quality, expertise and professionalism.

Question: How can Alpha Title & Closing help me?

Answer: We are strategically aligned with several companies making up a core “power” team saving you time, money and assuring you the most professional services at your fingertips.

Question: At what point in my home sale, purchase or refinance process should I get Alpha Tile & Closing Involved?

Answer: In the beginning, before you have an agent, before you determine a lender, before you sign a contract.

Question: How can I save money using your services?

Answer: Alpha Title & Closing is your “one stop shop” so you can save on a variety of services by getting all or any number of them through us. Most Americans only buy a home on average between 1 and 5 times in their lifetime. We close thousands of loans and we have the experience and knowledge of the best services available to suit your specific needs.

Question: What do I need to do to get started?

Answer: Call us 770-777-6650 or email us at trish@reallonglaw.com


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Title Insurance

Question: What is title insurance?

Answer: Title insurance protects against loss which may occur due to events that happened in the past, including unreported land title defects, forgeries, claims by missing heirs, recording errors, easements and deed restrictions previously placed on the property. For the cost of a single, one-time premium, title insurance protects the property owner against loss resulting from any title defects covered in the policy for as long as the property is owned.

Question: What types of Title Insurance policies are available to me as a homeowner?

Answer: There are two different types of title insurance policies that you need to be aware of: an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy and a Mortgagee’s Title Insurance Policy provided to the lender.
Since most property owners mortgage or borrow money at the time of purchase or during ownership, the lender can be expected to request protection of its investment against loss. Lenders know that many things can cause loss of title or that expenses are incurred while defending an attack. A Mortgagee’s Title Insurance Policy is mandatory to protect their stockholders’ and investors’ investment in your property.
An Owner’s Title Insurance Policy protects your investment (equity) as the buyer or owner of the property. As the owner, you should want to have the same assurance as the lender that the investment you have made cannot be lost because of a problem or defect with the title.

Question: How does title insurance differ from other types of insurance?

Answer: Title insurance is different from other types of insurance in that it protects you, the insured, from loss that may occur from matters or defects from the past. Other types of insurance such as auto insurance, life insurance or health insurance, cover you against losses that may occur in the future. For a nominal fee, an enhanced title insurance policy is available to protect against a defect that may originate at a later date.

Question: What are the risks that Title Insurance can protect against?

Answer: There are numerous defects or problems that can arise to cause an attack or loss of the title to your property. Some of these include problems not disclosed by the most careful search of the public records (the title search). Hidden risks can cause a total loss of your investment or heavy legal expenses in the defense of an attack on the title.
Some title problems may show up months or years after the original purchase of the property. The following are examples of matters that can cause loss of title or an expensive lawsuit:
•    Forged deeds, releases, wills or other legal documents
•    Failure of spouses to join in conveyances
•    Unrecorded Deeds, undisclosed or missing heirs
•    Deeds from minors, aliens or persons of unsound mind
•    Errors in indexing of public records
•    Liens for unpaid taxes including estate, inheritance, income or gift taxes
•    Erroneous reports furnished by tax officials
•    Mistakes in recording legal documents
•    Deeds from defunct corporations
•    Un-probated wills

Question: How does title insurance protect against these hidden risks & defects?

Answer: Title insurance defends you in a lawsuit attacking your title and either corrects the title problem or pays the insured’s losses up to the face amount of the policy. The policy also protects you after you sell the property for defects occurring prior to your ownership that cause a loss to a purchaser if the title was warranted by you.
The title policy guarantees that at the date the deed was filed for record placing title in the name of the insured, the title was free of defects apart from those “excepted to” in the policy. The policy does not guarantee an actual amount of land. It guarantees that there are no buildings or other improvements belonging to someone else located on the insured land when an acceptable survey is furnished to the title company. An additional premium is paid to amend the standard survey exception.

Question: How do I obtain title insurance and what does it cost?

Answer: It’s easy! Simply inform us that you want to purchase an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy.
In most states, the premiums for the title insurance policies are regulated by the state insurance commission or some other governmental body. You only pay the premium once. The cost depends upon the purchase price of the property, and your policy amount must be equal to the purchase price. We will quote you that price either upon your inquiry or at the time of closing.

Question: Isn’t purchasing both the owner’s & mortgagee’s policies a double payment or duplicate coverage?

Answer: No, it’s not a double payment or duplicate coverage. The Mortgagee’s Policy protects the lender’s interest only so long as the loan is outstanding and only in the amount of the balance of the loan at any given time. The Owner’s Policy protects you up to the face amount of the policy during your ownership and after you have sold the property if you have warranted the property to your subsequent buyer.
After arranging a loan, you pay a premium for the purchase of the Mortgagee’s Policy based on the amount of the loan. If you desire to purchase an Owner’s Policy at the same time, you pay an additional premium only for the difference that covers your equity or investment in the property together with a small “simultaneous issue fee.” Because of this, you do not pay twice for the two policies.
If you buy your Owner’s Policy separately, you pay the full premium for the policy. Likewise, if you refinance or borrow additional money at a later time, you can expect to pay additional premiums for the lender new policies, if required.

Question: What is the actual protection title insurance provides?

