Title & Closing Services Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the frequently asked questions we receive.  Don’t see your question here? Please call our office at 205.983.8100 and ask one of our professional staff members.

  • What is Title Insurance and Who Needs It?

  • Title insurance is insurance to protect real estate owners and lenders against any property loss or damage they might experience because of liens, encumbrances or the defects in the title to the property. Each title insurance policy is subject to specific terms, conditions and exclusions. Insurance such as car, life, health etc. protect against potential future events and is paid for with monthly or annual premiums. Title insurance insures against events that occurred in the past of the real estate property and the people who owned it. For a one time premium that is paid at the time of closing, title insurance will protect against claims from defects. Defects are things such as another person claiming ownership, improperly recorded documents, fraud, forgery, liens, encroachments, easements, and other items that are specified in the actual policy. Title insurance is needed by lenders and the person who is purchasing.

  • Who is responsible for paying for title and closing services?

    Ultimately your real estate contract should dictate who pays for what charges. In the absence of such language in your real estate contract there are market norms that are used. Many times in Alabama buyers and sellers split the cost of title insurance and attorney closing fees.

  • How much do your services cost?

    Title insurance and closing costs vary depending on the complexity of the transaction, purchase price and the loan amount. Below is a break down of cost of a typical residential transaction, If you want a quote for your transaction one of our Closing Coordinators can provide it. Click here to request a quote or call our offices at (205) 983-8100.

    The first step is to perform a title search and exam. The cost in most cases is $200.  A title search is required on all real estate transactions and provides proof of who owns the property, the legal description of the property, if taxes have been paid, any existing mortgages, liens or judgements.

    The next step is title insurance. This insures the data collected in the search and that the purchaser is getting a free and clear title. This cost is based on the purchase/sales price, if there is a loan then also the loan amount is a factor.  If a lender is involved then title insurance will be required for the lender as well as for the purchaser.

    Closing fees cover the preparation and coordination of the closing, conducting the closing, notarizing signatures, recording the documents and providing you with copies as well as many other things. Closing fees are $650 for a financed purchase, $500 for a cash purchase, $450 for a refinance.

  • What should I expect at my real estate closing?

    You should expect your closing to take approximately one hour.

    An attorney will provide a brief explanation of each document prior to you signing.

    If you would like to review the documents prior to closing please let our office know and we will be happy to get those to you to review.

    You can expect to receive copies of all documents in either paper or electronic form. If funds are required at the closing you must have them delivered by wire transfer or in the form of a cashier’s check.

    When you arrive at our closing facility or the closing location of your choosing, you will find it to be a relatively easy process. All of our closings are conducted by an attorney. One of our highest priorities is that you leave feeling comfortable with what you were asked to sign and have a good understanding of the process in which you were involved.

    We love serving you, so if your closing is at our office, we will offer you drinks and complimentary chocolates!

  • What should I bring to my closing?

    Always bring a government issued ID Card, such as your driver’s license. Some lenders require two forms of identification.

    If you are married, your spouse will most likely need to be in attendance and need to have their own government issued ID.

    Certified or Cashier’s Check for your down payment and closing costs. You can find out the exact amount you will need to bring by contacting your lender or our office a day or two before your closing. You may also wire the funds and a representative at our office can assist you with this as well.

  • What is involved in a real estate closing?

    The buyer, seller and if applicable, someone from the lending company, as well as an attorney from our office acting as the closing agent will all be in attendance.

    The closing agent’s job is to verify identities of the parties in attendance, make sure that all necessary documents are signed and verified and that the money from the sale and/or refinance of the property is properly disbursed.

    Other people can and may be present at the closing including your own attorney and any real estate agents involved in the sale.

  • I’m selling my own home For Sale By Owner (FSBO), do I need title and closing services?

    Yes. We understand that not everyone utilizes a real estate agent. We can and will help you. (If you need help writing/reviewing a real estate contract, click here) Whether or not you utilize a real estate agent it is highly recommended that you use the services of a closing company to handle the coordination of the sale, serve as the escrow agent for the executed documents and funds, and then disburse the funds according to what is stated in the contract.  If there is a lender involved they will require title and closing services be seccured for the transaction.

  • I want South Oak Title & Closing to do my Title & Closing, how do I contract your services?

    If you are an individual or selling by owner, send us your real estate contract.  If there is a Realtor representing your prospective buyer request that South Oak Title & Closing serve as the title agent and/or closing agent on the transaction - write it on the contract. If there is a lender involved the title and closing company needs to be communicated to them as well. 

  • You can send us your contract by hand delivery, mail, e-mail or by fax. If you have questions, call our offices at (205) 983-8100.

  • When are you open?

    Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. CST.
    Upon request we offer extended hours to facilitate your closing needs.

  • What services does South Oak Title & Closing Offer?

    We can handle all of your title and closing needs on any land, commercial or residential transaction throughout the state of Alabama. We perform title searches throughout Alabama (all counties), provide title insurance, escrow and real estate closing services. Our attorneys also provide real estate contract and review services as well as the clearing of any title issues.

    • Can I Bring My Child/Children?

      Your closing is a business transaction and if possible it's best to find a sitter. We have kids too and know sometimes they have to come along.  If your children are present they are welcome to stay in the closing with you and if needed we even have crayons and coloring pages.


I would like to thank each of you for working so hard on my two house closings yesterday.  This is my third house to buy and it was by far the smoothest of the three.  All the paperwork was ready and correct for both closings and we started on time. I know there is a lot of work in the background nobody knows about that makes things go smooth and easy. Susie and Karen really did a fine job. Marcus thanks for your patience with all the signing.

Thanks Again,
Harry A. Rush


better title and closing experience through technology and tailored services

Phone: (205) 983-8100
Fax: (205) 408-3029
2870 Old Rocky Ridge Road, Suite 160
Birmingham, AL 35243