Title and Escrow Companies on Maui Hawaii
Owning your own slice of heaven as a property owner in Hawaii may be in your near future. However, after you find the ideal property and negotiate a deal with the seller, the work isn't done yet and you must complete the escrow process before closing on the property. The timeline for this process varies, but it usually takes between one to two months and is outlined in the Hawaii Purchase Contract.
Buyers and sellers typically work with a title and escrow company based on the island they are buying/selling and since I work primarily on Maui, I always work with a local escrow and title company to go through this process. Given the timeline, your interactions with the title and escrow company will begin very soon after the electronic ink has dried on the purchase contract.
The purchase contract will indicate which title and escrow company will be used for the transaction. Escrow will be 'opened' and the process will begin with escrow reaching out to both parties and arranging for the initial earnest money deposit from the buyer. Buyers and sellers often have several questions about escrow and I'll do my best to dive into those here, so what does a title and escrow company on Maui specifically do?
When you purchase real estate on Maui or anywhere in the modern world, the home deed transfers from the seller to you as the buyer. This means that you will hold the legal title to the property after closing. Before this deed transfer occurs, however, you understandably need to ensure that the seller has a clear claim to the property.
Your title agent will thoroughly research the property’s title history to ensure that the title is clear. In some cases, the title to a property has a defect, which may mean that another party has a claim to the property. Without a clean title, that person may one day attempt to take the property from the owner. This can result in an exhausting, expensive legal process and perhaps your loss of the property.
The Title Company Is There For Protection
A title search also looks for judgments, liens, and encumbrances on the property. For example, if the seller completed a home renovation and failed to pay a contractor, that contractor could have filed a lien against the property. The property cannot be sold until that lien is paid and removed from the property. All of the various claims against the property must be settled or satisfied appropriately before or at closing. In addition to verifying that the property that you are purchasing has a clean title, the title and escrow company on Maui provides title insurance.
The specific coverage provided by this insurance varies slightly. However, it typically protects you against third-party claims that may arise in the future as well as your legal costs and financial losses related to such claims.
Properties For Sale on Maui
This deed transfer process occurs simultaneously at closing as the seller’s mortgage and all outstanding closing costs, related expenses, liens and more are paid off. Soon after the sales contract is signed, the seller’s earnest money must be deposited with the title and escrow company on Maui. The title company will hold the earnest money in an escrow account. This is a pass-through account that is managed by the title company as a neutral third party.
The title company will also collect various invoices and bills that should be paid at closing, such as the appraiser’s fee, the property inspector’s fee and the survey cost. In addition, mortgage companies typically require some or all of the first year of the property insurance premium and a few months of the annual property tax bill to be collected upfront.
Escrow is There For Support and Facilitation
At closing, your title and escrow agent will prepare a settlement statement, which itemizes all of the various costs and fees that must be settled at closing. This statement shows all incoming funds, such as from your down payment and new mortgage loan. It also itemizes where the proceeds will be disbursed to.
For example, the proceeds may be used to pay off the seller’s mortgage and other property encumbrances. Funds may be sent to the new mortgage company to establish escrows for taxes and insurance. Additional costs for title insurance, closing costs, and other fees will be paid to the appropriate parties as well.
Hawaii’s real estate laws are complex, and the title agent ensures that all laws are followed. This agent works with the buyer and seller as well as the mortgage companies, the insurance company, and other parties involved in the transaction to pull all of the pieces together while complying with the law.
The Options for Title and Escrow Companies on Maui
Maui has several well-established and reputable title/escrow companies that provide a variety of services beyond transactions, including supporting active realtors with necessary property information, assisting owners with deed changes, notarizing documents, and more.
During my time as a realtor on Maui, I've worked with a wide variety of escrow officers and all of the different companies. I've been fortunate to have had only good experiences with all of my transactions in my career and am always impressed with the level of professionalism these escrow officers display handling these often complex transactions. That being said, it does make it more challenging to say I have a favorite as I've built relationships with all of them . However,
Ho'okele Title and Escrow
Ho'okele Title and Escrow is located in the Wailea Town Center in Kihei, and its other locations are in Honolulu, Ka’anapali, and Kailua-Kona. This title and escrow company on Maui focuses on supporting the community through its extensive services. Its team takes a hands-on approach to provide attentive, friendly service throughout the entire transaction to all parties. At the same time, Ho'okele Title and Escrow utilize the latest technologies to promote privacy, security, accuracy, and speed. On this title company’s website, you can find useful tools that can help you estimate various financial aspects of the transaction prior to closing. The company also has extensive experience with tax-deferred 1031 real estate exchanges.
Old Republic Title
Old Republic Title has several offices throughout Hawaii, including in Lahaina. This is a nationally-recognized company that is headquartered in Tampa, Florida, and it has been working to protect property rights for its clients for more than a century. Its team takes a conservative approach to financial management while also staying on top of the constantly changing landscape of the mortgage industry, real estate laws, and other related areas. In addition to serving the title and escrow needs of individuals, Old Republic Title offers services for business and government transactions. Its underwriters are American Guaranty Title Insurance Company and Old Republic National Title Insurance Company.
Fidelity National Title
Fidelity National Title is among the oldest and most well-established title and escrow companies in the United States. It was established in 1847 and maintains its headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. The company is publically traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and it is a Fortune 500 company. Fidelity National Title has offices throughout Hawaii, and its Maui locations are in Kahului, Upcountry, Lahaina and Wailea. While its experienced staff members always focus on providing excellent customer service to all parties involved in a transaction, the title company maintains the highest standards for efficiency and accuracy. The website also has numerous resources for buyers, sellers, real estate professionals, attorneys, and others.
Title Guaranty of Hawaii
Title Guaranty of Hawaii is among the most recognized title and escrow companies on the island. Its headquarters is in Honolulu, and it has more branch locations across the islands than any other title company. On Maui, it has locations in Kahului, Lahaina, and Wailea. While there are larger and older national companies, Title Guaranty of Hawaii is the most established in the state. It was founded in 1896 and has been family-owned throughout its history. It recognizes the critical need for speed and accuracy in real estate transactions, and it has a solid reputation for excellence in these areas with individuals, real estate agents, developers, lenders, and others involved in Hawaii real estate transactions.
First Hawaii Title
First Hawaii Title was established in 1985 and has locations throughout the state, including in Kihei and Kailua Kona. Over the years, it has developed many lasting relationships with various real estate professionals in the area, and it has been a preferred title company for its many repeat clients as well. First Hawaii Title takes pride in its focus on embracing technology and innovation through its partnership with NexTitle. At the same time, it holds high standards for accountability, attention to detail, and accuracy. Numerous tools and resources are available on its website, including a home process guidebook, cost estimating sheets, a video library, and others.
How Is The Escrow Company Chosen For a Real Estate Transaction?
In Hawaii, the seller in a transaction typically has the most leverage and selects the title and escrow company they prefer via contract negotiations. If the seller doesn't have any preference, they are likely to accept a contract where the buyer makes the selection. The title company is listed on the Hawaii purchase contract, so the selection must be determined before the sales contract is finalized and signed by both parties. As a buyer or seller, if you have a title company preference, ensure that your real estate agent presents this during the contract negotiation process.
If you have any questions about title and escrow services in Hawaii, please feel free to call me at 808-214-4799, I'd be happy to discuss options with you.
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Evan Harlow is a Realtor on Maui who has the expertise, experience, and work ethic to help you achieve all of your real estate buying or selling goals. We promise exceptional service and support from the beginning of the process through closing and beyond.
Posted by Evan Harlow R(S) 82003 on