What a Closing Lawyer Can Do for You
Closing can be a stressful process, requiring meticulous attention to detail. A closing lawyer ensures that you have everything you need to close on your real estate transaction.
What is Closing?
Closing is the last step in finalizing your real estate transaction. It involves all parties – the buyer, seller, mortgage agent, title agent, and realtor – meeting on a specified date to finish the necessary paperwork and pay any the balance of the purchase price plus any outstanding fees or closing costs.
The deed and title of the property are then transferred to the buyer. However, depending on state regulations, the buyer may have to wait a few days before they can officially move onto the property, just as the seller may have to wait a few days for the funds to clear in their account.
But closing doesn’t just happen. There is much preparation and work that goes into a smooth, efficient, and legally valid closing.
What Needs to Be Done?
Once the buyer has carried out a professional title search and land survey, purchased title insurance, and negotiated the terms of the sale, the closing process can begin.
Long before the day of closing, all the relevant documents must be drawn up, double-checked, and corroborated. This includes the sale contracts, proof of the title search and title insurance documents, loan and mortgage documentation, and appraisal and land survey documentation. Any liens, judgments or existing mortgages must be satisfied in order for the buyer to obtain a clear title to the property
Furthermore, federal laws require that buyers receive a closing disclosure t at least three days before closing, and a HUD-1 statement at least one day before closing. These documents ensure that the buyer knows all the expected costs (including taxes and fees) up front, and that they have an opportunity to back out of the sale or renegotiate if necessary.
If these documents are not ready and legally sound by closing, the buyer or seller can delay the closing process.
Most closings take place at a designated place – typically your title agent or attorney’s office – which is usually decided during negotiations between the buyer and seller. Picking a neutral space for both parties is advised.
Do I Need an attorney for my closing?
Some people choose not to hire a closing lawyer, and allow their realtor and mortgagee to handle the closing process. However, hiring a qualified real estate attorney ensures that your best interests – whether you’re a buyer or seller – are prioritized.
While a title company closing agent the closing lawyer does not represent you during the closing process, they provide their expertise and a keen, trained eye to look over all the documents. Unfortunately, many realtors and mortgagees make use of standard or template contracts for closing transactions, which may not be suited to your needs. Your real estate lawyer will ensure that all documentation is customized to fit the specifics of your sale before you get to closing.
Furthermore, your real estate lawyer should look over all the paperwork for you – keeping an eye out for mistakes and omissions that could cause problems at a later stage, and making certain that you only pay for the items that you should pay for.
Navigating legalese can be exhausting and time consuming. It’s especially difficult for a layperson to understand much of the jargon and terminology involved in sales contracts. Hiring an established real estate lawyer can save you time and reduce the anxiety of the closing process.