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The Oldest and Finest!

As a Bitterroot Valley Real Estate professional, you’re well aware of the unique beauty and complexity of Ravalli County property. That’s why when we’re approached by consumers with questions about a potential transaction, we always recommend they seek out a local agent.

At First Montana Title, we’re committed to making your client’s buying or selling experience as accurate, simple and secure as possible. Below are some frequently asked questions and suggestions of how you can help us create a smooth and timely closing.

About First Montana Title Company Of Hamilton

Established over a century ago, First Montana Title Company of Hamilton was the Bitterroot Valley’s original title abstract company; and continues today as Western Montana’s most trusted real estate settlement and title insurance agency. Having been operated by the current owners as a Montana-raised, family-owned business for more than 35 years, we understand the culture, values, and intricacies of land and title in the Bitterroot, and value each of our customers as a friend and neighbor.

As the only fully functional title research plant for consumers, lenders, attorneys, government agencies, developers, and real estate professionals in Ravalli County, we provide world-class settlement services, and insurance policy options from top-tier national underwriters, for transactions of all sizes and complexities.

Other title companies complete their research using online portals and processes that can sometimes be inaccurate or incomplete in rural areas like Ravalli County. Our plant is used by county and state governments, local attorneys, lenders and real estate agents to ensure historical accuracy, research unique issues and gain access to our highly experienced staff (who average more than 25 years in the title research business!).

Don't Let Your Deal Crumble at Closing

As an experienced agent or broker, you know the risks that homebuyers face such as fraud, foreclosure, and boundary disputes. Protect your clients and make sure they purchase an Owner's title insurance policy, so they get the peace of mind they deserve. In Montana the Seller generally chooses and pays for the Owner's policy. However, lenders often jump the gun and direct title and escrow on behalf of the buyer. Please be sure to complete the Title and Closing information in the purchase agreement, and instruct the Buyer and their lender that you have placed the order with First Montana Title. This helps avoid duplicate orders and conflicts.

Placing an order is as simple as submitting a request through our secure portal. Simply upload your internal order form, purchase agreement, or any document that contains your order information. Be sure to let us know who you are and any other pertinent information. Submit your request here.

You can also send your order via your own secure email service, fax, mail, or drop it by our office. We’d love you to come in say hello! Our contact information is:

A Listing Packet or Property Profile is simply a compilation of property information intended to assist the agent in completing their listing process. RESPA regulations preclude us from providing title searches, reports or insurance for free to gain or guarantee future business. Therefore, we don’t formally package this free information into any specific “product” form.

However, we are happy to provide basic publicly available information to assist you in listing your property. Here’s what may be included:

  1. A copy of the vesting deed.
  2. Copies of individually recorded Covenants (Note: since a complete title search is not undertaken, any covenants, easements or restrictions found on individual deeds would not be identified or included).
  3. Copies of specific documents that you may have referenced or requested as part of the information packet.
  4. A copy of the county property tax report.
  5. A photocopy of the related survey, plat or section map.

Title Companies Operate by instruction. This means that disbursement of funds to specific parties, the payment of any invoices or the transfer of any personal property (such as water rights or farm equipment) must be specifically requested prior to closing and appropriate information provided. Proper names, addresses and legal descriptions are necessary for both buyers and sellers to complete all closing documents. Here’s what we might need:

  1. A copy of the signed Buy-Sell Agreement including:
    • Complete address and contact information for both parties (phone numbers and emails if possible).
    • Legal description of property (in Montana an address is not always accurate or sufficient).
    • Contact information for all agents involved.
    • Commission amounts and splits (not included as part of standard Buy-Sells).
  2. Information on Deceased Parties:
    • Most deaths won’t show up in a public document search at our local court house, unless we are specifically instructed to look in death certificate files for Ravalli County. If a person passed in another county or state, the death certificate will not be referenced anywhere in county records. Please notify us if a party to a sale is deceased. A death certificate may be required to close.
  3. Water Rights information:
    • While we may do a preliminary search for water rights through the DNRC website, verification of water rights, unfiled wells, or lake and ditch shares are the responsibility of the Seller and their agent. We’re happy to complete and file appropriate forms to transfer water rights on information you provide.
  4. Trust, Partnership, or Corporation documents:
    • We will need declaration and signature pages for all trusts, partnerships or corporations (to verify vesting and who can sign). Even when we’ve done previous work for a particular client, legal documents change constantly and must be reviewed each time. First Montana Title does not maintain a database of private legal documents for clients.
  5. Loan/Creditor Account Numbers:
    • If you represent a Seller who has underlying loans, liens or creditors that must be paid off to close, please provide account numbers and the last 4 digits of the client’s social security number. Many creditors will require a signed authorization from a customer. You can download a copy here .

Although certain times of year are busier than others in Montana, we are generally able to produce a preliminary title commitment within 5 business days. First Montana Title does the most comprehensive title research in Ravalli County. As the only company with a complete onsite title plant, we regularly identify and solve title issues impossible to find or correct through the online search process used by other companies.

Our examiners have decades of experience in research and real estate transaction analysis in the Bitterroot Valley, and are relied on regularly to research and answer questions for County and State government, local banks, mortgage companies, real estate agents and attorneys. Settlement statements are generally prepared 3 days prior to closing to allow for review by agents and the parties involved.

Statements produced earlier than this generally require correction for payoff and prorated amounts. Most lenders also dictate the pace of the settlement process, and we must rely heavily on their documents and timelines. All in all, 14 business days are usually necessary to close a transaction. First Montana Title may charge an additional fee for rush requests.