Title & Escrow in Montana: A Guide for Buyers & Sellers

Page 1






- A Guide for the State of Montana -

At Fidelity National Title, we are committed to the successful closing of your real estate transaction by guiding you through the title and escrow process. Your team at Fidelity National Title is proud to provide this resource to aid in understanding title insurance and the escrow process. We are committed to offering you the guidance and support you need every step of the way.

With over 150 years in the title industry, Fidelity National Title, through our family of companies, offers you the financial strength, experience and expertise needed to close your transactions with confidence and complete peace of mind.

This guide has been prepared to give you an overview of the process involved during the purchase or sale of a property and also to explain the various roles we will play in helping you as you move toward the successful close of your transaction.

We hope you find this information helpful in the process of a smooth and successful transaction. Please feel free to contact us at any time with your questions or need for additional information. Visit

us online at www.FNTMontana.com AREA OFFICE LOCATIONS: FNT BIGFORK 8000 MT HWY 35, Ste 3 Bigfork, MT 59911 406-837-8000 FNT COLUMBIA FALLS 734 9th Street West Unit 5 Columbia Falls, MT 59912 406-862-7914 FNT LAKESIDE 7100 US HWY 93 South, Ste A Lakeside, MT 59922 406-300-6106 FNT KALISPELL 150 1st Ave., WN Ste A Kalispell, MT 59901 406-755-7004 FNT MISSOULA 320 West Broadway St Missoula, MT 59802 406-728-1500 FNT HAMILTON 1920 North First Street Hamilton, MT 59840 406-363-7004 FNT WHITEFISH 284 Flathead Ave, Ste 101 Whitefish, MT 59937 406-862-7914
PAGE 3 CONTENTS 04 The Transaction Details & Important Contacts 06 What is Title Insurance? 07 The Importance of Title Insurance 08 Reviewing Your Preliminary Report 10 Common Ways to Hold Title 11 Types of Coverage 12 What is Escrow? 13 Steps in an Escrow 14 Start inHere® Secure Document Portal 15 A Word of Caution: Wire Fraud Alert 16 Understanding the Fees & Forms 17 Understanding the Settlement Statements 18 Closing Costs: Who Pays What? 19 Preparing for a Smooth Signing 20 After the Closing 21 Change of Address List & Notes


Subject Property Address: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Escrow Number: ______________________________

Loan Number: ______________________________

Estimated Closing Date:

Inspection Date: ______________________________

Other Notes: _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________

Wiring Instructions: _____________________________________________________________


Wire fraud is on the rise, and Fidelity National Title urges our clients to CALL BEFORE THEY WIRE and NEVER rely solely upon email communication. Always follow these two simple steps:

STEP 1: Ensure you have the phone number of your real estate broker and your Fidelity National Title escrow closer (as soon as an escrow is opened).

STEP 2: Call the phone number you wrote down from STEP 1 above to speak directly with your Fidelity National Title escrow closer to confirm wire instructions PRIOR to wiring. If you receive alternative wiring instructions appearing to be from Fidelity National Title, be suspicious as we NEVER change our wiring instructions. Wire instructions will never be sent, requested or accepted via email.



Real Estate Agent: Title & Escrow:

Name: ___________________________________ Name: ___________________________________

Company: Company: Fidelity National Title

Address: _________________________________ Address: _________________________________

City/ST/Zip: _______________________________ City/ST/Zip: ______________________________

Phone/Fax: Phone/Fax:

Email: ___________________________________ Email ____________________________________

Lender: Home Warranty:

Name: Name:

Company: ________________________________ Company: ________________________________

Address: _________________________________ Address: __________________________________

City/ST/Zip: City/ST/Zip:

Phone/Fax: _______________________________ Phone/Fax: _______________________________

Email: Email

Home Inspection: Insurance Company:

Name: ___________________________________ Name: ___________________________________

Company: ________________________________ Company: ________________________________

Address: Address:

City/ST/Zip: _______________________________ City/ST/Zip: _______________________________

Phone/Fax: Phone/Fax:

Email: ____________________________________ Email ____________________________________



Like all insurance, title insurance exists to minimize the risk to an investment. More specifically, it provides the basic and essential protection for home ownership. Since a home purchase is usually the largest single financial investment most people make in their lifetime, the importance of fully protecting this investment cannot be overemphasized. Rely on Fidelity National Title for protection when purchasing real property.

