As a proud "Bitterrooter," you know Ravalli County towns consistently rank in the top small towns in America for livability and beauty, and we’re excited to help you share our valley with someone new. Thanks for allowing us to assist you neighbor! First Montana Title is committed to helping make your transaction simple, accurate and secure.
About First Montana Title Company Of Hamilton
Established nearly a century ago, First Montana Title Company of Hamilton is 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 30 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 best-in-class settlement services, and insurance policy options from top-tier national underwriters, for transactions of all sizes and complexities.
The Sale Process
We always start by recommending you work with a professional Real Estate Agent or Broker. Property transactions in Montana can be somewhat more complicated than in other areas. Valuation, availability, water rights, access and many other challenges await a seller, and can dramatically slow the process if not handled and addressed correctly. Ravalli County has many capable professionals who can represent your interests in this unique market. Contact us if you need a referral to some of the best.
STEP 1: Buyer Has Identified Your Property
Once a buyer has identified your property for purchase, their agent will use an approved Montana Purchase Agreement to make an offer and, when you’ve accepted, will provide it to the title company to open escrow. In Montana the Seller usually chooses the Title Company, since they are generally paying for the new owner’s title insurance policy as part of their closing fees. Please feel free to tell your agent to use First Montana Title as the escrow company.
The Earnest Money will be deposited with us when we receive the agreement, to be held in our Trust Account until closing. Please make sure that your agent fills out the agreement completely and provides us with your correct address and the spelling of all names. Please contact us directly if you have any questions concerning transfer of property from trusts, corporations, deceased parties or any other unique instance.
STEP 2: Preliminary Title Search
The next step is for us to complete a Preliminary Title search. First Montana Title of Hamilton has the only fully functional physical title plant in western Montana. 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!).
Once the search is complete (normally within 5 business days) the buyer and their agent will be provided with a Commitment of Title Insurance. This is our promise that their title will be free and clear of all liens, encumbrances, easements and title issues except those listed in the commitment. This is their opportunity to review and ask questions about anything relating to their future property. It also allows us the opportunity to work with you to clear any existing liens or potential title issues.
STEP 3: Pre-Closing Contact
We will need your account numbers and the contact information for any lien holders. A signed authorization by you is also often necessary for us to request loan and lien payoff from your current lender. When the buyer’s questions have been answered and the commitment approved, the agents and lender will work together to Set a Closing Date with our office.
As your closing date approaches we will be providing you with transaction updates and a final Closing Statement that details your fees and the amount due to close. It is difficult to have accurate figures much earlier than about 3 days prior to close, but we may be able to provide an estimated statement earlier with the understanding that it will adjust as necessary. If the buyer is working with a lender they may wish to provide these documents to both of us for review and inclusion in the closing.
STEP 4: Day Of Closing and Signing
On the day of closing you’ll come to our offices at 250 W. Main Street in downtown Hamilton to sign, or you’ll return your document package if you’re signing out of state. Your closing will generally last about 45 minutes and you’ll leave with completed copies of all related documents. The transfer of any keys, openers, locks, vehicle titles or other personal property will be completed by your agent during or after the closing appointment. Among the documents you will complete is our Escrow Agreement, and example of which is provided here for your review.
Our Escrow Agreement & Closing Instructions
Immediately following the signing by both parties, and approval of documents by the lender, we will Record the deed and loan documents with the county clerk and recorder. At that moment the property is officially sold. Your sale proceeds will be available no later than the next business day and we will disburse those per your instruction.
First Montana Title does extensive and exhaustive research concerning the history of both your property and previous owners. Many buyers and sellers mistakenly believe that because they know and trust each other, the property is in a subdivision, has been sold many times, or has been previously insured that title insurance isn’t important or necessary.
In fact, the likelihood of an outstanding lien or title defect rises every time a property sells. Additionally, all title policies expire with the sale of a property. So, any previous coverage is out of effect after you sell.