Chicago Title

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All About Closing

All About Closing - Overview
All About Closing - The Players
All About Closing - The Documents
All About Closing - Closing Costs
All About Closing - The Process


The Process

Even though “closing” or “settlement” often refers to the actual day that the transaction is finalized, it’s actually a process that begins as soon as a purchase contract is signed.


Inspection — You’ll want to be sure the home you’re purchasing doesn’t have any major flaws. Hire a professional inspector to walk you through the property and point out any issues. You should also receive a written summary of his/her findings.

Appraisal — Your lender will require an appraisal of the property’s fair market value to ensure that they’re not lending you more than the house is actually worth. Your real estate agent can help you find a licensed appraiser, but most lenders have their own and will take care of scheduling this directly with the realtor, or homeowner.

Title Insurance — It’s a good idea for you to take out title insurance before you purchase the home, to protect you against any unforeseen claims that may arise. (Get a Rate Quote by entering your zip code in the quick tool in the sidebar.)

Homeowner’s Insurance — Because your new home will be used as collateral against your loan, your lender will require that you secure homeowner’s insurance. Be sure to take care of this well in advance of the closing date. You will likely be required to show proof of purchase, so ask your insurance company for a binder.

Walk-Through – Within 24 hours before your closing meeting, be sure to conduct a walk-through of the property to ensure that it’s in good condition and that any issues and/or contingencies have been resolved.

While you’re handling all of the above, Chicago Title will be conducting a search on the property’s title. We pore through property records looking for potential problems that might prevent a smooth transfer of ownership, such as old liens, tax liability, and housing code violations.

We may also physically inspect the property to verify the lot size and check for unrecorded easements. Once our work is complete, we offer title insurance to the lender, to protect the bank from any undiscovered issues surrounding the title. (Because the lender’s policy protects only the lender, you’ll want to be sure you’re covered by a title insurance policy of your own.)

Meanwhile, one of our settlement agents is hard at work coordinating a lot of details. First, he/she looks over the purchase contract to make sure it’s complete and accurate. If you’ve paid a deposit or “earnest money,” the agent places the funds into an escrow account. He/she also coordinates the payoff of an existing mortgage, making sure the payoff figure is available for the final closing.

If there are any problems with the property, we bring them to the attention of all parties involved. In short, we coordinate many behind-the-scenes activities and gain the cooperation needed to ensure a smooth transaction.

When “closing day” finally arrives, you’ll meet with several parties to finalize the transfer of property. Generally, the steps are:

Sign Documents — You’ll be asked to initial or sign a number of documents.

Pay Closing Costs and Escrow — You should arrive at closing with a certified check to pay for closing costs.

Handing Over the Keys — Once all the papers are signed and the money has changed hands, you’ll receive the house keys from the seller.


After the settlement meeting, we officially record the mortgage and deed at your local Recording Office or Register of Deeds. Funds held in escrow, such as broker commissions and money owed to the seller, are disbursed after the transaction is recorded at the municipal office.

  The Process