Seller's Closing Instructions

1. Bring Picture Identification

Everyone who signs documents (buyers, sellers or people acting on their behalf) must have identification. A drivers license or a passport are the most acceptable. Believe it or not, "impersonation" claims cost our industry more than $1,000,000 per year. You really do need I.D.! A Power of Attorney is not acceptable unless first approved by Marketable Title.

2. Verify the time and location of the closing

If you are closing at Marketable Title & Escrow Services, Inc. we will provide you with the time and our office location. However, some closings occur at the Buyer's lender, a real estate sales office, or an attorney's office. Take a few minutes to check.

3. Consult your attorney

If you have been working with an attorney, please let us know. You and your attorney will need time to review documents and closing figures, especially if your attorney does not intend to come to the closing. Do not assume we know an attorney is involved. We will only contact an attorney and provide him/her with documents after we have received your instructions. We respect your privacy.

4. Bring your spouse

If you are selling property and are married, your spouse may have certain rights and may need to sign certain documents. If your spouse is not planning on attending the closing, please let us know.

5. Consult your Realtor regarding outstanding contingencies and final walk-through

Closings have been delayed or cancelled by failure to remove contingencies, or by failure to clear items that were outstanding from the contractor's inspection or final walk-through. The sellers should plan to vacate the home the day before the closing. This will allow time to prepare the home for the "walk-through" that occurs prior to closing.

6. Final Utility Bill

You will need to bring to closing a paid receipt for your final bill for each utility provided by the city municipality (i.e. water, sewer,) as evidence that you account has been paid in full and closed. Depending upon the circumstances, Marketable Title may hold back funds in escrow (approximately $100.00 to $200.00) to pay the final utility bill directly or until such time that Marketable Title is provided with a paid receipt. Marketable Title will return the funds held in escrow upon receiving a paid receipt.

7. "Good Funds"

Unless prior arrangements are made, the Seller will receive a title company check drawn on our escrow account. These checks are honored by other title companies and lenders if you are immediately departing for a closing on your new home. If you require a certified check or "wired" funds at closing, please notify us at least 48 hours prior to closing. There will be an additional fee for cashier checks or wiring of proceeds, as we are charged by our bank for these services.

8. Mortgage Payments

You should discuss the advisability of making your final mortgage payment with your lender, real estate agent and the title company as your closing approaches. If you make a payment immediately before the closing, we will probably not receive a payoff letter from your lender that reflects the payment. We must collect the amount specified in your payoff letter, (ordering a new payoff letter will often result in a $15-$50 charge from your lender). Please note, if you don't make your payment and the closing is on the 12th-15th day of the month, you may be charged a "late fee" by your lender.

9. Mortgage Payoffs

We will use an overnight delivery service or local carrier to make your mortgage payoff, which will usually occur on the business day after closing.

NOTE: If you have a VA\FHA mortgage, check with your lender before scheduling a closing. These loans accrue interest monthly, so if a payoff is not made on the first of the month you will owe interest for the whole month!

10. Taxes

If your property taxes (November 30) are due at or near the time of closing, you will need to bring the tax bill or paid receipt to closing along with a copy of your cancelled check as evidence that the taxes were paid and the funds cleared your account. The tax collector may not be able to promptly post payments, so it is often impossible to verify the status of property taxes near their due dates. If we can not confirm your payment of taxes, we will have to withhold the amount of the taxes from your proceeds until we can verify payment.

11. Keys

Unless other arrangements are made, please be reminded to bring to closing the following: keys to the house, mail box, storage shed, utility room, garage, recreational room, pool room, etc.; garage door openers ("clicker"); front gate pass cards and openers; a written list containing codes and passwords for the alarm system and entrance points;  and other items are provided by the contract. 

12. Assistance

Most Importantly, if you have any questions whatsoever concerning these instructions or your closing in general please do not hesitate to call your closing team leader to assist you.

That is why we are here and this is what we do!

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Seven Common Ways To Hold Title

Sole Ownership
Comparison Chart

Title to real property in California may be held by individuals, either in Sole Ownership or in Co-Ownership. Co-Ownership of real property occurs when title is held by two or more persons. There are several variations as to how title may be held in each type of ownership. The following brief summaries reference seven of the more common examples of Sole Ownership and Co-Ownership.


