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Massachusetts Residential Closings

In Massachusetts the real estate market has come into balance; perhaps a seller’s market.  Homes, condos and buildable house lots are in demand. With four beautiful seasons, from Boston to the Berkshires, living in Massachusetts is wonderful.  Gloucester has amazing seafood, Salem the witchcraft history and legends, Lynn, Lynnfield, Saugus and Wakefield have outstanding restaurants, shopping and nightlife.  Have you been to the Market Street shops in Lynnfield yet?  There is something for everyone.  Living on the North Shore is fantastic, and once you’ve found the perfect house or condo all you need is the right North Shore closing attorney to seal the deal.

commerce-acts-books-477966-mRegardless of whether you are the Seller or the Buyer, you should have an experienced closing attorney to handle your real estate transaction.  Real Estate Bar Association v. National Real Estate Information Services, Inc. ruled that an attorney is required to conduct residential home closings in Massachusetts.  Keep in mind that the closing attorney generally only represents the lender (the Bank) and it’s a good idea for the Buyer and Seller to each have their own lawyer at the closing.  The Lawyers’ responsibilities at a closing are different than those of the broker or real estate agent.  The attorneys make sure title is good, complex closing documents are done right, explain what is being signed and can resolve any last minute problems that come up.

The usual first step to buying or selling a home is the “offer to purchase”.  Beware, this is a binding contract!  John J. McCarthy, Jr. vs. Ann G. Tobin; Robert DiMinico  holds that an offer to purchase real estate “created binding obligations” of both the Buyer and Seller.  The Buyer is contractually obligated to purchase the property and the Seller is contractually obligated to sell the property.  This decision ruled that the Purchase and Sale Agreement is a mere formality unless the offer states otherwise.  You should speak to your attorney, before you sign the offer.  Once it is signed you may be legally obligated to that contract.

SELLER

After an offer to purchase, the typical next step is to work with your attorney to draft the Purchase and Sale Agreement.  Seller’s attorney and the Buyer’s attorney will negotiate the terms of this agreement, and it will be a more complex and comprehensive version of the offer.

BUYER

Once the P&S is signed and the deposit has been paid, the Buyer will typically work on getting financing.  The Buyer’s bank will select a closing attorney who will get a title report, arrange payoffs for Seller’s liens and coordinate final utility readings and appropriate payments of taxes and other assessments.  In Massachusetts, the closing attorney will get a certified municipal lien certificate (“MLC”) which shows real estate taxes and other municipal liens on the property from the town.

As the closing draws near, the Bank’s closing attorney will work with Buyer’s and Seller’s attorney to prepare and finalize closing documents and the all important closing statement (the “HUD”).  Closing documents usually include a Mortgage, Note, Truth in Lending Disclosure, the HUD Settlement Statement and other documents the lender may need.  Buyer’s attorney should review all of these documents for accuracy including the deed that transfers ownership from the Seller to the Buyer.

After the closing, the closing attorney runs down title, records the deed, mortgage and any other recordable instruments, and prepares the title insurance policy.  The closing attorney will also see that all liens and mortgages and taxes are paid off and post-closing will see to the recording of releases, as needed.

Buying or selling a home in Massachusetts can be confusing.  Hiring an experienced closing attorney to navigate the waters will keep your anxiety levels in check and provide you with the confidence you need to know that the transaction will go smoothly.