While real estate closings are generally a fairly routine process, they can get complicated. I have found these “Top Ten” steps are an easy way to help ensure a smooth closing without difficulty or delay. They are as follows:
- AVOID SCHEDULING YOUR CLOSING ON THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH. The last day of the month is usually the busiest day for real estate closings. Realtors, lenders, title insurance agents and other industry professionals are strained to provide you with the level of service you deserve.
- AVOID CLOSING ON FRIDAY AFTERNOONS. Occasionally disputes regarding the condition of the property or the terms of the transaction arise at the closing. If a closing is scheduled for Friday afternoon, it is likely that the dispute will not be resolved until the following Monday. As well, sellers should consider that proceeds from the sale may not be available until that Monday. Finally, a seller paying off a mortgage at closing may incur an additional interest expense due to the weekend.
- CHOOSE A LOCAL MORTGAGE BROKER OR LOAN OFFICER/BANK. Buyers who are financing their purchase may be tempted by internet lenders that advertise “low rates.” However, these offers are rarely as advertised. Only local professionals are aware of the lending challenges encountered in resort areas and will provide you with a level of service unachievable by out-of-state competitors who are unfamiliar with the local closing requirements.
- SECURE INSURANCE COVERAGE PRIOR TO CLOSING. Obtaining hazard, wind, and flood coverage in Florida has become more challenging. We recommend you shop around for coverage well in advance of your closing and inquire about wind mitigation discounts. Ask your realtor and/or attorney for 2-3 referrals.
- BRING A PHOTO I.D. TO CLOSING. Many closing documents require the acknowledgment of a Notary Public. Unless personally known by the Notary, you will need to bring a driver’s license, state I.D. Card, or passport. Additionally, some lenders require two forms of I.D., so call ahead to find out what’s needed.
- ARRANGE FOR CERTIFIED FUNDS IN ADVANCE. Buyers must tender certified funds at closing. The best method for this is to wire transfer funds to the closing agent 24-48 hours in advance of the closing. Buyers liquidating assets should inquire as to the specific procedure required.
- PROVIDE INFORMATION TO THE CLOSING AGENT. A good closing agent will have initiated contact at the onset of the transaction, but if you haven’t heard from them do not hesitate to contact them early in the transaction to discuss specifics of your purchase/sale and to provide them with your contact information.
- KNOW THE REQUIREMENTS OF YOUR ASSOCIATION. The purchase of a condominium may require that the Buyer submit an application to an Association for approval. Sometimes a personal interview is required. Initiate this process as soon as possible to allow the Association time to review your application.
- FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH DEADLINES. The Purchase & Sale Agreement will have several deadlines. You should discuss these deadlines with your realtor and/or attorney to avoid any last minute upsets or confusion.
- AND THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP FOR A SMOOTH CLOSING: Have your closing at the office of
Steven W. Ledbetter P.L., Attorney at Law. My staff and I have closed hundreds of transactions – from complicated 1031 exchanges of commercial real estate to the typical residential purchase/sale. I have represented buyers, sellers, brokers, agents, guardians, you-name-it, and, most importantly, I personally guarantee to smoothly guide you through every step of your closing.
FLORIDA ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE, GUARDIANSHIP, & ELDER LAW IS COMPLEX AND CANNOT BE COVERED COMPLETELY IN AN ARTICLE. WHENEVER A SPECIFIC QUESTION OR PROBLEM ARISES, YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN ATTORNEY. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT MY OFFICE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION: (941) 256-3965.