Frequently Asked Questions

All the Frequently Asked Questions about Title Insurance, and Settlement/Closing are available below

Frequently asked questions

In its simplest form, title insurance helps protect your right to occupy and use the structure and land you purchase (i.e., “the property”).

The actual dollar amount of title insurance is contingent on the: (A) Dollar amount of the purchase price of the property in addition to being contingent on the dollar amount of the loan obtained, or (B) Dollar amount of the loan only – Important note: Scenario “B” typically only applies for refinance transactions or on a purchase transaction where an Owner’s Title Policy is not purchased.  In order to get the most updated information and better anticipate the potential cost of Title Insurance for a specific property, we highly recommend you contact us directly for a quote.

Great News!  There is no future financial obligation with an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance.  An Owner’s Policy is a one-time premium paid at closing when you purchase the property.  This is not an annual premium.  Unlike a homeowner’s/hazard insurance policy, which is paid annually for potential future occurrences, an Owner’s Title Policy is a one-time charge that covers items that may have arisen in the past and up to the time of purchase.  An Owner’s Title Policy does not include future discrepancies.

Most lenders require a title insurance policy in which the lender is the insured policy holder (i.e. – a “Lender’s Policy”) to protect their investment.  This is a charge to the borrower, but only covers the lender’s interests, and only up to the amount of the loan.  So, if for example, a property is purchased for $750,000.00, but a loan is obtained for only $250,000.00 (meaning that you are providing $500,000.00 in cash to close), only the lender will be insured, and only up to $250,000.00.  Generally speaking, if you acquire a loan to purchase (or refinance) property, the lender will, in most cases, require that you purchase a title insurance policy on their behalf as part of the terms of their loan to you.  An Owner’s Title Insurance Policy covers a purchaser’s interests, so while the coverage is for the same property, and there are essentially two policies being issued for the same property, they cover two different entities.  If a property is purchased in “all cash”, a Lender’s Policy is not applicable.

Purchasing a policy of Owner’s Title Insurance is a form of protecting your interests in your investment.  It could be considered a pre-emptive strike or a defensive measure against potential loss due to title defects.  It is important to note that even with the most exhaustive title examinations, there is never a guarantee that all unknown title risks can be discovered before settlement. Therefore, purchasing an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy should always be seriously considered.  Title Insurance covers items such as, but not limited to:

  • Clerical Errors / Mistakes on Public Records
  • Erroneous Notary Acknowledgments
  • Forgeries / Fraudulent Documents
  • Mental Incompetence by Signatories
  • Prior Owner Judgments/Liens
  • the Third-party claims to be interest on title
  • Undisclosed/Unknown/Missing Heirs
  • Unrecorded Restrictive Covenants

Depending on the type of claim, the expenses to rectify the situation may be costly to the homeowner. Without an Owner’s Title Policy in place, the risk shifts to the purchaser and if something does arise, the responsibility to address the issue would also fall on the homeowner, and at their expense. Basically, the objective of an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance aims to protect (to the extent of the coverage) the purchaser against potential losses, and if losses do arise (again, depending on the extent of coverage), the insurer can cover those losses. The homeowner is protected from loss of time and expense in addressing these matters. Owner’s Title Insurance may cover, for example, the cost of litigation to settle an adverse claim.

The policy, in and of itself, is active as of the date of purchase.  Typically, though, the actual paper policy needs to go through procedural steps before it is issued.  In general, the paper policy gets mailed out to the purchaser within a few weeks of closing, but if preferred, the customer can always request that it be held at our office location for pick-up; alternatively, it can also be emailed to the purchaser in the form of a PDF attachment.  If there is a specific preference, we highly recommend that a request be made to your title processor or verbally provided to your assigned closer on the date of settlement.

Settlement / Closing FAQs

  • Traditional – We have a convenient office location in Alexandria, Virginia, situated immediately inside of the Beltway (I-495), off Exit 174 (Eisenhower Avenue Connector Exit). You are always welcome to visit our office!
  • Remote (Misc.) – Location of the customer’s choice! Most clients choose to have our agent arrive at the property location so that you never need to leave home when signing your closing documents.  Other “Remote” options include the customer’s place of business, or a third-party location such as a restaurant/deli/coffee shop, etc. 
  • Remote (Office) – Another popular “Remote” option is to close at your Real Estate Agent’s office or a convenient office location of your mortgage lender. Advance notice is requested for this option to ensure availability with your Agent’s office or your mortgage lender’s office.
  • Curbside – This option became popular during the COVID pandemic. Any location of the customer’s choosing, including, but not limited to: The Cloverleaf Title and Escrow LLC office parking lot, the customer’s driveway, shopping center parking lots, etc.  With this type of settlement, the customer(s) stay in the car while our notary/agent watches you sign through the window.  Documents can be explained through an open window or via telephone.  While masks are always worn by our agents, this type of closing helps to enforce social distancing practices during these unique times.
  • Mail Away – Are you currently living abroad, but are not scheduled to be in the area by the settlement date? No problem.  We can email you the documents via our secure portal, where you would need to print and take to a US notary to sign in their presence.  Once completed, you will mail back all documents to our office.  This type of scenario usually applies for overseas clients and the documentation is usually signed at a US Embassy or US Consulate office.  Please note that this type of closing most times will delay the close-out of the transaction until originals are received in our office.  This especially applies to Virginia properties where recordation of original documents prior to disbursing funds is required by law.
  • Power of Attorney – CONTINGENT ON LENDER PRE-APPROVAL. Another convenient form of closing if you know you will not be present for settlement is through the use of a Power of Attorney.  This document transfers the signing abilities to any person of your choosing who would be available in-person for closing.  Please note that the person signing on your behalf will need to hand-write somewhat lengthy verbiage for each of your signature lines, so you may want to disclose this to your point of contact prior to them agreeing to sign on your behalf.  Also, as noted above, this is not applicable in all situations as the mortgage lender will need to pre-approve the use of this document.
  • E-Closing – CONTINGENT ON LENDER PRE-APPROVAL. With the rise of and demand for more integration of technology in the real estate industry, one form of signing documents that is becoming popular is the use of E-signatures.  E-signatures are completed virtually online through the use of a secure portal with a verified/certified E-notary present with you online to watch you electronically sign your documents.  No physical signatures are required and when you are finished signing, the documents are uploaded to the system immediately.  Unfortunately, there are 2 main limitations to this type of closing, as follow: (A) If a lender will not approve this type of closing, a traditional, hand-signed closing is the only other option, and (B) some recording jurisdictions will not allow for documents that are signed electronically to be submitted for recording (they only accept hand-signed documents); therefore, if recordation cannot take place, the transaction is essentially nullified until hand-signed documents can be obtained for submission to the recording jurisdiction.  This delay may cause the lender to re-draw documents and could have other potential side-effects such as lock expiration issues for the customer.  If this is your preferred option, please always consult your lender and Cloverleaf Title and Escrow LLC staff to ensure that the lender will allow this type of closing and for our office to confirm if your recording jurisdiction will accept these documents.

