With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s that time of year when we begin reflecting on what we are truly thankful for. You might feel grateful for family and friends like we are, or maybe you’re thankful for a warm home as we near winter. Speaking of homes, if you are purchasing or selling your home, then a streamlined process and a real estate plan should be added to your gratitude list.
If you’re lucky and have an experienced real attorney, then you’re probably grateful for them as well. One of the many reasons why having an experienced real estate attorney is so important when buying or selling property is that your experienced attorney will be well acquainted with the entire process from contract signing to closing.
Many people have questions about the process of buying or selling a home, so we thought we would take some time to outline the process below.
Once your contract is signed, it will be turned over to your attorney. From there, both the Seller and Buyer’s attorney will engage in what is known as an “attorney review.” This is a period of time (typically five business days) from when the contract is finalized. During this time, the attorneys can propose modifications to the Contract terms. Attorney review allows the attorneys to ensure that taxes are being prorated appropriately, that the Seller of the property is authorized to sell, that the terms of the Buyer’s loan are noted accurately, and more.
During the attorney review process, the Buyer performs an inspection of the property. Following the inspection, the Buyer can request any repairs he or she would like, within the Contract limits. The Seller can then agree to the repairs, propose a credit in lieu of repairs, or counter with their own proposal. This process goes on until the parties reach a mutual agreement (or until someone terminates the contract because the parties cannot reach an agreement).
Ordering the Title
During the attorney review and inspection process (or immediately following), the Seller’s attorney will order the title, perform the title search, and circulate a title commitment. This process ensures that the Seller is authorized to sell the property and that there are no liens or judgments that need to be paid off prior to the closing. The Seller’s attorney will also order a survey of the property’s boundary lines if one is being given.
Obtaining the “Clear to Close”
The next step in the process is obtaining the Buyer’s “clear to close” or full loan approval. It’s imperative that, particularly as the Buyer, the clear to close is given within the timeframe provided by the Contract. If you think you need more time, you must request an extension of the Contract timeframe. If these deadlines are not adhered to, a Buyer could find themselves in breach of contract terms.
Once the clear to close is given by the lender, the closing will be scheduled. The Buyer will typically perform a final walk-through of the property to ensure that everything appears as it did when they signed the contract. After this, the closing will occur.
At the closing, the Buyer’s attorney will walk the Buyer through all of the documents which need to be signed. These can include documents from the lender, if the Buyer obtained a loan, and/or from the Title Company, as well as the Seller documents such as the Deed, Affidavit of Title, and Bill of Sale. These documents can be especially confusing to Buyers as they contain legal terms and monetary figures which Buyers may have never seen before. This is why it’s imperative to have an experienced real estate attorney present who can explain the documents and answer any questions you may have.
Find Your Own Experienced Real Estate Attorney
Selling or buying real estate is an exciting but also overwhelming time. Having a streamlined process and an experienced attorney by your side makes all of the difference and is certainly something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.
Please contact our office if you are buying or selling real estate so that we can help make the process as streamlined and smooth as possible.