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Closing A Real Estate Transaction In PennsylvaniaClosing In Pennsylvania: The Benefit Of Having An Attorney

The closing process is typically a settlement day where the two parties meet with pre-signed documents. If the buyer is financing, they will need to sign the lender documents at the closing.

An attorney can make this process go smoothly by looking through all the documentation and the information that’s been gathered along the way. An attorney will review the settlement sheet that was circulated prior to settlement and identify any issues, such as unforeseen costs, that arise at that time.

If you get to settlement and you have a question about charges that are on the settlement sheet which you previously said were fine, you’re going to prolong the process. Best case scenario, you will end up extending the time you’re at closing but the worst case scenario is that you have an issue that’s unresolved and prevents closing on the date of settlement. Then you may have an issue where the contract or even your financing expires as a result of having to move the date of settlement.

It’s extremely important that you have an attorney review your documents, specifically your settlement sheet, with you prior to closing so that you can prevent any delays. Typically, a lender is going to lock in your rate for a specific period of time. Once that lock expires, you could be looking at a higher interest rate. The rates are changing daily, so it’s essential to close before your lock expires.

So, with an experienced attorney ensuring that you’re well aware of the documents you’ve reviewed and signed, you can go to closing with confidence and no last minute surprises. You will simply look over the documents, make sure they’re the same ones you’ve previously reviewed and signed, and attest to them at settlement so that the exchange of money for the property can be completed.

Who Attends A Closing On A Real Estate Property?

The individuals who will be present at a real estate closing typically include…

  • A closing or settlement agent,
  • The seller(s),
  • The seller’s realtor,
  • The buyer(s),
  • The buyer’s realtor,
  • The buyer’s attorney, and
  • A representative of the lender.

A closing or settlement agent is the person who runs and conducts the settlement. They will have all of the documents for the buyer and seller to review and will facilitate the exchange of keys. Often, the agent will be a representative of a title company.

Not every seller or buyer is going to have a realtor, but if they do, that realtor will be present at the closing. The seller doesn’t have much on their plate to take care of at the time of closing, so it isn’t uncommon for them to come in by themselves, without a realtor or attorney. They have a deed that they have to assign to convey over to the buyer and an affidavit if there’s title insurance. The seller will have to attest to a variety of things as the owner of the property but that is the extent of the seller’s commitment at closing.

The buyer is going to be represented by a realtor, an attorney, or both. This is based on the buyer’s preference. If they have an attorney, they will be well prepared to review their closing documents and sign the lender’s documents to complete the transaction.

Finally, if the buyer is financing, there will be a representative from the financial institution who is lending to them. This representative will ensure that the lender documents are reviewed and signed. The buyer will receive a copy of these documents at closing.

Location Of Closing

Your closing could take place anywhere, really, but it will typically be a location such as a real estate closing office or attorney’s office. In some circumstances, it may take place at a title company’s office. Many closings will take place in conference rooms wherever they’re available for use.

There isn’t a law that dictates where a settlement or closing must take place. In general, though, those are some of the most common locations for these meetings.

If you’re building a home with a builder, the location of the settlement can get a little convoluted. The builder may have its own settlement company and may offer you incentives to sign documents to use their settlement company. As the buyer, the settlement company works for you.

In Pennsylvania, you are the party that selects the closing company for the deal. Having the seller, when the seller is the builder, provides the closing agent is something that you, as the buyer, would have to agree to and sign a waiver and acknowledgement. You’d be losing one of the people in the process that really exists to help you.

The builder just wants you to buy the home and won’t be interested in how well you’re protected in the transaction. The builder supplying a settlement or closing company could leave you feeling a bit like the deal has been railroaded. That’s not an absolute, but it’s always a possibility and something to be aware of in any transaction with a builder.

What Each Party Should Bring To The Closing

Your settlement sheet, which you will review prior to settlement, will tell you what you need to bring with you to your closing. In general, you can expect to bring…

  • Your driver’s license,
  • Your social security number/card, and
  • Whatever money your settlement sheet has indicated.

You are going to be having documents notarized at the closing, so having your identification is going to be essential. You may not need your social security card, especially if you know your social security number or it’s already on the documents, but it’s always a good thing to have it just in case.

The settlement sheet is going to tell you how much money to bring to closing and what forms of payment are going to be acceptable. It will also tell you, as the seller, how much money you should expect to receive.

With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Real Estate Law Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy.

For more information on Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by (717) 990-7178 today.

North Star Legal Services LLC.

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