Title insurance differs from conventional insurance in the following ways:

• It protects the insured from future losses arising from events of the past.

• The premium is a one time fee paid at issuance.

• The Owner’s policy remains in effect for as long as the owner and their heirs retain interest in the property. The Lender’s policy expires when the mortgage has been fully satisfied.

There are two main categories of risk that Title insurance covers:

• Hidden hazards (forgery, fraud, impersonator, incompetence of grantor or mortgagor, unknown heirs, etc.) which cannot be detected in the examination of title.

• Human Error - it’s a fact of life that people over time have made errors on documentation that affects title to a property, and title insurance protects from issues arising from these defects.

The role of the title company is to search for and examine public records. The facts uncovered will determine:

• Whether the person selling the property is or is not, in fact, the legal owner of the property.

• That the “estate” or degree of ownership being sold is currently and accurately vested with the seller.

• The presence of any unsatisfied liens which must be satisfied before “clear title” can be conveyed.

• Existing restrictions, easements, rights of way or other rights granted to others who are not owners which may limit the right of ownership.

• The status of property taxes and other public or private assessments.

Title insurance is actually a process...with the insurance policy being the end product.

This process starts with a comprehensive search of public records to determine if any liens or other encumbrances are attached to the title. During the search, detailed information from potentially hundreds of sources is gathered and reviewed, including tax records, court judgments, deeds and an evaluation of whether the property characteristics are accurately reflected by the information on the title. Not surprisingly, one in four title searches uncovers some problem that must be rectified prior to closing.

Protecting purchasers against loss is accomplished by the issuance of a title insurance policy, which states that if the status of the title to a parcel of real property is other than as represented, and if the insured suffers a loss as a result of title defect, the insurer will reimburse the insured for that loss and any related legal expenses, up to the face amount of the policy.



Title insurance at its core protects you, the insured, against lawsuits challenging your interest as lawful holder of title. By taking steps to minimize risk at the time of issuance, you will be protected against loss of title. Fidelity National Title provides you with the peace of mind you need, knowing that the investment you’ve made in your home is as safe as possible. If you have any questions concerning your coverage, please contact your local Fidelity National Title office.

In addition to matters shown by public records, other title problems may exist that cannot be disclosed in a search. Just a few examples include:

• Errors or omissions in deeds

What if a title search fails to uncover an existing defect?

These are commonly referred to as “hidden risks” and do arise from time to time. They are undiscovered defects which may arise long after you have bought your home.

Protection against loss from claims on real estate, which cannot be discovered by examination of the public records, is an important benefit which title insurance provides. The title to the home which you have paid for—and to which you have received a deed—could be seriously threatened or completely lost by circumstances such as forgery, confusion due to similar names, error in the records— to cite just a few hazards.

Title insurance mitigates the risk of loss of title, giving you peace of mind on your investment.

• False impersonation of the true owner of the property

• Forged deed, releases or wills

• Instruments executed under invalid or expired power of attorney

• Undisclosed or missing heirs

• Mistakes in recording legal documents

• Misinterpretations of wills or deeds by persons of unsound mind

• Judgments

• Mechanic liens

• Deeds by minors

• Deeds by persons supposedly single, but in fact married

• Fraud on the part of the Sellers

• Liens for unpaid estate, inheritance, income or gift taxes

• Undisclosed easements

How does a title insurance policy protect against all these dangers?

An Owner’s Policy provides assurance that your title insurance company will stand behind you—monetarily and with legal defense if needed—if a covered title problem arises after you buy your home. Please contact us directly for more information about title insurance from the team with the expertise you can trust.


1 2 3




Are there any liens attached to the property? Types of liens that may be initiated include failure to make payments on any recorded judgments, past-due child support, unpaid homeowners association fees, or unpaid property taxes.


Are there easements, covenants, or other restrictions on the report that can impact the way that you, the buyer, intend to use the property?


Is the Preliminary Report up to date? Should the report be more than a few weeks old, please contact us to see if there are any changes or supplemental reports that have been issued.



