Frequently Asked Questions

What is a title?

“Title” refers to the right to/ownership of a specific real estate property. The main rights conferred by a real estate title are:

  • Right of possession
  • Right of control
  • Right of exclusion
  • Right of enjoyment
  • Right of disposition

Title is what a title company like Fairfield Title researches, examines, determines, and transfers leading up to and during a real estate transaction.


What is a deed?

A deed is a legal document that records a transfer in ownership of a real estate property. A deed contains a description of the property (including property lines) and denotes the seller/grantor and the buyer/grantee.


What is a closing or a settlement on real estate?

The “closing” or “settlement” on real estate are synonymous terms; in a purchase transaction, the closing or settlement is the culmination of the contact and occurs when the seller signs the deed, the buyer signs the mortgage, both the buyer and seller have signed a settlement statement (described below) as well as other necessary documents, and the title company is in possession of all of these signed documents and all of the required money. In a refinance transaction, the closing or settlement occurs when the lender’s conditions have been met, the settlement statement and all lender loan documents have been signed, and the title company is in possession of the lender’s money and all other funds necessary to close the transaction.


What happens during closing?

Each transaction may be different, and we encourage you to seek advice on the specific terms and steps of a transaction from the associated title agent, lender, or real estate agent. The overall process for closing is similar in many cases, so here is a simple breakdown:

  • Meet at the Closing Table – All vested parties (seller, buyer, lender, real estate agent, title agent, etc.) meet at an agreed-upon time either in person or virtually.
  • Execute all Documents – All vested parties execute all required paperwork and documents, and deeds and mortgages are exchanged.
  • Disperse Funds – All funds associated with the transaction are dispersed (down payments, closing costs, title insurance, fees, etc.).


What is a settlement statement?

A settlement statement is the official ledger of the transaction, denoting what money is collected and to whom it is given in any given transaction (e.g., the sales proceeds to the seller, the payoff to the lender, etc.). Depending on the type of transaction, the settlement statement may be a closing disclosure or HUD-1, but in either case, will contain the aforementioned information.


Can I bring a personal check to closing?

Personal checks have a historically high risk of bouncing, as anyone can write them with or without the funds in their account to back them up. For this reason, virtually zero title companies will allow personal checks for closing. Safer, more secure forms of payments include:

  • Cashier’s Checks
  • Certified Checks
  • Wire Transfer
  • Cash


What if I can’t attend my closing in person?

If you cannot attend a closing in person you have a few options to ensure your transaction is completed:

  • Virtual Closing – Using secure software, we can arrange for you to attend your closing virtually and e-sign all required documents. If you would like to pursue this route, Contact Us ahead of your closing and we can get to work setting up your virtual closing.
  • Power of Attorney – You can assign a Power of Attorney to another trusted individual who can then sign documents on your behalf. If you would like to pursue this route, Contact Us ahead of your closing and we can help you properly set up your Power of Attorney.
  • Mail Away Closing – This route is typically less desirable for all vested parties, but a closing can occur using all mailed-in documents. In this case, a Notary Public would need to be present when you sign your documents, which would then be overnighted to Fairfield Title. From there, the remaining parties would be present at the regularly scheduled closing table.