Benchmark Title Company, LLC


Contract to Closing

by John Howe, President

You have a contract, now what?  Today's Title Tip is a back to the basics primer on how we get from Contract to Closing.  The simple answer is this: The Realtor gets the contract, the Title Company handles the closing.  But, unfortunately, it's not that simple.

Yes, Step 1 is the Realtor gets the contract signed, and the last step is the Title Company closes the transaction, but that is far from all there is to a real estate transaction.  In this issue I will outline some of the many steps in between "Contract to Closing."

As a Realtor, have you had your buyer pre-approved for a loan to be sure they can afford the dream home you have assisted them in finding?  If not, that is a very important step that should not be skipped, or we may all do a lot of work for a deal that doesn't ever get to the closing table.  Contact your favorite lender and ask them to help the buyer through this process, they will be more than happy to do this for you.

When that is approved and you have a signed contract your next step is to get a COMPLETE copy of the contract to the lender and the title company, including any and all amendments to the contract.  If anything changes throughout the course of the deal you must forward any amendments to the title company and the lender.  You do NOT want to be sitting at the closing table and providing the parties with an amendment that changes the price of the property.  That could jeopardize the buyer's loan qualification and leave some very unhappy people unable to complete a closing.

Has the appraisal been ordered?  Has the home inspection been requested?  Have you informed your buyer that they will need to have a homeowners insurance policy purchased and paid for prior to closing?  How about a terminate inspection?

One of the most important functions of all of the parties to any transaction is to communicate with each other throughout the process.  Any time the communication breaks down the risk of a problem at the closing table increases.

If something comes from the lender that you do not understand, ask the loan officer.  If something shows on the title commitment that you or your customers do not understand, ask the title examiner or closer at the title company.  We all have one thing in common - we want the buyers and sellers to walk away from the closing table with smiles on their faces, glad they chose to work with us for this most important transaction.  

Remember the 4 "C's" - complete copy of the Contract, Communication, Closing, and lest we forget, Commission!

Keep your eyes peeled for future title tips on what exactly the title company does after we receive a copy of your sales contract. 

Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email:  

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Commercial Division Manager

Sarah Holdener, Esq.
General Counsel,
VP Production

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
Fax Orders: 618-310-1589
President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

Upcoming Title Tips

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Introducing our 
Direct Deal 

 Leslie Rivera

Leslie Rivera has recently been appointed to a new post as Direct Deal Coordinator.  In addition to her regular duties as Policy Examiner, Leslie now handles customer contact on "Direct Deals" -- this means orders that don't close at Benchmark, such as letter reports, insured letter reports, informational binders, etc. for loans that close at the bank, or somewhere else in the country.  You can call Leslie directly to place your order, check on the status of your title commitment or policy, or to request recording fee schedules.  Leslie can assist you in getting what you need in a timely fashion, so you can take care of your customers in style.  Leslie can be reached in our Shiloh office at 618-239-3750 or by email at

 Did you say free?

Be the first in your office to try out, Benchmark Title's new FREE online transaction management system. Why waste time making status phone calls or standing by the fax waiting for your title commitment when you can get what you need instantly from your own computer. Visit for more information or call April Tolan, our SureClose Specialist, at 618-239-3750 for your sign-on so you can start saving yourself time and money today. We'll even give you and your clients a free CD at closing containing copies of their closing documents.

Give me my policy!

Did you know that lenders and home buyers now receive their title policies at the closing table? Call Michelle Null, VP Escrow Operations, to learn more about this exciting new program.

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