First Time Home Buyer's Guide
to Title Insurance & Final Settlement
You don’t need help answering fluffy questions like what kind of neighborhood do you want, or what’s the difference between an adjustable rate mortgage and a fixed rate mortgage? But if you can grasp these 5 points, you'll be better prepared going into the homebuying process than the last generation was.
5 Things Our Parents Wish They Knew
1. The Buyer Chooses the Settlement Company
And those who shop around can save a bundle!
As many Pennsylvania homebuyers are starting to realize, you have the right to shop around and designate which settlement/title insurance company you want to use. It's the law. It's important to remember you're not obligated to use your lender's or real estate agent's in-house service providers and should take the time to compare quotes and services offered before agreeing to hire anyone.
The Role of Your Title Insurance/ Settlement Company
There are four main categories of services that most settlement companies provide. Here’s a breakdown along with what you should expect from them.
2. Title Insurance does NOT cost the same everywhere
Premiums are fixed, but service fees will vary.
Don’t be fooled… Although title insurance premiums are filed with the state and for the most part are non-negotiable, you can still save hundreds of dollars in miscellaneous title fees by shopping around. Often times real estate brokers/agents and sometimes lenders, will have a profit-sharing arrangement with the title insurance company that they’re referring you to. The result of these business arrangements… inflated and additional fees passed onto the consumer.
Why shopping around for title insurance is time well spent.
Consumers who shop around and compare services and fees will save substantially.
Cost of PA Title Insurance
Find out how much your title insurance and settlement service would cost with ALT Title. In just a few clicks, get an instant printable, sharable online quote. No contact information required.
How to order Title Insurance?
If you have a signed Agreement of Sale, you're ready to order title insurance. Use our simple online order form. Just fill in a few basic fields and attach a digital copy of your agreement to get things started.
3. Calculating your CLOSING COSTS is easy - with the right tool.
Know how much that house will cost before making an offer!
CashToClose™ by ALT Title is consumer friendly and modeled after similar software products that, until now, were only available to title insurance professionals. In less than 5 minutes, buyers will know how much cash they’ll need for settlement.
- Easy to follow closing cost worksheet
- Breakdown of the monthly mortgage payment
- Lender fees and credits
- Escrows for property and school taxes
- Seller reimbursements for taxes, association fees, municipal utilities
- Pro-rated based on settlement date
- We even highlight where you can save!
Calculate Your Closing Costs
Try CashToClose™ for yourself, for any residential property in PA. No downloads or email address required.
4. It's possible to REDUCE your closing costs.
Negotiate fees simply by asking questions.
When you’re buying a new house, the actual house itself isn’t the only thing you’re paying for—there are a number of fees that are rolled into the final price in order to make it officially yours.
The three primary players who will assist you with the purchase of your new home are your lender, your real estate agent/broker and your settlement/title company. So it stands to reason that these are the three places to start asking questions in an effort to find potential savings on your home buying expenses.
Which Fees Are Negotiable?
While many closing costs are unavoidable, there are some fees that can be negotiated down, waived, or avoided altogether.
5. Settlement doesn't need to take all day!
If you are well prepared, you are in and out in under an hour.
If you, your lender and your title insurance / settlement company are on the ball, settlement will be a breeze. You can do your part by coming to settlement prepared. Here are the most important legal documents you'll most likely be signing or reviewing at the settlement table. It's worth taking a few minutes to get familiar with them in advance.
Leave Settlement with These 5 Documents!
Following your settlement, your title company will record the new deed and new mortgage with your local municipality and once those documents are recorded your title company will issue your owner’s title policy. The owner’s policy along with the recorded deed will then be mailed to you. Save your marked up title commitment from settlement, as this serves as evidence of your title insurance until you receive the actual owner’s policy in the mail.
Settlement Day Checklist
Appraisal is complete, all of the inspections are finished and your mortgage lender and title insurance company are making sure that all of the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed for settlement. Here is a checklist to make sure that you are prepared. Don't miss this list of what to bring and what to take with you when you leave.
6. How you take title to the property should not be an afterthought.
When you purchase real estate, one of the decisions that you’ll be making is how to take title to your new property. There are different types of tenancy, and the one you declare on the deed is actually quite important. The type of tenancy indicates how the ownership is legally structured and how the property's ownership will be handled after one of the tenants is gone. Your title company can help you understand your options so that come settlement day, you're not rushed through this very important decision.
Have Questions? Ask an Expert!
Text, email or call our office and get answers to your real estate questions 24/7! Read questions submitted by others and view our answers. You'll be surprised!
Save up to $700 or more at the settlement table!
Compare our services and fees with an instant online printable quote.
No closing / settlement fee
No doc prep fees
Real estate attorney on staff
No miscellaneous title fees
No processing fees*
We respond to inquiries 7 days a week
*Rather than pay a real estate company a broker service / conveyancing fee, which averages $350-700, let ALT process your transaction at no charge.