Thank you for considering Potomac West Title as your Settlement Agent. We hope that we will have the opportunity to be of service to you with your real estate purchase. Potomac West Title is a division of jag title, inc., a Virginia corporation, licensed as a title insurance agent in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a Virginia Registered Settlement Agent and is a subsidiary of our affiliated law firm, LLOYD MARTIN PLC, a Virginia professional limited liability company.
As part of our duties for any upcoming closing, we assemble the necessary information and instructions for settlement, order and examine title documents and a survey. A survey is not required for condominium properties and will not be ordered if it is not otherwise required by the purchaser or the purchaser's lender. Our affiliated law firm will render a legal opinion as to the quality of title to be conveyed as part of the closing. Potomac West Title will act as the escrow agent for the receipt and disbursement of all funds associated with this transaction. We prepare, process and record the necessary closing documents among the Circuit Court land records of the jurisdiction in which the property is located and, where necessary, Potomac West Title or our affiliated law firm will complete any other legal tasks necessary to assure a smooth transfer of ownership.
We secure the owner's and mortgagee's title commitment and the title insurance policies from First American Title Insurance Company, a member company of the First American Financial Network. First American is rated A’, A Prime (Unsurpassed) by Demotech, Inc., an independent rater of title insurance companies. Potomac West Title is an agent of First American. Under Virginia law a purchaser has the right to select the title insurance company which will insure the transaction. Therefore, if the purchaser objects to placement with First American, it is essential to call us immediately. Also, if you, as one of our potential clients, have any questions or desire more information about First American, feel free to call at any time. Unless we are advised to the contrary, we assume that the purchaser consents to placement of the title insurance with First American.
"Our Consumers Guide" web page explains the services provided as part of the closing transaction and the costs associated with each service. Also, you may wish to read our web pages titled "Purchasing Your Home" and "Guide to Title Insurance." We believe that all these web pages will be useful to you in understanding the myriad matters associated with your important real estate purchase.
Real Estate Forms of Ownership
Click on "Forms of Ownership" and you will find an outline of the basic characteristics of the various forms of real estate ownership recognized in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are many considerations which influence one's decision regarding the manner in which he or she chooses to take title to real estate (e.g., estate planning, taxes, marital status or plans, and personal desires concerning testamentary disposition of the property being purchased). Read each explanation carefully and you will then have a better understanding to assist you in the selection the form of ownership most appropriate for your particular circumstances.
If you are unmarried and concerned about any affect a future marriage may have on your ownership of real property, please understand that your selected tenancy will have only minimal legal affect on the treatment of the property for future domestic relations separation or divorce purposes. If you desire to keep the property as separate property in any future marriage, then you should consider a prenuptial agreement. If you are purchasing property with another person to whom you are not married, then you should consider some form of equity sharing agreement for addressing the future disposition of the property. We or our affiliated law firm will be pleased to consult with you about these, or any other matters associated with your purchase, prior to closing, without additional charge.
Hazard Insurance Coverage
You should assure that you have adequate hazard insurance coverage on your property prior to closing. All lenders require evidence of adequate coverage, usually before final loan approval is granted. For individual ownership, you must secure an all-risks hazard insurance policy from an insurance company which meets the minimum rating standards established required by your lender. Check with your lender regarding the insurance requirements, and ask specifically for the desired content of the "mortgagee clause" for your policy, or call our office for assistance so that this requirement will not delay settlement.
If you are purchasing a condominium unit, insurance coverage will be provided through a master policy provided by the condominium association. Evidence of this coverage should be contained in your condominium documents. Your lender will require certification of the insurance coverage from the carrier underwriting the condominium master policy. Most condominium master policies provide only limited coverage for the contents of each individual unit. For that reason, you should secure adequate insurance coverage for your contents. You should also ask you insurance agent about "excess liability coverage." Excess liability coverage will pay your share of any special assessment levied against condominium members as a result of any uninsured or under-insured liability loss or judgment against the association.
Signing Closing Documents; Powers of Attorney
All purchasers of the property must sign various transfer documents and, where applicable, loan documents associated with the transaction. This can be done in person or through a power of attorney. If you plan to use a power of attorney, and we are doing your closing, please promptly inform us. Also, you must advise your lender of the intended use of a power of attorney to assure that the lender has no objections to such use for the type of loan you are securing. If a power of attorney is required, it must be prepared in a legal form satisfactory to all parties, and acceptable for recording among the appropriate governmental land records. As additional service to you, we will be pleased to prepare any power of attorney you need for a transaction we are closing without any additional cost to you.
Funds for Closing
If we are doing the closing, and if your lender provides the closing instructions to us sufficiently early, prior to settlement, we will be able to furnish you your final cost figures in advance of the actual closing.
Unfortunately, it is often the case that lenders provide closing packages only a few hours before the scheduled settlement. In either event, we request a cashier's, certified check or bank check, made payable to Potomac West Title, Escrow Account, for most of funds to be collected at settlement. You may also wire funds to our escrow account. Ask us for wiring instructions if you intend to wire funds. Should we be unable to provide the exact closing figures to you prior to settlement, use the estimate provided by your real estate agent or lender. We will accept a personal check for a modest amount for any shortage or, of course, refund any overage you bring to closing. Please notify us in advance if you will be using funds from another settlement office as part of your purchase price. We will need a properly prepared assignment of funds from the other office, and a copy of your closing statement.
As we get closer to settlement, there will no doubt be a number of additional matters which must be accomplished. If we are doing your closing, we will contact you for instructions as necessary. From your standpoint, please feel free to call Potomac West Title if you have questions or specific instructions regarding your purchase or the services provided by our firm.
Our Burke Office is convenient and easy to find. We are located in the Rolling Valley Office Park, where Old Keene Mill Road and Sydenstricker Road intersect. Ample free parking is available in the office park. Allow approximately 1½ hours for the closing; more if you have many questions about the closing documents; less if you desire little explanation about the closing process. At the closing, you will have an opportunity to discuss any aspect of your transaction still unresolved, and we will take as much time as you desire to assure that your understand and are comfortable with all the legal aspects of your purchase and loan transactions.
Our Pledge of Quality Service
We pride ourselves on the quality and excellence of our service to our customers and clients. However, we are not perfect, so if we do not give you the service you expect, in both a timely and cost-effective manner, tell us. We also believe that our competitive prices always give you value for your dollar. Please tell us if you disagree!
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