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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between "platted" and "unplatted" land?
Platted land is a parcel of land divided into lots, as in a subdivision.  The platted lots are filed with the County Clerk in a "plat" book.  Unplatted land is any parcel of property which is not filed in a plat book and the legal description is described using a section, township and range.

Why are Oklahoma and Iowa the only two states that still do abstracting?
This is simply not true.  Every state requires some form of "abstracting" and the final product the "abstract".  Other states call it "evidence of title", "title report", "title search", or "title examination" -- and some states do call the search "abstracting."  The search process, no matter what it's called, has to be done, and is done in every state.

Does the Oklahoma Abstractors Board regulate title insurance or closing fees?
No.  The Oklahoma Insurance Commission regulates title insurance and they should be contacted with any questions concerning title insurance issues.  The closing industry is not regulated by any agency at this time.  The OAB does not have any jurisdiction over closing issues or closing companies.  The OAB can only address complaints dealing with abstracting issues of abstract licensees, permit holders or certificate of authority holders.


Closings and Escrows

How long is an escrow?
The length of an escrow is determined by the terms of the purchase agreement and can range from a few days to several months.

What is an escrow closing?
When buyer and seller have signed all the paperwork and all the funds have come in, the closing agent disburses the funds and oversees the recording of the documents with the county. When the deed is filed, title to the property is transferred to you, the new owner.

What is a closing date?
This is the date that you complete the purchase of a property.  The closing date is agreed upon in the purchase contract. A closing starts when the agreement is signed and ends when the property changes owners.

My real estate broker suggested an escrow service. Can I choose my own?
Yes, you can choose your own escrow service.  It’s common for brokers and agents to suggest a particular escrow service. Laws prevent  escrow companies from paying brokers a referral fee, but, chances are good that the relationship between the broker and the escrow service have worked together in the past.

How long does a closing take?
The process usually takes four to eight weeks.

What kind of advice can my escrow officer provide?
It’s important to remember that escrow officers carry out written escrow instructions (a summary of what has been agreed upon for ALL parties in the purchase agreement and counter offers) and close real estate transactions. They cannot provide you with information about property values or offer legal advice. If you sign loan documents at the escrow office during closing, the escrow officer cannot give advice on mortgage rates or terms.



How long does a title search take?
A title company examiner searches the records of the county recorder, county assessor, and other government taxing agencies to locate any documents which might affect the title to a given property. Depending on the number of documents the examiner must review, a title search will take anywhere from one hour to two weeks to complete. Read this search carefully and look for any hidden problems.

What should I look for in a Title Insurance agent?
Look for someone with a sound reputation for honesty, integrity, knowledge, and experience in all phases of title insurance, as well as efficient and dependable service to their clients. American Abstract & Title has a long standing reputation in this field and would be happy to assist you with your title insurance needs.

When does Title Insurance protection begin and end?
Title insurance protects against losses arising from events that occurred prior to the policy date. Policy coverage extends back in time for an indefinite period. Title insurance is the only type of insurance that insures past events. This is contrary to property, life or auto insurance, which protect against losses resulting from future events.

What is a Settlement?
Settlement is also known as closing. It is the event where the ownership of a property is transferred from the seller to the buyer.

Once all the title research is completed, the mortgage loan is approved, and all the paperwork is ready to be signed and recorded you will go to settlement. Closing is usually at the title agent's office but can also be held at an attorney's office, a real estate office, or even in the house being sold/purchased.

It involves completing of all the paperwork needed to finalize the transaction set forth by the contract (also known as the agreement of sale) that was executed by the buyer and seller. Once all of the documents have been signed, the funds disbursed and the deed and mortgage recorded, the transaction has "closed."