Our closing agents and notaries require a valid form of ID.  This typically constitutes a valid (non-expired) driver’s license, a walker’s ID (non-expired), a valid US Passport (non-expired), a US VISA (non-expired), etc.  Basically, any form of ID, non-expired and issued by the US government is an acceptable form of ID.  We also highly recommend that you bring with you a second form of ID as sometimes the lenders will require a second form of ID.  This can be something as simple as a utility bill or a social security card.  At least one of the ID’s presented must contain a photograph for visual inspection and validation purposes.

Cloverleaf Title and Escrow LLC accepts checks and wire transfers.  Wire transfers are always preferred, but we will accept personal or cashier’s checks for amounts below, but up to $5,000.00.  Any funds due above and beyond $5,000.00 are required to be sent via a wire transfer.  Funds due for a purchase transaction or for an investment property transaction are due by the afternoon prior to the settlement date (wire transfer only – checks are due two business days in advance).  Funds due for a refinance transaction where a 3-day rescission period applies are due by the afternoon prior to your pre-determined disbursement date (wire transfer only – checks must be provided at the closing table). 

 IMPORTANT NOTES: –

  • WE DO NOT ACCEPT ACH
  • Money Orders are an acceptable form of a check (up to $5,000.00 only).
  • As stated above, checks are due two business days in advance (Purchase transactions and Investment Property transactions).
  • As stated above for refinance transactions where a 3-day rescission period applies, checks must be presented at the time of settlement when signing documents.
  • In the event the client is wiring funds to Cloverleaf Title and Escrow LLC, wire instructions will be provided prior to settlement via a secure portal. THESE INSTRUCTIONS NEVER CHANGE AND SHOULD BE VERBALLY VERIFIED WITH ONE OF OUR REPRESENTATIVES PRIOR TO RELEASING ANY FUNDS FROM YOUR BANK ACCOUNT!

This is ultimately up to the client(s).  Most times, settlements fall within an hour timeframe, but depending on the comfort level of the customer, it may take slightly longer or may also be completed relatively quickly.  It usually depends on the number of questions the client has for the closing agent and the amount of time it takes the customer to review the documents.

Purchase Transactions:

All funds will be disbursed in accordance with applicable state laws.  Once your documents have been recorded with the proper jurisdiction, we will mail you the recorded Deed and your Owner’s Title Policy (if applicable).  Customers can always request that the recorded Deed and Owner’s Title Policy be held at our office location for pick-up, or documents can be emailed to the purchaser in the form of a PDF attachment.  If there is a specific preference, we highly recommend that a request be made to your title processor or verbally provided to your assigned closer on the date of settlement.  IMPORTANT NOTE – If your closing occurs very late in the day, it is possible that we may not be able to disburse your file until we receive the original signed documents back in our office on the immediately following business days.  This particularly applies for Virginia files where recordation of your new mortgage must occur before we are allowed to disburse any funds.

 

Refinance Transactions (containing the 3-day rescission requirement):

All funds will be disbursed in accordance with applicable state laws on your set disbursement date, including, but not limited to the payoff of your current mortgage(s).  Any proceeds from the transaction will be disbursed in the form of either a check or wire transfer (to be determined at the closing table – restrictions may apply).  Customers should also be aware that if their payoff lender held an escrow account on their behalf to pay taxes/insurance, these funds will be sent back to them directly from their payoff lender.  If not received within 30 days from your disbursement date, we highly recommend that the customer call the payoff lender to inquire as to the status of their refund.

 

Refinance Transactions (Investment Properties):

All funds will be disbursed in accordance with applicable state laws on your closing date, including, but not limited to the payoff of your current mortgage(s).  Any proceeds from the transaction will be disbursed in the form of either a check or wire transfer (to be determined at the closing table – restrictions may apply).  Customers should also be aware that if their payoff lender held an escrow account on their behalf to pay taxes/insurance, these funds will be sent back to them directly from their payoff lender.  If not received within 30 days from your disbursement date, we highly recommend that the customer call the payoff lender to inquire as to the status of their refund.  IMPORTANT NOTE – If your closing occurs very late in the day, it is possible that we may not be able to disburse your file until we receive the original signed documents back in our office on the immediately following business days.  This particularly applies for Virginia files where recordation of your new mortgage must occur before we are allowed to disburse any funds.

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