Purchase and Sale
The purchase of a home is one of the most significant financial decisions that an individual makes during his or her lifetime. Accordingly, it is important to consult an attorney to help you negotiate the best terms, guide you through the purchase and loan process and assist you at closing.
What is Closing?
The term closing refers to the official transfer of property from the seller to the buyer. The closing is generally attended by the buyer and seller, their real estate agents, their attorneys, the lender and the closing agent. At closing, the funds and documents are transferred to an escrow company.
Escrow is a process of transferring important documents and finances to an unrelated third party for safekeeping. This third party, the escrow agent, holds the items and funds in trust. The escrow "closes" according to the instructions in the documents drafted and signed during the negotiation and purchase process. The escrow process minimizes the risk involved in a real estate transaction as the escrow agent, as an independent party, simply follows the instructions already agreed to by the buyer and seller. The escrow agent ensures that no funds are transferred and no documents recorded until the transaction is complete and everything is in compliance with the purchase and sale documents.
Steps Involved in Closing
In a residential real estate transaction, the escrow agent will first compile all of the purchase and sale documents previously agreed to and signed by the buyer and seller. The escrow agent will then provide escrow instructions to be signed by both the buyer and the seller. These instructions outline all of the necessary steps to "close" the transaction. After these two steps are completed, the escrow agent typically orders loan documents from the lender. Then the escrow officer will prepare the "signing package" which contains all of the necessary papers to complete the real estate transaction. The borrower will review and sign all of the loan documents. The seller must also sign the deed conveying ownership of the property to the buyer. Execution of these documents usually takes place at the escrow company's offices.
To close on a property, all of the terms of the purchase contract must be met. Typical terms include:
- Earnest money deposit
- Home inspection
- Buyer's walk-through inspection
- Request for repairs
- Property appraisal
- Signed escrow instructions
- Seller's signed deed conveying title
- Buyer's signature on all loan documents
- Down payment and closing costs from buyer
An experienced lawyer can help clients understand the purchase contract, escrow instructions and all other documents involved the transaction. He can also negotiate and explain all of terms contained in these documents and prepare any additional necessary legal documents. A lawyer, in reviewing the title report, can also verify that there are no easements or liens against the property. Also, as part of the escrow process, a lawyer will ensure that you obtain title insurance to protect you against any defects in the title.
Whether you are buying or selling your home, the Conejo Valley Law Group can guide you through the process and assist you with any issues that may arise along the way.
Contact Jeffrey Moscot, Experienced Ventura County Real Estate Lawyer
Jeff uses his years of experience in California's real estate market to assist home purchasers and sellers. A home is a substantial investment and legal representation can help you ensure the process proceeds and closes in a timely and cost effective manner and that your rights are protected. For assistance in your residential real estate transaction, contact the Conejo Valley Law Group.