Selling a home doesn’t have to be stressful. My goal is to provide you with the best possible service. We have an experienced staff of attorneys and legal assistants who are available to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact any of us for assistance. Please review the information on this page to find answers to the the most commonly asked questions about the settlement process.
1. Preparing your Closing
Once we have ratified your contract, one of our settlement processors will call you about the following:
Your Settlement Date and Time
Your contract probably specifies a date by which you should close. After consulting with your realtor and your purchaser, please schedule a settlement date with us (the end of the month is especially popular – so schedule early).
Your Name(s)/Forwarding address/Social Security Number(s)
In order to convey title to your property, we will need to prepare the deed exactly as each seller’s name appears on the title. So, we will need the full name and social security number of each seller. This information is also needed to prepare an IRS Form 1099 to report the sale of this property, as required by law.
Your Marital Status/Dower Rights
In some states, if you are married and your spouse’s name is not on the deed, he/she will still have to sign the deed waiving his/her “dower” rights (marital property rights). Therefore, your spouse will either have to attend the closing, sign the deed in advance or use a power of attorney document to allow you or someone else to sign on your spouse’s behalf. This document has to be specially prepared (we can prepare it), witnessed by a notary and the original presented at settlement for recording.
We will order a “title search” on your property. This will ensure that you have clear and marketable title to the property so that we may issue title insurance policies to the purchaser and lender. Although most people assume they do not have title insurance issues, it is not uncommon for them to arise. Please fax or mail us a copy of your owners’ title insurance policy. If any title problems arise from the title search, we will contact you immediately.
Please tell us how many mortgages (deeds of trust) or home equity lines you have. We will payoff all of these at closing. We will need the name, phone number and account number for each lender. We will also need to know when you made your last payment and whether or not you escrow for your taxes. Your lender must, by law, refund any escrow balance to you.
We will check with the tax office (and order a tax certificate) to ensure that all of your property taxes have been paid and that no special taxes, interest and penalties have been levied against your property. We will need a copy of your tax property records.
You will need to advise your utility companies (gas, cable, etc.) of your move.
If you live in a condominium, please give us the name and phone number of the condominium management company. We will verify that you have paid all condominium dues and that there are no special assessments against the property. You are to provide certain condominium documents (at your expense) to the purchaser. Most condominium associations charge for these. If you would like us to pay these fees at settlement, please let us know.
Many aspects of this process are time sensitive – please keep us informed of your whereabouts, so we can contact you easily. If you are going to be out of town, please let us know.
Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
Please advise your insurer that you are moving. Most insurers will provide you a pro-rated refund on your policy.
2. Comply with the Contract/Work with your Realtor:
After you have provided us with the above information, you should concentrate on working with your realtor to ensure that you are in compliance with the terms of your contract. For example, you will need to schedule:
- home inspection reports and your response date
- settlement date
Under most contracts, the seller must provide a termite report (your agent often orders this for you). Please provide us (and the purchaser and agents) with a copy of this report prior to closing. If there is an infestation, you must get it treated. If there is termite damage, you must repair it before closing (unless your contract states otherwise).
3. Come to the Closing:
Please check with your agent and us to confirm the date and time of your closing and whether we need any documentation from you. If you would like an estimated amount of your proceeds, we can provide you with a draft HUD-1 Settlement Statement. When you come to the closing, please bring your driver’s license or a photo ID, the keys to the property and the warranties, if applicable.
Your Proceeds: How do you wish to receive your proceeds? We normally mail you a check as soon as the new deed goes on record (usually the day after closing); if you would like us to wire your proceeds to you, please bring a blank, voided check or wiring instructions with you.
Finally – relax! This process can be pleasant if you let it be!