Real Estate Closing Services in Maine & New Hampshire
The title professionals at Bean Group Title & Escrow, Bean Group’s affiliated title company, are responsible for ensuring an effective, hassle free real estate closing process.
Our team can provide you with:
• Title Insurance
• Title Search
• Escrow Services
• Closing Real Estate Purchase Transactions
• Closing Real Estate Refinance Transactions
To order title insurance, obtain a competitive quote, or a list of items and information that may be required at the closing, please call Bean Group Title’s customer service department at 603.422.8830.
Why Title Insurance?
Title insurance protects an owner’s interest in the real estate owned. If there is a lender, they require a lender’s policy. An owner’s policy is optional.
• Protecting your home investment
• Protecting your largest single investment
Real estate traditionally has been an owner’s most valuable asset and there are many laws that have been enacted to protect this investment.
When you purchase property, it is important to understand that the owner, the owner’s family and the owner’s heirs have rights or claims to the property. It is possible that the owner may not have any knowledge of rights or claims to the property. These hidden or unknown claims may be found during an extensive search of public records. If found, these claims are either eliminated prior to the policy being issued or listed as exceptions from coverage.
Hidden title hazards
Hidden title hazards are title problems that occur after the Title Policy has been issued. The problem may have been hidden or missed and include:
• An unknown heir who steps forward to claim ownership of the property
• A forged signature on a deed
• An incorrect public record
• An expired or forged power of attorney, used during a property transfer
• Unpaid taxes or liens
• Unrecorded releases
What does your premium pay for?
When you purchase a Title Insurance Policy, you pay a lump sum premium at the closing. The policy “insures against what has occurred in the past” and covers losses suffered up to the amount of the policy. In addition, if the policy owner is sued in regard to a “title defect” or “cloud on the title”, the owner will be reimbursed for legal costs incurred.
What is a title?
Title is a legal document providing evidence of a person's right to or ownership of a property.
What is a title search?
A title search is an examination of a title to a property in the registry of deeds and other public records to determine and confirm a property's legal ownership, and to find out what claims and restrictions are on the property.
What is Title Insurance?
Title insurance provides protection against financial loss from defective titles, liens, and encumbrances to real property. The primary purpose of the insurance is to eliminate the risks and prevent losses from title defects for events that occurred in the past.
The Title Insurance Company issues a Title Policy which states that if the status of title to a parcel of real estate is other than what is represented, and if the insured suffers a loss as a result of a title defect, the insurer will reimburse the insured (the lender or the owner) for that loss and any related legal expenses up to the amount of the policy.
Title Companies are willing to take this risk, as they conduct an extensive title search of public records to determine if there are any adverse claims to the subject property. If claims are found, they will either be eliminated or named as an exception to the policy. This process facilitates the transfer of real estate and real estate securities and provides the owner with security.
Lender’s Title Insurance Policy
Most lenders require that the buyer of the property obtain a Lender’s Title Insurance Policy for the amount of the mortgage. Since the lender has an investment in the property, they need the title insured to protect their interests which is the collateral of loans secured by the real estate. Some mortgage lenders, especially non-institutional lenders, may not require title insurance. Even though the borrower (buyer) pays for the Lender’s policy, the borrower is not protected.
Owner’s Title Insurance Policy
Owner’s Title Insurance is a policy issued to the buyer when purchasing a property. Coverage offered under the Owner’s Policy by the Title Company is typically based on the sales price. A separate premium is charged directly to the borrower for this coverage and protects only the borrower not the lender. Substantial discounts may be offered by the Title Company if the buyer purchases both the Lender’s and Owner’s policy at the same time.
The Closing Process
What is a real estate closing? This is the day in which the buyer and seller complete their transaction and the buyer obtains the keys to the property. The buyer receives title to the property and in most cases a mortgage is given by the buyer to the lender. The closing is administered by the closing agent who is usually a representative of the Title Company.
The closing process begins when a seller accepts the sales contract (Purchase and Sales Agreement). If the buyer is obtaining a mortgage, the lender will have provided a “Good Faith Estimate” of closing costs based on the property being purchased. The lender and your real estate agent typically recommend a Title Company or an attorney that will serve as the closing agent for the transaction. Once a closing agent has been selected, they will take responsibility for the reminder of the closing process.
Next, the Title Company will contact the buyer and the seller and disclose their role as the closing agent in the process. The Title Company will be preparing the closing documents and will request information necessary for the closing. The Title Company provides forms and a list of requirements to the buyer and seller so that they know what is required to complete the transaction.
Once the Title Company has been notified that the terms and conditions of the sales agreement have been met, they will begin to prepare the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. Once the closing date has been finalized and the HUD-1 completed, the Title Company will forward the document to the buyer and seller for review.
What Happens at the Closing?
Closing day is an exciting day for the buyer and the seller as well as the real estate agents involved with the transaction. There are a number of documents the parties will be asked to present and/or sign which may include:
Present Your Identification - The buyer and the seller present their photo IDs to the closing agent.
Present Homeowner's Insurance Receipt - The buyer gives the lender an insurance binder and a receipt to prove that homeowner's insurance has been obtained for the property.
Review HUD-1 Settlement Statement - The closing agent will review the HUD-1 settlement statement with the buyer and seller to verify that the agreed upon dollar amounts have been entered and, if so, have the buyer and seller sign the form.
