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While the closing itself should take about an hour, and is typically conducted at the closing attorney's office, the real work goes on behind the scenes before and after the signing of the documents. There are two major transactions that comprise every closing: the legal transfer of the property from seller to buyer and the proper execution of the loan arrangement between the buyer and the lender.

As the closing attorney, I must first make sure that the seller's title to the property is valid. Through a thorough search of court records, I will determine whether there are any outstanding claims against the property or defects in the title which prohibit transfer. This requires a search of liens, judgments, special proceedings, estate and tax records. A title search inspects the chain of past deeds and mortgages, often for periods of 40 years, and also uncovers restrictive covenants designed to establish neighborhood standards and easements that could restrict the use and enjoyment of the property. As your attorney, I also order and review a survey of the property to be transferred. This ensures that no encroachments on the property have been made and that the deed description is accurate. If any problems should arise in this phase of the process, I will initiate steps to resolve them. As the closing attorney, I will also supervise the proper execution of the deed at closing transferring legal title from seller to buyer. I then will record the deed and loan documents at the county deed registry.

As your attorney I will receive, review, and prepare the loan documents from the lender for the buyer. A loan "closing package" can range from 4 to 25 separate documents and contracts provided by the lender to complete the mortgage on the new property. I will receive the package anywhere from one week to one day before the closing, depending on the lender. After receipt and review of the package, I will prepare the "settlement statement" (HUD-1) for the parties. This document reflects a complete breakdown of all expenses related to the closing. I will then notify the buyer of the precise amount needed at closing. These funds are in the form of a certified check since proceeds of the sale are usually released to the other parties that day after recording the deed and depositing all funds in the attorney's real estate trust account.

As your attorney I will conduct the closing and explain each document to the buyer. The hours of careful preparation allow for the legal transfer of the property from seller to buyer through the signed deed.

The deed and deed of trust will then be recorded promptly, serving legal notice on all that you are the new owner of your home! After closing and recording, as your attorney I will disburse funds to the parties. I will then finalize the closing package and express it to your lender as you move into your home.

Text © 2000 Lisa M. Logan. All Rights Reserved.
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