We know this process can sometimes be overwhelming…Here is a list of terms that, we hope, you will find helpful!


An appraisal is an estimate of market value. The Seller may want an appraisal to determine the value of the real estate. The Buyer may want to be sure they are paying no more than the property is worth. Financial institutions usually insist on an appraisal to determine the amount of money they should lend to a credit applicant. Appraisals are also used to estimate value for taxation and insurance purposes and in condem¬nation proceedings.

Condominiums/Homeowners Associations

If your property is a condo or has a homeowner’s association, information needs to be acknowledged in writing by the buyer so that they understand that the purchase of their property is subject to the Association’s By-laws. If this is not addressed in the original purchase agreement, Escrow will need to have an addendum signed later.

Dates: Loan Approval Date

The Loan Approval Date is generally 30 days from the date the contract was signed. This means the Buyer typically is given 30 days to obtain firm loan approval from their bank from the date you are signing the agreement. Many Buyers are obtaining pre-approval from their Lenders before even looking for a home, but these are subject to the home appraisal.

Dates: Funds and Documents Date

Funds and Documents Date is the date by which the escrow company must have all of the funds and documents in place in order to transfer title by a specific date. This is generally 3 business days prior to Title Transfer.

Dates: Title Transfer Date

Title Transfer Date is an agreed date taking into account length of time needed for financing. Your funds and documents date for the home you are purchasing should be a few days after the title transfer date of the home you are selling. If the proceeds from your sale are being used for your new purchase, you will need 24 hours minimum to disburse your funds from the sale in order for them to be used to secure your new property. Choosing to schedule your closing the last week of the month may cause delays and frustrations. By scheduling your closing in the middle of the month, you can avoid these delays.

Dates: Possession Date

Possession Date is the actual date you will be required to give your buyer the keys and sole access to the property. Usually this takes place 3-5 days after the transfer date.

Deed Information

By providing the correct information on the financial information form, escrow can avoid problems later with preparing the new deed and the signing of the mortgage documents. NOTE: Mary A. Smith is not the same “person” as Mary Ann Smith. (See definitions of Forms of Deeds in Ohio) The Buyer(s)’s name(s) and marital status should be written as they wish them to appear on the deed. This should be the full legal names of all parties who are to take title to the property, as well as their relationship to each other. (i.e. Joseph P. Smith and Mary A. Smith, husband and wife.) If more than one party is taking ownership, the type of new deed will also determine what happens to the property in the event of the death of any one of the owners. The Buyer’s names on the new deed must EXACTLY match the names on their new mortgage.

Deeds: Forms of Deeds in Ohio: General Warranty Deeds

A general warranty deed is a deed in which the Seller takes on responsibility for soundness of the entire chain of title. Although the Seller’s warranties are desirable, title insurance has reduced their importance. Buyers and Lenders generally rely on title insurance to protect their investment. Therefore, title insurance is also a benefit to the Seller, as it may reduce liability if old title defects arise. Two types of ownership can be expressed in a warranty deed. There is a warranty deed creating tenancy-in-common and a warranty deed creating joint tenancy with the right of survivorship (also known as a joint and survivorship deed – see the definition of Joint Tenancy with the Right of Survivorship).

Deeds: Forms of Deeds in Ohio: General Warranty Deeds:Joint Tenancy with the Right of Survivorship

Joint Tenancy with the Right of Survivorship means that the survivor(s) would then own the deceased party’s portion of the land.

Deeds: Forms of Deeds in Ohio: General Warranty Deeds: Tenancy-In-Common Deeds

Tenancy-In-Common means that each owner has an undivided interest in the property. When there is more than one owner with tenancy–in-common, that owner’s undivided share will pass to his heirs, and the other original owners will retain their original portion of the title.

Deeds: Forms of Deeds in Ohio: General Warranty Deeds: Transfer On Death deed

Transfer On Death deeds are relatively new in the State of Ohio. This form of deed allows ownership to pass from one party to another without passing through probate. The owner may be a single person and the party to whom the property is to transfer upon death of the grantee is named in the deed.

Deeds: Forms of Deeds in Ohio: Quit Claim Deeds

This is the simplest form of deed, the Seller quits claim to the property and transfers title to the Buyer. No warranties are expressed or implied. If there are any liens against the property, they are transferred right along with the title.

Disclosures: Federal Lead Based Paint Disclosure

This form is required only if your home was built prior to 1978. The federal government requires that you disclose any knowledge of lead based paint on the premises, as well as providing to your Buyer a federally published booklet regarding the potential hazards of lead in the home. In the Forms-4-U Package, provided by Gateway Title, is an addendum to your purchase agreement, which addresses the possibility that lead may be found in the home by an inspection, and allows you to make provisions for what will happen in this situation.

Disclosures: State of Ohio Residential Disclosure

Rev. 01/01/04
State law requires that the Seller disclose their knowledge of the condition of the property to their buyers. This is a description of the property as is known to the Seller at the time of sale. If the Seller does not provide this document to the Buyer, the Buyer may have the right to cancel the Purchase Agreement. (See the paragraph under “Receipt and Acknowledgement of Potential Purchasers” on the disclosure form included in the Forms-4-U Package provided by Gateway Title)

Earnest Money

Earnest money is “money given in part as a part payment and pledge in binding a bargain.” There truly is NO STANDARD AMOUNT and is purely up the amount the Buyer and Seller agree to, this will “bind the bargain”. If the Buyer’s financing falls through this may represents what the Buyer and Seller agree would be fair compensation to the Seller for the loss of ability to accept other offers during the loan approval process.


