House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

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catdude
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House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by catdude » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:32 am

Howdy y'all....

In a couple weeks I'm going to be closing on the purchase of a newly built house. This will be an all-cash transaction. I've already been warned to be suspicious of emailed wire transfer instructions. Apparently nowadays scammers are adept at sending bogus wire transfer instructions to unsuspecting folks, causing them to wire hundred of thousands of dollars to Nigeria, or wherever ...

I'm just wondering if there's any downside to just doing things the old-fashioned way, and providing a cashier's or certified check instead. I think I'd feel a bit more comfortable doing that. Has anybody had any recent experience with home purchases? How did you handle this?
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bubbadog
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by bubbadog » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:35 am

Are you using a title company to handle the closing?

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catdude
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by catdude » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:39 am

bubbadog wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:35 am
Are you using a title company to handle the closing?
Yes, I am...
catdude | | "Only in America." (Yogi Berra, after being told that the mayor of Catholic Dublin was Jewish)

Goal33
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by Goal33 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:43 am

I’d do a cashiers check. I think that’s fine. Mine are free at Wells Fargo.

Edit: yes this is recent experience (2016)
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rascott
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by rascott » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:45 am

Title companies won't take a cashier's check over $10k in my market...everything else must be wired.

This isn't a concern. The title companies are very strict about sending the wire info separately. Then check to see if all the info matches up.

If you want extra security, just call up your title company and verify the routing/acct numbers. (Use their real number you got on your own). If you want to get really, uber safe just drive over there and verify it.

Thousands of these transactions go on every day, wiring money is not a risky thing.

bubbadog
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by bubbadog » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:59 am

catdude wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:39 am
bubbadog wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:35 am
Are you using a title company to handle the closing?
Yes, I am...
I would just follow the title company's usual procedure.

I don't think you have anything to worry about.

I paid "cash" for a home about 6 years ago with a wire transfer facilitated by my title company.

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Nate79
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by Nate79 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:58 am

In our case the title company gave payment instructions which was wire only.

whomever
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by whomever » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:05 am

"I'm just wondering if there's any downside to just doing things the old-fashioned way, and providing a cashier's or certified check instead. I think I'd feel a bit more comfortable doing that. Has anybody had any recent experience with home purchases? How did you handle this?"

We did a cashier's check a few months ago. I took maybe 10 minutes at the credit union to get the check. I think calling back the title company and verifying numbers would have taken longer.


(For our first house, in 1990, I just wrote an ordinary check out of our checkbook, It was hard to fit that big a number in the space provided :-). Our next house purchase was 2012, and by then they wanted a cahier's check. Now apparently some people won't take those either. I wonder what has changed? It's not like you can write a bum check and disappear with the house)

thx1138
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by thx1138 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:17 am

As others have said - do what the title company tells you to do and be proactive and ask them ahead of time what they want and figure out how long your bank takes to do that. The few transactions I’ve been in a cashiers check was not acceptable for large values. With the potential uncertainties of exact closing costs and enough time to deal with a slow bank often the assumption was that a small portion might end up refunded by the title company or that you might need to make up a small difference with a check.

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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by bsteiner » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:35 am

What does the contract say?

mrmass
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by mrmass » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:39 am

If you must wire, make a phone call to verify. Many of these companies have little to no IT security-Just call to verify.

ARoseByAnyOtherName
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:51 am

Congratulations on (almost) buying a home!

I recently bought a home and did it via wire transfer. The way we did it is my lawyer sent me a letter via FedEx that had the wire information, and when I got it I called him on the phone and verified the wire info in the letter. Wire then went through with no problems.

My initial inclination was like you, to do a bank check, but in the end convenience won out.

simas
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by simas » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:00 am

catdude wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:39 am
Yes, I am...
whatever your title company says ? do that.

we bought a house using wire transfer - zero issues.
the day before your get the final-final-we-are-almost-certain-this-is-final-now number from your agent/attorney, go to the bank, fill out the piece of paper and wire to that paperwork they give you. bank will make you read and sign scary piece of paper that you confirm you know what you are doing (once it is gone out of your account ,it is indeed left your account).

next morning you go to closing, chit chat or do nothing until there is confirmation that money came in, title company person assigned to closing confirms all clear, you sign what is left and move forward.

fairly standard procedure.

