FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What does Metropolitan Title do?
As a settlement or title company, Metropolitan Title has many functions. Metropolitan Title acts as a neutral third-party to coordinate all items and terms required under the sales contract. Some of those functions include: recording documents in the appropriate land records; disbursing funds; working with the lender to meet all title, survey, and insurance requirements; resolving any title issues or last minute loan changes; coordinate with purchasers, sellers, real estate agents, and lenders to make sure the closing goes as smoothly as possible and notify the pertinent parties of any problems that arise.
Who do I contact with questions before settlement?
This depends on the topic of your question but your real estate agent, loan officer, and the staff at Metropolitan Title are all available to assist you.
How is settlement scheduled?
For a Purchase transaction, the Purchaser’s real estate agent will coordinate the closing date and time with the purchasers, sellers, and the Seller’s real estate agent. The Purchaser’s agent will then call Metropolitan Title to schedule the closing. Once the closing date and time is scheduled by the Purchaser’s agent, Metropolitan Title will coordinate with the lender to ensure the receipt of necessary loan documents.
For a Refinance transaction, the lender usually calls to schedule a settlement date with Metropolitan Title once final loan approval is provided and the lender is prepared to close the transaction. Once Metropolitan Title has the settlement date from the lender, a member of the Metropolitan Title staff will coordinate the date and location of settlement with the Borrower.
What if I am unavailable for settlement?
If a Seller cannot attend the closing, please notify Metropolitan Title as soon as possible as a Power of Attorney will need to be prepared. Use of a Power of Attorney requires formally appointing someone such as a spouse, other relative, or friend to sign all the required documents on your behalf. This person will need to attend settlement and provide the original Power of Attorney document for recording.
For a Purchaser (or Borrower in the case of a refinance), any use of a Power of Attorney must first be approved by the lender and is not always allowed. If a Power of Attorney is permitted by the lender, Metropolitan Title will need to be promptly informed of who will be attending settlement and signing on your behalf so that an appropriate Power of Attorney can be prepared for the transaction. If a Power of Attorney has already been prepared, Metropolitan Title will need to review it prior to settlement to ensure that it complies with all necessary requirements. Usually, lenders require a transaction-specific Power of Attorney rather than a General Power of Attorney. Again, that person will need to attend settlement and provide the original Power of Attorney for recording.
Occasionally, documents may be sent to the party who cannot attend the closing but will still be responsible for signing. On those infrequent occasions, the documents are sent to the party to sign the documents in advance of settlement. Since many documents must be notarized, the party must execute them in front of a notary public. A return overnight express package will be provided for convenience.
What do I bring to settlement?
All parties must bring an unexpired government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, to the settlement. Metropolitan Title is required to verify the identity of all parties and many documents will be notarized as part of the settlement process. Sellers should also bring: all keys and garage door openers for the property, receipts for any repairs or maintenance items completed pursuant to the contract. Additionally, if you choose to have your proceeds wired into your bank account you will need to bring wiring instructions for the account (including the full name of everyone on the account, bank name and address, account number and routing number). This is most easily accomplished through a voided check for that account. Homeowners who are refinancing and receiving money back as part of the refinance and wish to have the funds wired should similarly bring wiring instructions to closing.
Purchasers must bring sufficient “certified” funds for the down payment and closing costs for the transaction. This is usually done by a cashier’s or certified check, or having the funds wired to Metropolitan Title. If the funds are wired for a purchase transaction, they must be received in our bank account prior to the closing. If the purchaser has brought more than the amount required for the closing, Metropolitan Title will refund the difference back to the purchaser. In addition to an unexpired government-issued photo identification, many lenders require purchasers to provide a secondary form of identification. Acceptable forms of secondary identification may include any of the following: unexpired United States Passport; Valid United States Military I.D.; Valid Canadian or Mexican Driver’s License issued by the official agency; Foreign Passport stamped by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); Social Security card; Employee I.D. badge; Permanent Resident I.D. card. If your name has changed, or will change, prior to the closing, documentation must be provided to support the change.
