Have a real estate issue? The lawyers at HK Legal Group can help!!
- Real estate closings
- Contract review
- Title review
- Escrow disputes
- Specific performance
- Ownership Disputes
- Boundary Disputes
- Property taxes & insurance
- Commission disputes
- Deposit disputes
Closing (also referred to as settlement) is the final step in a real estate transaction, but one of the most important steps where things can go awry. Our skilled attorneys represent buyers and sellers at the closing table.
The closing date is set during the negotiation phase, and is usually several weeks after the offer is formally accepted. On the closing date, the ownership of the real property is transferred to the buyer via a pre-prepared deed. Ownership is officially transferred when the deed is signed and delivered from the seller to the buyer. Lenders providing a mortgage loan will often require a title search, title insurance, appraisal, wood destroying organism report (approximate $50.00) land survey (and flood zone certificate, if applicable, approximately $400.00-800.00), and attorneys to be involved.
Several things happen during closing:
- The buyer and/or his/her lender tenders a cashier check or wire transfer for the balance owed on the purchase price (beyond the earnest money deposit placed when the contract was signed).
- The seller signs the deed over to the buyer and gives it to the buyer. This will later be recorded along with the mortgage, if any.
- Commonly, the seller delivers possession to the buyer, typically by giving the buyer keys to the property. Unless otherwise specified in the contract, delivery of possession should be at the closing.
- A title company, lawyer, notary, or the buyer records the new deed with the county recorder's office, along with any mortgage. Conveyancing taxes and recorder's fee will typically have to be paid, which are part of the closing costs. Generally these taxes are $.70 per $100 of consideration on the deed (Miami-Dade is $.60 per $100), $.35 per $100 of the amount of the mortgage, and $.002 per $1 on the note (intangible tax). The recording fees are generally $10.00-15.00 for the first page and $5.00-10.00 per additional page, varying by county.
- The seller receives a check or bank transfer for the proceeds of the sale, less closing costs and mortgage payouts.
- From the funds allotted for closing costs, prepayments for real estate taxes and insurance may be required, and fees charged by other parties may be paid, such as real estate agents/brokers, title company fees, lawyer fees, etc.
While Florida law does not require a buyer or seller to use an attorney at closing it is highly recommended. Since the cost of title insurance does not increase when an attorney represents you at a closing, most buyers hire one. The attorney will first review all of the contracts before you sign to ensure that the terms are as negotiated. Any potential problems that may occur later with items not disclosed or repaired, boundary issues, easements, deed restrictions or HOA/condo restrictions, etc. can be addressed before closing. Often times buyers come to lawyers long after the damage is done and the answer will typically be who represented you at closing, to which the reply is my realtor or no one.
Most Purchase and Sale Contracts in Florida contain a clause stating that the parties thereto have the right to consult an attorney prior to signing. Although many realtors understand the clauses in the Contract, they are not allowed to explain the legal ramifications to you.