Have you ever wondered what the term GF number means in a real estate transaction?
GF stands for Guarantee File and is the working file number in a real estate transaction. It is commonly used by Title, Escrow, and Lenders to make sure everyone is working on the same file. In some states, it is on the contract, and in others, it is rarely mentioned.
Most people start wondering when they see the t-47 residential real property affidavit. You won’t find the number on any legal title documents, the purchase contract, HOA documents, or even in the MLS. It’s almost like it is a secret number – but I have the answers.
How a Title Company Uses a GF number
To explain how a Title Company uses a GF number, we have to start with what happens after your contract to purchase (or sell) a house is accepted.
The first step always starts with the contract. Once it is signed by everybody, also called executed, it gets sent over to a title company that has also been negotiated by everybody.
On the contract is the house address, and even a legal description of the property, as well as all the sale price, terms, and other negotiated items.
Once the contract is received the title company starts by opening title on the property.
They are going to collect earnest money which will be put in an escrow account, prepare a title commitment, and look in the public records for a title search. They will look at all the legal documents in the public record and look at the chain of title and then create a title insurance policy once everything is in good shape. To keep track of all the documents, the title company will assign a GF number to the file and this will be one of the identifiers throughout the process. It’s more of an internal working number and isn’t something that most people will even know about or care for.
As escrow continues different parties will contribute to the file. This can include lenders, attorneys, appraisers, surveyors, and others. To keep track of everything, they may use the property address or GF number interchangeably.
As files go back and forth between mortgage lenders and title companies, the GF number helps to keep everything straight.
Then during the closing process, everything is all together and together for a smooth closing day.
What is the GF Number on a T 47?
A T-47 form is also called a residential property affidavit. During the process of buying or selling a home, a survey may be required. It could be required by the lender/mortgage company or by the title company for title insurance.
Here is an example blank T-47.
You don’t always have to get a new survey, sometimes an older survey can still be valid and used.
If you’re using a new survey, or aren’t getting title insurance, you won’t have a T 47 residential property affidavit.
If you’re using an older or existing survey you’ll need to fill out a 247 residential property affidavit that states that nothing material has changed on the survey. This will need to become a notarized document by the current owners of the house.
The GF number relates the T 47 to the survey in the file for the house. It’s another confirming factor so that everyone knows which property belongs to it.
You won’t find that number on the tax certificate, so don’t bother looking.
How do I fill out a 47 residential real property affidavit
The T-47 form is a promulgated document that has a few simple questions. It usually takes only a few moments to fill out – usually less than 5 minutes. However, it needs to be notarized so that might take a little longer.
If you are being asked what the GF number is, don’t worry about it. You can leave the GF number blank. It’s better to leave it blank than to get the wrong number put in.
All the questions on the T 47 are easy to fill out if you’re familiar with the property. Except for one, the GF number. As a property owner, you can leave that blank because the title company will fill it in.
Some of the questions on a T-47
- The date
- Your name
- The address
- How long you have lived in the house
Just a note about signing a T-47 – since it needs to be notarized, you are supposed to sign it in the presence of a Notary Public. You can find one on your own and pay $10-50, or, just go to the title insurance company that is doing the paperwork for your house, and just about everyone who works there is a Notary and can witness your signature, usually at no charge. Plus it is a good chance to meet your escrow agent before closing day.
What is the GF # on a T 47
The GF number on the T 47 is a way to link the document to the survey to the escrow file at the title company. It is possible that over the years a house has sold several times, and that the same title or escrow company has been used.
If this is the case there needs to be a way to differentiate the current sale from the previous ones.
That’s where the GF number comes from. it’s called the guarantee file number and it’s different for every transaction.
Final thoughts on the GF-Number
Hopeful now that you know what a GF number is and how much it is used in real estate, you can sleep more easily at night. There are lots of moving parts and the house is sold, and although some people want to be involved in the process others just wanted to happen and be taken care of. If you want to know what your GF number is you can call your title company and ask them. It’s unlikely that your real estate agent will ever know because it’s not part of the world that they work in. It’s a number that is used behind the scenes for the most part.
As always this isn’t legal or financial advice, just my ramblings after years in the industry.