Frequently Asked Questions

Seller

Why do you need my Social Security Number

There are two reasons:
1 – We must provide a Form 1099-S to you and to the IRS. This form requires your social security number.
2 – We are required to determine compliance with the Foreign Investments in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). We obtain your social security number to confirm that you are not a Nonresident Alien.

What is an Estoppel Letter?

An Estoppel Letter is an official letter from a Homeowner’s Association or Condo Association which shows current account information as well as other financial requirements for the transfer of real property. An Estoppel Letter is required for each relevant association for each real property sale.

How will I be reimbursed for Taxes, HOA dues that I have paid?

Any prepaid property taxes or HOA dues that have been paid prior to closing will be refunded to you as part of the closing.

Will my homeowner’s insurance be prorated at closing?

No. Homeowner’s insurance is handled outside of closing. Once your homeowner’s policy is cancelled, your insurance company will refund you directly. Typically, your agent will require a copy of the fully executed settlement statement or closing disclosure form to cancel your insurance. We will provide copies of all fully signed documents to you after closing.

Why am I being charged for Owner’s Title Insurance?

Charges on the closing statement reflect what was agreed upon in your real estate sales contract. That said, both Collier and Lee County have guiding customs with respect to who pays for Owner’s Title Insurance. In Lee County, it is traditionally the seller who pays for Owner’s Title Insurance. In Collier County, it is typically the buyer who pays for the policy. There is no “right” or “wrong” in terms of who pays for what. Like all contract terms, even customary items are subject to negotiation.

How do I know if my survey is accurate?

We understand that you are not a licensed surveyor. When we ask if your survey is accurate, we are simply concerned with changes that have been made to the property since the date the survey was completed. Have you put in a fence? Have you made an addition affecting the footprint of the property? Have you built a deck or put in a pool? These are examples of changes that would cause your survey to be inaccurate. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us.

What information do you need from me to send me a wire transfer and where do it find it?

To send you a wire, we need your bank’s ABA or Routing number and your bank account number. If the account is a brokerage account or an account with a credit union or local bank, additional information may be required. Typically, your bank or financial institution will be happy to provide you with written incoming wire instructions. Alternatively, you can find this information on the bottom of a check; HOWEVER, many times the ABA or Routing number (the 9 digit number) from your check will not work for incoming wires. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and several other large banks have separate ABA or Routing numbers which are used for incoming wires, so please check with your bank. It’s always safest to obtain instructions directly from your bank or financial institution.

Can I sign closing documents through email or using e-sign or docusign?

Unfortunately No. Pursuant to Florida Law and recording requirements, we must have original signed and notarized documents for closing.

I won’t be in Florida for closing, how will I sign closing documents?

You can sign documents at our office prior to the date of closing. Or if you aren’t in town at any time, we will ship closing documents to you overnight via FedEx. Simply provide a shipping address on the closing questionnaire form. You will need to arrange to have documents signed in front of a notary (typically your bank or a local pack and ship will provide this service), and you will also need one additional non-relative to witness documents for you. If you will be out of town for closing, be sure to let our office know as early as possible so that we can plan accordingly.

Is there a closing meeting with all parties on the day of closing?

No. In Florida, closing meetings are held separately with each party. The only purpose of the meeting is to sign closing documents. If you will be out of town for closing, be sure to let our office know as early as possible so that we can plan accordingly.

If I sign documents prior to the closing date, do I need to come to your office on the day of closing?

No. Document signing is the only reason to attend our offices. See closing meeting question above.

Buyer

What is Owner’s Title Insurance, and why should I obtain it?

Title Insurance protects your investment in a new home. As a new homeowner, you don’t want to worry about having to pay a bill left behind by a previous owner or suffering major financial loss as a result of a title defect (while still having to pay back a loan on the property). Any number of problems that remain undisclosed after even the most meticulous search of public records can make a title defective. These hidden “defects” are dangerous because they could force you to spend substantial sums on a legal defense and still result in the loss of your property.

On the other hand, buyers who purchase Owner’s Title Insurance from our agency have a title insurance company, Old Republic Title, behind them that has the obligation, whenever coverage exists, to cover not only your financial loss, but also the legal expense associated with a covered claim. Owner’s title insurance is a buyer’s option, but most real estate professionals will recommend it as an important protection for a valuable investment.

