Smart Settlements Post-Closing FAQ

Virtually all interactions between homebuyers, sellers, real estate agents, and title companies happen before or at closing. However, your questions may not end there. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions post-closing.

What should I do with my documents after closing?

  • Closing documents: store them somewhere you can easily access and review them.

  • Final settlement statement: use with the 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement from your lender provided to file taxes.

You will receive electronic copies of your documents, so keep them somewhere secure and easily accessible.

What do I do with my owner’s title policy?

At closing, we give you a copy of your owner's title policy, which is one of the most important documents you will receive when you close on your new property. Keep this document somewhere safe and easily accessible in case you need to provide proof of your owner’s policy.

Who pays the property tax bill?

Ultimately, it is your responsibility as the homeowner to pay your property tax bill in full and on time. But, if you have an escrow account with your lender, the lender may be making payments on your behalf.


DISCOUNTS AND BENEFITS

Before paying your property tax bill, make sure that it reflects all discounts and financial assistance for which you qualified, such as the Homestead Deduction, Reduced Redecoration Tax, etc. If you see a discrepancy, contact your lender immediately.

WHO PAYS THE BILL

Many borrowers create an escrow account with their lenders to pay future property tax and homeowners insurance bills. If you have such an account, it will be funded by an initial deposit at closing. You then pay into this account monthly, along with your principal and interest payments. Remember that your lender pays your property tax and homeowners insurance bills from that escrow account, so you do not need to make a duplicate payment. Check your online lending account to ensure the bill was paid in full by your lender with escrow funds.

If you decided to waive escrow, you will be responsible for paying your property taxes directly. Your bill will tell you the due date and accepted methods of payment.

MULTIPLE PROPERTIES

For multiple lots, be sure to pay the tax amount for each titled property tax in your name. For example, a condominium may have separately-taxed parking spaces, which can be easily overlooked by you or your lender. When it comes to taxes, it is always best to double-check the bill, payment, and payment confirmation.

How can I research my property tax bill?

Your tax collecting agency will have information about your property tax bill, and many agencies provide a way to access your upcoming bill online. When you look up specifics about your tax payment status, you may need the lot and square numbers located on your electronically recorded deed.

Each year, your tax collecting agency assesses the value of your property to determine your tax bill. Many of those agencies provide assessment tools online to help you estimate the total amount you owe. Furthermore, they have processes to appeal assessments if you disagree with their initial estimate.

Assessment information for the DMV can be found at the following links:


DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


MARYLAND


VIRGINIA

What happens if I overpaid my property tax bill?

Should you find that you overpaid your property tax bill, a credit will be applied to your account. If you would prefer to be refunded directly, contact your tax collecting agency to see if that is an option in your jurisdiction.

What are some potential tax benefits on my property tax bill?

For your property, you have the opportunity to apply for various tax credits and benefits, which should be reflected in your property tax bill each year. Possible tax benefits include the Homestead Deduction, Senior Deduction, and Veterans’ Exemption.

If you do not see your benefits or credits reflected on your tax bill, contact post-closing@smartsettlements.com for questions and assistance.

How long will it take before my ownership is reflected in the local property tax database?

The tax collection agency’s website should reflect your ownership within six months of your purchase. If you do not see your ownership reflected by this time, contact the service center of your tax collection agency.

What do I do if I receive a water bill with the previous owner listed?

If you are in DC or Maryland and receive a water bill with the previous owner's name after you close on your new property, contact our post-closing department (post-closing@smartsettlements.com). It can take up to 2-3 months for the water company to complete the final water bill and set up your new account. We will ask you to forward a copy of the bill to us so we can work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.