Real Estate FAQs
Find out more about what we offer, and let our experience guide you. We are happy to consult with you. Contact us so that one of our attorneys can speak with you personally.
What do I need to do to prepare for my closing?
The most important thing you can do is to be responsive to your agent and the closing attorney. Your agent and your attorney are both accustomed to the steps in the sales and closing process. We are here to guide you and answer any questions along the way. Because time is of the essence in the closing process, doing your part to meet scheduled dates for the inspection, lender, and others are important. Equally important is having forms and documents filled out in a timely manner so they will be on file well in advance of the scheduled closing day. Please contact us with any questions you have—we will be happy to walk you through the process.
What do I need to bring to my closing?
Be sure to bring the following:
- A valid form of identification, such as driver’s license, passport, or military ID
- A certified or cashier’s check in the amount specified (if you have not already initiated a bank wire transfer). Note: personal checks are not accepted at closing.
- Any items or documents that you have agreed to provide the other party prior to, or at the time of the sale
- Sellers and seller’s agent should be sure to remember the key to the property!
What is the Power of Attorney (POA) form used for, and should I consider signing one?
A power of attorney gives one or more persons the power to act on your behalf as your agent. The power for real estate transactions is limited to one particular activity, closing the sale of your home. The power gives temporary authority to act on your behalf. A power of attorney may be revoked, but requires written notice of revocation to the person named to act for you. Why would anyone give such sweeping authority to another person? One answer is convenience. If you are buying or selling real property and you do not wish to appear or cannot appear in person to close the transaction, you may take advantage of a power of attorney.
What is title insurance and why do I need it?
Title insurance is a form of insurance which insures against financial loss from defects in title to real property. A search of your title is performed prior to your closing and is inspected by both your attorney and by the title insurance company. The closing can proceed if the title is free and clear of defects not found in these examinations. If down the road, a hidden defect becomes apparent and problematic, the title insurance company will step in to defend, hiring an attorney for you if need be, in order to set it right. An excellent explanation of title insurance can be found at http://www.homeclosing101.org/whyneed.cfm.
When are property taxes due and how do I pay them?
Property Taxes are due no later than January 15 of every calendar year. Usually, your lender will escrow your tax bill amount in equal monthly portions and pay your tax bill for you at the beginning of each new year. If your tax payments are not “escrowed” then you will need to pay close attention to the following dates:
Property Tax Calendar:
- October 1 – Property tax rolls are opened
- January 15 – Property taxes for the prior year must be paid to the county treasurer no later than this date.
- January 16 through February 1 – Property taxes for the prior year paid during this period are subject to a penalty of 3%.
- February 2 through March 16 – An additional penalty of 7% is added to taxes for the prior year paid during this period.
- March 17 and later – An additional penalty of 5% is added to taxes for the prior year paid after March 16 and the county treasurer or the delinquent tax collector begins steps to sell the property to collect the delinquent taxes.
If you are mailing your property tax payment, it must be postmarked no later than the due date to avoid penalty. If the due date falls on a weekend or a state holiday, the due date is extended to the next business day afterwards.
When can I expect to receive my closing documents, copy of the deed, and title policy?
We will provide you with a copy of your closing documents and a copy of your deed at the closing. If you close by Power of Attorney, you will be provided a copy of the closing documents and the deed by email, U.S. Mail, or Federal Express –whatever you state as your preference.
The deed and the mortgage need to be recorded by the Register Mesne Conveyance (RMC’s) Office. Once we receive notice from the RMC of your recorded deed and mortgage, we send the final documents to you, along with your title insurance policy. Due to the time it takes the RMC’s office to record and file your information, and notify the attorney’s office of the recorded information, the timeframe to receive this package of final documents can vary. Please feel free to contact us at any time with your questions.
I have a question about my transaction, and I’m not sure whom to ask….
You don’t have to figure it out on your own. Just call or email us and we will happily help you with any questions you have, or find the resource best able to answer your questions. We look forward to being of service to you!