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Settlement Checklist

The following is a checklist of what should be brought to settlement.  Please read this carefully and determine what you are missing

Sellers Check list 

  1. If you presently have a mortgage on your property we will obtain a written "payoff demand" letter from your lender. Please provide us with your social security number and the name, telephone number, and account number of your lender. If, in addition, we are to pay-off a home equity line or other loan, let us know this as well. Please do not "draw" on the line after today without letting us know. Payoffs often take your lender 5 business days to process.
  2. Please Fax or mail us your most recent water bill and proof of payment. We will order a final bill and pay it after closing.
  3. You should request a final water reading as of the day of closing. However, if your water meter is inside please call the water company to arrange for a convenient time for them to come inside to read the meter.
  4. If you have a copy of the title insurance policy and survey you received when you purchased your property, please send us both by facsimile to (301) 670-3447.
  5. If the property is a condominium, please supply us with the name and address of the management agent to whom you pay your condo fees, along with your account number. In DC, section 45-1871 of the D.C. Code requires you to obtain certain documents from the condominium association and to deliver those to buyer within 10 days. The condo association is obligated to provide those documents within ten (10) days of your request, at your expense. If you would like us to note the charge and pay the association on the settlement sheet, please let us know.
  6. Please call us with the social security number of each seller (or the Tax ID number, if a seller is not an individual).
  7. We assume that each seller will attend settlement in person. Please let us know if any seller will not be attending settlement so a power of attorney (in correct DC format) can be drafted for your use.
  8. Please make sure the termite inspection report gets delivered to us, the buyer's agent and lender.
  9. We will order a title report on the property showing all recorded liens, defects, and other potential problems in the chain of title. We will contact you immediately if there are problems with your title. Make sure we know where to reach you if you are traveling.
  10. You should advise all appropriate utility companies of the sale, e.g. water, gas, electric, telephone, cable, and others. The telephone numbers for each are listed on our links page.
  11. Advise your homeowner's insurance company of the closing date and request a pro-rata refund of your fire insurance premium. Furthermore, keep the coverage in place for 48 hours past closing.
  12.  When we pay off your mortgage, your mortgage company must, under law, refund to you any escrow/reserves they may be holding. Note on your calendar a date three weeks after settlement to confirm you have received these funds.
  13. Please bring your house keys, garage door openers, warranties on new appliances or information on the alarm system, if applicable, to settlement.
  14. When will we actually close? Everyone will work towards settling on the target date selected by buyer and seller. But, settlement cannot legally take place until we have collected documents from many sources, including the DC Recorder of Deeds, the taxing authorities, surveyors, and buyer's lender. At times, sellers come into our offices early to sign the deed and other recording forms, avoiding any inconvenience. We are glad to assist if you wish to sign-off early on your documents.
  15. When will you get your sales proceeds? In D.C., the question is determined by the Wet Settlement Act of 1986 (the "Act") which applies whenever a buyer is getting a mortgage. "Settlement" as defined in the Act, will occur only when we have all of the required documents, all required funds, and have checked with the Recorder of Deeds to make sure that nothing clouds title. We must then disburse by close of business the following day.
  16. How will you receive your money? We can courier you a check or you may come by after settlement (next business day, normally) and pick up an Diamond Title escrow check. Wires can be arranged for an additional $35.00 cost.
  17. Please bring photo identification to settlement (this is required by our title insurance underwriter).

