Can we select our own closing attorney to handle the closing for the lender?

More information: My wife and I are in the process of refinancing our mortgage and the different mortgage lenders we have spoken to have told us that we can select our own closing attorney to handle the closing for the lender. How do we make the right choice?

Answer:

It is always difficult to decide who to use for your legal services. We suggest that you consider how long the attorney or title company has been doing business; what areas of the state they cover; and what are the fees that they will charge you. We at MassTitle are lawyers who have been providing real estate closing services for over thirty years. We cover the entire state of Massachusetts and our lawyers travel to the borrowers’ home to close the loans. In addition, upon request, we will provide written quotes for all of the fees and expenses involved in your transaction, so you know exactly what the cost is. Give MassTitle a call. You will be glad you did. [Read more…]

What is a Title Search in Massachusetts?

A Massachusetts title search is a process that is performed primarily to determine the answer to three questions:

  • Does the seller have a saleable interest in the property?
  • What kind of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land (real covenants, easements, or other servitude’s)?
  • Do any liens exist on the property which need to be paid off at closing (mortgages, back taxes, mechanic’s liens, or other assessments)?

When a title search is needed, it is most often in one’s best interest to contact a title company or attorney to conduct an exhaustive title search. For example, a title report may also show any easements, or recorded legal rights to the property or portions of the property. A previous owner may have legally given a neighbor the right to share the driveway, or the city may have a right to strips of the property for putting power lines, communication lines, water pipes, or sewer pipes.

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What is a title search?

A title search is an examination of all public records that involve title to a specific property. The search is conducted to verify that there are no liens or other claims against the property other than those scheduled to be paid off by a new loan or a purchase money mortgage and/or subordinated by a new loan. A title search also confirms that all former owners have formally given up their ownership rights to the property.

What are recording fees?

Recording fees are “fees” that are paid to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the “privilege” of recording documents that relate to real estate transactions. Some of the recording fees are as follows:

Deed $125.00
Mortgage $175.00
Discharge of a Mortgage $75.00
Declaration of Homestead $35.00

 

What does Title Insurance do?

To protect possibly the most important investment you’ll ever make- the investment in real estate.

A lender goes to great lengths to minimize the risk of lending money for the loan it makes on real estate. It checks on the borrower’s credit to determine their ability to repay the loan; and the lender seeks assurance that the quality of the title to the property it is loaning money on meets with the lender’s satisfaction; and that a title insurance policy protecting the lender’s loan will be issued to it by a title insurance company.

Does the loan policy protect the borrower?

The loan policy does not protect the borrower.

The loan policy protects only the lender against loss, not the borrower. The borrower for a purchase loan can obtain title insurance to protect their own interests, and it protects the borrower for as long as they own the property. The borrower can obtain from the closing attorney a list of the matters that an owner’s title insurance policy covers.

Why is title insurance necessary if there has been a title search?

Title insurance is issued after an examination of the public records. But even the most thorough search cannot absolutely assure that no title defects are present, despite the knowledge and experience of professional title examiners. In addition to matters shown by public records, other title problems may exist that cannot be found in a search.

A few of such title problems that can cause loss of title or create an encumbrance on title are:

False impersonation of the true owner of the property
Forged deeds, releases of wills
Undisclosed or missing heirs
Instruments executed under invalid or expired power of attorney
Mistakes in recording legal documents
Misinterpretations of wills
Deeds by persons of unsound mind
Deeds by minors
Fraud