Northwest Florida's Top Title Company
Our mission is to serve the real estate, banking, and legal community by offering a quality product in a timely manner at a competitive rate. Cotton Land Title's staff is here and ready to serve you. We have over 30 years combined experience in the title business and are eager to work for you.
Contact us today! 850.865.6000
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Over 30 years of experience
Byron E. Cotton
Byron E. Cotton is a lifelong resident of Okaloosa County, Florida. He grew up in Fort Walton Beach, Shalimar and Destin and graduated from Choctawhatchee High School. He attended Florida State University and Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.
After graduating law school, Byron returned home to join the law firm of Cotton & Gates. A large portion of his practice is focused on Real Estate Closings including residential and commercial sales transactions, short sales, foreclosure defense, refinances and litigation. Byron has worked with multiple title underwriters including Westcor, First American and Fidelity. Byron is admitted to practice law in Florida and the Northern District of Florida in Federal Court.
Byron and his wife Julie are active in the community serving on community boards, active in the Okaloosa and Destin Chambers of Commerce and giving back to their community with their time and involvement.
Byron is regarded by his peers and clients as an expert in the market. In his practice and his companies, Byron has always recognized that service and professionalism you provide is what defines you in business and if you put clients first you will always be successful.
Joan was raised in Fort Walton Beach and is a proud graduate of Choctawhatchee High School.
After graduating in what was then a very small town, she moved to New Orleans where she eventually began working in the legal field as a receptionist. She moved back home to the Emerald Coast in 1991, and began working for attorney, W. Ray Touchstone.
Three weeks after she was hired, she closed her first loan and, with the exception of a three year stint as a legal secretary, she has been doing closings ever since. She received her license with the State of Florida, Department of Insurance in 1999, and began working with Byron Cotton in 2002.
Joan has unparalleled attention to detail with real estate closings and has handled every aspect of the title insurance business. She continues her education and stays informed on Real Estate closing laws and underwriting guidelines.
Helping you turn your dreams into reality - Call us now! 850.865.6000
Cotton Land Title researches the title to the property through a title search, which provides a history of the property and its prior and current ownership.
It is the job of Cotton Land Title to examine the title to the property and to clear any liens, claims or other so-called title clouds on the property so that the new buyer receives clear and marketable title to the property they are buying.
Cotton Land Title holds earnest money deposits (EMD) and other funds such as funds for repairs to be completed after closing in a non-interest bearing account.
In the event the funds are being held for a reason other than earnest money, Cotton Land Title will provide an agreement between the parties stating the purpose of the funds and plans/conditions for the disbursement of the funds.
Cotton Land Title will prepare the title insurance commitment from the title search report and, after the closing, issue both the owner’s and lender’s policies of title insurance.
There are two types of title insurance: Lender’s which is required by the mortgage company, and protects the lender’s investment in the property; and Owner’s, which protects the new owner’s ownership interest in the property.
It is strongly recommended that all buyers receive an owner’s title insurance policy which protects them against any unforeseen claims, hidden risks, or fraud against the property.
Cotton Land Title coordinates with the mortgage lender to receive all of the loan documents in time for closing.
Once the loan documents are sent by the mortgage lender to Cotton Land Title, Cotton Land Title reviews all of the mortgage lender’s forms to comply with the mortgage lender’s closing instructions. With the lender’s closing instructions, Cotton Land Title prepares the appropriate Settlement Statement and sends same to the mortgage lender for its approval prior to closing.
The Settlement Statement details all of the costs of the buyer and the seller in connection with the purchase and sale of the property. Cotton Land Title also prepares the Warranty Deed, Bill of Sale, Closing Affidavits and other documents required in connection with the closing.
At the closing, Cotton Land Title explains all of the documents to the parties involved in the transaction prior to signing. Settlement typically takes about one hour to complete.
After the closing, Cotton Land Title disburses all of the monies collected at settlement in accordance with the Settlement Statement and pays off any existing mortgages on the property.
Cotton Land Title also delivers the signed Warranty Deed and any Mortgages to the County Recorder’s Office for recording in the public records promptly following closing.
Joan Jones has been closing loans for me for several years now as closing agent for Cotton, Gates, and Negron, attys. Joan handles all the closings in a fast and professional manner. When little obstacles arise she always handles them in a timely manner. When necessary, Joan is more than willing to travel to the realtor’s, seller’s, or buyer’s offices to make the closing process easier for everyone involved. And most importantly, the disbursement of the funds is fast and accurate.
I have worked with Joan for the past 3 years. As a real estate agent you want someone like Joan on your team! She will see your transaction through to closing and make sure that your customers are happy too. Without her skills and expertise I believe some of my transactions might not have made it to closing! I want the best customer service for my clients and I want smooth closings, therefore I highly recommend Joan to my customers!
Joan Jones has been the closing agent for the last two years on all of my Florida mortgage closings. Each one has been handled with proficiency and professionalism, and my customers always leave satisfied with the closing process. Not only is each one handled as a professional, Joan also is someone who cares about the customer and the lender at the same time. She always seems to do that little bit extra to make sure the closing goes as planned. It seems to me that Joan understands the meaning of repeat business by the way she has handled all of my closings. I will use her for all of my mortgage loans in the Florida panhandle.
Joan is amazing and has done wonderful work for our company! She is always available to answer questions and help resolve any issues that crop up during the closing process.