Buyers Check list 

  1. Relax. Diamond Title will handle most of the details of your closing.
  2. Check with your new lender about their requirements for proof of hazard insurance, including whether or not a master insurance certificate (if a condo) will be needed. In most cases, a termite inspection will also be needed. Your real estate agent will assist with the termite inspection (some condos also need termite inspections). In most contracts the seller has agreed to pay for the termite inspection as well as any damage repairs required prior to closing. Your agent should ask the seller’s agent to have the termite inspection arranged as soon as possible.
  3. DC, MD and VA no longer have antiquated Dower laws; a married person may now mortgage and sell property in their sole name without the consent of their spouse. However, if you are buying property with another person (married or otherwise) but only one of you is borrowing the funds (e.g. one person is on the Note), each person to be vested on the Deed must attend closing in order to sign the Deed of Trust encumbering the property for the lien to be perfected. Please let us know as soon as possible if title is to be vested in the names of persons other than the borrower.
  4. Make sure that you have provided both Diamond Title and your lender with your complete legal name for title purposes. For example, if you use your middle initial, as opposed to your middle name, make sure both your lender and our office know about it. We also need to know how the buyers will take title (Tenants in Common, Joint Tenants, or Tenants by the Entirety). We can explain the benefits of each method to you.
  5. If the property is a DC condominium, Section 45-1871 of the D.C. Code requires the seller to obtain certain documents for your review within ten (10) days, and certifications from the condominium association and to deliver those to buyer. Review your condo documents and the accompanying certificate carefully to be sure you understand the general and special assessments (if any) related to your unit.
  6. If this is not a condominium, we will require a survey. Please note that there are many kinds of surveys. You can save up to $100 if the seller of your property can give us a copy of his/her old survey. Be aware that the survey we will otherwise order is cursory and will not verify boundary lines; your owner's title insurance policy will take exception to boundary disputes. If you want a more thorough "boundary" survey (the cost is roughly $1,500.00 and it takes 3 weeks) you must let us know in advance.
  7. If you are the subject of any tax liens, court judgments, bankruptcy proceedings, or mental competency proceedings, please let us know. We will find out anyway, and can help you explain these items to your lender in a better light.
  8. Be sure to be in contact with your loan officer as your Closing Disclosure must be signed at least three (3) days prior to closing or your closing may be rescheduled.
  9. Be sure to do your walkthrough at least one (1) day in advance of closing in case there are any issues that need to be resolved. 
  10. If the buyer is a corporation, a limited partnership, or a limited liability company please produce a Certificate of Good Standing at settlement that is no more than thirty (30) days old. In the case of a corporation, we also need certified copies of corporate resolutions authorizing the purchase and encumbrance of the property. Call us and we will explain how to order the Certificate.
  11. How much do I bring to settlement? Sometimes we will not be able to give you an accurate answer until the day of settlement. You must bring a certified check to settlement in the amount of the worksheet total. You should also bring a personal check for any additional payment due, which we will calculate at the table. If you must send us a wire, the wire must be received and acknowledged by our bank on the morning of the day of settlement. Please call us for wire instructions. All funds and checks should be made payable to "Diamond Title”
  12. There are two types of title insurance policies. Your lender will require a "Mortgagee's Policy" that does not afford you, the buyer, any coverage. You should also obtain an "Owner's Policy" of title insurance which provides title insurance coverage to you for a small additional cost. See the policy cover in Forms. If you are uncertain as to whether you should obtain an Owner's Policy of title insurance, you are urged to seek independent advice. Because of the poor state of the land records maintained by the District of Columbia, all buyer’s in DC are strongly advised to purchase an owner’s policy.
  13. You should ask your lender to send you a copy of the appraisal for which you paid. You should tell them to include it with the loan documents. We in turn will include it with your settlement documents distributed at closing.
  14. Surely you want to deduct any "points" you pay to your lender from your taxes. The IRS has issued new regulations governing any such deductions. Check with your accountant if you have concerns or questions.
  15. A few days before settlement, a buyer should arrange for the utilities to be placed in the buyer's name. Washington Gas provides natural gas to Maryland, Virginia and DC. Their telephone is (202) 624-6049. Potomac Electric Power Company provides electrical power throughout the metropolitan area, but is predominantly in Maryland and DC. Their telephone is (202) 833-7500. In Virginia, you can contact Dominion Virginia Power at (888) 667-3000. Local telephone service can be arranged by contacting your preferred carrier or Verizon, at (202) 346-1000. In the district, you can contact the DC Water and Sewer Authority at (202) 787-2000. In the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, cable providers vary, but in the District you can contact District Cablevision at (202) 635-5100. The areas two major newspapers are the Washington Post and the Washington Times. You can subscribe by calling (202) 334-6100 and (202) 636-3333, respectively

Brokers Checklist 

  1. Please keep an eye on the buyer’s and seller’s Checklists to make sure that all is accomplished in advance of settlement.
  2. Please arrange for your walk-through inspection.
  3. If there is a termite inspection required, please arrange to have a copy of the report faxed to us before closing and bring the original to settlement. Lenders usually require us to include the original termite report when returning their loan documents. Also, if we are to collect for this cost, please advise us, in advance.
  4. If this is a condo, please arrange for the necessary condo association documents to be delivered to Purchaser. If we are to collect for this, please advise us in advance.
  5. If your firm has an earnest money deposit in excess of commission, please bring a check for the excess to settlement made payable to "Diamond Title Corp".
  6. Please arrange for the payment of interest on any earnest money deposit directly to Purchaser.
  7. If the date of closing changes, please keep in touch with us to make sure that the title report and survey are updated on time in order to meet the new settlement date.
  8. Obviously, please let us know immediately if there is any change in the settlement date or time.
  9. Selling agent: please check with the buyers' lender to make sure the hazard insurance policy (or master insurance certificate, if a condo) has been received.
  10. If this is a single family home, the seller must request a final water reading as of the date of closing. In DC, we have told the seller that if the water meter is inside they will need to call the DC water department at (202) 727-5240 to arrange for a time for them to come inside to read the meter. Please follow up with the sellers.

Please remember that we do not have the listing agreement. We will assume that it is a 3%-3% commission split unless you specifically alert us otherwise.