Behind the Scenes: The Basic Steps of Closing a Real Estate Transaction

When closing on a real estate transaction, there are a lot of steps that must be taken and processes that must be completed to ensure a smooth and timely closing. Often times, transactions go so smoothly, in fact, that the buyers and sellers think it's too easy and may wonder if there's more that should be taking place or that they should be doing. What they don't see is all the work that gets put into the transaction on the back end of the deal by a Lake of the Ozarks escrow agent. So here are the basic steps of closing on a real estate transaction behind the scenes.

Starting the Process

A sales contract is signed by the buyer and seller and delivered to the closing agent, usually with a deposit check. The escrow is accepted by the escrow agent, often by written notation on the contract. The escrow agent starts the closing process by opening a title order. The file begins to be processed. Tax information, loan payoffs, survey, homeowner/maintenance fees, inspections/reports, and hazard and other insurances, as well as legal papers are ordered. A title search is ordered.

Title Search and Examination

This is a search made of the public records. Records searched include deeds, mortgages, paving assessments, liens, wills, divorce settlements and other documents affecting title to the property. Title examination is the examination of the documents found during the title search that affect the title to the property. This is when verification of the legal owner is made and the debts owed against the property are determined. Upon completion of the search and examination, a title commitment/ preliminary report is prepared, reviewed and sent out to interested parties.

Document Preparation

The closing agent reviews the new lender’s instructions and requirements, reviews instructions from other parties to the transaction, reviews legal and loan documents, assembles charges, prepares closing statements, and schedules the closing.

Closing the Transaction

The escrow or settlement agent oversees closing of the transaction. The seller signs the deed and closing affidavit. The buyer signs the new note and mortgage. The old loan is paid off. The seller, real estate agents, attorneys and other parties present at the closing of the transaction are paid.


After the signing has been completed, the escrow or settlement agent will forward payment to any prior lender, and pay all parties who performed services in connection with your closing (if they have not been paid). The transaction documents are recorded in the county in which the property is located. Title insurance policies are prepared and sent to the new lender and to you. This all happens without any further actions by the buyer or seller.

With all of this being handled by the escrow company, it makes it easier for the buyer and seller to go through the process of buying and selling with minimal stress. It also ensures that the property title that is conveying is free and clear of any outstanding liens and that all parties are aware of any potential threats before conveying to the new rightful owners. So, if you're getting ready to close on a real estate transaction, make sure to hire the best title insurance and escrow company at the Lake of the Ozarks to handle the process of closing for you.

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