Your Guide to the Real Estate Transaction

There’s a lot that happens between the time a buyer finds a house and the day it belongs to them. To help you better understand what happens after the Sold sign is posted, review the seven basic steps of transferring a land title.

Cyan colored circle with document icon for Earnest Money



Cyan colored Earnest Money in serif font

An escrow contract (an agreement to close) starts the process.

Red circle with magnifying glass and document icon for Title Search



Red colored Title Search in serif font

Copies of documents (surveys, deeds, encroachments, restrictions, assessments, liens, wills, divorce settlements, etc.) are gathered from various public records.

Lavender colored circle with document and check marks icon



Lavender colored Examination in serif font

Legal owner, debts owed and encumbrances on the land are verified.

Yellow circle with document and dollar sign icon



Yellow colored Nonpublic Record Check in serif font

Taxes, assessments, liens, bills and other nonpublic information are reviewed.

Blue colored circle with stack of documents icon



Blue colored Document Preparation in serif font

Forms are prepared for settlement.

Green circle with pen signing document icon



Green colored Settlement or Closing in serif font

The escrow officer oversees closing of the transaction. Seller signs deed; buyer signs note and new mortgage. Old loan is paid off; new loan is set up. Owner’s and lender’s policies are issued. Seller, real estate agents, attorneys, title company and others are paid.

Teal colored circle with columns inside icon



Teal colored Recording of Legal Documents in serif font

Documents are recorded with the county to show transfer of ownership.

Buying or selling a home is an exciting experience and one for which you can never be too prepared. As you prepare to start the process, use our Buyers' and Sellers' Guide to get an idea of what's to come.