I am not sure cashiers check is in any way more 'secure' or better. what happens when dog eats your check (or you lose it or your kid plays with it and rips the paper she was drawing on and throws it out) ;) good bye house, good bye money? wire, there is a permanent record.

SQRT
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by SQRT » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:17 am

Wires are generally safer than paper based checks or drafts. Paper can be lost or misplaced with resulting hassles for the payer. Wire fees are insignificant in the overall scheme of things.

mmmodem
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by mmmodem » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:40 am

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:51 am
Congratulations on (almost) buying a home!

I recently bought a home and did it via wire transfer. The way we did it is my lawyer sent me a letter via FedEx that had the wire information, and when I got it I called him on the phone and verified the wire info in the letter. Wire then went through with no problems.

My initial inclination was like you, to do a bank check, but in the end convenience won out.
Agreed.

Cashier's check have their own pitfalls. The check could be lost. Get damaged. Incorrect information. Delayed mailings.

Given no fool proof method, we went with convenience and what our title company recommended. I called my title company to confirm the account numbers and they notified me within hours after my bank initiated the wire transfer.

nolesrule
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by nolesrule » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:42 am

We're purchasing new construction next week. Spoke to our soon-to-be neighbors last week, and they showed up with a cashier's check. Title company would not accept it. Their closing was delayed a few hours in order to return the cashier's check and initiate a wire transfer.

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sperry8
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by sperry8 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:43 am

Wire transfers are fine. Done all day in larger amounts than you are sending.
Everyone here makes it seem as though if a mistake is made, the money is "gone" and/or the recipient receives a windfall. Wrong. While it will be annoying the money will be found (eventually) and it will be returned (likely minus some fee to get it back). Just make sure you get the #'s right the first time to avoid all this. But if an error occurs it won't be the first time an error ever happened.
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oko
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by oko » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:45 am

Be very careful with the wire. There was a recent news about this. An email coming from the "title company" instructs the wire instructions on the morning of the closure. This guy wires around $400K (don't remember exact value). And then it turns out to be that the email was faked.

Fortunately police helped him recover the money as it was still sitting in the scammer's account.

skor99
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by skor99 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:34 am

Maybe just do a wire with a small amount as a test with the provided instructions and then wire the rest after verifying the small amount was received. I do the same while setting up new payees for my online banking billpay.

rich126
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by rich126 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:13 am

My recent sale was through a relocation company and due to the net amount I was getting from the sale, they had me provide wire instructions to my bank. I think that was the first time I've ever had anything "wired". I saw it in the account and then there was a 2-3 day limit on the money before I could use it (in my case start moving it to a couple of brokerages).

My last experience with a cashier's check turned out to nearly be a huge problem. It involved a major bank. I wanted a good sized check to cover about 25% of the purchase price (I had sold one house and wanted most of the proceeds to be rolled into the next house). I went to the bank got the check and then at settlement I looked at it and the lady wrote it out for the wrong amount. Fortunately settlement was a bit less than expected and the check was sufficient.

Afterwards I called the bank to explain that the lady messed up. This was nearly 20 years ago but I believed she deducted one amount from my account but wrote the check for a different amount. Anyhow that same day I got a call from the VP of the bank apologizing for the mistake and stating that new procedures were being put in place to avoid that issue. I think it was a honest mistake but you never know.

And yes, confirm all instructions before doing anything. There have been a number of scams with emails telling people to wire money to criminals and since the emails look fairly legit, people blindly do it. Always call to confirm. Losing $50 is one thing, losing thousands is another.

LordB
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by LordB » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:21 am

We did cashiers check written out to us which we then endorsed at closing to the seller.

Odds of losing the check between the morning and the closing in the afternoon were minimal. No risk of typos as we got to double check it was correct right there.

if the check ends up being for the wrong amount my agent advised bringing my checkbook. If things are a few thousand off they aren't gonna hold up the closing and would have just had us write a personal check.