An owner’s policy protects you from:

Unpaid or Unreleased mortgages Forgeries and fraud
Unpaid taxes and assessments Unpaid judgments and liens
Child support liens Improper execution of documents
Missing heirs who could claim the property belongs to him or her Impersonation of the true owners of the land by fraudulent persons
Missed easements or rights of way that could limit your use of the property Impersonation of the true owners of the land by fraudulent persons
Missing heirs who could claim the property belongs to him or her 1. Mental incompetence of grantors on the deed
2. Invalid/contested divorces
1. Mistakes in recording or indexing of legal documents
2. Improper foreclosure
Liens filed by contractors who have not been paid
Why do I need an Owner’s policy if my Lender is getting a Lender’s policy?

The Lender’s Title insurance policy only protects the lender’s interest in the property. It does NOT cover your equity interest in the property. The full amount of your equity in the property is at risk during your ownership, not just your initial equity. The loan policy amount decreases each year and eventually disappears as the loan is paid off. An owner’s policy, usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase, provides protection for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property.

What is the survey for?

Financing – Your lender requires us to issue a title policy and endorsements thereto. One of the standard endorsements requires a survey. For this reason, you must have a survey to close with a mortgage. There are also added benefits discussed in the Cash Purchase section below.

Cash Purchase – A survey is not required for a cash purchase. You may wish to purchase a survey to view boundary lines as well as possible encroachments or easements affecting the property. In addition, survey coverage may be added to your Owner’s Title Policy with the purchase of a survey. This coverage protects against matters that were omitted or shown incorrectly on the survey.

What is the mailing address on the deed?

The Warranty Deed (title) will list your name (or other vesting information provided) as well as your mailing address. The tax collector will use this mailing address to send the TRIM Notice and property tax bill each year. Trim notices are released in late August or Early September and Property Tax Bills are released in late October or early November of each year.

What does “title vested as it appears on the contract” mean?

Vesting refers to how your name will appear on the Warranty Deed. For information on vesting options, please refer to the list of vesting options at the end of this FAQ.

How will you send me closing docs if I won’t be able to attend closing?

Financing – We obtain your loan closing documents from your lender directly. As such, we are dependent on the lender to provide them to us. Typically, we receive the documents only a few business days prior to closing. Because of the number of documents, we flag them for signature and send them via FedEx overnight shipping. The documents must be signed in front of a notary, and the originals must be returned to our office prior to closing. A prepaid return shipping label for FedEx overnight shipping will be sent to you along with the closing package.

Cash Purchase – There are very few documents for a cash purchase. Our typical process is to email closing documents to you. You will need to print and sign these documents as we do not accept e-signatures of any kind. The signed documents must be returned to us by email, fax, or in person.

Do you have a time and date for the closing?

Closing dates are determined pursuant to the sales contract. They typically are listed on or about the first page of the contract. Closing times are determined by our office, but we will do our best to accommodate your schedule.

Cash Purchase – Documents can be pre-signed prior to the date of the closing. If documents are pre-signed, you will not need to come to our office on the closing date. Many prefer this option as it makes things easier on the day of closing.

Financing – For local closings, mortgage lenders typically require their customers to sign documents on the day of closing. We prefer to set appointments between 9am and 2pm for mortgage buyers to facilitate same-day funding. Signing too late in the day can delay closing by 1 business day. For those who cannot attend closing, refer to “How will you send me closing documents…” earlier in the FAQ. For “mailaway” closings, mortgage documents will be signed prior to the closing date as originals must be in our office for closing.

Can I pay with a check or cashier’s check?

No. A Wire transfer is the only acceptable form of payment for any closing (Cash or Financing. This requirement lowers the risk of fraud for all parties involved in the transaction and has become an industry standard.

Vesting options – How do I take Title?

The following is a list of possible options with regard to how to take title. This is for informational purposes only, is not intended to be all encompassing, and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Husband and Wife or a Married Couple: This form of ownership creates an Estate by the Entirety; upon death of one spouse, property will automatically pass to the surviving spouse outside of probate.

Single – As an individual: Full ownership by one individual.

Joint Tenancy with full rights of survivorship: With this form of ownership, each owner holds an undivided interest in the property. Upon the death of one owner, his or her ownership share is split evenly among the surviving owners.

Tenancy in Common: With this form of ownership, each owner has an undivided 50% (or less in the case of more than two owners) share. Each undivided share will pass to the estate of the deceased owner upon death.

In Trust, as Trustee: Ownership will be governed by the Trust document.