Why You Need an Attorney at a Real Estate Closing
Black and Davison
For most folks, there’s no investment more substantial than the sale or purchase of a home. The transaction involves a substantial number of complex documents, from the purchase agreement to the deed, the mortgage, financing documents and title commitments. In a transaction of this magnitude, it’s just good sense to hire an attorney to ensure everything is in order. But you also want your lawyer to go to the closing.
Why You Have a Closing
The primary function of the closing is to ensure the simultaneous transfer of the property to the buyer and payment of the purchase price to the seller. At the closing, the buyer will typically make payment in a form previously agreed upon. If there’s still an existing mortgage on the property, the closing agent will prepare a check to pay off that mortgage from the proceeds of the sale, so that the buyer takes the property free and clear of the prior mortgage. At the closing, the seller will also sign the deed and give it to the buyer, thereby conveying possession of the property. The closing agent then registers a new deed with the appropriate local governmental office (usually a register of deeds).
The Benefits of Having a Lawyer at a Closing
In most instances, your lawyer will review the proposed closing statement before the actual closing takes place. However, you want your attorney at the actual closing to deal with any unanticipated contingencies, and to confirm that everything is as expected:
- Identifying and addressing any potential cloud or defect on title
- Ensuring that the deed provided is what was agreed upon
- Verification that all promised repairs or modifications in the buy-sell agreement have been made
- Making certain the seller doesn’t try to change any terms at the last minute, or try to back out without sufficient legal reason