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Madison-Area Closing Customs

Wisconsin is a “table funding” state.  In a table funding closing, all documents required for closing are executed and funds are disbursed at the time of closing.  The seller brings clear title, the buyer brings money, and both leave the closing table with what the other person brought to the table.

Commercial transactions are closed in conformity with the requirements of a written agreement, generally a contract between the parties to the real estate transaction, accompanied by closing instructions prepared by the attorneys or brokers representing the parties.  

A Title Commitment is prepared by the title company, listing the requirements which must be met in order for the title insurer to issue a policy, as well as the exceptions from coverage.  Most transactions, and particularly commercial transactions, engage a representative of the title company (the “closer” or “escrow officer”) to collect and record the Documents of Conveyance and Documents Securing Debt prepared by the attorneys for the parties and the lender or lender’s counsel.

Closing Documents

The following documents are typically prepared by the closer:

  • W-9 or 1099 for Federal Taxes
  • Settlement Statement
  • Final Affidavit and Indemnities, as required for issuance of policy requested

Other documents should be prepared by the client or their respective attorneys, but the closer may be asked to prepare as directed with written instructions:

  • WI Real Estate Transfer Return
  • Conveyance Deed

Costs and Charges

The seller typically pays for the cost of the owner’s title policy, the transfer tax, and costs to record any items to clear title. The buyer pays for the lender’s policy, all endorsements required by the lender, and the costs of recording Deed and Lender Documents.

Closing costs are allocated between the parties to the transaction pursuant to the terms of the contract. Almost all commercial transactions involve attorneys representing the parties and the lender.  The costs are typically split as follows:

Cost Typically paid by
Owner’s Policy Seller
Owner’s Policy Endorsements Most contracts set forth a limited number of endorsements to be paid for by the Seller; additional endorsements are the responsibility of the Buyer
Loan Policy and Endorsements Buyer or Borrower
Real Estate Taxes Pro-rated, current taxes are paid by Seller (in Wisconsin, real estate taxes are paid in arrears)
Transfer Tax Seller
Water, sewer, association fee Pro-rated, current charges paid by Seller
Closing Costs Pursuant to the terms of the contract
Recording Fees Buyer or Borrower or Seller

Time and Place of Closing

The seller  typically sets the day of closing.  

Many commercial transactions are concluded without the parties meeting together, generally requiring the closer to coordinate receiving the documents from the parties and counsel and distributing and disbursing as necessary.  Documents are prepared, signed, and held in escrow by the title company until all requirements are completed and the requisite amount of good funds  have been provided to the title company to be disbursed.

Recording Fees

Recording fees are $30 per document.  

UCC’s may be recorded with the county Clerk and Recorder, and/or filed with the Secretary of State.

Electronic recording is available, at an additional cost of $10 per document.

Post Closing

Post-closing escrows are commonly held by the title company pursuant to a written agreement among the parties and the title company.

The title policy is issued upon recordation of the documents and the satisfaction of all outstanding requirements.

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