According to Massachusetts state laws, an attorney must be present during any real estate closing. The real estate lawyer does not have to be appointed by the bank, however, as the law does allow for the parties involved to hire their own closing attorney. But real estate attorneys do much more than just show up at closing. Now, some of them are allowed to handle the entire sale from Offer to Buy to Closing. This is because new RESPA rules exist which can help save borrowers thousands of dollars in attorney fees, since the buyer will not have to hire a separate closing lawyer. A real state attorney has a great deal of responsibility when it comes to closing the deal on property. Here are a few of their responsibilities.
In most cases, the very first step that a real estate lawyer undertakes is to conduct a title search on the property in question. The title is looked over by the lawyer to make sure that there are no claims, liens on the property, or any other issues which would prevent a sale from going forward. In some instances, a title search can go back as much as 50 years.
It is also up to the real estate attorney to make sure that the buyer has title insurance. It is best if the buyer acquires their own policy, with the advice of their real estate lawyer, since any hidden issues could ruin any chances of a sale or refinancing at a later date.
Although some people may hire a separate closing attorney, Massachusetts law now allows the real estate lawyer to handle a sale from beginning to end. As the closing date draws near, the attorney will prepare and deliver many different documents to be signed. Some of these documents include the mortgage, truth in lender disclosure, promissory note, and HUD-1 settlement statement. Other paperwork which the closing lawyer may acquire from the seller would be the deed, last utility bills, and various certifications. The closing attorney will handle:
- Paying off the mortgage
- Paying off and allocating any real estate taxes, and or last utility bills
- Paying the realtor, if applicable
- Paying closing costs and lender’s fees
- Funding the escrow account for the funding of the mortgage
- Paying the title transfer fees and recording fees
- Paying any pre-paid interest due
- Distributing any proceeds from the sale
- Distributing various certifications
- Signing at closing
- Process the loan funding
- and much more.
If you have any questions about ways to hold title property, or other real estate issues, give us a call today.