When buying a home or new property, you’ll be working with both a title company and a settlement agent. Both sound similar, or that there isn’t much of a difference between their responsibilities when it comes to a title company vs a settlement agent, but both of them have very different responsibilities during the house buying process.
The title company is responsible for finding issues that could arise when transferring the title (proof of ownership) of the house or property you are buying. A settlement agent’s job is to do the actual paperwork for transferring the ownership of the land. Depending on the area and state you live in, the Settlement Agent may or may not also have to be a licensed attorney or lawyer.
Now here’s where it could get confusing when comparing a title company vs a settlement agent.
The settlement agent may work for the title company, and the title company may also handle your escrow and closing services. But this isn’t always the case.
You as the home or property buyer have the right to choose your own title company, and to choose your own settlement agent. They do not have to be from the same organization. If you do choose to hire your own title company or settlement agent, you can save money by shopping around. But there are risks involved with doing this.
Not all title companies and settlement agents provide the same level of dependability and service. It is also not recommended to choose a settlement agent outside of the title company as it adds more people to the mix. It also places two separate groups of people together that may not be familiar with all of the processes from each other’s companies or operations. By choosing a settlement agent that works for the the same title company you are using, it can help to make the closing quicker and easier.
One reason for this is if the Settlement Agent forgets a document. Because the settlement agent and title company are already at their office, and it is the same company with the same system, they should be able to access the missing document and print a new version on the spot. That is why your real estate agent may recommend one that is more expensive. It will be a settlement agent and title company that they have a previous relationship with and trust, or they’ll have two selected that can work together seamlessly. Dependability and reliability are both important if you want a hassle-free closing.
In short, the title company has the job of making sure that the seller is the rightful owner of the property, and the buyer will have what appears to be a clean title and the right to own it. Once this is done, the settlement agent will complete all the necessary paperwork to make sure that you become the rightful owner of the property.
If you have any other questions about the differences between a title company vs. a settlement agent, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us using the number at the top of the screen. And of course we’ll be happy to give you a quote for title insurance and assist with your title, escrow and closing needs.