By: Attorney Patricia E. Couto| Associate
Buying or selling a home is not an easy process and involves many different people, stacks of paperwork, complex legal documents, and occasionally several attorneys. Buying or selling your home will be one of the most important financial decisions that you face and it is important to make sure you know the parties involved, understand the documents you are signing and make yourself aware any legal obligations. Having an attorney present during your real estate transaction will ensure you know what is going on every step of the way and that the process runs as smoothly as possible.
The buyer’s attorney represents the interest of the buyer’s during the real estate transaction. The responsibilities of a buyer’s attorney include:
- Reviewing and amending the Offer to Purchase and Purchase and Sales Agreement with the seller, the seller’s realtor and the seller’s attorney
- Negotiating the terms of the Offer to Purchase and Purchase and Sales Agreement with the seller, the seller’s realtor and the seller’s attorney
- Communicating with the buyer’s lender, the lender’s attorney, the realtors and the seller’s attorney to resolve any issues between the buyers and sellers or the buyers and the lender and to confirm that any requirements from the buyer’s lender have been met
- Review the buyer’s closing disclosure and any documents the buyer’s may sign at the closing
- Attend the closing with and explain all the closing documents to be signed
Depending on the lender, buyers can sometimes choose their own attorney to represent both their lender and themselves at their closing. The role of the Lender’s Attorney or “Closing Attorney” is generally to represent only the lender. However, Massachusetts allows one attorney to represent both the lender and the buyer at the closing as long as there are no apparent unresolved disqualifying conflicts between borrower and the lender. This is because both parties are interested in protecting their interests to ensure marketable title and that the seller has discharged all liens and mortgages. Working with one attorney benefits the buyers by saving them money on legal fees. The buyers only pay one attorney to review the title, communicate with all the parties, obtain any documentation needed for the closing and prepare and review all buyer closing documents.
The seller’s attorney represents the seller’s interest in the real estate transaction. The duties of a sellers’ attorney includes:
- Creating the Purchase and Sales Agreement
- Reviewing and amending the Offer to Purchase and Purchase and Sales Agreement with the buyer, the buyer’s realtor and the buyer’s attorney
- Negotiating the terms of the Offer to Purchase and Purchase and Sales Agreement with the buyer, the buyer’s realtor and the buyer’s attorney
- Resolving any title issues that may be discovered during the title examination. NOTE: As the sellers, you are obligated by the purchase and sales agreement to deliver marketable title, meaning it is your responsibility to remove any defects in title.
- Coordinating with the realtor or with the sellers to obtain a smoke certificate, any final utility readings, or a 6d certificate if a condominium is involved
- Obtain mortgage payoffs or provide the closing attorney with authorization to obtain the payoff
- Draft the quitclaim deed or any other legal documents that the sellers may need for the closing
- Reviewing the sellers’ closing disclosure and any other documents that the sellers may have to sign at closing
- Attending the closing
If you are thinking of buying or selling your home and have questions or would like assistance, from an experienced attorney, please call Wynn & Wynn, P.C. or request a free consultation.