Frequently Asked Questions

Title insurance provides protection against any defects in the title to the property being purchased. Defects to title may include matters such as unsatisfied mortgages, liens, judgments, and improperly executed documents. The premium for title insurance is a one-time fee assessed at closing based on the purchase price. The title insurance provides coverage for as long as you own the property. With title insurance, you have peace of mind in knowing that you have coverage should a title issue arise.

Our office does not allow buyers to purchase a title search instead of title insurance. When you purchase a life insurance policy, the life insurance company requires you to undergo a physical prior to issuing your policy. The physical is an indicator of your insurability but doesn’t offer you any protection on your life. Similar to the physical in the life insurance example, the title search is an indicator of your property’s insurability, but it does not protect your property. We want you and your investment to be protected and the best way to do that is by purchasing a title insurance policy, so we do not allow clients to purchase a title search in its place.

Absolutely! We can overnight your documents and arrange for a local notary to assist you with signing.

Prorating taxes is the method of splitting the property taxes between the buyer and seller. Unless a property is tax-exempt, local, county, and school taxes are assessed against it. When the seller has already paid their tax bill prior to the closing, the buyer will credit the seller for a prorated amount of tax paid representing the number of days in the billing period where the buyer has possession of the property. If property taxes have not been paid prior to closing, the tax bill will be collected at closing and each party will be responsible for their share of the tax bill, based on the billing period and the days that each party is in possession. If you prefer not to prorate property taxes, be sure to make it clear in your sales agreement that there will be no proration.

Most sellers receive their proceeds within 24 hours of closing. If the buyer is represented by an outside settlement company or law firm, then it may take a little longer for your proceeds check or wire to be sent. Contact your ARS real estate specialist with any questions about receiving your proceeds.

We have offices in Meadville, Conneaut Lake, Titusville, and Erie. You can close at whichever office is most convenient for you. If you are not near any of these locations, we can make arrangements that fit your needs, including closing remotely.

As part of your closing, you will be asked for Personal Identifiable Information (PII), such as social security numbers, dates of birth, home addresses, etc. The PII we collect is used for verification of buyer and seller identities, lien searches, and/or 1099 reporting purposes. It is important to note that all parties are required to present a valid form of ID at the closing. We strive to keep this information confidential.

We recommend that, prior to closing, you consult with your accountant to determine any tax liability resulting from the sale of property. At closing, sellers will be asked to fill out either a W-9 or a Certification of No Information Reporting based on their self-reported circumstances and a prior discussion with your accountant will (1) make you aware of any tax liability you may incur as a result of the sale and (2) ensure the information you report at closing is accurate.

Great choice! To get started, we need a signed sales agreement and contact information (name, phone number, and email address, if applicable) for all parties. If you do not already have a sales agreement and would like help preparing one, our affiliate, Shafer Law Firm, can assist. You can reach them by phone at 814-724-4540 or call our office and we will connect you.

Anytime you buy or sell property in Pennsylvania, there is realty transfer tax assessed on the transaction unless the parties or the transaction is exempt. The transfer tax is typically 2% of the sales price: 1% goes to the state and 1% goes to the local municipality. Some municipalities charge a higher percentage, so be sure to check where the property is located before estimating. In most cases, the buyer and seller equally split the transfer tax (each side pays 1%). If you choose not to split the transfer tax, please be sure to make it clear in your sales agreement who will be responsible for it.

Your ARS real estate specialist can assist with transferring lienable utilities, such as public water and sewer services. We will assist you in setting up final inspections and reads, as necessary. For other utilities (e.g., gas, electric, phone, cable, etc.), check with your realtor or call your provider directly to inform them of the impending closing date. They will tell you what you need to do to transfer or cancel services.

Vesting is how you hold title to a property. You can hold title as an individual (sole owner), married couple (tenants by the entirety), or, with other individuals, as tenants in common or joint tenants with the right of survivorship. When individuals are joint tenants and one property owner dies, the other owner or owners assume title to the deceased owner’s share of the property. With tenants in common, ownership of the deceased owner’s share of the property passes to that individual’s heirs, NOT the other property owners. If you have questions or are not sure how you would like to hold title, just ask!

Our affiliate, Shafer Law Firm, is happy to assist you with the preparation of a sales agreement. Please call the office at 814-724-4540 to speak to a staff member and begin the process.

If your closing goes past the settlement date, both parties can agree to sign an addendum to the sales agreement to extend the closing date. This is typically required if you are using a lender and your closing is delayed.

The first thing you want to do is come to a verbal agreement on the terms of the sale with your prospective buyer. Once parties are in agreement, you will need to document your agreement, in writing, with a sales agreement for the agreement to be legally binding. You can certainly prepare your own sales agreement, but we recommend having an attorney prepare one on your behalf to ensure your interests are protected. If you need assistance with the preparation of a sales agreement, contact our affiliate, Shafer Law Firm, at 814-724-4540.

Your costs will depend on your needs. Not all closings are the same! Title insurance or no title insurance, cash or lender, and local or remote will all play into your final number. You can find our list of our residential closing fees and generalized title insurance rates here. There are also other costs to consider, such as bank fees, recording fees, tax prorations, realty transfer tax, courier fees, and other miscellaneous expenses.

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