Split Closings: A Rant

Disclaimer: If you own or are employed by a title agency, please delete this post and pretend like it never existed. I mean no disrespect. Title companies are wonderful (truly).

Does anyone remember the good old days when the buyer had a real estate agent, the seller had a real estate agent, and we all sat down at one table with one title company to close the deal? Well, if you haven’t been involved in any real estate sales in a while, it has become en vogue for the buyer and the seller to each have a title company. I’m not quite sure when it happened. I’m not quite sure why it happened. I am only sure that I detest “split closings.”

So, where there was one, we now have TWO title companies closing one deal.

Why is this annoying? First, there is no practical need for it. A title company makes sure that the seller is providing good title to the buyer and issues title insurance to that effect. The title company also files and records all of the paperwork and often serves as escrow agent, holding on to monies until various accounts are finalized. Only one title company is necessary to complete that task. It’s not like a lawsuit where every party should have their own lawyer. This is completely extraneous and provides no benefit.

Second, and what is most annoying to me, is that the title companies may operate very differently. They may require different paperwork, different representations. One title company may be very well-versed in probate law while another one is not. One company may want the seller to sign “Judy B. Smith, Personal Representative.” The other company may want the seller to sign “Judy B. Smith, for the Estate of Jimmy Smith.” It’s inconvenient, confusing, and did I mention unnecessary?

If you’re selling or buying a piece of property, tell your real estate agent that you do not want a split closing. It does not benefit anyone and may just drive you nuts.

Do you have questions about buying or selling? Call Wright Beamer at (248) 477-6300 and talk to one of our experienced real estate attorneys.

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