O nce you have finalized the Purchase and Sale Agreement, the document that details the terms of the offer you’ve accepted, the closing process begins. You and the buyer enter escrow, where documents and payments are pulled together to complete the sale.
Once you have finalized the Purchase and Sale Agreement, the document that details the terms of the offer you’ve accepted, the closing process begins. You and the buyer enter escrow, where documents and payments are pulled together to complete the sale.
Clear the title of liens and judgments:
Once you’ve accepted an offer, the escrow agent, title company or buyer’s agent will order the title report for your house. Instantly, you could face an array of title issues, including trust complications, unpaid balances from lenders, property taxes, and more–—all of which could take months to clear.In one situation, title issues extended a home sale for months, and the sale still hasn’t closed, as of this writing.
There can be about 10 title problems with a property. We need divorce paperwork, we need estate paperwork, we need trust paperwork. There was something with the trust—that a relative could be in it. We would need to get her death certificate and nobody knew where she died. We could have hired an investigator and found out she died in a town in Florida so we call that courthouse and they send us her death certificate. We just did an extension to close.
Back up your agent in negotiations:
After the buyer receives the home inspection report, they may want to negotiate on price, repairs, or repair credits. Here a metaphorical road sign pops up warning you to “Expect Delays Ahead”—indeed, 16% of closing snafus are due to inspections and environmental issues. Depending on the severity of issues found (and the inspector will find problems), a real estate attorney and your real estate agent can negotiate the best way to move forward. This could include repairing the items, proving the items to be adequate, providing a repair credit to the buyer, or lowering your asking price. In any case, having another trained negotiator on your side is always a good idea.
Review escrow documents to catch any red flags:
Once you open escrow, your escrow officer will send documents to fill out which include the grant deed, state-specific forms, the property information statement, and more. Your closing attorney will guide you through this paperwork and be able to identify any mistakes before you sign it. Your real estate agent, who’s likely seen thousands of escrow documents before, will be familiar with the process and be able to do the basic parsing of the paperwork. But as with any important documents, especially in a transaction as large as real estate, it’s smart to have a lawyer review them before signing.
“In terms of closings for a general sale, it’s always good to have someone there to make sure all of the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted. You don’t want to give them grounds to come back and sue you after the fact for misrepresentation or breach of contract.
Review fees incurred by the home sale:
When you sell your home, you have to pay fees. The fees include your real estate agent’s commission, your outstanding mortgage balance, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and more depending on your situation. A real estate attorney will review these fees before you pay them to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible and that there aren’t any errors that could cost you, such as miscalculations. A real estate attorney who has experience with finance pays off here. You want someone who knows how to do the math!