  1. A man or woman who is not married.
    Example: John Doe, a single man.

  2. An Unmarried Man/Woman:
    A man or woman, who having been married, is legally divorced.
    Example: John Doe, an unmarried man.

  3. A Married Man/Woman, as His/Her Sole and Separate Property:
    When a married man or woman wishes to acquire title as their sole and separate property, the spouse must consent and relinquish all right, title and interest in the property by deed or other written agreement.
    Example: John Doe, a married man, as his sole and separate property.



  • Community Property:
    1. Property acquired by husband and wife, or either during marriage, other than by gift, bequest, devise, descent or as the separate property of either is presumed community property.
      Example: John Doe and Mary Doe, husband and wife, as community property.
      Example: John Doe and Mary Doe, husband and wife.
      Example: John Doe, a married man

    2. Joint Tenancy:
      Joint and equal interests in land owned by two or more individuals created under a single instrument with right of survivorship.
      Example: John Doe and Mary Doe, husband and wife, as joint tenants.

    3. Tenancy in Common:
      Under tenancy in common, the co-owners own undivided interests; but unlike joint tenancy, these interests need not be equal in quantity and may arise at different times. There is no right of survivorship; each tenant owns an interest, which on his or her death vests in his or her heirs or devisee.

      John Doe, a single man, as to an undivided ¾ ths interest, and George Smith, a single man as to an undivided 1/4th interest, as tenants in common.


    4. Trust:
      Title to real property in California may be held in trust. The trustee of the trust holds title pursuant to the terms of the trust for the benefit of the trustor/beneficiary.

      The preceding summaries are a few of the more common ways to take title to real property in California and are provided for informational purposes only.

      There are significant tax and legal consequences on how you hold title. We strongly suggest contacting an attorney and/or CPA for specific advice on how you should actually vest your title.

    The comparison below is provided for information only, it should not be used to determine how you hold title. We strongly recommend that you seek professional counsel from an attorney and/or CPA to determine the legal and tax consequences of how title is vested.


  • Consumer Section
    What is Title Insurance?
    Why Do You Need Title Insurance?
    What Happens in Escrow?
    The Life of an Escrow
    Handling Commercial Escrows
    Homeowner's Policy of Title Insurance
    Loan Policy Plus Endorsement
    Mandatory Disclosure Report
    Seven Common Ways To Hold Title
    21 Reasons For Title Insurance
    You Can Help Sell Your Home
    The Guide to the Division of Land
    REALTORS® Help Home Sellers Reach Their Goal


    PARTIES Only husband and wife Any number of persons (can be husband and wife) Any number of persons (can be husband and wife) Only partners (any number) Individuals, groups of persons, partnerships or corporations, a living trust
    DIVISION Ownership and managerial interests are equal except control of business is solely with managing spouse Ownership interests must be equal Ownership can be divided into any number of interests equal or unequal Ownership interest is in relation to interest in partnership Ownership is a personal property interest and can be divided into any number of interests
    TITLE Title is in the "community." Each interest is separate but management is unified Sale by joint tenant severs joint tenancy Each co-owner has a separate legal title to his/her undivided interest Title is in the "partnership" Legal and equitable title is held by the trustee
    POSSESSION Both co-owners have equal management and control Equal right of possession Equal right of possession Equal right of possession, but only for partnership purposes Right of possession as specified in the trust provisions
    CONVEYANCE Personal property (except "necessaries") may be conveyed for valuable consideration without consent of other spouse; real property requires written consent of other spouse, and separate interest cannot be conveyed except upon death Conveyance by one co-owner without the others breaks the joint tenancy Each co-owner’s interest may be conveyed separately by its owner Any authorized partner may convey whole partnership property for partnership purposes Designated parties within the trust agreement authorize the trustee to convey property. Also, a beneficiary’s interest in the trust may be transferred.
    PURCHASER'S STATUS Purchaser can only acquire whole title of community; cannot acquire a part of it Purchaser will become a tenant in common with the other co-owners in the property Purchaser will become a tenant in common with the other co-owners in the property Purchaser can only acquire the whole title A purchaser may obtain a beneficiaries interest by assignment or may obtain legal and equitable title from the trust
    DEATH On co-owner’s death, ½ belongs to survivor in severalty. ½ goes by will to descendants devisee or by succession to survivor On co-owner’s death his/her interest ends and cannot be disposed of by will. Survivor owns the property by survivorship On co-owner’s death his/her interest passes by will to devisee or heirs. No survivorship rights. On partner's death, his/her partnership interest passes to the surviving partner pending liquidation of the partnership. Share of deceased partner then goes to his/her estate Successor beneficiaries may be named in the trust agreement, eliminating the need for probate.
    SUCCESSOR'S STATUS If passing by will, tenancy in common between devisee and survivor results. Last survivor owns property Devisee or heirs become tenants in common Heirs or devisee have rights in partnership interest but not specific property Defined by the trust agreement, generally the successor becomes the beneficiary and the trust continues
    CREDITOR'S RIGHTS Property of community is liable for debts of either spouse, which are made before or after marriage. Whole property may be sold on execution sale to satisfy creditor Co-owner’s interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy creditor. Joint tenancy is broken. Creditor becomes a tenant in common Co-owner’s interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy his/her creditor. Creditor becomes a tenant in common Partner's interest cannot be seized or sold separately by his/her personal creditor but his/her share of profits may be obtained by a personal creditor. Whole property may be sold on execution sale to satisfy partnership creditor Creditor may seek an order for execution sale of the beneficial interest or may seek an order that the trust estate be liquidated and the proceeds distributed
    PRESUMPTION Strong presumption that property acquired by husband and wife is community Must be expressly stated Favored in doubtful cases except husband and wife case Arise only by virtue of partnership status in property placed in partnership A trust is expressly created by an executed trust agreement



