Once an offer is made by a buyer and accepted by a seller, the next step is to prepare and execute a Purchase and Sale Agreement (commonly called the P&S). At this time, or even earlier, the buyer and seller will each involved their attorneys to ensure the P&S is constructed in a way that supports the best interests of each attorney’s client.
If lender financing is needed by the buyer in order to fund the purchase, the lender chosen by the buyer will appoint an attorney to help obtain documents related to title and to conduct the closing. This is often the same attorney that represents the buyer throughout the process.
At the closing, a deed signed by the seller conveys the property to the buyer. Anticipating this, the buyer’s attorney needs to ensure that the seller has good title to the property. In most localities (except for Worcester and contiguous towns), the buyer is responsible for title examination costs, and the seller is responsible for resolving any title problems that are uncovered. If the buyer is obtaining a mortgage, the lender needs to have this title “certified” and insured with a “title insurance” policy. Title issues are handled by the attorneys.
Buying and selling real estate involves a significant financial transaction. The attorneys work together to ensure all parties are charged the appropriate fees and costs and given the appropriate credits or adjustments. All the details are worked out before the closing so that a “Closing Disclosure” can be provided to the buyer and the seller to explain what funds will be exchanged at the closing.
If you are buying a home, it is best to file a “Declaration of Homestead” so that you can obtain the optimal protection from judgment creditors provided by the law. Your attorney can prepare this document and have you sign it at the closing.