For refinance transactions, a certified or cashier’s check or wire is required for any amounts due over $500. As with purchase transactions, many lenders require a secondary form of identification for refinance transactions as well. Again, acceptable secondary forms of identification may include any of the following: unexpired United States Passport; Valid United States Military I.D.; Valid Canadian or Mexican Driver’s License issued by the official agency; Foreign Passport stamped by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); Social Security card; Employee I.D. badge; Permanent Resident I.D. card. If your name has changed, or will change, prior to the closing, documentation must be provided to support the change.
Who will be at the closing?
All Purchasers, Sellers, and their respective real estate agents, will attend the closing. The closing is conducted by a Metropolitan Title licensed settlement officer. For purchase transactions, sometimes the loan officer or mortgage broker attends settlement, but that is not typical.
How long will the settlement process take?
While the length of the transaction depends on many factors, such as if there are issues that need to be resolved between the parties or how quickly each party executes the documents, a Refinance transaction typically takes about 30 minutes while a Sale/Purchase transaction is usually 45 minutes to an hour. For sellers in a sale/purchase transaction, there are usually only a few documents to sign and it only takes about 20 minutes for those documents to be executed.
Can I review the loan documents before settlement?
Please let us know as soon as possible if you want to review the documents in advance of settlement. Metropolitan Title will need to coordinate with your lender to receive the documents in advance and provide them to you for review.
What happens after settlement?
For a Sale/Purchase the documents are signed at settlement, and copies are provided to the parties of each of the documents they executed. With the exception of the original deed of trust/mortgage, all original loan documents are sent back to the lender. Once all funds which are due for the transaction are received from the appropriate parties, the deed and deed of trust/mortgage are recorded in the appropriate land records. After the documents are recorded, any proceeds are disbursed to the seller and the payoff lenders for any existing mortgage on the property are sent, usually within 48 hours of closing.
For a Refinance of an investment property or second home, the same procedure as above is followed. For a Refinance of a borrower’s primary residence, there is usually a three (3) day right of rescission. This means that although all documents are signed at closing, three (3) business days must elapse before the legal documents can be recorded. It is only after recording in the land records that Metropolitan Title can pay off existing loans and/or disburse any proceeds to the borrower.
What is title insurance?
Title insurance protects against a loss to the lender or the owner in the event that the title to the property is other than as insured.
For more information on what Title Insurance is and what it protects, please see the “Title Insurance Info” page of this website.
Do I need a survey?
Whether or not you get a survey on your property depends on the type of property you are purchasing. If you are purchasing a condominium, a survey is not required. If you are purchasing a townhouse or single family home, your lender may require a survey. Even if your lender does not require a survey, it may be required for your owner’s title insurance policy. Please see the “Surveys” page of this website. Surveys are generally not required for refinances.
Why is the payoff amount on my mortgage higher than the principal balance?
Interest on your loan is paid in arrears, e.g. your April payment pays for March interest. The payoff amount collect any loan to be paid off includes the principal balance plus interest due from the time of your last payment through the date the funds are actually received by the lender. Even overnight express payments can be delayed, so Metropolitan Title routinely calculates interest through a date 5-10 days after settlement to ensure that sufficient funds are in the lender’s hands to pay off the loan. The lender will return any excess funds directly to the borrower. Unless the payoff lender specifies that it requires a check for a payoff, Metropolitan Title sends all payoffs via electronic wire transfer.
Interest on FHA loans is calculated through the end of the month, so borrowers pay interest y month rather than by day. Regardless of the day on which the payoff is received, the lender will require and retain the entire month’s interest. Parties who have FHA loans to be paid off are encouraged to schedule their closings during the 3-7 days prior to the last business day of the month.
My lender escrows for real estate taxes and homeowners’ insurance. What happens to the money in that escrow account once my loan is paid in full?
After the payoff funds are received by the lender, any overpayment and/or escrow balances will be refunded to you directly by the lender. This typically takes about 30 days.