When you are closing on a home or commercial property, you likely have the typical people present: you the buyer, the seller, a real estate agent, a representative from the title company perhaps, and maybe even a loan officer. But many people don’t consider that their real estate attorney should also be present.
While some firms may say a real estate attorney is only needed if the closing is rather unusual, we know that for most Pennsylvanians, the purchase of a home is one of the largest, if not the largest, financial transaction of your life.
That’s why the Scranton real estate attorneys of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano and our title company Keystone Abstract Services, want to ensure you understand the real estate closing process and are prepared for your real estate transaction.
The Real Estate Closing Process
Typically, there are five steps within the real estate closing process. While they are standard, having a real estate attorney or title company representative present will be important to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.
- 1. Sales Contract: The closing process begins with the signing of a sales contract by the buyer and seller. From there, the contract is given to the closing agent, along with a deposit. The escrow is also accepted by the agent at this time, with a written notation of the contract. From there, the title order is opened, and the process begins as information such as tax, loans, home property survey, inspections, and insurance is ordered and processed. This stage concludes with a title search.
- 2. Title Search: At this stage, a search of public records including deeds, mortgages, liens, wills, divorce settlements, etc. will be conducted to see if any such form has impacted the property. Any information found will be clarified, debts paid, and a report will be issued to all parties.
- 3. Document Review: The closing agent will review the results of the title search, instructions set by the lender, and any other transaction information including loan documents to prepare closing statements and to schedule the formal closing.
- 4. Closing: At the closing, the seller will sign the deed over, and the buyer will sign the new note and mortgage. In addition, any parties who have not yet been paid will need to be at this time, such as the attorneys and agents.
- 5. Post-Closing: Once the home or property has been closed upon, the escrow agent will forward payments to any previous lenders and all parties who have not yet been paid via the sale will be. Transaction documents will be sent to the new lender and recorded with the county the property is located in. Finally, title insurance policies are sent to you as the new owner and your lender.
Why Having An Attorney Present at Closing Matters
The real estate closing process seems relatively straightforward; however, you still will likely want an attorney to guide you should issues arise. Unlike some states, Pennsylvania does not require buyers to involve a lawyer in their home buying process. But when you are purchasing a property with existing legal issues attached to it, it may be beneficial to have an attorney present.
Unexpected issues that an attorney can guide you through include:
- Pending lawsuits against the property or property owner
- Easements appear
- The buyer is forced to pay unnecessary closing fees
While you may feel like you know all there is to know about the property you wish to acquire, the reality is that if someone unexpectedly happens and you do not have a real estate attorney, it’s probably already too late to seek legal advice.
But when you utilize the resources of the real estate and title professionals of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, you are protected and assured that your closing will be done correctly and fairly.
Pennsylvania Real Estate Closing Process: Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano
If you are in need of legal representation during your real estate closing, you need to secure the expertise of Scranton real estate attorneys Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano. We have represented clients in both residential and commercial real estate transactions for more than 50 years. With a licensed Pennsylvania title agent in our firm, you are protected in every aspect of the sale. Contact us today to learn more — (570) 348-0776.