How an iPhone Saved My Closing: A Seller’s Tale

by Josh Blumen on Thursday, February 16th, 2012

I was walking into the supermarket on a Friday afternoon when the buyer’s attorney called. My clients were scheduled to close the sale of their South Boston condo on Monday morning and now there was a problem with the title. It was a minor problem, but enough to push back the closing date until it was resolved.

The problem: When my clients purchased the condo, the mortgage held by the previous owner had not been properly discharged from the public records at the Registry of Deeds.

There were two possible solutions. One option was to get a new discharge — a time consuming process that involved tracking down that seller’s lender from ten years ago, showing that the mortgage had been paid-in-full, and waiting for a new discharge. Not going to happen in time for the closing Monday.

But if we could prove that my sellers had purchased an Owner’s title insurance policy, the closing could proceed as scheduled with a promise from the title insurance company to fix the problem. I just needed to see a copy of the settlement statement my sellers had signed 10 years earlier. If my clients had purchased an Owner’s title insurance policy, it would be noted on the settlement statement.

I called my clients from the produce aisle — and just in time. Even though they were halfway out the door for a getaway weekend and their entire household was boxed up for the move, they were able to find their original settlement docs. But now there was another problem. Everything else was in boxes, including their fax machine, scanner, and computers.

We were about to bump the closing date when it hit me: “What kind of phone are you talking to me from?” It was an iPhone. “Fantastic. Take a few pictures of the settlement statement and email or text it to me.”

Five minutes later, I was looking at clear picture of the settlement statement on my iPhone. Turns out my that my clients had purchased an Owner’s title insurance policy from First American at their closing. I emailed this information to the Buyer’s attorney and contacted First American several minutes later — from the soup aisle.

The bottom line: Thanks to a little creative thinking and modern technology, my clients sold on time and are looking for a new home in the suburbs. To find out how we can help your purchase, sale or refinance go smoothly, please call the Law Offices of Joshua Blumen, P.C. at 781-784-2500.

Refinance FAQ: No Check at the Closing?

by Josh Blumen on Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Know what to expect when you refinance

I am refinancing my home in Massachusetts to pull out cash because mortgage rates are so low.  How come I don’t get a check at the closing? 

The short answer is that there will not be any “cash-out” refinance money available until a few days after your signing. Let me explain…

When you are refinancing your home – your primary residence – you have three days after signing the mortgage, the note, and all of your lender’s closing documents to think about whether or not you really want to go through with it. This three-day period, which serves as a consumer protection, is referred to as the Right of Rescission. At your closing, you will receive two copies of your Right to Rescind which tell you how to cancel the transaction during the three-day period, at no additional cost.

The three-day rescission period begins with the first day after you sign your closing documents. For example, if we sign your refinance closing documents on Monday, your rescission period would be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Provided that you have not cancelled the transaction by midnight on Thursday, the refinance will become final on Friday, which is the day your closing attorney will receive money from your new lender to fund your new loan.

Once your closing attorney receives the money from your new lender, your attorney will record your new mortgage, payoff your old mortgage, and send you a check for any money you were getting back.

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.

Seller FAQ: Do I have to attend the closing?

by Josh Blumen on Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Post image for Seller FAQ:  Do I have to attend the closing

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.