ü Confirm the policy type is accurate for the transaction.

ü Confirm the seller’s name matches on both the preliminary report and the purchase and sale agreement.

ü Review easements, covenants, and any restrictions recorded against the property.

ü Promptly address “the BIG 3” on your report. Inquire as to the appropriate action needed to ensure a timely closing.

ü Make note of any issues on your report. Confirm removal, or understand their impact, prior to closing.

With origins that can be traced back 150 years, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, through its underwriting subsidiaries, is one of the nation’s premier real estate service companies, providing title insurance and other real estate-related products and services.


In the state of Montana State, there are three common ways title may be held to real property. The descriptions on this page are for general reference purposes only meant to provide assistance in understanding the differences. For additional information, please consult an attorney. Our experienced title officers may offer additional insight.


Vesting in State of Montana

Individually or as a Single Individual

Any person who holds title by themselves without another person or entity.


Two or more people have interests in the property. The individual interests do not need to be equal, but the sum of the interests must equal 100%. Each interest is separate and individual from one another, which allows for transfer, mortgaging, or sale of said interest. The interests of each tenant-in-common will pass onto his or her estate upon their death.

Joint Tenancy

Two or more people have equal interests in the property and the deed by which they take title must specify that the property is “held as joint tenants, with rights of survivorship”. Unlike tenancies-in-common, when a coowner dies, his or her ownership interest automatically passes on to the other co-owners. Evidence of intent, signed by the grantees, is generally necessary.

Fidelity National Title has a rich history of serving its customers with accuracy, efficiency and unequaled financial strength to back their title insurance policies.



Please contact us for a complete chart showing a deeper comparison of the three forms of coverage below.

1. ALTA Standard Owners Policy:

The Owner’s Standard Policy will cover the buyer against issues that could be discovered by an examination of Public Record.

Policy coverage examples include:

• A document upon which the title is based was not properly filed, recorded or indexed in the Public Records.

• Someone else has a right to limit use of the land.

• Someone else claims to have rights affecting title arising out of forgery or impersonation.

• Someone else owns an interest in the title.

2. ALTA Extended Owners Policy:

The Extended Owner’s Policy offers the most extensive title insurance as it covers not only matters of Public Record but also insures issues that are revealed as a result of a physical inspection or survey of the property. This is commonly issued for high value residential properties, large parcels of vacant land and commercial properties.

Policy coverage examples include:

• The owner is forced to remove an existing structure(s) because they encroach onto a neighbor’s land.

• Someone else has a legal right to, and does, refuse to perform a contract to purchase the land, lease it or make a mortgage loan on it because a neighbor’s existing structure(s) encroach onto the land.

Fidelity National Title provides homeowners peace of mind by protecting their interest in the property and their investment.



Escrow is an arrangement in which a neutral third party, the escrow closer, assembles and processes all of the components of a real estate transaction (including legal documents), records the transaction, and ultimately, disburses funds according to the buyer’s and seller’s instructions (purchase & sale agreement). The typical responsibilities in the escrow process are listed below.

The Seller & Their Agent:

• Delivers a fully executed Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) to the escrow agent.

• Provides evidence to meet the buyer’s conditions of sale, such as proof of repair work and inspections.

• Submits other documents such as tax receipts, mortgage information, insurance policies, and warranties.

The Buyer & Their Agent:

• Deposits funds required to close with the escrow agent.

• Approves any inspection reports, commitment for title insurance, or other items as called for by the PSA.

• Fulfills any other conditions specified in the escrow instructions.

The Lender (when applicable):

• Prepares the Closing Disclosure for the buyers.

• Deposits proceeds of the loan.

• Directs the escrow agent of the conditions under which the loan funds may be used.

The Title Company (Fidelity National Title):

• Receives a request for title service.

• Examines the title to the real property and issues a title report (commitment to title insurance).

• Determines the requirements and documents needed to complete the transaction and advises the escrow closer and/or real estate agents.

• Reviews and approves the releases, signed documents and order for title insurance prior to the closing date.

• When authorized by the escrow closer, records the signed documents with the county recorder’s office and prepares to issue the final title insurance policies.

