Residential Real Estate Seller Closing FAQs

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When do I need to hire an attorney as a seller?

As soon as you decide you are going to list the home. Your attorney can help you review the agent’s real estate listing commission agreement or for sale by owner documents and prepare the home’s title. Typically, the attorney is brought in once the home has an offer from a buyer. Make sure the contract has an attorney review clause that allows five business days for your attorney to review the contract.

When does the Attorney Review end?

The Attorney Review ends when the attorneys sign off on an agreed modification and/or inspection rider.

How can the Attorney Review get completed faster?

Best to hire a responsive attorney and provide answers to the attorney on a timely basis. Contacting the attorney before a contract is signed will help as well as title, documents and required disclosures can be gathered.

What can cause the Attorney Review to end in a cancelled contract?

Not having the required disclosures upfront before the contract is signed to allow the HOA to remedy issues contained in them. As a Seller — not prepping the home for sale by having a contractor or handyman fix defects. Repairs cost more when you have a for sale sign out front. As a Buyer — hiring an overly aggressive inspector who has the goal to scare you so you cancel the contract and hire them to do another inspection on the next home you select.

Do I need to put the home in a Land Trust or Revocable Trust?

Do you need privacy or estate planning? Talk to your attorney about specifics. Lenders do not always allow, so plan ahead at the application stage.

I am not married to my partner; do we need an agreement of some kind regarding the home?

Do you need privacy or estate planning? Talk to your attorney about specifics. Lenders do not always allow, so plan ahead at the application stage.

What does the Seller need to do before closing?

Order the water reading from the municipality, the municipal inspection (if required), and purchase transfer stamps (if required). Your attorney may order some of these items as well as prepare the deed and other closing documents, order your loan payoff and HOA letter or survey (if required) and schedule the closing.

What should I avoid doing before closing as a seller?

Do not remove items from the home that are required to stay with the home. Do not draw from your home equity line of credit. Do not forget to do the repairs required in the inspection period. Do not forget to leave the home broom clean and free of debris (even in the alley) and have the home cleaned for a classy turnover.

Do I have to be at the closing as the Seller?

No, you can pre-sign the documents and get the proceeds wired to your account. There are specific reasons not to attend.

What happens at closing?

The buyer signs their loan documents, such as the Note and Mortgage and required disclosures. The Seller and Buyer sign the closing statement, deed, and other transfer documents. The title company follows the lender’s instructions and provides a clear title.

When do I change the utilities (Electric, Gas, Cable, Internet)?

As a Seller, call the utilities and tell them you are selling and that the buyer will transfer the bill to their name effective on the day after closing. Do not shut off utilities as the appraisal, inspection, and walkthrough cannot occur and there will be costs and delays.

What does the Seller need to do after the closing?

Send the HUD-1 to your tax preparer and confirm the proceeds were wired into your account.

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