Escrow is when the Buyer and Seller come together with a signed Purchase Agreement and a neutral third party holds funds until the Lender’s conditions and those outlined in the Purchase Agreement have been met. In an Escrow Closing, there are 3 parts: The loan, the title work and the escrow. The Lender handles the Loan exclusively. The Title Company handles the title work – which includes the exam and the title insurance. One or the other will handle the escrow – which is the “clearing house” in the middle. The Escrow Company collects all of the funds and documents necessary to complete the transaction, and makes sure that the buyer gets the property and the seller gets the proceeds. The details that the escrow company needs to check include the instructions in your Purchase Agreement as to who is paying which charges, your property taxes, any liens against your property, and any requirements the Lender has. In order to remain neutral, an Escrow Agent can only follow WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS as outlined in your purchase agreement and lender’s instructions.

Home Warranty

Home Warranty covers the many major repair expenses that may arise in the first 12 months of ownership. As a Seller, a Home Warranty makes it easier to sell your home. Letting the Buyer know that they will have no major repair expenses for their first year in the home is a great source of comfort. Included in the kit provided by Gateway Title is a brochure from Home Owner’s Association of America with details about costs and coverage. Ask your Gateway Expert for an application!

Inspections: Pest Inspection

The most common form of pest inspection is to look for wood destroying insects. These are required in all FHA and VA loans, but may be required by some conventional Lenders and/or your buyer.

Inspections: Point-of-Sale Inspection

Point-of-Sale inspections are re¬quired with growing frequency by cities and townships throughout the area. The inspections are to certify that the property is in compliance with local ordinances. It is the Seller’s responsibility to provide this information to the Escrow Department. The inspections range from interior and exterior to septic, and they vary by location. Please call your local government if you are unsure if this is a requirement in your area.

Inspections: Well & Septic Inspection

Well & septic inspections can either be required by Lenders or as a condition of the sales agree¬ment between the Buyer and the Seller. It’s also fast becoming an included condition in point-of-sale in¬spections in rural cities and townships where central water and sewer are not available.

Owner’s Fee Policy

The Owner’s Fee Policy insures you in the event that examiners miss a critical document in their search of the public records. It insures you up to the purchase price of your home, putting the assets of our underwriters behind you should anyone try to lay claim to your property. Further, it protects you from title items NOT shown by public records. This includes what is called “hidden defects” such as forgery, unknown heirs, or incompetence of former owners. Most Lenders will require what is called an ALTA Lenders Policy.(See definition of ALTA Lenders Policy.)


Pre-Approval involves filling out a loan application and verification of documentation. This documentation will include a full credit report, source of down payment, W-2’s and pay stubs. If a Buyer is Pre-Approved, they will have a certificate of approval or letter from the Lender, subject to appraisal of the property they choose.


Sometimes a Lender will acquire an “in file credit report” and talk to the Buyer about how much they can afford to borrow. This is known as being “Pre-Qualified.” (See the definition of Pre-Approved and note the differences)

Proration of Taxes

In Ohio, property taxes are paid in arrears (they are paid one year behind). This means that by the time the next taxbill is due, the buyer will be responsible for property taxes incurred when the seller still owned the property. To compensate for this, the amount is deducted at closing out of the seller’s proceeds.

Purchase Agreement

Escrow will need to follow instructions from your purchase agreement. As Escrow can only follow written instructions, you can avoid extra paperwork later, by making sure these things are addressed in your agreement Your purchase agreement should also tell the escrow agent how the buyer wants to take title to the property.

Specialized Services

Some additional services may be required to complete your sale. These may be a requirement of your Purchase Agreement, or a requirement of the Buyer’s Lender. If any of these services are required in your Purchase Agreement, be sure it states who is responsible for payment of these services.

Surveys: Land Surveys

Land Surveys are made to establish boundaries of land areas by setting corner markers or monuments and/or to obtain boundary information required for both record/deed descriptions and for plotting parcels of real property.

Surveys: ALTA Land Title Surveys

ALTA Land Title Surveys show all principle improvements to the property, such as the home itself or a garage, and their relationship to the exact boundary lines. Please note that the boundaries are not staked as in a Stake/Boundary Survey. (See the definition of Stake / Boundary Survey)

Surveys: Mortgage Location Surveys

Mortgage Location Surveys verify that the improvements (home, garage, etc.) on which they are placing a mortgage are located on the correct property. This is the most common type of survey ordered on a property transfer. It allows the Title Company to provide additional coverage to the lender, for such things as driveway easements and potential mechanic’s liens for new structures.

Surveys: Stake/Boundary Surveys

The purpose of this survey is to allow the intended user of the property to learn the exact location of all property corners and boundary lines. This type of survey is highly recommended if the homeowner wants to construct additional improvements on the property such as garage, pools, fences, sheds, etc. A Boundary survey is typically performed for Buyers only and does not show improvements to the property and their relationship to property lines. NOTE: If the parcel of land has been divided since the last deed was issued, legislation requires that you have a stake survey completed.

Title Company

The main function of a Title Company is to issue title insurance. In order to do this, you must first have a title company examine your title. Even if you have only owned your home a short time, an examination of your title is a necessary part of the process.

Title Exam

The Title Exam is an examination of the public records, in connection with your property. It determines who owns the property, along with any mortgages or liens that appear against the property. It will also determine if the examiner has found anything that would interfere with the Buyer taking title.

Title Insurance

Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects your legal rights to own, possess, use, control and dispose of land. A title guarantee is not Title Insurance.