The process of a real estate closing can seem overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. However, with the right knowledge and guidance, it can be a smooth and successful transaction. Bruce Warren, a partner and experienced real estate expert at Whitehurst, Blackburn & Warren, shares his guidance through the essential steps of a real estate closing to provide a better understanding of the process.
Step 1: Contract Sent to the Closing Attorney
Once the purchase agreement is signed by both the buyer and seller, the contract is sent to the closing attorney. The attorney's office, often assisted by a paralegal, conducts a thorough title search.
“This search ensures that the seller has a good and marketable title to the property, free from any liens or encumbrances,” Warren begins.
Step 2: Title Search and Clearing of Encumbrances
During the title search, the closing attorney identifies any potential issues that need to be addressed before closing. These may include outstanding mortgages from previous buyers, unsatisfied mortgages from previous sellers, judgments or lawsuits involving the property or parties, unpaid taxes, or liens on the property. It is crucial to resolve these issues to ensure the property is free from encumbrances.
Step 3: Coordination with the Lender
Simultaneously, the lender works with the closing attorney in preparing the closing package. The lender calculates all costs associated with the loan and ensures that the package of documents is completed to the satisfaction of the underwriters. This collaboration helps streamline the closing process.
Step 4: Scheduling the Closing Date
Once the title search is completed, and all parties are ready, the closing date is scheduled at the attorney's office. In attendance at the closing will be the buyer, seller, real estate agents, and the closing attorney. “It is essential for the buyer to be present in person,” explains Warren, “while the seller may have the option to execute the documents via overnight mail if necessary.”
Step 5: Executing the Documents
During the closing day, an array of documents are signed and finalized. These documents include the deed, mortgage documents, affidavits, and various disclosure forms. The closing attorney oversees the signing of these documents and ensures that everything is completed accurately and in compliance with the law.
Step 6: Addressing Potential Issues
Throughout the closing process, it is vital to trust your legal team.
“It is not realistic for buyers to read through all the documents themselves,” says Warren. “The attorney's role is to review the documents thoroughly and address any issues or discrepancies that may arise. This includes identifying any unusual or out-of-the-ordinary matters and seeking clarification or resolution before finalizing the transaction.”
Step 7: Closing Completion and Homeownership
“Assuming there are no unexpected hiccups, a typical closing lasts between 60 to 90 minutes,” Warren adds.
Buyers should bring a photo ID for identification purposes. Once all the necessary documents are executed, the new homeowner receives the keys to their property. This marks the completion of the real estate closing process, and the buyer officially becomes the owner of the property.
Understanding the steps involved in a real estate closing can help alleviate the stress and uncertainty often associated with this process. By working closely with your closing attorney, conducting a thorough title search, and addressing any potential issues, you can ensure a successful and smooth real estate closing. Remember to trust your legal team and seek their guidance throughout the process, allowing you to focus on enjoying your new home.
Whitehurst, Blackburn & Warren is ready to assist you with all your real estate needs. Contact us today at 229-226-2161 to schedule a consultation and experience the expertise and personalized service that sets us apart.