A Massachusetts real estate closing, involves transferring ownership of a house or a condominium from the seller to buyer. The real estate closing itself, is typically held at the office of the buyer’s attorney (the “closing attorney”) or the local Registry of Deeds.
During a real estate closing, all of the necessary paperwork is completed to finalize the transaction between the buyer and the seller. All funds required for the transaction are collected by the closing attorney in the form of a wire transfer from the buyer (or sometimes a certified check). Once the necessary documents are prepared, signed and recorded at the Registry of Deeds, the title (i.e. ownership) is considered transferred to the new homeowner (learn more about Buying and Selling a Home here).
For a real estate purchase or sale, the process starts with the Offer to Purchase. After the Offer to Purchase has been signed by all parties, it will be replaced by a more detailed contract called the Standard Form Purchase and Sale Agreement. The real estate closing itself is the final step in that process.
Do I need a Real Estate Lawyer for my Closing?
At the closing, the seller and the buyer should be represented by a Massachusetts Real Estate Lawyer. There are many important legal documents that need to be signed with large sums of money exchanged. Even the smallest error can result in the loss of thousands of dollars. Items such as water and sewer charges, real estate taxes, rents, condominium fees, etc., must be adjusted properly between the buyer and the seller. All documents, therefore, should be reviewed carefully. Further, unless otherwise agreed, by closing and recording the deed, the parties are agreeing that the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement have been fulfilled.
What Happens on Closing Day?
Some of the important things that happen at a Massachusetts real estate closing include:
- The home buyer will do a final walk-through of the home (usually, on the morning of the closing). This is to confirm that the property is in substantially the same condition (with reasonable wear and tear excepted). If any problems arise a resolution must be negotiated promptly with all parties and their attorneys. Therefore, it is important that the attorneys are notified quickly in this instance.
- The home buyer’s real estate lawyer will review the Closing Disclosure with the buyer (“CD” and formerly known as the HUD Settlement Statement). Similarly, the Seller’s real estate attorney will review the Seller CD with the Seller.
- The home buyer will sign the mortgage, promissory note and several other papers. The buyer agrees in these documents that in exchange for receiving money from the lender, that if they don’t repay it, the lender has the right to foreclose on the property.
- The seller will sign their own documents and provide the Deed to the buyer.
- The Deed, Mortgage, and some other documents, will be recorded at the Registry of Deeds. The Deed will specify the manner in which the new Buyers will own the property (learn more about ways to own property here).
- The seller will provide the keys to the house to the buyer after everything has been recorded (unless they are willing to release them in advance).
- The buyer will obtain a copy of their Owners Title Insurance Policy shortly after the closing (if such a policy has been purchased from the attorney closing the loan).