    You don't want problems from prior ownerships to interfere with your rights to your property. And you don't want to pay the potentially ruinous cost of defending your property rights in court.

    A title insurance policy is your best protection against potential title defects, which can remain hidden despite the most thorough search of public records and the most careful escrow or closing.

    For a one-time premium First American agrees to reimburse you for loss due to defects existing prior to the issue date of your policy, up to the policy amount. And, should it be needed, the policy also provides for the cost of legal defense of your title.The standard coverage policy protects you against such potential defects as:
    1. Forged deeds, mortgages, satisfactions or releases.
    2. Deed by person who is insane or mentally incompetent.
    3. Deed by minor (may be disavowed).
    4. Deed from corporation, unauthorized under corporate bylaws or given under falsified corporate resolution.
    5. Deed from partnership, unauthorized under partnership
    6. Deed from purported trustee, unauthorized under trust agreement.
    7. Deed to or from a "corporation" before incorporation, or after loss of corporate charter.
    8. Deed from a legal non-entity (styled, for example, as a
      church, charity or club).
    9. Deed by person in a foreign country, vulnerable to challenge as incompetent, unauthorized or defective under foreign laws.
    10. Claims resulting from use of "alias" or fictitious namestyle by a predecessor in title.

    1. Deed challenged as being given under fraud, undue influence
      or duress.
    2. Deed following non-judicial foreclosure, where required procedure was not followed.
    3. Deed affecting land in judicial proceedings (bankruptcy,
      receivership, probate, conservatorship, dissolution of
      marriage), unauthorized by court.
    4. Deed following judicial proceedings, subject to appeal or
      further court order.
    5. Deed following judicial proceedings, where all necessary
      parties were not joined.
    6. Lack of jurisdiction over persons or property in judicial
    7. Deed signed by mistake (grantor did not know what was
    8. Deed executed under falsified power of attorney.
    9. Deed executed under expired power or attorney (death, disability or insanity of principal).
    10. Deed apparently valid, but actually delivered after death of
      grantor or grantee, or without consent of grantor.
    11. Deed affecting property purported to be separate property of
      grantor, which is in fact community or jointly-owned
    12. Undisclosed divorce of one who conveys as sole heir of a
      deceased former spouse.
    13. Deed affecting property of deceased person, not joining all
    14. Deed following administration of estate of missing person,
      who later re-appears.
    15. Conveyance by heir or survivor of a joint estate, who
      murdered the decedent.
    16. Conveyances and proceedings affecting rights of service-member protected by the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act.
    17. Conveyance void as in violation of public policy (payment of gambling debt, payment for contract to commit crime, or conveyance made in restraint of trade).
    1. Deed to land including "wetlands" subject to public trust
      (vesting title in government to protect public interest in navigation, commerce, fishing and recreation).
    2. Deed from government entity, vulnerable to challenge as unauthorized or unlawful.
    3. Ineffective release of prior satisfied mortgage due to acquisition of note by bona fide purchaser (without notice of satisfaction).
    4. Ineffective release of prior satisfied mortgage due to bankruptcy of creditor prior to recording of release (avoiding powers in bankruptcy).
    5. Ineffective release of prior mortgage of lien, as fraudulently obtained by predecessor in title.
    6. Disputed release of prior mortgage or lien, as given under mistake or misunderstanding.
    7. Ineffective subordination agreement, causing junior interest to be reinstated to priority.
