Home Buying Process- Overview


What a Real Estate Attorney does:

While a real estate broker will help sell your house, your attorney is the only one who will be working solely for your benefit during the buying or selling of your home.

An attorney will assist in several ways in this process:

  1. Drafts, Reviews and Negotiates the Contract of Sale
  2. Ensures that all legalities are complied with
  3. Reviews the Abstract of Title
  4. Coordinates the closing of title and mortgage loan


Phases of the Real Estate Transaction

In The Market
The Purchasers conduct research to undertake what is likely to be one of their most important purchases in their life. The Sellers take measures to attempt to maximize the market value of their home.

After a firm offer is received (agreement on price and terms) on the residence, the Purchaser and Seller will provide their attorney’s information to their Real Estate Broker. The broker may request that you sign a “binder.” Despite the name, a binder may or may not legally bind the Seller and Purchaser. Only after both parties have signed the Contract of Sale can both parties be secure that the other party is firmly bound by its terms. A binder should always be subject to approval by an attorney.
Soon after the firm offer is received the Purchaser usually contacts a home inspection service. The inspection report may disclose issues which may allow the Purchaser and Seller to reconsider or renegotiate the price or terms of the sale. 

In Contract
Usually after the home inspection report is submitted, and specific terms agreed upon, the Contract of Sale is drafted by the Seller’s attorney. The Purchaser then signs the Contract of Sale and submits the earnest money deposit check (customarily ten percent of purchase price) payable to Seller’s attorney to be held in escrow.

The Purchaser’s attorney will order the Abstract of Title after receiving the fully executed contract. The Purchaser will arrange for the mortgage loan. The lender will advise the Purchaser about other measures needed in order to arrange funding.


Closing of Title

After all contingencies are met, the Closing of Title may occur. The Purchaser’s attorney must coordinate the attendance of the Seller’s attorney, the Purchaser, the lender’s attorney and a title company closer. The Purchaser will then sign numerous documents, most of them relating to the loan (the funds provided), and the mortgage (the lien the bank puts on the property if the borrower fails to pay). The Seller transfers the deed and pays off any exiting mortgage. The other documents signed include tax forms, title insurance requirements, and any side agreements. Any final payments such as town tax are adjusted at this time. When it is finished, title is transferred and the keys are given.