Title and Escrow
First Centennial Title
Dickson Realty has aligned with First Centennial Title, a full-service title and escrow company with branch offices in Reno, Sparks and Incline Village.
What is an Escrow?
An escrow is an independent “stakeholder” account and is the vehicle by which the interests of all parties to the transaction are protected. The escrow is created after you execute the contract for the sale of your home and becomes the depository for all monies, instructions and documents pertaining to the sale. Some aspects of the sale are not part of the escrow. For example, the buyer and seller must decide which fixtures or personal property items are included in the sales agreement. Similarly, loan negotiations occur between the buyer and the lender. Your real estate agent can guide you in these non-escrow matters.
HOW DOES THE ESCROW PROCESS WORK?
The escrow officer takes instructions based on the terms of your Purchase Agreement and the lender’s requirements. The escrow officer can hold inspection reports and bills for work performed as required by the purchase agreement. Other elements of the escrow include hazard and title insurance, and the grant deed from the seller to you. Escrow cannot be completed until these items have been satisfied and all parties have signed escrow documents.
HOW DO I OPEN AN ESCROW?
Either your real estate agent or the buyer’s agent may open escrow. As soon as you execute the Purchase Agreement, your agent will place your initial deposit into an escrow account at the escrow company.
HOW DO I KNOW WHERE MY MONEY GOES?
Written evidence of the deposit is generally included in your copy of the sales contract. The funds will then be deposited in a separate escrow or trust account. You will receive a receipt for the funds from the escrow company.
WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED TO PROVIDE?
You may be asked to complete a Statement of Identity as part of the paperwork. Because many people have the same name, the Statement of Identity is used to identify the specific person in the transaction through such information as date of birth, social security number, etc. This information is considered confidential.
HOW LONG IS THE ESCROW?
The amount of time necessary to complete the escrow is determined by the terms of the Purchase Agreement. It is normally 45 to 60 days, but can range from a few days to several months.
What a Title Company does
The purchase of a home is probably the single largest investment you’ll make in your lifetime. It is only prudent that you want to safeguard your rights and investment. Title insurance assures that your rights and interests to the property are as expected, that the transfer of ownership is smoothly completed and that you receive protection from future claims against the property. It is the most effective, most accepted and least expensive way to protect your ownership rights.
Because land endures over generations, many people may develop rights and claims to a particular property. The current owner's rights - which often involve family and heirs - may be obscure. There may be other parties (such as government agencies, public utilities, lenders or private contractors) who also have “rights” to the property. These interests limit the “title” of any buyer.
Before your real estate transaction closes, the title company performs an extensive search of all recorded documents related to the property. These records are then examined by experienced title officers to determine their effect on the current status of ownership and a report is issued to you or your agents for review. This through examination generally allows any pending title problems to be identified and cleared prior to your purchase of the property.
If title insurance companies work to eliminate risks and prevent losses caused by defects in the title before the closings, why do you need a title insurance policy?
Because even after the most careful research, some title flaws may go undetected. Among the more common flaws to title which are not of record are forgery, invalid court proceedings, mistaken legal interpretations, defective deeds, confusion due to similarity of names, previously unrecognized rights of spouses and undisclosed heirs. These problems may surface at any time in the future.
Protection against these flaws and other claims is provided by the title insurance policy which is issued after your transaction is complete. Two types of policies are routinely issued at this time: an “owner’s policy” which covers you, the homebuyer for the full amount you paid for the property; and a lender’s policy which covers the lending institution over the life of the loan. When purchased at the same time, you can obtain a substantial discount in the combined cost of an owner’s and a lender's policy. Unlike other forms of insurance, your title insurance policy requires only one moderate premium for a policy to protect you and your heirs for as long as you own the property. There are no renewal premiums or expiration date.
Each policy is a contract of “indemnity”. It agrees to assume the responsibility for legal defense of your title for any defect covered under the policy's terms and to reimburse you for actual financial losses up to the policy limits.