    8. Deed recorded, but not properly indexed so as to be locatable in the land records.
    9. Undisclosed but recorded federal or state tax lien.
    10. Undisclosed but recorded judgment or spousal/child support lien.
    11. Undisclosed but recorded prior mortgage.
    12. Undisclosed but recorded notice of pending lawsuit affecting land.
    13. Undisclosed but recorded environmental lien.
    14. Undisclosed but recorded option, or right of first refusal, to purchase property.
    15. Undisclosed but recorded covenants or restrictions, with (or without) rights of reverter.
    16. Undisclosed but recorded easements (for access, utilities, drainage, airspace, views) benefiting neighboring land.
    17. Undisclosed but recorded boundary, party wall or setback agreements.
    1. Errors in tax records (mailing tax bill to wrong party resulting in tax sale, or crediting payment to wrong property).
    2. Erroneous release of tax or assessment liens, which are later reinstated to the tax rolls.
    3. Erroneous reports furnished by tax officials (not binding local government).
    4. Special assessments which become liens upon passage of a law or ordinance, but before recorded notice or commencement of improvements for which assessment is made.
    5. Adverse claim of vendor's lien.
    6. Adverse claim of equitable lien.
    7. Ambiguous covenants or restrictions in ancient documents.
    8. Misinterpretation of wills, deeds and other instruments.
    9. Discovery of will of supposed intestate individual, after probate.
    10. Discovery of later will after probate of first will.
    11. Erroneous or inadequate legal descriptions.
    12. Deed to land without a right of access to a public street or road.
    13. Deed to land with legal access subject to undisclosed but recorded conditions or restrictions.
    14. Right of access wiped out by foreclosure on neighboring land.
    15. Patent defects in recorded instruments (for example, failure to attach notarial acknowledgment or a legal description).
    16. Defective acknowledgment due to lack of authority of notary (acknowledgment taken before commission or after expiration of commission).
    17. Forged notarization or witness acknowledgment.
    18. Deed not properly recorded (wrong county, missing pages or other contents, or without required payment).
    19. Deed from grantor who is claimed to have acquired title through fraud upon creditors of a prior owner.
    An extended coverage policy may be requested to protect against such additional defects as:
    1. Deed to a purchaser from one who has previously sold or leased the same land to a third party under an unrecorded contract, where the third party is in possession of the premises.
    2. Claimed prescriptive rights, not of record and not disclosed by survey.
    3. Physical location of easement (underground pipe or sewer line) which does not conform with easement of record.
    4. Deed to land with improvements encroaching upon land of another.
    5. Incorrect survey (misstating location, dimensions, area, easements or improvements upon land).
    6. "Mechanics' lien" claims (securing payment of contractors and material suppliers for improvements) which may attach without recorded notice.
    7. Federal estate or state inheritance tax liens (may attach without recorded notice).
    8. Pre-existing violation of subdivision mapping laws.
    9. Pre-existing violation of zoning ordinances.
    10. Pre-existing violation of conditions, covenants and restrictions affecting the land.

    The EAGLE Policy is our newest and most comprehensive coverage. Subject to availability in your area, the Eagle Policy covers all of the risks listed above, plus these:

    1. Post-policy forgery against the insured interest.
    2. Forced removal of residential improvements due to lack of an appropriate building permit (subject to deductible).
    3. Post-policy construction of improvements by a neighbor onto insured land.
    4. Damage to residential structures from use of the surface of insured land for extraction or development of minerals.