Real Estate Closing Process
AGREEMENT & INVESTIGATION
The Contract | The first step in getting to the closing table is negotiating the terms and completing the offer to purchase contract. We generally suggest working with real estate agents who have a greater understanding of the market and can provide a more accurate estimate of home values. However, if you choose to place an offer unrepresented, our attorneys are available to work with you in negotiating the terms.
Due Diligence Period | Starting on the date the Buyer and Seller are under contract, there is a duration of time as defined in the contract, whereby the buyer may examine the real property and the seller cannot entertain any other offers. Any negotiations for repairs should be made between the buyer and seller prior to the expiration of due diligence. Our office highly recommends obtaining a survey on the property if there was not one recently performed.
Title Search | The attorney searches the records of the county’s Register of Deeds office to determine ownership of the property, find any restrictive covenants attached to the property, and identify any easements or rights of way that benefit or burden the property. The North Carolina Marketable Title Act requires attorneys to examine title for a period of no less than thirty (30) years, absent specific exceptions.
Title Vesting & Ownership | In North Carolina, there are three types of joint ownership interests: tenancy by the entirety, joint tenancy with right of survivorship, tenancy in common. There are additional considerations to keep in mind when taking title, such as the purpose of the acquisition, tax consequences, and shielding liability from creditors.
FINANCING & PREPARATION
Balancing Fees | In transactions where a buyer is obtaining a residential mortgage, the lender will be required to provide a statement of fees to the buyer. This is known as the Closing Disclosure (“CD”). In addition to the CD, the buyer should confirm the same Cash-to-Close amount matches our office’s ALTA Statement (“ALTA”). The ALTA is used in accordance with the CD to ensure our trust account balances with the disbursements and fees collected on the CD.
Preparing for Closing | After the Due Diligence period expires, the parties should confirm the “Settlement Date” as agreed in the Offer to Purchase contract shall be the date the attorney will meet with the parties and conduct the closing ceremony. Any party signing documents at our office shall be required to provide our office with valid government-issued photo identification upon arrival for their closing ceremony, such as a valid driver’s license or current passport.
Wiring Money | If funds are to be exchanged via electronic transfer (also referred to as “wiring funds”) you MUST confirm the wiring instructions prior to initiating the transfer. As wire fraud is continuing to become more of an issue in real estate transactions, our office will not email you with wire transfer instructions. Instead, you should call our office to request instructions and call to verify them prior to sending funds.
NOTE: Always call our office before you wire money.
Signing | At or before the closing ceremony, the seller will sign documents necessary to convey title to the property, primarily consisting of the Deed, a lien waiver, the Seller’s ALTA statement. The Buyer will need to sign the ALTA statement and a survey waiver if applicable. Additionally, when a lender is involved, the Buyer will have to sign all documents required by the lender, which notably includes the Closing Disclosure, Promissory Note, Deed of Trust and debt-related tax documents.
Recording | Once the closing ceremony is finished and all documents have been signed by all parties, all documentation is sent back to the lender for approval. The lender will then provide authorization for our office to record the Deed and Deed of Trust with the Register of Deeds for the county in which the property is located.
- Recording is done electronically and typically completed the same day as the closing ceremony.
- If your closing is scheduled after 3:00 EST, recording will not occur until the following business day.
- In the event there is no lender involved, our office has more discretion with timing of recording.
NOTE: You’ll need proper identification for a notary to acknowledge your signature.
Disbursement | If our office is to wire disbursements to you, then you will need to provide us with the necessary information for the wire at closing. It is our office’s goal that disbursements will be made within 2 hours of recording, however, this is not a guarantee. Any agents involved with the transaction are then notified by our office that the Deed and/or Deed of Trust are of record and all necessary disbursements have been made.