The Escrow Closer:

• Obtains/Orders title insurance.

• Obtains approvals from the buyer(s) on the commitment for title insurance and any inspections that are called for in the Purchase & Sale Agreement.

• Keeps all parties informed of progress to the escrow.

• Obtains any required payoffs/release documents to clear title.

• Receives funds from the buyer and/or lender.

• In most cases, prepares vesting document and excise tax affidavit on seller’s behalf.

• Prorates insurance, taxes, rents, etc.

• Prepares a final statement for each party, indicating amounts paid in conjunction with the closing of the transaction.

• Responds to lenders requirements.

• Oversees the signing of the loan documents.

• Forwards deed to the county for recording.

• Once the proper documents have been recorded, the escrow agent will disburse and distribute funds to the proper parties.

• Prepare a final statement outlining funds received and disbursed in conjunction with the transaction.

For questions about the escrow process, please contact us directly.



Below is a step-by-step description of the escrow closing process.

Escrowdisperses fundsincluding sellerproceeds, broker commission,andloanstobepaidoff, aswellasanyotherrequiredinvoices.

Lender approves the signed loan torecordandsendsfundsintoescrow.

with escrow.

fundsrequireddepositsBuyer to close

aredocumentsLoan toreturned thelenderfor reviewandapproval

Buyer selects a home submits& withcontract pre-qual.loan agreementPurchase &earnestmoneydelivereddepositare to escrow. Escrow agreementpurchasereviewsandconditionsforrequirementsclosing

Buyer and seller receive & complete the

“Start inHere®” digital package.opening

ifLender,Buyer’sthewithcommunicationestablishesEscrow any.

Escrow theconfirms dateclosing preparesand documents after loan documents arrive from lender, if any.

Escrowordersandreviews the preliminarytitlereport Escrow deliversthepreliminarytitlereport toagentsforAgentsreview.deliver tobuyer/seller.




Start inHere® is a secure, digital workspace for home buyers and sellers to engage with Fidelity National Title as they begin their real estate transaction. It provides a more secure and intuitive digital consumer experience, while also allowing them to deliver earnest money in seconds.

The Start inHere® Digital Opening Package

When the escrow transaction is opened with Fidelity National Title, we will email both the buyer and seller a secure link to our Digital Opening Package (DOP), which includes the Mobile Earnest Money Deposit (EMD). Start inHere® uses advanced security protocols and multifactor authentication to initiate a secure digital opening experience with our customers.

The DOP is an intuitive, question-based information collection process that guides consumers through providing and confirming necessary information. Wire safety information and specific wiring instructions are also delivered securely for consumers to review and then acknowledge with an electronic signature.

Finally, after the DOP is sent, one of our customer care or escrow team calls both the buyer and the seller to verify they have received the email, understand the information needed, help the buyer with the EMD if needed, review the wire fraud warning & wire instructions, and answer any questions they may have.

What are the benefits of the mobile deposit?

Start inHere® Mobile Deposit allows buyers to enjoy the safety and simplicity of depositing their earnest money from the convenience of their smartphone.

How does the mobile deposit work?

With just a few clicks, Start inHere® mobile deposit makes delivering earnest money as easy as taking a picture of the front and back of a check. Deposits can be made as the buyer completes the Start inHere® questionnaire process or as a separate initial step.

Start inHere® Mobile Deposit is a contact-free and safe way to deliver earnest money.



INQUIRE BEFORE YOU WIRE! All parties, especially agents, buyers and sellers, may be targets of wire fraud due to email compromise. Simply relying on the wire instructions that were received via e-mail has caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in some transactions. Be Safe...Call First!

We urge everyone to “inquire before you wire” and never rely solely on e-mail communication when transferring money. Always follow these simple steps:

Step 1:

Verbally verify the phone number of the escrow closer on the transaction as soon as escrow is open.

Step 2:

Prior to wiring funds, call the escrow closer at the trusted phone number to confirm the wire instructions that were sent.

BE SUSPICIOUS of any changes in wiring instructions received at any time during the transaction, as Fidelity National Title NEVER changes our wiring instructions.

