What Does A Massachusetts Real Estate Closing Attorney Do Exactly?
CREDIT : Excerpt from Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog, by RICH VETSTEIN The closing attorney acts as the “quarterback” of the closing process, performing many time consuming tasks preparing a transaction from intake to closing. Borrowers may request their own closing attorney instead of the bank attorney.
When the title order arrives from the lender, the closing attorney first orders a municipal lien certificate, which verifies the real estate taxes and other municipal charges on the property. Insurance binders and payoffs of mortgages are also ordered.
The closing attorney is responsible for examining the title to the property. For purchases, the title is researched going back 50 years.
The closing attorney also coordinates the issuance of title insurance to the lender and the new home buyer.
As the closing day approaches, the closing attorney will coordinate with the lender for the preparation and delivery of numerous documents to be signed at closing, including the mortgage, promissory note, truth in lender disclosures, and most importantly, the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. The closing attorney will also coordinate with the seller to receive the deed to the property, final utility bills, smoke detector/CO2 certificates and condominium 6(d) certificates. As outlined in the Settlement Statement, the closing attorney is responsible for handling a number of issues at closing:
Payoff and discharge of mortgages
Payment and allocation of real estate taxes and utilities (water, oil, etc.)
Payment of realtor commissions
Disclosure and payment of lender fees and closing costs
Funding of mortgage escrow account
Payment of transfer taxes and recording fees
Payment of pre-paid interest
Distribution of sale proceeds
Title V septic certification and condominium 6(d) certification
After the closing, the attorney processes the loan funding, performs a title rundown to ensure there are no changes in the title, then records the deed, mortgage and other recordable instruments. The attorney will also ensure that all paid off mortgages and liens are discharged. Title insurance policies are issues several weeks after the closing.
Seller Attorney Responsibilities
Customarily, a seller’s attorney in Massachusetts has the following responsibilities:
Generate the first draft of the purchase and sale agreement
Order mortgage payoff statements
Assistance with any title clearing efforts such as obtaining old mortgage discharges, death certificates
Draft the quitclaim deed and power of attorney
Prepare trustee’s certificate
Obtain condominium 6d certificate, smoke detector certification, final water/sewer readings (Realtor typically will obtain these as well)
Representation of seller at closing
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