Frequently Asked Questions


We eat and breathe real estate, but most people don't. So we put our heads together and came up with questions people ask over and over, and we have included them on this page. If you question isn't here, or our answer just isn't good enough, give us a call. If we can't answer your question, we'll find someone who can.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

TITLE INSURANCE

PROPERTY TAXES

QUESTIONS ABOUT MORTGAGES, MORTGAGE PAYMENTS, AND ESCROW ACCOUNTS.


GENERAL QUESTIONS

How do I find your office?

Our office is conveniently located at 7600 Fern Avenue, Building 200 in the Auto Mall Area. Our office is ¾ of a mile from either East 70th Street or Bert Kouns Ind. Loop, in the Fern Avenue Business Park. Our location is convenient to I-49, I-220 / 3132 Loop, Bert Kouns Ind. Loop and Youree Drive.

Click here for map and driving directions. top

What should I expect at my closing?

When you arrive at our offices, you'll be seated in one of our conference rooms, offered refreshments, and as soon as everyone in the transaction is present, we'll get started.

Both the buyer and the seller can expect to sign the deed, a settlement statement, and some disclosure documents. The deed is the actually transfer of the property, which we will record in the courthouse. The settlement statement is an accounting of which fees are paid by the buyer, which by the seller, what fees are being charged, how much money the seller "nets," and how much the buyer has to bring to closing.

A buyer can expect to sign those documents, and, well, lots of other stuff. The core documents in a financed purchase are the promissory note and the mortgage. The promissory note is your promise to pay back the money being loaned to the Lender, and the mortgage is the Lender's "collateral" for their loan. In addition to these "core" documents, you'll sign another 20 - 50 pages of documents, most of which are disclosures of one type or another that are required by Federal law. Each will be explained to you as you sign it. Typical documents you'll sign include the Truth in Lending disclosure, your "final" loan application, an escrow. top

Do I need to bring certified funds to purchase my home?

Yes. Louisiana law allows us to only accept "good" funds over a certain amount. Our policy is you must bring a cashier's check, certified check, or money order for any amounts over $1,000.00. In certain circumstances, we can accept "uncertified" funds over $1,000.00. Please contact us if bring certified funds to closing poses a problem for you. top

When will I know how much I have to bring?

As soon as we received your order, we began working on your settlement statement, which calculates the "bottom line" of how much you have to bring to closing. As soon as we receive the final closing instructions from your lender, we'll finalize the settlement statement.

Everyone involved in your transaction works to have your closing ready, and your down payment amount, ready as soon as possible. In most cases, we'll be able to give you a final figure at least a day before closing.

However, in some cases we receive the loan documents on the day of your closing, and you may not be provided with that "bottom line" until a few hours before your closing.

If that's the case, we can provide you with a "ball park" estimate, usually within a couple of hundred dollars. You can bring that amount in certified funds, and we can accept a personal check (or refund you some money). top

I'm selling my house at another title company. Can I bring that check?

Absolutely. Ask that company to give you a "good funds letter" with your check and bring it to our office. If you forget, we'll call and have them fax one over while you are at your closing. If the check is more than you need to bring to our office, we'll issue you another check for the difference. top

TITLE INSURANCE

We answer more questions about this than any other subject, so we gave it its own page. Please visit our Title Insurance page. top

PROPERTY TAXES

What is homestead exemption?

In Louisiana, a property owner doesn't pay state and parish taxes on the first $75,000.00 of value of their home. For example, if your home is worth $100,000.00, you only have to pay state and parish taxes on $25,000.00. The purpose of homestead exemption is to encourage home ownership. top

The Caddo Parish Assessor's office has a great Frequently Asked Questions page and the Bossier Parish Assessor's office has a page dedicated to Homestead Exemption, most of which applies statewide. Even if your question is answered on our page, the assessor's page contains lots of useful information and is worth a few minutes of your time. top

Even if your home is outside city limits and the value is under $75,000.00, you may still get a bill from the Sheriff in December. This is for a Fire District Fee, which is assessed to provide fire protection. In this area, it is common for Fire District Fees to be $50 - $100 per year. top

Do I have to sign up?

Yes. The process starts at the assessor's office in the parish in which your home is situated, and the assessor's office is usually located in the Parish Courthouse (IN Bossier City, there is a satellite office at _________________________). The deadline each year is November 15th, but don't its not a good idea to wait. The assessor's office gets really crowded at that time of year. Shortly after your closing, we'll mail you a copy of your deed that has been filed at the courthouse, along with a letter reminding you to sign up for homestead exemption. Although its not required that you take a copy of your deed to sign up for homestead exemption, it speeds the process. top

QUESTIONS ABOUT MORTGAGES, MORTGAGE PAYMENTS, AND ESCROW ACCOUNTS.

I signed on a mortgage. Does that put me "on title?"

In a word, no. In addition to being a property owner, there are other reasons one may sign on a mortgage. Signing the promissory note or a mortgage doesn't transfer an ownership interest in the property. A deed, donation, or other conveyance is necessary to put a person "on title." top

My mortgage was sold to another company. Does this change anything?

Not really. All that can change is to whom you send it and where.

Mortgages are bought and sold, by the thousands, every day. The promissory note you signed at closing is "negotiable paper" and, simply put, whoever holds your mortgage is entitled to collect the payments. top

My mortgage includes an escrow account. What is that?

Simply put, your lender has a checking account just for you, and it is used to pay your insurance and property taxes. Your escrow account does not pay interest on that money.

At your closing, some money was set aside to establish your escrow account, and each month part of your mortgage payment is placed in the escrow account. When your homeowner's insurance is due, your mortgage company sends a check to your insurance company. In December, when property taxes are due, your mortgage company sends a check to the Parish Sheriff and/or the City tax collector.

The lender establishes your escrow account with a small "cushion" regulated by Federal law. As your insurance and taxes go up each year (wouldn't it be nice if they actually went down?), that cushion may be depleted. That's the reason that your mortgage payment may go up year to year. Typically, your lender will adjust your payment in the early months of the year, but it can change any time there isn't enough money in your escrow account to pay your taxes and insurance.

Even though your mortgage company pays your taxes and insurance, you may still get a copy of the insurance bill and tax notice. It is always a good idea to verify that these items are paid. Mortgage companies are sending out thousands of insurance and tax payments all the time, and occasionally miss a tax payment or insurance payment. If your insurance agent says he hasn't been paid, follow up with the customer service department of your mortgage company. top

 

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