Picking a Settlement Company

In Maryland, it is you (the buyer in a purchase transaction or the borrower in a refinance) that has the right to choose a settlement agent to conduct your closing and issue your title insurance policy. This basic right is designed to protect consumers from being forced into using a settlement provider that may charge high fees, provide inadequate service, or both. Having the ability to “shop” for a title company helps keep everyone on your team (realtor, lender and title company) focused on you as the priority.

While it is customary for real estate agents, their brokers, or your loan officer to make recommendations to you regarding the settlement agent, you ultimately have the final say. Some real estate companies and lenders are partial or sole owners of settlement service providers, or are related in some other way, such as having a common owner. In cases like these, something called an “affiliated business arrangement” exists, and the company must provide you with full disclosure so that you are aware that the referral to that settlement company will result in a direct financial gain for the real estate company or lender.

Key Title is a truly independent title company so, rest assured, if you were referred to us by your realtor or loan officer, it was because they know we provide top-notch service at a reasonable price. There is nothing in it for them except making sure you are completely satisfied with the settlement process!

Now that you know you have the right to choose your own settlement agent, take a look at your other consumer rights as laid out in "The Title Insurance Consumer’s Bill of Rights." (A Consumer Guide to Title Insurance- A Maryland Insurance Administration publication. Rev 10/16)

  1. You have the RIGHT to choose your settlement agent and title insurer.
  2. You have the RIGHT to receive settlement cost information early in the real estate settlement process, allowing you to shop for the settlement services that best meet your needs.
  3. You have the RIGHT to receive an itemized settlement statement from the settlement agent detailing all fees paid to the settlement agent before you agree to use that settlement agent.
  4. You have the RIGHT to be informed about the total cost being paid by you to the settlement agent.
  5. You have the RIGHT to ask for and receive accurate information from your settlement agent about whether there is ground rent, lien, judgment, or any other impediment to outright ownership of the property.
  6. You have the RIGHT to request and receive from your settlement agent the Closing Disclosure (CD) three (3) business days before settlement or HUD-1 one (1) business day before the date of settlement.
  7. You have the RIGHT, before you sign, to ask the settlement agent questions and receive clear and complete answers about charges and documents that you do not understand.
  8. You have the RIGHT to receive copies from the settlement agent of all the documents you signed at the time of closing.
  9. You have the RIGHT to have all funds disbursed timely and properly by the settlement agent in accordance with the Closing Disclosure (CD) or HUD-1 you signed at closing.

Remember, the rights above are there to protect you throughout the settlement process, from the time you select your settlement agent to the funds are disbursed after closing. Have questions about the process or your rights, feel free to contact one of our settlement officers.