If you are like most people, the single biggest investment of your life will be your home. It’s a transaction that involves a substantial number of complex items, from the Agreement of Sale, Home Inspections, from the mortgage documents to the Commitment for Title Insurance and the Deed. When this much money is at stake, it’s a wise decision to hire an attorney to ensure all the documentation is in order. But it’s also a good idea to have your lawyer attend the closing on your behalf. Here are some of the reasons that makes good financial sense.
The Purpose of the Closing
The primary function of the closing is to facilitate 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 the seller has 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 that encumbrance. During the closing, the seller will also sign the deed and give it to the buyer, thereby delivering possession of the property. The closing agent will customarily register a new deed with the County Clerk.
How an Attorney Can Help at a Closing
As a general rule, your lawyer will have reviewed a proposed closing statement prior to the actual closing. However, your attorney is there to ensure that the closing goes as expected. That means:
- Identifying and addressing any potential cloud or defect on title
- Ensuring that the deed provided is what was agreed upon
- Verifying 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
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