What is a Closing Agent?
A closing agent is a person or business that is charged with the coordination of a variety of activities necessary for completing the sale of a house or other type of real-estate property. It is the job of this person to ensure that all documents and records are completed properly. He or she also makes sure the related funds are properly disbursed. Essentially, he acts as a custodian, a service that can only be performed by a neutral party.
A closing agent doesn’t work for the buyer, seller, real-estate agent, or lender. Instead, he handles paperwork and activities required for each party to a real-estate sale/purchase. For example, a closing agent request copies of such documents as the sale contract and termite inspection from the involved real-estate agent. Depending on the unique details of the loan/sale, he may also request attorney information and home-warranty documentation.
The closing agent also secures documentation from the lender, requesting the complete loan package from the entity providing the mortgage. She also obtains such things as closing instructions and details concerning disbursement of the mortgage funds. With this and other required documentation on hand, she then prepares the settlement statement, required affidavits, loan documents and a variety of other necessary documents for closing the sale/mortgage. In her dual role as the escrow agent, she also handles the disbursement checks.
At the loan closing, the agent meets with the borrower, seller and their representatives. At the meeting, the closing agent makes sure all documents, such as the note and Truth-in-Lending Statement, are properly signed, witnessed, and photocopied for distribution to the appropriate parties. He returns originals to the parties as required. For example, he gives the buyer/borrower copies of all the signed documents, including all the affidavits and documents provided by the lender.
The closing agent makes sure the buyer and seller agree that the papers are in order. She then collects any checks required for covering closing costs and/or deposits. She establishes a new escrow account if the lender is covering the borrower’s yearly property taxes and insurance. Though the agent collects checks at the closing, she does not usually disburse the funds in entirety until the transaction has been recorded.
Following closing, the agent’s job is to record the deed and mortgage with the appropriate courthouse. The original deed is then returned to the new real-estate owner while the original mortgage documents are returned to the lender. She then prepares the title policies for both the new owner and the lender. Usually, the closing agent returns such documents through the mail.
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