You can view our fees for your transaction by selecting the “Get a Quote” button below. But, you ask, what am I paying for and why? Below is an explanation for each of the charges listed, together with why they are necessary.
Closing Fee: This is also called the “settlement fee”. This is the fee that all title companies and/or settlement attorneys charge to coordinate and process your transaction. For the borrower/purchaser this involves coordinating with your lender to order title work; provide them with settlement fees and recording charges; ordering payoffs; providing preliminary closing disclosers (CDs) to your lender; receiving and reviewing your lender’s closing instructions (requirements for closing); scheduling settlement; conducting the settlement; recording documents after recording; receiving and disbursing funds to all parties involved; and insuring that liens are released in the land records after closing.
Deed Preparation: In all sales, and in some refinances, it is necessary to prepare a deed to be recorded in the land records transferring the property from the seller to the buyer. This involves, among other things, determining how the seller holds title and how the buyer wishes to hold title (tenants in common, joint tenants with survivorship, tenants by the entirety, etc.). Our attorney, Edward D. Hubacher, prepares all deeds and makes the assessment of the appropriate tenancy based on your instructions.
ICL/CPL Fee: This is a charge every settlement company charges to issue an “insured closing letter” (ICL) or “closing protection letter” (CPL) stating that the company conducting the closing (Passport) is an agent for the underwriter (title insurer) and is authorized to close the loans for them.
Judgment Search: In order to convey good title to your lender in a refinance, or to your purchaser in a sale, we must ensure that there are no judgments against you which would be a lien against the property. Some judgments are recorded in land records and are picked up in the title exam, but some judgments are recorded in the Federal court system. The judgment search checks everywhere a judgment could or may be found.
Recording and Transfer Fees: These fees are set by the State and are incurred for either a purchase or refinance. They are generally based on the amount of the sales price for a purchase or the amount of the mortgage for a Deed of Trust (i.e., the amount of money borrowed).
They are a major source of revenue for the Cities and Counties in the State and so they are periodically changed (increased). They vary greatly by State (example: recording fees in Virginia are exponentially lower than in Maryland and DC).
Its important to remember that every title agency or attorney must charge the same amount for recording fees, and the fees are non-negotiable. There are limited exemptions for recording and transfer fees, but the types of exemptions don’t usually apply to refinance or sales transactions.
Release Preparation Fee: When we pay off a loan, we prepare a Certificate of Satisfaction which we send to the lender as part of the loan payoff process. We request they sign the document in front of a Notary Public and return it to us for recordation among the land records to release the existing mortgage lien. If you have no mortgages on the property, you will not be charged this fee. If you have more than one mortgage on the property, you will be charged a fee for each such mortgage. Please note that the term “mortgage” is the generic name used for a Deed of Trust.
Release Tracking Fees: Every time a mortgage or other lien is paid off, a release (Certificate of Satisfaction) must be recorded in the land records. Sometimes this is done by the lender being paid off, sometimes by the title company, and sometimes, unfortunately, it’s not done at all. This fee is paid to a third-party vendor that insures that once a lien is paid off, it is properly released in the land records. If no liens are paid off at closing, no fee is incurred.
Title Exam/Binder: In every closing it is necessary to order a title exam on the property which is being refinanced or sold. Professional title examiners research the title to the property to determine that you own the property, and if there are any outstanding liens on it. You cannot refinance or sell your property unless the title examination reflects (to the fullest extent possible) that you have “good title”. A title report will tell us when you acquired the property, how you took title, whether there are any outstanding liens against the property, whether taxes are current, etc. Once we receive the title report, we prepare a Title Binder which is a document provided to the lender telling them that the title insurer will provide title insurance for their loan if all of the requirements in the title binder are met, e.g., liens which must be paid off, how title is held or must be held, etc.
Title Insurance Premiums: Generally, this is the largest, or one of the largest, charges on the settlement statement (Closing Disclosure/ALTA HUD). Title insurance protects the lender and the purchaser (in sales) from the risks associated with both the current closing as well as all prior closings. Lenders do not make loans unless the borrower/purchaser buys title insurance to protect them. The Lender then knows that if they do not have a good lien on your property, the insurer (Fidelity) will make them whole. Some of these reasons include, but are not limited to, forgeries (either in the current settlement, or in some prior settlements); bad legal descriptions; and, unrecorded tax liens. Owner’s coverage, which is optional, covers the purchaser for these same types of title defects, and much more. A detailed explanation of coverages can be provided at your request. Please note that title insurance rates are set by the State and every title insurer in the State must charge the same rates for the same amount of coverage.
Transmission Fees: In every real estate transaction, documents and money are transferred between parties. This fee covers FedEx charges, couriers, and wire transfer fees, as well as other costs incurred. We do not charge purchasers transmission fees.