A Closing Agent, in some states known as a Settlement Agent, is a professional who is trained in real estate transactions and legal compliance. The agent coordinates the accurate and compliant closing of real estate transactions. The closing or settlement takes place when the property makes official transfer from seller to buyer, payment is confirmed, and funds are distributed. The Closing Agent ensures that this process happens smoothly and within strict legal boundaries.
There are no standard educational programs or certifications for Closing Agents, and job requirements vary from state to state and by employer. In general, Title Agencies, Closing companies, and Attorney offices select and train Closing Agents based on real estate industry knowledge and ability to learn complex regulatory compliance. In some states or companies, Closing Agents may be required to obtain a Trusted Notary Signing Agent Certification.
Closing Agents Tasks
Although most parties involved in a real estate transaction will typically not meet their Closing Agent until closing day, the agent is usually involved in the transaction several weeks before closing. The “behind-the-scenes” and closing table work of a Closing Agent includes critical services such as:
- Conducting a title search for the property
- Determine prorated expenses such as property taxes and insurance
- Custody of deposits in appropriate escrow accounts
- Coordinating title insurance for lenders and owners
- Working with the lenders (seller’s and buyer’s) to coordinate financial transactions
- Obtaining accurate loan payoff amounts
- Verifying wire transfers from the new lender
- Prepare closing statements (the mound of paperwork you sign at closing)
- Disbursing funds
Closing Agents may work for a title company, or in some states, for an attorney’s office. Although an impartial resource, the closing agent is available to answer questions and will actively work to ensure the closing is completed accurately and expediently. Keep in mind that if you have closed a real estate transaction before and had a great experience with your Closing Agent, working with someone who has performed well for you before can give you peace of mind if you ever refinance your home.