How Wire Fraud Happens:

One tactic of a fraudster will be to hack into a participant’s e-mail account to obtain information about upcoming real estate transactions. After monitoring the account to determine the likely timing of a closing, the fraudster will send an email to the buyer purporting to be the escrow closer or another party to the transaction. The fraudulent email will contain new wiring instructions and will request that the buyer send funds to a fraudulent account.

74% of home buyers believed their title company or bank could recover funds that are wired to the wrong account

(Retrieved from Alta.org, May 2020)

52% of home buyers are completely unaware of wire fraud in real estate

(Retrieved from Notarize.com, May 2020)

$3.5B was attempted to be diverted and wired to “criminally controlled” accounts in 2019

(Retrieved from fbi.gov, May 2020)



Many of these fees and forms for the purchase of a home are misunderstood, especially by first time home buyers and sellers. It’s important to have a basic understanding before signing the closing documents to ensure a smooth signing appointment. So, below is a brief description of documents and fees that may be seen when preparing to close on a new home.

Closing Disclosure

When financing from an institutional lender is involved, the buyer(s) will receive a closing disclosure from their lender a minimum of 3 days prior to consummation of the loan (signing of the loan documents) as required by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The seller will receive their copy from the escrow closer. The Closing Disclosure includes all the terms of the loan, what is being paid and what the Buyer and Seller will need to pay at closing. This is one of the most important pieces of paperwork, so be sure to take time to review the details.

Right of Rescission

The right of rescission is a right, set forth by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) under U.S. Federal Law of a borrower to cancel a home equity loan or line of credit with a new lender, or to cancel a refinance transaction done on a primary residence, within three days of consummation.

Settlement Statement

Based on the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement and instructions from the lender (when financing), the escrow closer balances the debits and credits for both the buyer and seller for the transaction. Both parties will receive a settlement statement, provided by the escrow closer, which outlines the final costs of the sale, to review and acknowledge all of the debits & credits for their perspective sides of the transaction. This format makes it easier to understand the Title Insurance Fees as compared to the Closing Disclosure (due to CFPB’s nationally required calculations).

HUD-1 Settlement Statement

This form is only used when there are transactions with specific types of loans such as reverse mortgages, home equity lines of credit, mobile home only, etc.

Closing Costs

Closing costs are the expenses, over and above the price of the property that buyers and sellers incur to complete a real estate transaction. These costs can include, but are not limited to, any expenses related to obtaining a loan, governmental charges such as property taxes and real estate excise tax, homeowners insurance, title & escrow charges, commissions and Homeowners Association (HOA) charges, to name a few.

Net Proceeds

Net proceeds refers to the amount received by the seller arising from the sale of a property. This is different from the homeowner’s equity, or gross proceeds in the home, because it takes into account all costs and expenses that are due from the seller as part of the sale.



Based on the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement and instructions from the lender (when financing is applicable), your escrow officer balances the debits and credits for both the buyer and seller for the transaction. Both parties will receive a settlement statement to review and acknowledge all of the debits & credits for their perspective sides of the transaction. When financing from an institutional lender is involved, both buyer and seller will receive not only a settlement statement but also a closing disclosure, as required by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Financial Consideration: This section will reflect the final sales or purchase price of t he home as well as any agreed upon credits. This will also reflect the amount of the earnest m oney deposit and the principal balance of the new loan, if applicable.

Prorations/Adjustments: Common types of proration and/or adjustments that may be found here would be property taxes, HOA dues, capacity charges or other assessments. The prorations adjust for items prepaid or outstanding that have to be split between the parties based on the date of ownership transfer.

HOA Charges: Each Homeowners Association specifies certain costs for the buy er and/or seller that are due upon the transfer of ownership. This can be for any property subject to an association and is not limited to condominiums. Some common charges are move-in/move-out fees, demand fees, transfer fees and prepaid dues, just to name a few.

Commissions: Commission amounts due to the real estate brokers as agreed to in the listing agreement, buyer’s agency agreement or the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

Title & Escrow Charges: The seller in a real estate transaction pays for the owner’s title premium which provides coverage to the buyers. The title premium is based on the sales price of the home and the type of policy called for in the Purchase and Sale Agreement. If there is financing involved the buyer pays for the loan coverage based on the amount of the loan. The buyer and seller each pay a portion of the escrow fee, an amount which is also based upon the sales price.

