Red Fox Title has been in the Charlottesville market since 2011 and in 2015 started serving the Richmond market. Last year we issued almost 600 title policies—covering anything from residential properties to multimillion dollar hotel and commercial sites.
I grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia, and spent over 30 years working in the legal field. My last position was a real estate paralegal managing closings for a shareholder in a large Virginia Beach law firm for over 15 years. I came to Charlottesville in the fall of 2016 to join Red Fox as Closing Manager. Tasked with opening our closing department and examining how we compare to other title companies who perform settlements, I noted the following:
- There are no other title companies downtown acting as settlement agents. We’re located in the terrace level of the Gleason Building (2nd Street Entrance).
- Many title companies overbook to build for volume. As our focus is quality, we will not overbook for the sake of volume. We are committed to being responsive, which includes responding promptly to emails and voice mail.
- Title companies sometimes charge settlement-related fees which often aren’t disclosed up front, and their fee structure can be hard to figure out. We charge a flat settlement fee for a purchase or refinance. When we represent the seller they will also need to pay an attorney for deed preparation in addition to our flat fee.
- The only additional fees are for overnight mail ($40-50) and a release tracking payoff confirmation for a refinance or sale with a loan ($35).
- Quality service is the result of an experienced, committed team. Our employees are certified title examiners and title insurance agents. Keith Pruett is our Operations Manager and Scott Morris, who joined us on January 3, 2017 as our senior underwriter, has been serving the Charlottesville market for years and has vast experience in complicated title matters, not to mention his knowledge of neighborhoods and subdivisions.
We would love the opportunity to work with you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can ever be of any help.
On the day of closing, we will meet with you to review and have you sign your loan documents. We are required by most lenders to email the signed loan documents for their review and verification that all documents have been signed to their satisfaction. Once that is done, your lender will wire the loan proceeds to our trust account. Upon confirmation of receipt of your funds and the lender’s funds, we will then exchange funds for the signed Deed and Seller documents with the Seller’s attorney/settlement agent. Next, we will then go to the courthouse, update title to make sure there are no liens or judgments that have been filed between the time the title search was completed and the date of Closing. If no liens or judgments are found, we will record the Deed and Deed of Trust. The home is then officially yours and your realtor will release the keys to your new home. In the event a lien or judgment is found, we will contact the Seller’s attorney or settlement agent to work out a solution. We will also notify you so that you are aware and comfortable with the solution being worked on.
Closing will take place at our offices located at 200 Garrett Street, Suite A, Charlottesville, VA. We are located in The Gleason Building and our main entrance faces 2nd Street Southeast. There is plenty of street parking, or as an alternative, you may park in the Water Street Garage, 1 ½ blocks up 2nd Street Southeast. A map and street view are attached to assist you in locating us.
Cash Only Purchase: We should be able to schedule closing for morning if the attorney or title company representing the Seller is on time confirming final numbers. If you are out of town or traveling, settlement for a cash purchase Buyer can be accomplished by email or fax. As compared to closings with loans, cash only purchases can be quite “hassle free” given how they are regulated.
Purchase with Lender Financing: We cannot confirm closing time until your lender advises when they can provide loan documents. We aim to schedule closings before the lunch hour to allow the afternoon for funding and recording, however, some lenders experience closing delays and we encourage purchasers with lender financing to be as flexible as possible on the day of closing. Many Buyers take the day of closing off from work for walk through inspection, closing and last minute issues that may arise. We value your time, appreciate the challenge of coordinating schedules and will do everything reasonably possible to accommodate you.
Your Closing Disclosure from your lender so that we can compare closing numbers and make sure that they meet your expectations.
Two forms of picture ID. Not all lenders require this, but rules around this topic change frequently. There are many documents that need to be notarized and therefore, you must have proper identification.
Patience—there are lots of forms to sign.
We do not accept personal checks or cashier’s checks for closing as banks often place a hold on these types of checks, resulting in closing delays of up to three days. Our company’s wiring instructions are enclosed for your use in transferring closing funds. If time allows, we encourage you to contact your bank, credit union, or stock broker well in advance of closing to learn how to initiate a wire transfer shortly before closing. Delays in the wire process can result in a delay in your closing, which may mean a tremendous inconvenience to you and the Seller.
Cash Purchase: Our office will provide you with the final numbers for a cash purchase. Assuming the Seller’s attorney or settlement agent has confirmed final numbers with us, we should be able to provide you with the numbers several days before Closing.
Lender Financing: The Lender’s Closing Disclosure, issued 3 days prior to closing, should include the final numbers. Please confirm the final numbers the afternoon prior to closing with our office.
Early transfer of funds: If you need to transfer funds before final numbers are available, we will work with you to come up with a “close/best guess” of adequate funds. After closing, we will refund any excess funds to you.
You will meet with one of our employees to sign your documents and often realtors will attend closing. Your Realtor has supported you throughout the closing process and are often valuable resources at the closing table. Occasionally, your loan officer might choose to attend closing as well.
