The settlement of a real estate transaction is the investigation made or actions taken by either a title agent or title attorney before the actual issuance of the title policy. In its simplest process, there are six steps that you can expect in a real estate settlement transaction.


Creating a Settlement Order
The process begins with a title request from a lender or a ratified contract from a buyer.


Processing the Title Components
The necessary components of the settlement are ordered: title search, tax information, loan payoffs, homeowner/maintenance fees, judgment search, and a survey, if necessary.


Title Search
Public records are researched to determine any possible title defects. Records include deeds, mortgages, plats, covenants, rights of way, and judgment searches.


Title Examination
The documents found during the title search that affect the title to the property are examined. Verification of the legal owner and debts owed against the property are determined.


Document Preparation
The title agent reviews loan documents, lender instructions, requirements and other instructions from parties to the transaction. The closing statements are prepared and the closing date is set.


Settlement Appointment
The licensed settlement agent or attorney handles all aspects of the closing transaction. The seller signs deed, buyer signs new mortgage, old loan is paid off, new mortgage is signed. All parties including the seller, real estate agents, and attorney are paid and the documents are recorded in the county in which the property is located.