Understanding Long & Foster Settlement Services

Valuable Information for Homebuyers at the Closing Table
Q&A with Mike Maddiex, president of Long & Foster Settlement Services

Q. What role does Long & Foster Settlement Services play in a home purchase?
A. We work to ensure our clients buy their homes with peace of mind, reduce their risks and help protect their property rights.

Q: How do you do that?  
A. Prior to closing on a property—no matter if it’s a residential home or commercial property, we coordinate all elements of the transaction from the receipt of sales contract to closing. During this process, we order a title exam, thoroughly reviewing the public records and other documents related to the property and resolving any title issues. We also coordinate the seller payoff, prepare the title commitment, schedule the closing with the lender and prepare the deed. Lastly, we’ll obtain all of the lender’s documents and prepare the final Closing Disclosure (if applicable) and ALTA Settlement Statement. It’s a complex and time-intensive process, but it’s important because it ensures the title can be legally transferred to the new owner.

Q: Why is the process so complicated?
A. It’s complex because we have to conduct either a detailed search or an even more expansive title abstract of the local title records to determine the “chain of title” and recorded liens, which are then examined and reviewed to determine insurability. During the title exam, we help resolve any issues or inconsistencies before the property can be sold. As you can imagine, this is no simple “Google search.”

Q: Is the search good enough to protect property rights?
A. After our search, we offer our clients title insurance, which helps protect that homebuyer’s property rights. While a loan policy protects the lender’s interest in the property, only an owner’s title insurance policy protects the homeowner. The owner’s title insurance policy has a one-time fee, and it protects the homebuyer for as long as they own their home.

Q: Where can I get more information on settlement?
A: Ask your partners at Long & Foster Settlement Services. Our settlement companies have offices throughout the Mid-Atlantic, and they’re available to answer any questions you might have about closing, settlements and title insurance.