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  1. #1
    Rexlan is offline Senior Member
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    FL ... are closing agents licensed?

    Florida

    I can not find the licensing requirements for closing agents or settlement agents for property sales.

    Are they regulated by occupational licensing like real estate agents are?
    Are they required to hold a license of some sort?

    I have a situation where an outfit in Texas did the closing on a FNMA property in FL and they really did a poor job.
  2. #2
    John_DFW is offline Member
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    I can't answer the question, but the Texas Real Estate Commission is the place to find the answer or address this.

    [url=http://www.trec.state.tx.us/]TREC - Home Page[/url]

    There are complaint forms if they do indeed cover this, and you think it is at a level that warrants such action.
  3. #3
    Rexlan is offline Senior Member
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    I actually started there and they haven't a clue ... in FL anyway. I "suspect" they only have to be a Notary but not sure.
  4. #4
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    are you asking about the situation in Florida or Texas?

    You titled the thread: FL ... are closing agents licensed?
    but then go on to say something about a deal in Texas. Then when the first responder suggested a Texas website, you answered that that is where you started.

    If the closing was in Texas, the Texas laws would apply. If the closing was in Florida, the Florida laws would apply. Where was the closing?
  5. #5
    Rexlan is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by justalayman View Post
    are you asking about the situation in Florida or Texas?

    You titled the thread: FL ... are closing agents licensed?
    but then go on to say something about a deal in Texas. Then when the first responder suggested a Texas website, you answered that that is where you started.

    If the closing was in Texas, the Texas laws would apply. If the closing was in Florida, the Florida laws would apply. Where was the closing?
    The property was a FNMA foreclosure and it is located in Florida. The asset manages selected a closing company RELS Settlement Services and the closer (physical person) is in Texas.

    RELS is a part of Wells Fargo. They are pitiful. RELS is NOT licensed in Texas or Florida.

    So the real question is do they need to be licensed in Florida to close a Florida property? The Real estate commission dodged the question and there are no occupational licenses requirements I can find. It seems to be sort of a gray area.
  6. #6
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    If the closing was in Texas, the laws of Texas will apply to their actions. While they may have had to have some license or registration in Florida to effect some actions in Florida, any laws involving the closing itself would be controlled by Texas.
    Offhand, I don't know any state that requires a closing agent to be licensed. There may be specific parts of the closing that require a licensed person to perform (such as a notary) but generally, a closing agent is a paper shuffler. Any legal questions you might have should be put off and suggested that you obtain a lawyer to find the answers. As well, if it involves title insurance (where a lot of closings do tend to take place), a title insurance agent must be licensed but all of the actions taken by such an agent can be completed prior to closing so there is no need for direct involvement of the title insurance agent in the closing.

    So, from what I have found, unless the closing agent is performing some task that requires a license (not the closing itself but some associated task), I have found nothing that requires such a person to hold any particular license or qualifications.

    I am curious as to just what a closing agent could have screwed up?
  7. #7
    Rexlan is offline Senior Member
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    Sort of a long story but briefly ... I have a Realtors license in VA, TN and KY. I buy some property, generally HUD, FNMA stuff, and flip it. I just bought this one in FL ... nice home undervalued but expensive.

    HUD and FNMA use asset managers to sell their REO properties. The AM selects the closing/title company to close the sale. Buyer has no choice and for this sale they selected RELS. Generally it is never a problem, but this is a first with this outfit. RELS isn't licensed in Texas so the "real" file is controlled out of Minnesota. The folks, however, are in Westlake Texas working under the RELS-workshare banner - whatever that is - out of the Core-Logic facility..

    In this case, RELS had to do (3) HUD-1 statements to get it right. They failed to provide title commitment on time so the contract expired ... twice. They noted an exception on the title commitment due to a utility lien but failed to withhold it from the sellers side for settlement. They prepared the deed ... got it wrong (pitiful) - got it right on the third try.

    We got past that with 3 weeks of extensions, closed and funds tendered. Then they didn't record the deed because they forgot to record the Power of Attorney for the FNMA agent! Got caught (by me) and lied about it. Finally got the deed recorded 3 weeks after closing. Then they forgot to record the Right of First Refusal from the underlying corp. that they noted in their title report! Finally got that recorded yesterday.

    For the professional service -- $2,800 in closing fees/charges/title.

    I have been at this awhile and did 85 closing last year myself ... this is the worst in history so I am looking for a way to get their contract yanked with FNMA. Here in VA you either have to be a licensed Title Company or an attorney to issue title policies and only a Notary to actually conduct a closing. I am not sure what is needed in FL, but perhaps the same.
  8. #8
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Here in VA you either have to be a licensed Title Company or an attorney to issue title policies and only a Notary to actually conduct a closing. I am not sure what is needed in FL, but perhaps the same.
    this is all I have been finding anywhere I look. Each of the actions that require licensing can be done prior to the closing so what results is simply a person to shuffle papers and if they are needed to verify a signature, be a notary.

    I cannot see anything to do other than register complaints (with supporting proof of course) of incompetence with FNMA or the AM. As with any business, if the people you hire or contract with to perform some service are incompetent, you know that eventually it will come back to haunt you as you deal with the problems they caused. As such, it is best to severe the association, if possible, and if there are alternatives.

    Have you addressed this with the AM? Maybe if they were aware of problems they would look elsewhere for their closings? The problem I would suspect though is that if the AM's deal with a wide area of the country, rather than trying to find individual offices in each locality, partnering with somebody such as RELS, who is licensed in 34 stated to provide title work, makes it simpler for the AM's.
  9. #9
    Rexlan is offline Senior Member
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    You are exactly correct about the AM's and they service a wide area. Another layer is also added because the AM assigns the file to a listing Broker for FNMA properties (HomePath) and all contact has the go through them. The listing broker does not want "issues" of course because this is like free money to them in commissions and they don't have to work for it. HUD on the other hand lets us register directly and we can bid directly without the middle agent on any property in the states we are registered to work.

    Just a very bad situation overall. I have only had one other bad closing and it was a HUD property. Fortunately, I had internal contacts in HUD and it was dealt with swiftly. Too many layers in FNMA but I am working on it!.

    Thanks
  10. #10
    John_DFW is offline Member
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    File complaint with BBB, and with real estate commission in both TX and FL and let the chips fall where they may.

    Technically, they fixed the problem.

    Were you out any additional money due to the delays? If so, you could sue in small claims.

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