Residential Real Estate Closings
A good real estate attorney knows all of the ways that buyers and sellers can be taken advantage of during real estate transactions. For example, the sellers may be asked by prospective buyers to make repairs to the property, or in lieu of, give a monetary credit to the buyers at closing so they can make the repairs themselves. Knowing whether these requests are reasonable may be the result of an inspection, which a good lawyer will encourage their buyer to have.
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On the buyer’s side, a knowledgeable attorney knows that the most important thing is receiving “clear title” for their client. A new home buyer does not want to be subject to any condition that may affect their use and enjoyment of their property. If any issues are detected, the attorney will have the title company insure over these issues, so that if (in the unlikely event) the issues were to ever be raised by a third party, the title insurance covers the litigation of the issues and the buyer does not have to deal with litigation costs and concerns.
Other important considerations include:
- Seller: A seller may want (or need) a cash deal. They may need the cash to pay for a new mortgage on a new property or simply need the proceeds for another matter. A seller may also need to pay off a portion of his or her outstanding mortgage at closing.
- Buyer: Most buyers will need to procure some type of financing before purchasing a home. Real estate contracts have specific provisions and requirements for how this loan is to be acquired and what interest rates are acceptable.
- Real estate taxes: It is necessary to understand who pays for them, when they are paid, at what rate they will be paid out.
- Escrow: Escrow is a financing option that allows some money to be held back and dispersed for pre-decided expenses. Escrow is common for title insurance, taxes, and other required items at closing.
- Choosing a reputable title company
- Analyzing the official survey of the property
- Resolving any title issues before they become problems. A title issue may be something as simple as a failure of the current owner to pay taxes in 2013 or as problematic as a land use or zoning violation that must be remedied before closing.
- Co-ops and condominiums: When purchasing a condominium or co-op, there are unique considerations. You are becoming part of a community; many of these properties require interviews before a buyer will be “accepted” and nearly all have monthly “assessments” (think of it like dues on top of your mortgage) that must be paid. Sometimes, “special” (or extra) assessments are issued that may be financially burdensome and require negotiation before closing.