We understand that buying a home is a strenuous and stressful process, especially as closing times are often moving targets, which makes finding childcare a challenge. We are happy for you to bring children of all ages to closing—it’s not a problem (we promise!). You are, however, responsible for your children’s behavior while they are in our office and request that you are mindful that this is a place of business.
Please plan on about 30 minutes for a cash closing. For a lender financed closing, please plan on about an hour as we will spend time with you to walk through, sign and discuss your loan documents. We will not have you sign your name without understanding what you are signing. We will review your documents for errors or issues prior to closing but we also rely on you to recognize any errors by your lender in terms of its commitment to you.
- Immediately inform your lender of the need to have another party sign documents with a power of attorney on behalf of any Buyer or Borrower. Please note that there are new requirements surrounding powers of attorney when purchasing with a lender. These requirements can cause delays with your closing.
- Please note that an original power of attorney must recorded in the Clerk’s Office with the Deed of Trust.
- Please provide the original power of attorney to our office in advance of closing for review by the title insurance underwriter.
- Our office can prepare a power of attorney, which would be $21.00 to record at the courthouse. Please do not assume any other power of attorney prepared by another individual, firm or U.S. government entity will be satisfactory for closing.
Respond promptly to any requests made by your realtor, lender or this office. Government regulations already have the “clock ticking” on items needed for your closing—it is critical you do all that you can to help your realtor, lender and Red Fox stay on track to avoid any delays.
Provide your cell, work and home phone numbers as well as email address and indicate when and which number/email address is the best one to use.
Provide this office with a copy of your sales contract together with the names and telephone numbers of the real estate agents.
Please complete the attached forms, sign where indicated and promptly return the attached forms to our office by email to Joy Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fax them to 434-227-7177. These forms are critical for closing and should be returned as soon as possible to avoid any delays.
Our office will order the title search and any required lender’s title policy on your behalf. Lenders require that lender’s title insurance be taken in the amount of the loan to protect them should any claims against the property’s title arise. Such claims can occur from fraud, misfiling of court records, unrecorded title claims and other circumstances.
An owner’s title policy protects your equity in the property. There are two levels of owners title insurance; the standard policy which covers the purchase price of the property and an enhanced policy that, among other protections, increases in coverage as the property value increases and covers your property from any future identity theft (i.e. thieves obtain a loan under your name and forge signatures on documents for a home equity line). Attached find a comparison between the “basic” owner’s and the “enhanced” owner’s title insurance coverage. Yes, title insurance can be confusing, and we are happy to walk you through the option that best suits your situation. Owner’s title insurance is optional, though most homebuyers purchase it (there exist rare occasions where purchasing it may not be a wise business decision (i.e. you are financing 100% of the purchase price and don’t intend to own the property long enough to achieve any equity). Remember, the owner’s title insurance premium is a one time fee paid at closing. Unlike homeowners insurance, there are no future premiums. There are also no deductibles should you make a claim.
Obtaining a physical survey may result in added protection for you when it comes to buying and insuring your property. We recommend having one but it is entirely your decision. If you wish to have a survey done, unless you have a request for a specific survey company, our office will order the survey. To the extent that you do not obtain a survey an owner’s title insurance policy will afford you little protection in terms of boundary and similar issues. Obtaining a survey is a prudent thing to do to know more about your property, i.e. tree locations, fence locations, setbacks, location of utilities, possible encroachments, flood zone, etc. Survey prices vary widely depending on the lot size and whether it is a rush order or not due to tight timelines. We can obtain quotes from several quality local surveyors in order to get you the best price and will discuss with you before ordering a survey. We recommend a survey for properties located in the City of Charlottesville.
Please provide the name of your homeowner’s insurance agent/company to your lender and to our company at least 14 days before closing. Be sure to give your insurance agent the lender’s contact information and that of our office so that your insurance policy will contain the appropriate language.
Generally, the Realtor will order any home inspection/pest and moisture reports if required under the contract. Once you receive the reports, they should be sent to our office for review prior to settlement.
If your new home is in an HOA, Condo or POA, please advise and ask your realtor to provide a copy of the resale certificate to our office as well as to your lender.
We often discourage Buyers from scheduling movers for the day of closing as bank funding or other matters may delay closing and interfere with tight moving deadlines. You do not technically own the house until the deed is recorded and many Sellers will not grant access until that has occurred.
Remember, we are not attorneys. To the extent that a legal dispute arises in connection with your closing we will refer you to a local attorney. Our office works with several local attorneys and will provide you with a list of referral options should a need arise.
After closing, we will copy all loan documents, termite inspection, survey, etc. and email these copies to you for your records. We will provide you with a firm check refunding any overage from your wire as soon as we have closed.
Various title companies charge differing fees for the cancellation of a settlement transaction, however, Red Fox Title does not charge a cancellation fee in the event your contract is terminated or if your financing falls through. In the event that you change settlement agents after we have opened a file and processed the title commitment, our company may elect to charge a $200.00 fee.