Answer: If a claim is made against real property which results in a loss of title to the property or costs to clear up the defect, title insurance will pay compensation up to the fact amount of the policy which is typically the purchase price amount. If it is necessary to defend title to the property by a claim of ownership filed by another owner, title insurance will pay the cost of the defense even if the costs exceed the face amount. When title insurance is ordered, a title search of the public records is conducted to determine what documents have been filed in the public records pertaining to the subject property, including easements and restrictions. If a survey of the property is prepared using a title search of the property, then the owner will be insured against any encumbrances that do not appear on the survey that are later asserted. This is particularly important with regard to boundary disputes that arise from overlapping legal descriptions or areas that are occupied by a property owner which are not included on that owner’s deed (for example, a fence that was put in the wrong location).

Question: Will title insurance protect against a boundary dispute?

Answer: Yes, if you obtain a survey of the property which is prepared using the title search prepared by the title insurance company and it is certified to the title insurance company and your agent takes the proper steps to assure that there is no exception listed on the policy against such matters.


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Closing

Question: Do I need to hire an attorney to represent me at the real estate closing?

Answer: Unless you have hired the closing agent that is handling the closing, the closing agent acts as a facilitator of the closing and does not represent you. Although under Georgia State law the closing agent must disclose this fact, most people do not understand the risk they assume by not having their own legal counsel review their closing documents and the commitment. However, we at Alpha Title & Closing are concerned for the best interests of all parties involved.

Question: Should I consult with an attorney prior to listing my house or property?

Answer: Georgia State law is very specific about the types of things that must be disclosed during the listing process and to potential buyers. In addition, Georgia State law requires that real property contracts contain certain provisions and disclosures that are critical to the enforceability of the contract.

Question: Should I consult with an attorney prior to making an offer on vacant property?

Answer: A buyer should be concerned about two types of restrictions when buying property – first, those restrictions imposed by local governments which limit the actual use of property and second, encumbrances, restrictions or other title matters that may limit use of the property for the buyer’s intended purpose. Title insurance will only insure against title defects and is not intended to address land use restrictions that are regulatory in nature. Therefore, it is critical to review such items as current regulations, pending regulations under consideration by a local government, zoning and land use designation of the property, utility availability, access rights, and concurrency regulations. This type of review is referred to as “due diligence” and should be performed by an attorney familiar with local land use regulations.

Question: What does the closing involve?

Answer: In a closing, title to real estate is transferred by deed.  All necessary documents are prepared and executed.  The disbursement of money is made for the purchase or finance of real estate and related costs.  The settlement agent causes the security deed or deed to secure debt to be recorded in the public record.

Question: When and where will the closing occur?

Answer: Once our office receives the purchase contract, we will contact you to schedule a time and location for the closing.
For your convenience, Alpha Title & Closing has attorneys that will travel to your home or business. We can accommodate our clients with off-site closings such as your real estate agent’s office, bank or attorney’s office.

Question: What do I need to bring to the closing?

Answer: A typical closing requires the following from the buyer(s):
Official photo identification (valid driver’s license);
Any and all documents required by the lender (conditions of lender);
Home Owners Insurance
Funding:  We require the buyer(s) to wire funds needed to our office prior to closing.  We will provide you with wiring instructions.  We cannot accept cash or a personal or cashier’s check for closing costs.
The seller(s) will be responsible for the following items:
Mortgage Payoff Information:  The seller(s) must provide Alpha Title & Closing with the names, phone numbers and loan amounts for all current mortgage holders.  It is important that we receive this information in a timely manner as it can take up to seven business days to obtain a payoff.
Identification:  At closing the seller(s) will be asked to supply a picture identification that includes their signature.
Social Security Numbers:  At closing, the seller(s) will be asked to supply their social security numbers or Tax Identification Numbers.
Confirmation of martial status: In accordance with Georgia State Law, a spouse’s signature may still be required even if the property was purchased prior to marriage.
Seller Funds:  If the seller(s) is required to bring funds to closing, a wire transfer of funds will be required.

Question: What if one of the parties cannot attend the closing?

Answer: In some circumstances not everyone involved in a transaction can attend the closing.  If this instance should arise, the closing agent must be notified at least three days prior to closing.  The absent individual is required to execute a “Specific Power of Attorney” which appoints someone to legally sign on their behalf in their absence.

Question: I am married, but the house I am selling is in my name only. Does my spouse have to come to closing?

Answer: If your spouse never lived in the house and you are the only one on the deed, then the spouse does not have to come to the closing. However, if the deed is in your name and your spouse lived there for any length of time with you after you were married, then you must both sign the deed and the spouse will need to be at the closing.

Question: As a buyer, is it necessary to order a survey of the property or is this an unnecessary expense?

Answer: Obtaining a boundary survey is one of the most important things that a buyer can do to assure there are no surprises in the future. It is important to coordinate with your attorney in regard to ordering a survey because the surveyor will need to have a title search for the property and related documents in order to accurately reflect any encumbrances that may affect the property.

Question: Why do I need to wire funds? Can I just bring a checkbook and sign a personal check?

Answer: No. We cannot accept personal or cashier checks. Since the funds are immediately disbursed following closing, title companies need to ensure that all funds are available. Funds must be in the form of a wire transfer. However, you should still bring a personal checkbook to closing. we will permit a personal check up to $250 in the event that the actual numbers are slightly higher than the amount of your wire.

Question: I need to have an approximate amount of the Closing Costs in advance of the day before Closing. What can I do to calculate this?

Answer: With the new TRID regulations enacted by the CFPB, your lender is obligated to disclose this number to you three days prior to the settlement date.

Question: What if I bring too much money to Closing? Will I get it back?

Answer: Absolutely, we will cut you a check at the completion of the closing.