Present Closing Costs Check - The buyer and the seller give the closing agent certified check or bank checks to cover the closing costs.
Review All Other Documents - The closing agent will have the buyer and seller review and, if correct, sign all remaining documents that are part of the closing process.
Execute Mortgage Documents - The buyer reviews and signs all of the documents required by
the lender, the most important of which are the note and security instrument (either a mortgage or a deed of trust).
Receive Title to the Property - A warranty deed is given to the buyer, signed by the seller.
Receive Keys to the Property - At the conclusion of the closing process the buyer will receive the keys to the home. The seller may also provide the buyer with documents such as instructions and warranties for appliances and other major components that are part of the home.
Lender Funding of the Mortgage – the lender has made arrangements to “fund the loan” by wiring or presenting funds to cover the mortgage amount.
Distribute Funds – the closing agent will distribute net proceeds to the seller and pays the other parties that performed services in the transaction.
Record Legal Documents - The recording process is the final step in the closing process. The closing company, attorney, or Title Company that handles the transaction will complete the recording. The process officially records certain documents such as the warranty deed and the security instrument.
Preparing for Closing
Once the Title Company has been selected, they will forward information to prepare you for the closing. If you are obtaining a mortgage, you must obtain Homeowner’s Insurance for the property unless it is a land purchase. The Title company requires (lender requirement) that you have a property insurance binder with a paid receipt for the first year of the policy. You may need to obtain flood insurance if the property is in a flood zone.
On the closing day, you will be required to bring a cashier’s or a certified check to the closing in the amount specified on the HUD-1 statement. This amount will include the closing costs and the remainder of the down payment required for the mortgage on the property.
How much does title insurance cost?
The premium rates charged by a Title Insurance company are filed with the New Hampshire Insurance Department. The rates and fees are available for public inspection at the Insurance Department. The premium amounts are calculated based on the sales price, the mortgage amount (lender’s coverage) and if there will be an Owner’s Policy.
The HUD (HUD-1) is also known as a "settlement form” or closing sheet". The form is a standard form used in the United States by the closing agent to itemize services and all the fees imposed upon the seller and the buyer (borrower) in a real estate transaction. Fees associated with the transaction that are paid prior to the closing are included in the HUD. The form provides the interested parties with a complete account of incoming and outgoing funds.
The RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) statutes require that the form be used as the standard real estate settlement form in all transactions in the United States which involve federally related mortgage loans. In addition, most closing agents use the HUD-1 in cash transactions.
Since 2010, the HUD-1 settlement form also contains a Good Faith Estimate or GFE. This additional set of figures specifies estimated settlement figures provided by the lender upon application of the loan.
New Hampshire Recording Fees
The State of New Hampshire laws stipulate the fees that the register of deeds in each county may charge. The NH Department of Revenue administers the collection of these fees which are:
• The charge for recording each document shall be $10 for the first recorded page plus $4 for each additional recorded page. The charge for assignments of mortgages shall be $10 for the first recorded page, including the first mortgage assigned, plus $5 for each additional mortgage assigned plus $4 for each additional recorded page.
• The charge for recording a discharge of a mortgage, a release of a lien, or filings pursuant to RSA 21-J, RSA 260, RSA 282-A, RSA 382-A, RSA 439, RSA 450, RSA 454-B, RSA 498, RSA 511, or RSA 511-A shall be $15 for the first recorded page plus $4 for each additional recorded page. The charge for recording each plan shall be $9 for the first 200 square inches or portion thereof and $2.50 for each additional 100 square inches or portion thereof.
• An additional charge of $25 shall also be assessed for recording each deed, mortgage, mortgage discharge or plan, but shall not be assessed for the recording of any other document. The charge provided for herein shall be paid by the grantee in a deed, the grantor in a mortgage, the person or entity discharging a mortgage in the case of a discharge, and the primary owner of property shown on a plan. The charge provided for in this section shall not be assessed for the recording of any documents in which the United States or any instrumentality thereof, the state, a state agency, a county, a municipality, a village district, or a school district is a party.
New Hampshire Real Estate Transfer Tax
The NH Department of Revenue Administration sets and administers the transfer tax. The “Real Estate Transfer Tax” is defined as a “tax on the transfer, sale or granting of real property or an interest in real property”. The tax is $.75 per $100 of the price of consideration or the transfer. The tax is assessed on both the buyer and the seller, with a minimum charge of $20 each.
The Form CD-57 is filed with the NH Department of Revenue Administration, but the tax is paid at the Registry of Deeds Office in the County where the property is located. The Form CD-57-HC for Real Estate Holding Companies is both filed and paid directly to the NH Dept. of Revenue Administration.
Maine Recording Fees:
The State of Maine establishes recording fees for registers which are currently listed under “Maine Revised Statute Title 33, Chapter 11: REGISTER OF DEEDS”. The fees for all documents are:
• First page -$13.00 plus $3.00 surcharge (state government and municipalities are exempt from surcharge)
• Each additional page -$2.00 per page.
• Names in excess of four to be indexed -$1.00 per name (please count all grantors, grantees, aka's, trustees,dba's, partners, nominees)
• Marginal references - $13.00 each after the first one.
Maine Real Estate Transfer Tax
The State of Maine imposes a tax of $2.20 per $500 in value (rounded up) upon the sale, granting or transfer of real estate and any interest therein. The transfer tax is equally divided between the buyer and the seller, unless exempt pursuant to Title 36, §4641-C.