This seemed easier than learning how to do a wire transfer, figuring out how to securely confirm the wire transfer info, making sure it all went right etc. If however you are closing offers that as an option it is what I would do.

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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by runner3081 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:04 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:58 am
In our case the title company gave payment instructions which was wire only.
Same here. 3 houses purchased over the years, all three required a wire.

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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:57 pm

I’ve always used a cashiers check. Sometimes a personal check. To title or escrow company or legal counsel if using that route.
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catdude
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by catdude » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:59 pm

Thanks folks for the feedback. It sounds like there's a good chance the title company will require a wire transfer, so that's what I'll probably wind up doing. But I'll be careful -- I'll independently verify the title company's phone number, and call them and confirm the wire instructions.
catdude | | "Only in America." (Yogi Berra, after being told that the mayor of Catholic Dublin was Jewish)

LoveTheBogle
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by LoveTheBogle » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:24 pm

Ask the title company..... they may REQUIRE a wire transfer.

Also, if doing a wire, be sure to obtain the wire instructions from the title company directly and then call the title company to verify the account and routing numbers.

bubbadog
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by bubbadog » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:00 pm

catdude wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:59 pm
Thanks folks for the feedback. It sounds like there's a good chance the title company will require a wire transfer, so that's what I'll probably wind up doing. But I'll be careful -- I'll independently verify the title company's phone number, and call them and confirm the wire instructions.
Very unlikely you will have any problems.

Congrats!

Chalkydawg
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by Chalkydawg » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:53 pm

Ask any attorney or title company who closed on a cashiers check from Countrywide in the three days before it failed. Cashiers checks still have to clear. A wire is collected funds the moment it hits the account. Those attorneys had to cover the losses from their trust account or get disbarred. Lot has changed since the Great Recession.

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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by Tortoisesque » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:11 pm

Bought a house recently. Escrow company required a wire transfer.

We just called the escrow company (using the phone number we knew to be correct) and verbally verified the account and routing numbers before pulling the trigger.

furikake
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by furikake » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:15 am

Your wire may take more than a day to arrive, if you're doing wire, it's best to do it a day or two before closing otherwise you may not be getting the keys.

johnubc
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by johnubc » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:50 am

Funny - the title company i have used do want to use Wired funds - as then they have the funds available, but then for the Seller - they want to write a check and not send a wire - or have the Seller pay the wire transfer fees.

nolesrule
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by nolesrule » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:41 am

johnubc wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:50 am
Funny - the title company i have used do want to use Wired funds - as then they have the funds available, but then for the Seller - they want to write a check and not send a wire - or have the Seller pay the wire transfer fees.
And if you do a remote closihg as a seller, they'll charge you an overnight fee to mail the check.

If there is an add on fee for anything, the party receiving the benefit will have to pay for it on or before closing so it's accounted for in the settlement statement.

Nowizard
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:03 am

Just did one with wire transfer from Ameritrade to Vanguard (Earlier), then to Vanguard to closing attorney. Every step was carefully vetted by all parties, including an email with instructions from the closing office. Since it was local, I simply stopped by the office to see if the received email was theirs. Our closing involved more than one party, so I wanted to wire the money a day early to assure closing would occur. I suppose the same could have been done with a cashier's check.

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F150HD
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Re: House purchase (cash)... wire transfer or cashier's check?

Post by F150HD » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:26 am

These folks were paying cash...

Couple out $130K in real estate money wire scam - Posted: 4:26 PM, Dec 18, 2018

Who knows how server security is at ones title company.



It all starts with the industry’s Multiple Listing Service and syndication sites like Zillow and Trulia, where thieves can identify pending home sales. The fraudsters then profile all parties in the transaction (largely using publicly available websites) and attempt to hack one of the email accounts involved.

Once they’re in, they bide their time, watching ongoing correspondence until they can step in and send over false wiring instructions to steal away a down payment, closing costs or mortgage payoff funds.


Anyway, OP is already familiar w/ these things but its still sad to read of folks losing all their $$ in such scams.

OP- despite what anyone says, to me its a simple solution to bring a cashiers check even if its a couple hoops to jump through. Simple peace of mind.

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