Purchasing a home or other real estate is a complex transaction. With so much at stake, it’s important that all the documents are accurate and that there are no issues that could arise to jeopardize the sale. After all the negotiations have been completed and the mortgage approved, a closing agent is called upon to help review documents and finalize the transaction.
A closing title agent performs a number of important tasks in the settlement of a real estate transaction. One of the most important duties is researching the title to the property to ensure there are no problems such as undisclosed liens, boundary disputes or errors in public records that could affect the transaction or the buyer’s rights in the future. Should the title agent find any issues, they need to be flagged for resolution, and the agent may need to do some research to settle the transaction.
The agent is also responsible for reviewing all the contracts related to the transaction for accuracy, and flagging and correcting any issues. This includes all financial information related to the transaction, such as tax and fee amounts, agent commissions and seller payment. The closing agent also compiles all closing documents for the transaction and arranges and oversees the signing of those documents, and collects the money required for the transaction, such as the escrow deposit, down payment or required fees.
Some title companies will hire closing officers who have only a high school diploma, but most look for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in business or another related field. A certificate in loan and/or real estate closing is beneficial if you're looking for a job in this field as well. You can earn a certificate from a local community college or via an online program. Many title companies also want closing officers to be licensed as notaries.
Experience is the most important factor in becoming a closing officer. You generally need at least three years of experience to become a closing title agent, which you can gain by working in a real estate, mortgage or title company.
Most title agents work for independent title agencies. Although home buyers can choose the title agency they wish to use, many go with a recommendation from their real estate agents. As a title agent, you can expect to work in an office environment during normal business hours, although some closing meetings may be held in the evening or on weekends. Some title closing officers also work from home.
The median annual salary for title closing agents is $43,530. Depending on the employer, agents may also earn bonuses, commissions or have profit-sharing opportunities.
One projection for salary trends based on experience looks like this:
0-5 years: $35,000
5-10 years: $40,000
10-20 years: $46,000
20 years or more: $48,000.
Job Growth Trend
Overall, the real estate title industry is stable, with moderate growth expected in the coming years. An increase in home prices is helping drive up title agency revenues, which should translate into more opportunities for agents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth rate of 8 percent for all loan officers, which includes title agents, between now and 2024.