Sellers - The Settlement Process
The settlement company coordinates all the parties, including the seller, buyer, real estate agents, lenders, etc., and gathers all the information for settlement. Some of the major steps that must be completed prior to settlement include:
- Reviewing the Sales Contract, title work, and survey, where applicable, to ensure that the property in question is clear of title defects and survey problems, and the contract accurately reflects the transaction.
- Gathering information from all the parties including a copy of the Sales Contract, information sheets from the agents, sellers, and buyers, and lender information.
- Establishing a time for settlement that is mutually agreed upon by all parties.
- Ordering payoffs for all liens of record.
- Ensuring that any required Termite Inspection has been completed.
- Collecting the Homeowners Association or Condominium Dues information.
- Scheduling the settlement with the buyer's lender.
Clients always ask what to expect at settlement. First, it is important to know what to bring with you to closing:
- A valid picture identification, such as a driver's license or passport.
- A voided check or wiring instructions if you want us to wire your proceeds to you. Otherwise we will overnight your check to your designated address.
How long do settlements last? A closing for a purchase usually lasts about one to one and one/half hours, but the seller's portion of the closing should only take around half an hour.
Who will be at settlement? At a purchase transaction, both parties (buyers and sellers) attend along with their agents, and occasionally the buyer's loan officer will come to settlement.
Who conducts the settlement? Most closings are conducted by a licensed Settlement Agent or legal counsel.
Most clients are also very interested in how much everything costs and what documents are being signed at closing. One of the primary documents reviewed at settlement is the HUD-1 Settlement Sheet. This document outlines all of the charges to each party, including Lender's Fees, Escrows, Government Recording Charges, the Survey, the Termite Inspection, HOA/Condo dues, and the Title Company's Fees. After reviewing the HUD-1 and signing our documents, you will sign the deed, which transfers ownership of the property to the Purchaser. Once the deed has been signed, you are done with your side of the transaction and may leave.
We also hear questions about what sellers need to be prepared for after settlement. Several important events occur after the day of settlement to conclude the closing process:
- The first step is the recording of the Deed among the Circuit Court Land Records for the appropriate jurisdiction. This step alerts the public to the fact that the ownership of the property has changed into the names of the Purchasers.
- Once recording occurs, the next step is the distribution of all funds, whereby you receive your proceeds and your deeds of trust are paid in full and closed. Under Virginia law, the closing agent has two business days after settlement to record and disburse funds.
- Confirm that any Deeds of Trust paid off in the transaction have the necessary release documentation recorded in the Circuit Court Land Records.
- Scan your file into secure electronic storage for future access as needed.
- Finally, we understand that the settlement/closing process is very stressful for all involved, and we hope that this information will make the process smoother and more transparent.
Virginia Land Title Association extends a tremendous amount of appreciation to VLTA Member, Myrna Keplinger, Principal of the The Settlement Group for sharing all of the materials found under the Consumer section of this website. All materials are copy-writed under The Settlement Group and VLTA has received "reprint" permission for its use.