In simple terms, a closing (or settlement) is the actual event where real property is transferred from one party to another pursuant to the terms of an Agreement between those parties. That agreement is usually the Agreement of Sale which is negotiated between the parties and their respective real estate agents.
The Agreement of Sale dictates what the deposit will be, the purchase price for the property, how taxes will be handled, and even a drop dead date for when the closing must occur. All of these must be resolved pursuant to the agreement of the parties at the closing.
The buyer gets to pick where the closing is to occur. Unless it is a cash deal and the buyer is not interested in title insurance (very rare), the settlement must be done by someone who has the ability to insure title. At one time only attorneys could provide title insurance and have settlements. This was changed and now settlement companies (including those affiliated with banks and real estate agent companies) can handle closings.
The key difference is that if a person hires an attorney to handle the closing, that attorney owes a fiduciary duty to their client to protect them from any problems which arise. With a settlement company, this duty is not in place and getting the deal done becomes the driving force and main motivator of the company handling the closing.
When the settlement occurs is based in part on the Agreement of Sale. It is also based on when the parties and their agents and the lender all are ready to proceed. Finally, the Settlement Company or attorney must also be available. When I am asked who ultimately has final say to schedule a settlement, my general response is everyone. A good lawyer always defers to everyone else when possible, even holding a settlement during the evening or on weekends.
Count on Mooney
Don’t just trust your real estate purchase to anyone. Rely on professional legal advice from the real estate attorneys at Mooney & Associates. Utilizing Mooney & Associates does not cost you anymore than a regular real estate settlement company, but you can rest assure that you have professional legal advice behind you.
Our legal team has decades of experience in real estate closings. We stand ready to assist you in your time of need and you know you can Count on Mooney, whatever your legal need.
Mooney & Associates has 15 offices spread throughout Central Pennsylvania including: