Massachusetts law requires that an attorney not only be present at a real estate closing, but that the attorney be an active participant. The real estate lender usually has their own attorneys and you should definitely consider having your own attorney representing your interests at every stage of the process. However, many lenders may agree to use your attorney as the lender’s attorney to be the settlement agent for the closing. Attorney Gold-Alexander has conducted many closings on behalf of both lenders, buyers and sellers.
Are you thinking of buying or selling in Saugus? Saugus is a small town in Essex County and is part of the Greater Boston metropolitan area. Located in the southern end of the county, it has a population of over 26,000 and offers a taste of small town living while being close enough for its residents to commute to and enjoy the city of Boston.
If you live in Saugus, Massachusetts or are buying or selling a home there, consult with Saugus real estate lawyer Deborah Gold-Alexander regarding the real estate market there, what Saugus has to offer, and what she will do for you as your closing lawyer in Saugus.
What is a Closing?
Even if you have never bought or sold a home before, you probably know about the process called a closing but may not be aware of what it comprises. A closing is the overall process for obtaining financing, accumulating all the necessary documents, removing contingencies and then signing the documents, transferring title and securing the keys or handing them over.
Steps in a Closing
Buying or selling a home is a major transaction and for most people, it is the largest transaction with which they will be involved in their lifetimes. For this reason alone, you will want an experienced Saugus real estate lawyer working only for you to ensure that unnecessary fees are being charged, that you are receiving clear title and that you are fully satisfied with the home you are buying. You also want the sale to proceed with as few problems or delays as possible. The steps in a typical closing involve:
- Opening the escrow account. Once an offer is accepted, an account is opened where the earnest money is deposited. It also will contain the funds to pay insurance, taxes and other costs and all relevant documents, which are typically held by a neutral third party.
- Title insurance and search. Your attorney will conduct a title search to ensure good and marketable title. If a cloud exists on the title such as a third party claim so that clear title cannot be assured, she can take the necessary steps to removing it. Many times, a title examiner is used to prepare title abstracts that your closing attorney can review.
- Closing costs. Do you really know or understand what all those closing costs are for or why they are there? Ms. Gold-Alexander will review these costs and negotiate away so-called administrative fees, processing fees, settlement fees and others that are frivolous and unnecessary, saving you a considerable amount of money.
- Home inspection. You will want an expert to examine your home’s foundation and various systems to look for flaws. If there are material flaws that required repair or replacing, you can demand that they be fixed or that you be able to renegotiate the home’s purchase price. If not, you can back out of the deal so long as you have a home inspection contingency in the contract.
- Pest inspection. Another necessary and separate home inspection has to be performed by a pest inspector to look for termites, carpenter ants or other pests that can reap considerable damage to any home. If pests are present, you can demand the seller remedy the problem. This should be part of your home inspection contingency.
- Approval for financing. Most buyers are pre-approved and you will want to do this so that you know how high you can bid on a property and what your interest rate will be. Interest rates will be dependent on your credit score, current market conditions, type of loan and the geographic area where you are buying. However, even if you are pre-approved, you need to have reliable and competent counseling through the financing process to the point of where you need to obtain your final mortgage commitment. This step, most times, is a the critical point in the process and many risks losing their deposit if proper notice is not given when a buyer does not obtain their mortgage commitment. You need to have an attorney who is overseeing your transaction and protecting you from such a devastating loss if that were to occur.
- Removal of contingencies. Before any closing is completed, there are conditions that must be met. These include passing the home and pest inspection, getting final approval of the financing, renegotiating the price if necessary or having the seller agree to and complete the repairs of any damage or other flaws found during inspection. Most contracts have certain deadlines by which the various contingencies are to be removed but you have the option of extending them if your real estate attorney agrees.
- Fund escrow. At some point, you will have to deposit the remaining down payment on the home and the other costs required that your attorney has advised are necessary.
- Walkthrough. You will want to walk through the home with your agent to ensure that any repairs have been satisfactorily completed, that no new problems have arisen and that any fixtures or other items the seller promised would remain in the home are still present.
- Come to the closing meeting for signing the papers. At the closing, you, your attorney, lender’s attorney, closing agent and your agent will be present. The seller may or may not be present but your attorney will ensure that no new costs have suddenly appeared and that all agreed upon conditions have been met. She will also explain the purpose of each document that is being signed.
Retain an experienced and dedicated closing lawyer in Saugus. Deborah Gold-Alexander has been representing buyers and sellers at real estate closings for over 30 years. Call her today for all of your real estate questions and concerns.