Although many of our customers are familiar with Midland’s residential escrow processors: Stephanie and Andrea at the Maumee office and Randy, Heather, and I at the Executive Parkway office, most do not know the full scope of our role behind the scenes to get transactions to closing. We work closely with all parties to the transaction, including the buyer and seller, their realtors, attorneys, lenders, brokers, title underwriters, and other departments at Midland to finalize the settlement statements and closing documents to complete the real estate transaction.
Behind the Scenes at Midland Title: Residential Escrow Processors
By: Jackie Quinlan, Escrow Processor
What qualifications to Midland’s escrow processors have?
Most of the escrow processors at Midland have been a part of the real estate world for our entire careers. During our time in the industry, we have made connections with processors at lenders, brokers, and builders offices and we can operate according to their preferences to help your transaction close timely. Several of Midland’ escrow processors are licensed title agents, which means they have studied and passed a test to show mastery of industry knowledge. All of our escrow processors attend regular training to stay up-to-date on industry trends and regulatory changes. We apply this knowledge daily in our interactions with our customers to make closing as efficient as possible.
What do the residential escrow processors do?
Document review and verification: One of the primary tasks of an escrow processor is to review and verify all documents associated with a transaction. This includes contracts, titles, financial statements, and any other relevant paperwork. Your escrow processor reviews your purchase agreement and prepares a settlement statement in accordance with the contract. We perform proration calculations to determine the allocation of taxes, rents, homeowners association dues, and other expenses in accordance with the purchase contract. We also calculate county recording fees and transfer taxes.
Managing Funds: Escrow processors oversee the flow of funds in a transaction. They ensure that funds are deposited in the escrow account and that disbursements are made according to the terms of the agreement. This helps prevent fraud and provides a secure way to exchange money.
Compliance Support: Midland’s escrow processors are very familiar with state and county requirements of a real estate transaction. We work with the county recorder, auditor, and treasurer to ensure that the property is properly transferred and that all taxes are paid at closing. We are also familiar with state and county-specific concepts such as Good Funds laws, deed and conveyance requirements and can answer your basic questions regarding your transaction.
Problem Solving: When issues or disputes arise during a transaction, escrow processors play a key role in finding solutions to get the parties to the closing table. Our problem-solving skills can help keep the transaction on track and avoid costly delays.
Closing Agent: At Midland, you will often meet your escrow processor when you come to our offices for closing. We will walk through the documents necessary to clear title for your transaction. We love when all parties attend closing so that we can get the chance to meet our customers in person.
When will I start to communicate with the escrow processor responsible for my transaction?
At Midland, Residential escrow processors are assigned as soon as we receive your title order. We like to make sure that our customers have consistency in their contact person throughout your transaction. Once Diane completes your title search, our title clearing specialist and closing coordination teams will be in touch to clear any title requirements and schedule closing. Once your closing is scheduled, your assigned escrow processor will be in touch with any questions and will ultimately provide your total amount due/received at closing.
How can I help my escrow processor facilitate a smooth closing?
Keep us informed: Because Midland’s escrow processors have many years of experience, we are able to propose solutions to most issues you may face in getting a transaction closed. Most of those solutions are easier to adapt within days or weeks prior to closing (rather than minutes or hours). Notify us as soon as possible if you know that any of the parties:
Will be out be out of town or out of the country leading up to or during closing – Our coordinators present your options for electronic and/or escrow closing. We will discuss these options in a later blog.
Require a rush closing
Had a recent change in marital status
Had a recent name change
Are aware of outstanding liens that have not yet been recorded
Is closing in the name of a trust, LLC, or other entity
Are not able to produce two forms of valid identification
Require a closing time which is not during normal business hours
Provide your contact information: Get in touch with Midland as soon as possible using the contact information on our website. The sooner we have your phone number and email address, the sooner we can get your closing scheduled.
Answer phone calls, text messages, and emails from Midland: Our title clearing specialist will start gathering information to address title encumbrances as soon as the title search is complete. Please check your messages often so that we can work with you to get the appropriate documentation ahead of closing. Your escrow processors will send your settlement figures prior to closing. Please review this statement carefully and let us know if you have any questions as soon as possible. Understanding transaction financials beforehand will help facilitate a smooth closing day.
Make arrangements for the transfer of funds: In accordance with Good Funds Laws, residential purchasers will be required to wire their funds for closing. If your financial institution has additional requirements for its customers to initiate a wire (i.e. they must submit the request in person), please make sure to account for those requirements when planning your closing time and location. Due to the rise of wire fraud in the title industry, we are asking sellers to take additional steps to verify wire instructions. Your Midland coordinator will discuss these requirements with you. Addressing them prior to closing will ensure we can get your money to you as quickly as possible.
Provide a clear purchase agreement: Addressing all closing expenses in the purchase agreement will help eliminate delays in preparing your closing figures. Agreements that clearly address the tax proration method, homeowners association dues, rents and deposits, and title and closing costs help ensure that all parties understand the details of the transaction prior to closing. Also be sure to provide any contract addendums and amendments to your escrow processor immediately, so that they can be addressed on the closing statement.
Provide relevant information early in the process: Take these steps as soon as possible after sending the contract to Midland to ensure a timely closing:
Notify the Homeowners Association that you are selling the property and ask your contact to provide dues information to Midland.
Provide tenant deposit and rent information and/or copies of relevant leases.
Obtain Home Warranty invoices and provide them to your escrow processor.
Jackie Quinlan is a residential escrow processor for Midland Title. She started her title career at Northwest Title in 1999. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and traveling to the Caribbean. She also enjoys watching Notre Dame football.