Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions & Common Misconceptions when Closing on a Home

Happy New Year!

I am happy to get back to blogging this year and sharing real estate information. I hope you find this information helpful as you pursue your real estate endeavors. I want to start the year off by addressing some of the frequently asked questions and common misconceptions both clients and real estate agents have in the process of buying and selling property. I realize how stressful buying and selling a house can be. It can be an emotionally draining process. Here are some tips to help you through the closing process.

Do I need to bring my ID at closing?

Yes. You always need a government issued form of identification when performing legal activities such as buying or selling property.

How is money transferred?

Whether you are providing funds or expecting to receive funds, money will always be transferred via wire or certified check. Lawyers do not accept cash in these types of transactions.

  1. If you are receiving funds, you will be sent a certified check or transferred funds via wire after both parties have signed all paperwork and the documents have been filed at the Buncombe County Courthouse. Do not expect to receive your funds at the time you come in to sign. Arrangements, however, can be made at that signing for how you would prefer to receive your funds.
  2. If you are paying closing costs, you are expected to bring those funds in the form of a certified check to our office at the time you sign your paperwork.

What is the difference between a buyer’s attorney and a seller’s attorney?

A buyer’s attorney represents the person who is buying property, while a seller’s attorney represents the person who is selling the property. One attorney can represent both parties unless there is conflict between them. In the event there is conflict between the two parties that leads to litigation, the attorney cannot represent either party.

At Clement Law, we often represent clients on both sides. This simply means we are finalizing details and completing paperwork for both the buyer and the seller. It is mandatory that all clients have an attorney to close on properties bought or sold in North Carolina.

Why can’t the buyer and seller sign paperwork and close on the property together?

As of October 2015, sellers and buyers must sign and close at separately.

When I am buying a house, will I walk away from the closing table with keys?

No. Do not expect to move into your new house immediately after your closing. We know this can be confusing. As a buyer the misconception is that you will walk away with keys, and as a seller the misconception is that you will walk away from the closing table with money. The sequence of events that must take place are:

  1. Both parties sign closing documentation.
  2. Attorney records deed.
  3. Funds can be dispersed and buyers can get the keys.

On a perfect day, this process can take up to two hours, and depending on the time of closing, it could be the day after. When you have a bank involved in a closing the steps involved to completion of the closing involve even more than what is listed above. Most banks require seeing electronic documents, which we (your attorney) have to pick out of the files and paperwork you sign at closing. Those specific documents must then be sent to the bank to review them and authorize funds to be sent, then we wait for the confirmation from the bank before we record the deed at the courthouse.

When can I schedule upgrades or repairs in my new home?

Because of the series of events that must take place before keys change hands, do not to schedule repairs or upgrades to the property on the day of closing as you may or may not be able to get into the property. Take note that we will notify you as soon as we have your keys to determine how best to get them to you.

What day should I have my homeowners insurance start coverage?

Homeowner’s insurance should start and end at 12:01 the day before closing so that you are covered the day of closing. Before you set foot in that house, you want to be covered by insurance. It is easier to start this at the beginning of the day as opposed to waiting until mid-day to have it done. This coverage is also a requirement of most banks as well.

What day should I discontinue the utility services (i.e. power, water, etc.)?

Sellers should not turn the utilities off until the day of closing. Especially during the winter months, do not schedule to have the power turned off so that pipes won’t freeze. The buyer will schedule a walk-through the day of or day before closing and utilities should still be on and working properly at that time.

How do I choose a Real Estate Agent?

We are familiar with quite a few real estate agents in town. The key is finding an agent that fits with your needs and personality. We are happy to refer an agent for you.

Does my real estate agent have to be present at closing?

No, but many agents prefer to come to closing with their clients if their schedule permits.

Clement Law Firm, Asheville, NC 828-281-8160