Real Estate Closings FAQ
What type of real estate closings are handled by your office?
Our office has handled thousands of real estate closings over the last 15 years. We have conducted closings involving all sorts of real estate … from personal residences to vacation homes, from lots on the lake to tracts of farm land, and from strip malls to marinas.
What do you need to get started?
In order to get your translation moving forward, we will need a copy of your fully executed contract and instructions from your lender. If you do not already have a contract, we can draft one for you. Of course, it is always helpful to start off with a phone consultation to discuss the details of the transaction and any concerns that you, your realtor, or lender may have.
What if I have questions about the contract before I sign it?
Call us … one of our attorneys or experienced real estate paralegals will be more than happy to review your contract with you. In many instances, we provide free reviews of a contract for those clients who ultimately use our firm for settlement. Generally, we find that most questions can be answered fairly quickly allowing the client to move forward with their offer of purchase.
When will closing occur?
We will work with you and your schedule. We will do everything we can in order to schedule your closing on or about the date stated in your contract. In Virginia, most realtor form contracts state that a closing is to occur “on or about” a certain date. Keep in mind that many courts interpret this language to NOT be a “drop-dead” date. If you want the closing date to be a date certain so that you can arrange schedules for movers, cleaners, etc. with accuracy, you may want to consider adding provisions that are not found in the regular forms. Call us if you are concerned about this … we will be happy to help.
When will I know how much money I need to bring to closing?
We can generally provide you with an approximate figure almost immediately. It is not uncommon for clients to ask us for an estimation of costs as they contemplate a prospective purchase. As we get closer to settlement, we will provide you with a settlement statement days before closing. Obviously, however, the completion of a settlement statement requires many other entities (such as your lender) to provide us with information, and we will not be able to provide you with exact figures until they are provided to us.
How should I deliver the funds required for settlement?
The preferred method for delivery of funds is by wire transfer. Please contact our office for wiring instructions. We can also accept a cashier’s or certified check. A cashier’s or certified check brought to closing should be made payable to “GBSR Attorneys,, Trust Account”. Keep in mind, however, that certain rules apply to the deposit of checks that may delay your closing, and therefore, a wire transfer may be the most attractive option to avoid unnecessary delay.
Will your office accept a personal check?
Unfortunately, we cannot accept personal checks. Please do not be offended if we do not agree to accept your personal check … it really isn’t meant to be personal. We can not accept personal checks due to the legal requirements controlling real estate transactions. The law requires that we have “liquid” funds at settlement before we can disburse any money. If a personal check is brought to closing, we will have to wait for the check to clear (sometimes upwards of ten business days) before disbursing any money, and this will cause an unnecessary delay in your closing.
Do we need to be present at closing?
We can conduct your settlement “by mail”. Please let us know in advance if you cannot attend closing so we can plan accordingly. If, for some reason, you can not attend, we will make special arrangements to have a closing package sent to you by overnight courier service.
What overnight courier service does your office use?
We generally use UPS. This allows our office to track documents that can be extremely vital to your closing. A $30.00 to $60.00 fee will be added on the settlement statement for each overnight delivery.
Do you need our homeowner’s insurance information?
Yes. Please provide us with the name and phone number of your agent as soon as possible.
Do I need a survey?
We generally suggest that a survey be performed to ensure that there are no boundary encroachments, however, unless your lender requires you to obtain a survey, it is optional. Unless you instruct our office to obtain a survey for you, we will NOT do so. If you prefer our assistance in obtaining a survey, please call us as soon as possible as the time to complete a survey can sometimes be lengthy. Only the land surveyor’s office can give an estimate of their charges.
Do we need title insurance?
There are two basic types of title insurance, lender’s policies and owner’s policies. Your lender will almost always require you to obtain a lender’s policy on their behalf as a condition of your loan. You can simultaneously obtain an owner’s policy to insure your ownership interest in the property. An owner’s policy insures risk of loss for hazards that will not be discovered even with the “perfect” title examination of the land records. Our attorneys recommend the procurement of an owner’s policy with your purchase, and as such, we will obtain an owner’s policy on your behalf unless you specifically instruct us not to do so. If you do not want this coverage, we will need for you to sign a waiver of the coverage at closing. Our office procures title insurance from two of the major title insurance carriers in the nation, First American and Fidelity National Title. Or, simply call our office, and one of our attorneys will be able to discuss the importance of title insurance with you.
Do we need to do anything special if we are building a house?
Yes. If you are building a home, please contact us before obtaining your building permit. Many lenders and title insurance companies require you to designate a mechanic’s lien agent on the permit. Virginia law requires this to be done at the time the permit is first obtained from the building inspector’s office.