Seller FAQ: Do I have to attend the closing?

by Josh Blumen on Thursday, January 19th, 2012

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Do I have to attend the closing for the sale of my home in Massachusetts? 

With proper planning and good advice, probably not.  In fact, for a variety of reasons, you may prefer not to be there — particularly if there is tension between you and the buyers or you have another transaction on the same day, making scheduling difficult.

Most attorneys will require your original personal signatures on the deed to the new buyer, which is also my practice. However, you can give a valid power of attorney to someone you trust, making them your attorney-in-fact for the transaction. Your attorney-in-fact can legally attend the closing and sign all documents for you.

Because your attorney-in-fact will have the power to legally bind you, it’s crucial (a) that you trust them; and (b) that they know what they’re signing. For this reason, most sellers choose a spouse or their real estate attorney. It is also possible for both selling spouses to use their real estate attorney as their attorney-in-fact so that neither of them has to go to the closing.

A real estate attorney is usually the best choice to act as your attorney-in-fact for your closing because they will know what all of the closing documents mean, whether the documents are accurate, and whether to sign them — or not. If you have not used an attorney earlier in the process, most will prepare a power of attorney for you for a nominal fee.

To find out more about how we can help your Massachusetts real estate closing go smoothly, please contact The Law Offices of Joshua Blumen, P. C. at 781-784-2500 or via our online contact form.

5 Documents You Need to Keep from Your Massachusetts Real Estate Closing

by Josh Blumen on Monday, January 9th, 2012

Remember what you need to take away from your closing besides the keys

Whether you’re buying or selling, all real estate closings have a couple things in common: They all come with a lot of paperwork. And they often happen as you are getting ready to move — a fairly chaotic time that can make it difficult to keep track of important documents. Here are five key documents from your Massachusetts real estate closing that you’ll want to keep in a safe place:

1. The Settlement Statement or “HUD.”

This three to four-page document is the financial blueprint of your real estate sale, purchase, or refinance transaction. It contains mortgage interest and tax information that you’ll need when it’s time to file your taxes.

2. Truth-In-Lending.

This is an important and Federally required disclosure to borrowers. If you are borrowing money to purchase or refinance residential real estate, you should have a copy of this document. In addition to giving you a detailed disclosure of the interest rate you’ll pay and any finance charges, you’ll find a clear and simple check-box that tells you if there is a prepayment penalty fee for paying off your loan early.

3. Note.

The note details your agreement to borrow and repay the money from your lender, including what interest rate you’ve agreed to and how many payments you’ll make. This document is a copy of the original note.

4. Payoff letter for your loan.

This is a critical document if you are selling or refinancing. The Payoff Letter shows that your Massachusetts closing attorney has paid off your existing mortgage with the funds from your new lender or the proceeds from your sale. Your old loan is still in your name and part of your credit record, so take the time to make sure it’s been paid off!

4. First Payment Letter.

Even though your first payment on your new loan may not be due for more than a month, you still need to know where or how to make your payment. In many cases, you may sign documents for one lender, who then sells your loan to a different lender. The First Payment Letter tells you the exact amount of your payment, when it’s due, and where to send it if you are not notified otherwise.

You’ll sign a lot more than five documents at your closing and you’ll get a complete copy of all them.  As a courtesy to our clients, we offer to scan all signed closing documents to a compact disc.  To find out more about how we can help your closing go smoothly, please contact us at 781-784-2500.