Questions & Answers from your local experts in title and closing services.For additional information, please visit www.homeclosing101.org.
1Can I use a Power of Attorney in conjunction with the execution of documents?
Yes, but it must state that it can be applied to real estate or real property. This is different from a power of attorney for healthcare. Land Title Services will need to review and approve the power of attorney document prior to closing. You may wish to consult an attorney first.
2How do I provide "clear title?"
In order to provide clear title, all of the requirements listed on the title commitment must be satisfied. Land Title Services, and/or its affiliate Land Closing Services, will ensure these items are eliminated. This may include ordering payoff statements for your existing mortgage(s) and other liens such as outstanding special assessments, judgments or anything else that encumbers the property.
3What is the difference between a durable and non-durable power of attorney?
A durable power of attorney must state that it is still valid even if the principal becomes disabled, incapacitated, or incompetent. A non-durable power of attorney will cease to be effective if and when the principal becomes disabled, incapacitated or incompetent.
4I own the house alone. Does my spouse have to sign the conveyance?
Yes, if the property is your homestead, then your spouse must sign the deed or mortgage to convey his/her homestead rights per WI. Statute 702
5I have a marital agreement stating that I own the real estate separate from my spouse. Does my spouse still have to sign the deed or mortgage?
Yes, marital agreements do not change or alter homestead rights.
6My spouse is deceased. Does title to the property automatically transfer to me?
It does if the deed shows you and your spouse holding title as survivorship marital property or joint tenants on any type of property, or as husband and wife and the property is designated as homestead property, or as husband and wife on a deed recorded prior to 1986. Regardless, an HT110 form or Transfer of Decedent's Interest should be placed of record.
7If I sell my real estate, what is the transfer fee charged by the register of deeds?
The transfer fee is $.30 per hundred dollars of sale price or $3.00 per thousand.
8There is an item on the commitment that needs to be added/deleted/amended. How do I make this change before closing?
A. Contact the title company that prepared the commitment and ask them to prepare an endorsement making the requested change. The title company may require additional documentation to substantiate making the endorsement.
9I'm selling my home. Will the buyer's lender take care of all the closing papers?
A. No. The lender only takes care of the buyer's side of the transaction. You must draft the deed and transfer return, and prepare the closing statement, or hire Land Title Services and Land Closing Services to do this for you.
10I've sold an investment property. What else do I need to do be concerned with?
We will need to verify your identity, so please be prepared to show us a photo ID. In addition, several municipalities require that a certificate of code compliance be issued before a change in occupancy can occur. It is an item that must be provided prior to or at closing. Please contact your local village, town or city hall for information. Also, if you have had any work done by contractors in the six months before closing, you must have lien waivers from those contractors, which is a document that waives the contractor's right to file a lien against the property. You may be required to bring other items, which the closing company will inform you of prior to the closing.
11What is GAP Insurance?
It is additional title insurance that may have been required in the purchase contract, or by the buyers’ lender. The GAP period is the period of time between the effective date on the title commitment and the date that the new documents are recorded at the Register of Deeds. There is an additional cost for this coverage, but again, it is a one-time premium.
12Who prepares the Deed and other documents needed to convey the property?
Land Title Services, and/or its affiliate Land Closing Services, can prepare the Deed, Transfer Return, Closing Statement and any other documents called for on the title commitment. The lender may also use us to prepare the buyer’s side of the transaction. All of the seller’s expenses are included on the closing statement, and paid at closing, out of the proceeds of the sale. The closing statement also includes pro-rations for taxes and municipal utilities, which are normally credits to the buyer.
13What are the different kinds of surveys that may be required?
A Land survey is done to establish the ownership property lines. This may have been part of a "Subdivision" of a larger land parcel. After the land is purchased, and the house plans are approved a Stakeout survey is done, as part of the construction contract. At this time the placement of the house is marked on the land surface. This is often called a Proposed Survey because there is no physical portion of the house on the site yet. After the excavator has dug the hole in the lot within the Stakeout survey, the concrete footings are poured. Some municipalities require a survey based on the placement of the footing; hence the term Footing Survey. The foundation for the structure is built on the footings. The surveyor can do actual measurements from the walls that are now in place to the lot lines, easement lines, etc. This is the Foundation Survey. This is the survey a Title Company will rely on to determine whether there are any setback or easement violations that could cause a problem to the Lender (and Owner) at some future date. The Foundation Survey also verifies the size and shape of the structure being built.
14How do I fill out a lien waiver?
A lien waiver form is available in the Document Library section of our web site. The general information needed is self-explanatory; however, it is important to note a few items. Specifically, the date to be entered is the date through which the contractor is paid. Also, if the subcontractor/material supplier expects further payment it should be indicated on the waiver line which reads, “Waiver of lien rights is made for the following work” after the EXCEPT.
15What are the procedures for picking up my funds?
It is best that you schedule an appointment with our office. When calling for an appointment, be prepared to give your name, address, and escrow file number. During this appointment we will need to review the Lien Waivers and other pertinent documentation. We will then process the disbursement in an efficient and expeditious manner.
16Does Land Title provide 1031 Tax Exchange Services?
Yes. However, specific documents must be provided. It is best to consult with a tax attorney or accountant before starting this process. Please call us at 414-259-5060 for more information.
17How do I check on the status of a draw request?
If your request has been submitted more than three days ago, call our Escrow Department, providing your escrow file number and a phone number where you can be reached. An Escrow officer will pull your file to determine the status and call you back at the phone number you have provided.
18What does first lien position mean?
First lien position refers to the entity that would have priority over all other liens. Typically, the mortgage lender has first lien position.
19Can I be my own General Contractor?
If permitted by your lender, you can act as your own General Contractor. You need to be aware of the forms, liabilities, and procedures required to be self-employed. Land Title will typically charge more for escrow disbursement services under this scenario than if working with an experienced General Contractor.
20What is the difference between line item cost and an allowance?
A line item "cost" is what the builder will charge the customer whether the builder “actual” cost is higher, or lower, than the amount indicated for the line item. An allowance is a "maximum" dollar amount available for that line item; if the actual cost is higher, the Owner pays the additional cost; if the actual cost is lower, the Owner can use the excess funds for other purposes.
21As the Owner/General, can we use our own forms to request draws?
Yes, you may use your own forms. However, the forms provided by Land Title Services help the Owner/General identify what is included in the project, and in some cases, helps identify what should be there, but is not. Using the forms provided by Land Title Services will make the process easier for all parties.
22How long after closing should I expect to wait before receiving my final policy?
Land Title Services issues most final policies within approximately 30 days of closing.