What should I look for in a title or closing company?
Builders and investors sometimes ask me if I can refer a good title company to close their loan. Others insist that we close with their preferred title company or attorney only to later struggle to get through the closing process. So, what should you look for in a title company?
I reached out to Chris Montalbano of Pilgrim Title for an answer to this question. Chris is a highly experienced title attorney in Orlando with several title offices on the east coast. Here is what he said...
"The first quality you look for in a title company is integrity. The title agent handles large sums of your money… you need to rely on the agent’s honesty. You also need to rely on the agent’s advice. Look for someone who will give you honest and understandable answers, even if those answers are difficult to hear, or are inconvenient. Truthful guidance is critical. Knowledge is next. Whether your transaction is a straightforward residential closing or a complex, multi-layered commercial deal stacked on multiple capital sources such as tax credits and mezzanine finance, the title agent must understand the deal in order to perform efficiently, accurately and timely. Knowing the law and the capacity for creative problem solving is essential in ensuring that your transaction is closed safely, soundly and on time.. And last, but certainly not least, service is critical. Your title agent should be accessible, responsive and able to talk you through the nuances and processes of the transaction."
As a lender who often closes complex construction loans with I would say that from my perspective responsiveness and communication are critical. If the title company is difficult to get a hold of or if they don't respond quickly to questions it is an indication that they aren't focused on your transaction and things could be missed. Deals can be lost and money can be in jeopardy due to a simple one day delay in closing so you'll want a title company you can trust and who you know will take the time to understand your transaction and your specific project related closing requirements.
Don't hesitate to shop around and if you are flexible be willing to consider a title company or closing agent that your lender knows, recommends and has worked with before. Often if a title company has worked with a lender already they have a good idea in advance of what the lender will need and this can give you a leg up when it comes to ensuring your project closes on-time.