Government Charges: Real estate excise tax (REET) is a tax on the sale of real estate. The real estate excise tax is typically paid by the seller of the property, based on the sales price. Recording fees can be paid by the buyer or the seller depending on the document that is being recorded as part of the transaction. The buyer typically pays to record the Deed (transfer of ownership) and the Deed of Trust (security document for the loan). If the seller is using a Power of Attorney for the sale, this is an example of a document the seller would pay to record.

New Loan Charges: New loan charges are all applicable charges associated with the financing. Some common line items may be an origination fee, application fee, appraisal, credit report, tax service fee, flood certification, per diem interest, homeowner’s insurance or reserve account deposits for taxes, and insurance. Depending on your specific loan type, the fees may vary.

Payoffs : Existing loan(s) or lien(s) secured by the property will be paid off through closing. Escrow will work with the sellers to obtain the necessary account information, to order demands for any loans or liens secured by the property, and these amounts will be reflected accordingly on the settlement statement.

Miscellaneous : This section will reflect any costs that are not allocated to an earlier section of the statement, yet are necessary costs of the transaction. Things you may see in this section are utility estimates and mobile notary fees, or any other costs that are specific or unique to the transaction.

BUYER SELLER ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ? ?


Closing costs may be confusing. Let’s break it down by buyer and seller. Keep in mind, all costs are subject to negotiation. The list below reflects what is generally considered acceptable for the Montana area.


• Title Insurance premium for owner’s policy

• Half of the escrow fee

• Real estate commission

• Real Estate excise tax, if any

• Any city transfer/conveyance tax

• Document preparation (if applicable)

• Documentary transfer tax, if any

• Payoff of all loans in seller’s name

• Interest accrued to lender being paid off

• Statement fees, reconveyance fees and any prepayment penalties

• Any judgments, tax liens, etc. against the seller

• Tax proration

• Any unpaid homeowner’s dues

• Recording charges to clear all documents of record against seller

• Any bonds or assessments

• Any and all delinquent taxes

• Mobile Notary fees, if any

• Homeowner’s transfer fees

This is not intended to be an all inclusive list of fees and charges on every transaction, but rather a guide to the major costs of buying or selling real estate property. Our team would be happy to review and explain your closing costs prior to finalize the transactions.


• Title insurance premium for the lender’s policy

• Half of the escrow fee

• Document preparation (if applicable)

• Recording charges for all documents in buyer’s name

• Tax proration from the closing date

• All new loan charges (except those required by lender for seller to pay)

• Interest on new loan from date of funding to 30 days prior to first payment date

• Assumption/change of records fees for takeover of existing loan

• Beneficiary statement fee for assumption of existing loan

• Inspection fees (termite, roofing, property inspection, geological, etc.)

• Fire insurance premium for first year

• Mobile Notary fees, if any

• Home Warranty (according to contract)



Closing Day is Here! Understanding the signing process can really help ensure a smooth closing. We’ve included some important information below to help both the buyer and the seller be fully prepared for their signing appointment.

Bring the Right Materials:

• Buyers will need to deposit their down payment and closing costs in the form of a bank wire 24-hours prior to closing. Wire instructions will be provided through Fidelity National Title’s Start inHere® secure portal when the transaction is opened with us. We will never send or accept wire instructions via email. ALWAYS be sure to confirm wire instructions directly with the escrow closer before completing any transfer.

• Each buyer and seller must bring 2 forms of identification:

1. A government-issued form of identification that includes a photograph

2. A second piece of identification such as library card, AAA membership card or warehouse card

• Buyers should bring any materials needed to fulfill conditions from the Lenders. If the buyers have lender conditions to fulfill, they will be notified of the missing documentation prior to closing. Items on the list of conditions may include:

1. Most recent pay stubs

2. Copies of tax forms

3. Copies of credit card invoices that are being paid at closing

Take ALL the Time Needed...It’s a Process!

• Buyers and Sellers will sign their documents prior to* their actual closing date. After documents are signed, they are returned to the lender for review and final approval (see difference and key steps on next page). *On FHA purchases the seller’s documents also have to be reviewed by the lender which prohibits a seller from signing early.

