Real Estate Property Closings

Our firm’s closing department handles both residential and commercial real estate closings. Our closing attorneys are members of the Attorney's Title Insurance Fund and will work with realtors and attorneys to provide property closings with the least possible hassle or delay.

A real estate attorney is much more prepared to conduct closings than most title companies. Our firm strives to provide a comfortable atmosphere and pleasant experience for all real estate closings. If you would like to discuss a real property closing, call the board certified construction law attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A.

Does Florida Require An Attorney For Real Estate Closings?

No. But working with a real estate attorney, such as one with Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A., can ensure your interests are protected and the closing process completes in a timely fashion.

How Do You Close On A Property?

Essentially, closing happens when the transaction completes, but there are many documents and steps that must first take place.

Deposit Of Earnest Money

Earnest money is funds provided by the potential buyer as consideration to the seller. The funds are held by an escrow agent until the closing process is finalized.

Loan Application

The buyer fills out a loan or financing application unless the transaction will be a cash purchase.

Property Appraisal

A property appraisal by a licensed appraiser is required by nearly every financing institution before an application will be approved. The amount of appraisal is determined based on many factors of the property, such as amenities, condition, and square footage. The appraisal is usually paid for by the buyer.

Title Insurance

This type of insurance protects against a financial loss if a problem is discovered during the title search. Common issues related to the title include unpaid liens, such as a mortgage or taxes, and illegitimate and/or partial ownership. If another party would file suit because of a dispute or issue, the insurance would protect the buyer or seller.

Property Inspection

This inspection is a thorough examination of the property. A licensed inspector looks at all systems, such as electrical, HVAC, and plumbing, and if the building has structural issues, such as termite damage.

Property Survey

The property survey determines official property boundaries for an accurate property description which is used during the transaction. If easements and/or encroachments aren’t accurately detailed, the value of the property can be impacted.

Pre-Closing Property Inspection

The buyer and seller walk through the property to establish any agreed to repairs, removals, or other items have been done to each party’s satisfaction.

Preparation Of Closing Documents

All involved parties, including their attorneys, review final documents and paperwork before everything is signed. Usually, the bill of sale for furnishings, closing disclosure and loan estimate, promissory note, and warranty deed are reviewed during this step. Also, all title clearing documents, such as affidavits, are prepared.

Money Is Readied For Exchange

Generally, monies exchanged in the transaction are gathered and reviewed before disbursement. This includes additional buyer proceeds, the earnest money deposit, and mortgage funds. The funds are then transferred to the seller once the buyer receives authorization to close the transaction.

Documents Used During A Real Estate Closing

Purchase & Sale Contract

This details every part of the transaction, such as:

  • Covenants, easements, and/or restrictions;
  • Acknowledged defects and seller’s liability; and
  • A timeline for the closing process.

Having an attorney draft the purchase and sale contract is the best way to accommodate your interests, whether as the buyer or the seller and iron out key details before entering into a legally binding contract.

Real Estate Transfer Deed

This document declares the transfer of the real property from the seller (the grantor) to the buyer (the grantee). In the State of Florida, general warranty deeds are used to transfer real estate in most situations. The deed must be written, notarized, and recorded in the county of the property’s location.

Certificate Of Non-Foreign Status

The Foreign Investment of Real Property Tax Act, a federal law, requires the buyer to fill out this form declaring their legal U.S. residency for tax purposes. The buyer must withhold a certain amount of money — 10 percent of the total sale price — to be paid at the closing.

Closing Statement

Also called a settlement statement and formerly as the HUD-1 statement, this document states whether the transaction is completed with a cash sale or financings, such as a mortgage, and itemized fees for the buyer and the seller. It includes the loan estimate and closing disclosure which outlines all costs of the real estate transaction. The closing statement must be verified and signed by all parties involved before the transaction completes.

How Can A Lawyer Help Me With A Real Property Closing?

An attorney with Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. can help expedite a residential or commercial closing while performing an integral role throughout. The ways in which our law firm can help include:

  • Title examinations and searches;
  • Prepare title commitments, such as specifying defects to be repaired prior to closing;
  • Clear encumbrances and liens while securing necessary proof any issues have been corrected on the title;
  • Coordinate and schedule inspectors, surveyors, and others needed during the closing process;
  • Collect, hold, and disburse funds and escrow funds; and
  • Notarize signed documentation and make sure necessary paperwork is filed and recorded with the Clerk of Court.

While these tasks may also be completed by a title company, working with a real estate attorney allows the buyer and/or seller to receive legal guidance during the process. Our understanding of Florida statutes and construction law also allow us to explain proposed and modify sale contracts if necessary.