Real Estate

“Our mission is to use the gifts that have been given to us in the service of our clients by protecting and securing our clients’ legal rights and seeking resolution of our clients’ legal issues and legal problems in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible…..”

Consistent with our mission statement, we believe that “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure!” This is particularly relevant in real estate transactions, whether you are buying or selling.

For most people, the purchase or sale of real estate is the most expensive transaction they experience in their lives. The Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract, version 6.1, the most commonly used contract among local Realtors, is 13 pages long and that does not include the Residential Real Property Disclosure, the Lead Based Paint Disclosure or the Radon Disclosure.

For those who are comfortable in their understanding of the Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract, version 6.1, adhering to the various deadlines contained in it, writing letters to the other parties’ attorney, reviewing the title insurance commitment and all other documents and signing a thick stack of documents at the closing with neither guidance nor explanation, perhaps they could get along without an attorney representing them in a real estate transaction.

Communication is essential throughout the transaction and we keep clients, Realtors and loan officers informed every step of the way, generally by way of e-mail.  Clients and their Realtors are copied on all correspondence.  Returning phone calls and replying to e-mails promptly is extremely important to us and to all parties concerned.

This is a partial list of what we do in a normal residential real estate closing, when representing the seller:

1. Review the contract on behalf of the sellers and modify the contract as needed.
2. Handle all negotiations with the buyer’s attorney in connection with contract modifications, inspection issues, post-closing possession issues, contingency issues and scheduling the closing.
3. Prepare the deed conveying the real estate from the seller to the buyer for the seller’s signature. This requires a copy of the original deed under which the sellers took title.
4. Prepare an Affidavit of Title for the seller’s signature.
5. Prepare a Bill of Sale for the seller’s signature.
6. Prepare a Property Transfer Tax Declaration Form
7. Prepare Special and Limited Powers of Attorney for the sellers to sign.
8. Order payoff statements from the sellers’ lenders.
9. Order paid assessment letters and waivers of the right of first refusal from the homeowners association.
10. Order a survey or survey update.
11. Order a Certificate of Insurance (if the property is a condominium).
12. Order Title Insurance.
13. Clear up any title problems in advance of the closing
14. Order final water meter readings.
15. Prepare the Closing Statement for the title insurance company.
16. Arrange to get Municipal Transfer Tax Stamps if necessary.
17. Attendance and representation at the closing.

Information that will be needed from the seller includes:

1. Home, Work and Mobile Telephone numbers.
2. E-Mail addresses.
3. Marital Status.
4. Social Security Numbers.
5. Plat of Survey if available.
6. Current mortgage/Home Equity Loan information for any and all mortgages on the property, specifically the Name of the lender, the account number and the customer service telephone number.
7. Land Trust or Living Trust information, including a copy of the trust agreement.
8. Water Service. Is your property served by municipal water and sewer or do you have a private well and/or septic system?
9. The Sanitary District that serves your home, if any.
10. Homeowners Association Information, specifically the name, address and phone number of the management agent, amount of the current assessment and a copy of the Declaration, By-Laws and current budget.
11. Death Certificate, if applicable.
12. Notification from any governmental entity regarding any liens or outstanding costs that you may owe.
13. Any information regarding any recent bankruptcy or foreclosure notice.

This is a partial list of what we do in a normal residential real estate closing, when representing the buyer:

1. Review the contract and calendar the dates by which the attorney modification and inspection letters must be sent to the seller’s attorney, the date by which the Intent to Proceed with the mortgage loan application must be provided to the seller’s attorney and the date of the mortgage loan contingency.
2. Research and review prior tax bill for the subject property. Note payment status, exemptions, etc.
3. Send an engagement letter to the buyer detailing the services to be rendered, deadlines for the inspection, attorney modifications, mortgage loan application and mortgage loan approval.
4. Send an Attorney Modification letter to the seller’s attorney, proposing several contract modifications that are all in favor of the buyer.
5. Draft and send a letter to the seller’s attorney, detailing any and all issues that were raised in the report of a professional inspector that are unacceptable to the buyer.
6. Handle all negotiations with the seller’s attorney regarding proposed contract modifications and inspection issues.
7. Monitor the progress of the mortgage loan application and if the mortgage loan is not approved and clear to close by the contract contingency date, send a written request to extend the financing contingency to the seller’s attorney.
8. Review of the title insurance commitment furnished by the seller’s attorney.
9. Review of the survey provided by the seller’s attorney.
10. Scheduling the place and the time of the closing.
11. Representation at the closing, including explanation of all mortgage loan documents, review of the deed, Affidavit of Title, Bill of Sale, ALTA Statement and any other documents provided by the seller’s attorney or the title insurance company and making certain that cleat title is being conveyed.

Information that will be needed from the buyer includes:

1. Home, Work and Mobile Telephone numbers.
2. E-Mail Address.
3. Marital Status.
4. Name, Phone Number and E-Mail Address for the mortgage loan officer and the lending institution to which you have applied for your mortgage loan.
5. The Mortgage Commitment Letter from your mortgage lender once your mortgage loan has been approved and is clear to close.

Buyers will be required to bring the following items to their closing:

1. Photo identification, such as Driver’s License, Passport, etc.,
2. Proof that you have purchased one year’s worth of Homeowner’s Insurance with a paid receipt, declarations page and / or policy.
3. A Cashier’s or Certified check in the amount needed to close, made payable to the title insurance company. If the amount that you are to bring to the closing is $50,000.00 or more, the law requires that it be wired to the title insurance company’s escrow account. The seller’s attorney or the title insurance company will provide us with specific wiring instructions if that is necessary.

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