Remember you are not just selling a house or piece of real estate you are selling a HOME. This is the place that you have lived and enjoyed and perhaps watched your family grow up in.
You want professionals on your side on all aspects of the transaction and that can work seamlessly together. (In alphabetical order)
Choose a realtor that you feel comfortable with, will work to get you the best price possible and be active in showing the house to prospective buyers and potential buyers’ brokers/realtors. I can recommend brokers who are familiar with the area and have sold homes in that area and will work hard for you.
Upon receipt of an offer, the parties negotiate over price. Some key issues aside from purchase price include: closing date; home condition requirements; seller concessions on closing costs, etc.
Realtor provides contract to attorney and this begins a typically 5 business day review during which the attorney reviews the contract and makes suggested modifications to the contract. During this time, it is important to ask the attorney any questions you may have about the contract provisions.
During this same 5 business day period, many buyers schedule a home inspection completed by a licensed home inspector. This process is to look for aspects of minor components to the house which may lead to immediate major expenses. These items may include: the roof, furnace, etc. Note that the provision does not relate to major components of the home or merely cosmetic issues.
The attorney then communicates (in writing) with the buyer’s attorney to work out matters raised as to contractual issues and inspection items to reach a finalized agreement between the buyer(s) and seller(s).
Typically upon acceptance, a buyer posts an agreed upon amount of earnest money, a down payment, in an amount agreed upon by the parties. Often an initial check is provided upon initial acceptance. Other times a check or a supplemental check may be provided upon completion of the attorney review/inspection period.
The Seller’s attorney chooses a title company and a title search is completed to make certain that a clean title is being provided to the buyer. If there are any clouds to the title, the Seller’s attorney works with the title company to attempt to resolve those title issues or get the title company to insure over those issues. This is needed to allow the closing to go forward.
The attorney orders a survey for non-condominium properties. For condominium properties, various condominium documents are to be provided to the buyer. The Attorney (in conjunction with the realtor) obtains those documents from the condominium management. If there any municipal water bills, water or zoning certifications or municipal transfer stamps needed, the attorney does the necessary legwork to obtain these. YOU WILL NEED TO OBTAIN PAYOFF LETTERS FROM ANY LENDERS (1ST OR 2ND MORTGAGES ETC OR OTHER LIENHOLDERS). THESE SHOULD BE GOOD THROUGH THE CLOSING DATE.
Upon receipt of a mortgage approval, the Buyer obtains a “Clear to Close” from the mortgage company and the closing date is set. A time and place is set typically at the title company that is providing the title insurance for the transaction.
The attorney drafs closing documents such as the deed to transfer title, a closing statement for the financial aspects, a bill of sale, etc.
On the day before or the day of closing, a walk through is conducted to make certain that the house is in the same condition, that requested/agreed to repairs have been completed/that the systems and appliances are in working order.
Sometimes when the Seller does not want or cannot attend a closing a Power of Attorney for Property is drafted that gives the attorney or someone else the power to act in the Seller’s stead and sign the needed documents. I like having the Seller available by telephone if possible.
You also obtain numerous documents at the closing including a deed for the property (you keep a copy) and the original is recorded with the county recorder of deeds, a bill of sale for personal property such as appliances, etc.
The attorney is present with you at the closing and goes over and explains these documents and the rights and responsibilities that the documents place upon you.
The attorney also deals with any last minute issues that may come up either in terms of the walk through and making certain that the financial aspects are correct and understood by the client.
I have been handling real estate matters for buyers for over 30 years and charge a reasonable flat fee. This is an important and possibly stressful time for buyers and sellers. Always feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns. I will try to alleviate any stress and provide answers to your questions or concerns. I take pride in providing the best possible service to my clients.