Buying or selling a home or other property requires specific steps that may seem complex to most consumers. To better understand the process, here are some common terms and actions typically performed by attorneys, lenders, escrow companies, title companies and their agents to help you through your next transaction.

Earnest Money: The process begins when the title company receives an agreement to convey. The buyer completes a loan application which is subject to approval based upon a credit check, property appraisal and possibly a survey of the property.

Tax Check: The title company notifies various assessors and collectors to determine unpaid taxes on the property which could stand in the way of a clear title.

Title Search: Documents from the public records including deeds, assessments, matters of probate, heirship, divorce and bankruptcy are researched.

Settlement: Closing the transaction is overseen by an Escrow Officer. At this time the seller signs the deed, the buyer signs the new mortgage, the existing loan is satisfied and the new loan takes effect. Those performing services for the parties involved; attorneys, real estate agents, surveyors and title company, are paid.

Title insurance policies are subsequently issued to the new owner and lender, assuring financial protection against future claims or risks. For more information on the importance of title insurance please refer to Frequently Asked Questions.