Learning the Lingo continues to come from the homeschooling desk/dining room table. The word for the week is “closing agent.”
The closing agent or settlement agent is the person or entity that coordinates all closing activities for a property transaction. These activities include signing the mortgage documents, disbursing of funds, and transferring ownerships.
The closing agent is either a title agent or an attorney, and serves as the unbiased third party in the transaction. The closing agent will also be the escrow agent. They will hold funds that are to be disbursed to necessary parties as well, once the transaction concludes.
Traditionally, the seller and buyer would meet with their respective agents the day of closing. These meetings occur separately, and at the agent’s office. The closing agent than transfers the documents to the local court officials to record the transaction.
With the current orders in place in Virginia and efforts to adhere to social distancing, closing agencies have adjusted to keep everyone healthy and safe, while also maintaining efficient business operations.
One attorney’s office has procedures in place which have drastically reduced in-person interaction. They do not have a receptionist to greet clients, rather signage directing clients as to the closing procedures. They have created a YouTube video providing clear instructions. The attorney sits 15 feet from the clients, with their mask on.
Another title company has limited who is in the office during closings as well. They immediately clean and sanitize the space post-activity. For high risk clients, such as medical professionals, a mobile notary is used. They have offered clients drive-by and outdoor signings as well. These drive-by closing can be performed with almost no direct interaction.