Purchasing or selling residential real estate is a serious undertaking and, for most people, one of the largest transactions they will ever make. A number of potential problems could derail the deal, and there are critical legal protocols that must be observed to protect the rights and interests of all parties. At Palumbo Law, we understand the stress and the challenges that underlie a residential real estate transaction. Our firm handles the necessary paperwork and represents you each step of the way to help make the deal a success.
Comprehensive Title Services for a Residential Real Estate Transaction
Both buyers and sellers need to ensure they have the proper title before agreeing to a residential real estate agreement. Without legal title, you can neither sell the property nor purchase it without the risk of someone challenging it later. These are a few of the title services we offer:
Title searches. Conducting a proper title search is a prerequisite to confirming that the seller of the property has the right to sell it. Without a title search, you have no way to guarantee that someone else with a lien on or claim to the property won’t show up later to contest your ownership. The title search is therefore one of the most important steps of any real estate deal. Our law firm takes care of this step so you know exactly what you are buying.
Title insurance. This form of insurance protects the policyholder in the event of some kind of defect in title to the property. It insures against losses that may arise because, for instance, there was a prior mortgage or lien on the property or because another person claims an ownership interest in it. Title insurance protects both buyers and lenders, and our firm can help you obtain the right policy for the property in question.
Title commitments. A title commitment is a document that discloses all liens, burdens, and other defects associated with a piece of property. It also clarifies the requirements that must be met before the title is considered marketable. Buyers and lenders rely upon this information so they can reliably enter the closing phase. A knowledgeable residential real estate attorney can prepare this document and explain more about it.
Taking Care Of Escrow
Escrow is the term given to a legal arrangement by which a third party temporarily holds money or property in trust until the necessary conditions of a real estate transaction are met. There are many uses of escrow, particularly in the context of buying property. It often comes into play when an interested buyer makes a good faith (earnest money) deposit towards the purchase.
The prospective homebuyer makes the good faith deposit to indicate they are serious about purchasing the property. That deposit is held in escrow pending closing. Escrow protects both the buyer (to ensure the money is applied to the down payment at closing) and the lender (who typically gets to keep the deposit in the event the buyer decides to back out).
Our firm assists with all aspects of escrow. We hold the escrow funds in trust until they are ready to be disbursed in accordance with the settlement statement, thereby assuring that the interests of the buyer, seller, and lender are protected. We can also provide legal guidance in the event any problems arise during escrow.
Walking You Through Closing
Closing is the final stage of the residential real estate transaction. It is completed when the buyer signs all paperwork and thereby takes ownership of the property. However, closing is more properly seen as a series of steps rather than a single event in the life of the transaction. Your attorney will handle these and other matters, in addition to those listed above:
- Obtain a title closing protection letter, which provides indemnification to the lender in the event of certain losses related to the closing
- Prepare information required by the lender, such as wiring instructions
- Obtain the final utility bills for the property
- Prepare and review closing documents such as the HUD-1 settlement statement
- Advise as to any legal issues that are uncovered in the closing documents
- Facilitate the transfer of title from seller to buyer
- Record the new property deed and other documents
- Disburse escrow funds and take care of all necessary payments related to the property, such as taxes and existing mortgages
- Generate the title insurance policy
Having an attorney represent you through the closing stages is essential to resolving any legal issues that may arise involving the property. Your attorney’s objective is to carefully inspect each aspect of the closing so you have the peace of mind you deserve when the final papers are signed.
Contact Our Rhode Island Residential Real Estate Transaction Attorney
Every real estate deal has its own unique features and, sometimes, difficulties. Whichever party to the transaction you are, we’re here to provide you with effective and seasoned legal counsel. Our firm can handle residential sales and purchases involving everything from single-family homes to condominiums. Reach out to Palumbo Law today to learn more.