FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
We work with everyone, from first time buyers, to seasoned property investors, and everyone in between. No matter how experienced (or inexperienced) you are, here are some of the questions we get asked the most by our customers.
1. What Do I Need to Bring to Closing?
Generally, both buyers and sellers need to bring a valid (non-expired) government issued photo ID. This can be a state issued drivers license, identification card, passport, or military ID card. If you do not have one of these please let our office know ASAP.
The buyer may have funds due to closing, either in the form of closing cost (for a financed deal) or the entire purchase amount (for a cash deal). Funds can only be received in the form of a cashier's check or wire transfer. Wire transfers need to be initiated the day before the closing is scheduled to allow time to receive the funds. ME Title does not accept cash or personal checks.
A positive attitude and a sense of humor. At ME Title we do everything we can to ensure your closing goes smoothly. But life happens, and sometimes we get a small hiccup or two. Many times it is out of our hands but we always appreciate having customers who can share a laugh with us and work to get through it.
2. Who Do I Make the Cashier's Check Out To?
Please have your cashier's check made out to ME Title, not to the seller, anybody at our office personally, or anybody else you can think of.
3. When Does the Seller Get Their Money?
In most cases the seller will leave the closing table with their check in hand, or having their wire transfer initiated, depending on how they have elected to receive their funds. However, it is important to remember this is not always the case. If a wire transfer hasn't come in yet, or a lender is running behind getting wires out, disbursement could be delayed. It is the policy of ME Title to disburse funds only when we have the funds to give out. While we don't expect any of our transactions to go bad, this is necessary to ensure the financial protection of the seller, buyer, and our company.
4. I forgot to pay my property taxes, should I pay them now?
No, absolutely not. Please do not pay any current property taxes or water/septic bills right before the closing. We will have reached out to the town office to obtain payoff information for any outstanding taxes, water, and septic before the date of closing. Those things will be paid out of the proceeds from the sale. If a seller then goes and pays it, our numbers will be off, we will have to wait for the town office to receive and confirm the payment, and the whole closing could be delayed as a result.
5. What is Transfer Tax and Do I Have to Pay It?
The State of Maine charges transfer tax on nearly all transfers of real estate. The transaction is taxed at a rate of $2.20 for each $500 of value, rounded up. The tax is split between the buyers and the sellers. This tax is paid at closing and will be part of the closing costs. There are a few exceptions to the transfer tax, such as transfers between spouses or deeds of distributions. If you have questions about the transfer tax please reach out to the office. You can also find more information here. This tax is paid to the State of Maine, it is not a fee charged by ME Title.
6. What About the Real Estate Withholding? Does That Apply?
The State of Maine requires that buyers withhold 2.5% of the consideration price from an out of state seller as a Withholding Tax. This is an estimated income tax amount and withholding it ensures compliance with tax laws for out of state sellers. There are some exceptions to this rule and you can apply for an exemption. If you plan to apply for an exemption please do so 1-2 weeks before closing. Waiting until the last minute has the potential to push the closing while waiting for a decision. You can find out more about the withholding and exemptions here.
7. Why Haven't I Received My Title Insurance Policy Yet?
In order to issue a title insurance policy, we need to wait for any liens, mortgages, or other encumbrances on the property to be discharged. These things are almost always paid off from proceeds at closing, and the lenders have up to 60 days to record a discharge. For deals that do not involve payoffs and discharge recordings, you may get your policy as early as 30 days (sometimes sooner) after closing. Unfortunately, we do not control how long lenders and lien holders take to record discharges and we aim to get your policy to you as quickly as we can.
8. I Haven't Received My Title Insurance Policy Yet, Do I Own the Property?
Yes. When you receive your title insurance policy has no bearing on your ownership of the property. You own it as soon as the deed is recorded, which is typically done the same day, or the next business day after closing. Once any encumbrances on the property are cleared, the policy will be sent to you. The policy is valid starting at the date and time the deed was recorded, it doesn't matter if you get the hard copy 2 weeks or 2 months after closing.
9. Does Title Insurance Cover Me For Property Loss?
No. Title insurance covers your title to the property, meaning your legal claim to ownership. It guarantees that you have a rightful claim to that property and helps defend your title if necessary or reimburse you for loss if needed. Title insurance is not Homeowners Insurance. It will not cover you for any property loss due to fire, flood, etc.
10. Why Aren't I Getting a Warranty Deed?
When we draft a deed, we draft it as whatever is stated in the Purchase & Sale agreement we are given. The same goes for other title companies. In most cases, realtors put the type of deed that the seller took title with. However, sellers can convey a Warranty Deed even if they obtained title through another type of deed. A buyer can always ask to amend the Purchase & Sale to a Warranty Deed. It should be noted that the extent of the title search doesn't change at our office according to what type of deed you have contracted to receive. We do the same extensive title search for all our buyers, whether you are getting a Warranty Deed or Quitclaim Without Covenant. We do not charge more to do back title on a Warranty Deed, or to draft a Warranty Deed. Title insurance is important to get for any transaction, but even more so when a buyer is taking title through anything other than a Warranty Deed.
There are some exceptions to this, such as a distribution from an estate or a sale from an estate. In those cases the granting instrument must be written up in a certain way, and a Warranty Deed is not a possibility. If you have further questions about deed types please reach out to us.
11. I Want to Sue John Doe Over a Property Matter, Can You Help Me?
Unfortunately, no. While we are attorney owned and have two full time attorneys in the office daily, we do not have a litigation practice. We can draft many types of documents for you, research your property, help get releases of mortgages, and help facilitate the release of easements, among many other things, but we can't do that. If you'd like to call the office we would be happy to recommend a local property law attorney who may be able to help you.
12. Can You Help Me Get a Replacement Title for My Vehicle?