Real Estate: Closing Time

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By Jess Barron, Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors

In real estate, the closing is the grand finale of a transaction.

Most closings run smoothly. Unfortunately, some closings do not.

The following paragraphs contain information that will enable you to have a smooth closing whether buying or selling a property.

If the real estate purchase involves a loan, the lender must send the borrower the closing disclosure at least three days before closing. This is required by law. The closing disclosure is a form that discloses loan terms, fees, closing costs, the buyer’s projected monthly payments, etc. It is essential that a buyer receives this form three days before closing to close on time. If the lender asks the borrower for documents to complete their loan approval, time is of the essence for the borrower to send these documents to prevent a delay in closing.

On the selling side, a clear title is necessary to close the property. This starts when a property owner decides to sell their property. You need to make sure your title is clean in order to sell. A good real estate agent should be able to assist you with this. All the correct parties must sign the real estate contract in order for a valid contract. If there are multiple owners or heirs to a property, all owners must sign the contract. There must be no boundary issues with the property. Also, all liens on the property must be paid off. The most common examples I see are delinquent property taxes and delinquent HOA dues. The closing attorney will run a title search before closing to verify that the tile is in fact clear.

One area that can be a little tricky at closing is the proration of property taxes. You may need to lean on those math skills that you learned in high school and college. A simple way to think about this is that the seller is responsible for the property taxes from January 1 through the date of the closing. The buyer is responsible for the rest of the tax year. The closing attorney is responsible for prorating the taxes on a per day basis. For example, if a closing is on June 1, the  taxes would be prorated for the seller to pay the portion from January 1 to June 1. The buyer would be responsible from June 1 to December 31.

If you are unable to attend closing, a mail-away closing or nowadays a zoom closing, is possible. With a mail-away, the closing attorney will e-mail or mail you the closing documents to review, sign and overnight mail back. A notary is required for this. With a zoom closing, the closing attorney witnesses the buyer and seller sign with a notary present. They can then scan the signed closing documents to the attorney’s office. The closing firm can wire or mail the proceeds to the seller.

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Jess Barron is an Associate Broker with Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors and former President of the Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors.

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