• The way in which sellers decide to receive funds will determine when they receive their proceeds. They may choose to:

1. Pick up a check after recording numbers have been received

2. Have their check mailed or sent via overnight delivery

3. Have funds wired into their account, to be received the next business day after closing



When it comes to real estate transactions and escrow, the terms “signing” and “closing” are often used interchangeably which creates some confusion. They are very different steps in the process, and there are a few key steps in between. The descriptions below should clarify.



Before the signing appointment, the escrow team will work with the lender as they prepare the “Closing Disclosure”. The buyer(s) will then review and sign for acceptance, which initiates the required waiting period of 3 days. During the waiting period, the escrow team will prepare the necessary escrow and title transfer documents. After the required waiting period, the lender will send to escrow all documents required for the “signing”.


At the signing appointment, all final documents requiring signatures will be presented to the buyer and seller (separately). They will need to have any required funds to close as well as acceptable forms of identification for notarization (listed on the prior page).


Once the loan documents have been signed, the escrow closer delivers them to the lender for review. Upon completion of all requirements and receipt of signatures, the lender will notify the escrow closer that it is time to “release funds”, i.e. “funding”. The review is typically completed within 24 to 48 hours.


Once the lender confirms authorization for recording and all funds are received by escrow, the documents are either electronically recorded or hand-carried to the county recorder’s office by the title insurance company. Recording numbers are unique and specific numbers given by the county recorder’s office to a properly executed legal document thereby making it part of the public record. Once a recording number is issued, the buyer is considered “on record” as the new party holding title to the property.


When the transaction is “on record” with the county, the ownership of the property has been officially transferred to the buyer and funds are disbursed to the seller. Depending on the specified possession date agreed to within the purchase and sale agreement, the buyer may then receive the keys to their new property and take possession.



As you close on your property, you may be thinking ... “Now What?”

Your team at Fidelity National Title is here to ensure you have an exceptional experience throughout all stages of your ownership, so we have included the following list of considerations at the close of your successful escrow.


An important consideration at closing is the transfer of your utilities. Be sure to contact your local service providers for transfer of service for items such as electricity, gas, phone, water, cable/satellite, internet and garbage services. The various service providers have different timelines and requirements. Be sure to have your closing statement available, as needed, and feel free to contact us for a copy.


Contact your local post office for your change of address forms to ensure proper delivery of mail to your new home. You may also wish to proactively alert those that regularly send you mail, such as current service providers and personal contacts, to ensure that you are receiving your mail promptly.


Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles to update your address. If you have moved to a new state, you may be required by law to obtain a new driver’s license issued by your state of residency.


Upon receipt of the keys to your property, be sure to schedule to have your locks changed. This would also be a great opportunity to pursue the purchase of a new locking system such as a SmartHome lock that will integrate with your SmartHome system for remote management of your door locks.


In your closing documentation, you will find written instructions containing your new payment information and deadline for your first loan payment. Make a note of the date so that you may be sure to submit your payment on time in the event that you don’t receive further information from your current lender. Please contact your lender directly with any questions about your payment, deadline, taxes or insurance.

You may also find that your loan is sold to another company shortly after your closing. For your protection, be sure to contact your lender from the time of closing to confirm the transfer of the loan before making the payment to the new lender.




☐ Electric

☐ Cellphone

☐ Internet

☐ Cable

☐ Gas

☐ Water

☐ Sewer

☐ Garbage

☐ Recycling

☐ Home Security


☐ Employer / benefits / 401k

☐ Schools & alumni associations

☐ Children’s organizations

☐ Clubs (athletic / misc)

☐ Relatives, friends, business

☐ Child care provider


☐ Driver’s License (dojmt.gov/driving)

☐ Post Office (www.usps.com)

☐ Voter Registration


☐ Veterans Affairs


☐ Banks / credit unions

☐ Finance company

☐ Credit cards

☐ Charities

☐ Financial advisor / investments


☐ Life

☐ Home

☐ Auto

☐ Health

NOTES ☐ ☐ ☐ ________________________________________ ☐ ________________________________________ ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ ________________________________________ ☐ ☐ ☐


_____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.