Real Estate Industry

8 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Closing Attorney

Closing attorney explaining things to woman

Did you just take the leap into homeownership?

In 2017 alone, there were over 5.5 million existing homes sold in America. While purchasing a home has proven to have its challenges, it’s also incredibly rewarding.

In fact, becoming a homeowner may be one of the best financial decisions that you’ll make in your lifetime. Unlike a car, a home investment is one that will appreciate over time and allow you to gain equity in your home. 

While your real estate professional will guide you through the buying process, it’s your real estate closing attorney that will guide you through the closing. This is when the home officially transfers ownership and is legally registered in your name. 

If you’ve just made the leap into home ownership, you’re going to want to read this. We’re uncovering the eight best questions to ask your closing attorney to ensure that your closing is as quick and painless as possible. 

Shelves full of law books

1. How Long Have You Been Practicing? 

First things first, you’re going to want to ensure that your chosen attorney is well-versed in real estate closings. 

Let’s face it, real estate closings are a complicated procedure and it’s vital to have an expert on your side. When the going gets tough or an unexpected problem arises, a well-experienced real estate attorney is the best means for handling the case.

That said, you’re going to want to double check that your chosen attorney is specifically a real estate attorney. Many corporate or finance attorneys will attempt to administer real estate closings without having a real estate background. 

Several lawyers meeting with a client

2. Will Anyone Else Be Working on My Case? 

When it comes to your specific case, you’ll want to know exactly who is working on your case. 

It’s important to consider that many successful attorneys will accept your case only to pass it along to a less-experienced attorney. While this attorney is technically working under the name of your original attorney, it’s an entirely different experience. 

Be sure to ask your attorney if they plan to handle your case personally or if your case would be transitioned to another attorney. 

Man paying fees with cash from wallet

3. What Is Your Fee? 

Each and every attorney is going to have a different fee that is associated with the closing. 

This fee is not associated with your home but merely the fee that the lawyer charges to you to administer your case. It’s best to be upfront and ask about his or her fees in the beginning. 

It’s also useful to inquire about any hidden or unexpected fees that may present themselves. For example, if an unexpected bump in the road were to present itself, does this mean that your fees are increasing?

Are you looking to find out how much a closing attorney costs? Learn more today! 

Billing schedule on a calendar

4. What Is Your Billing Schedule? 

Similarly, you’ll want to inquire about the timeline for these fees. 

For example, do you pay these fees upfront or are these fees paid on the closing day? You’ll also want to inquire about the method by which you pay these fees -is it cash, cheque or will you be billed in the future?

Knowing about these fees from the beginning makes it easy to prepare for your closing costs. This also helps to avoid any hidden costs or surprises on your closing date. 

House about to close

5. What Happens Before Closing? 

Your closing date is arguably the most important date throughout your real estate transaction.

However, the time before closing is also incredibly important. That said, it’s helpful to have a firm understanding of what takes place prior to closing. Don’t hesitate to ask your attorney questions such as:

  • What is the timeline of this process? 
  • What sort of paperwork must I have prepared for closing?
  • What do I need to arrange with my bank/mortgage lender?
  • What available funds must I have in my bank account?

Having a solid understanding of these questions beforehand will help to ensure a more smooth closing process. 

House at closing

6. What Happens at Closing? 

Similarly, you’ll also want to have a firm understanding as to what takes place at closing. Again, this date is incredibly important and is the date in which you take ownership of the home. 

That said, there are a number of documents and cheques that you must have prepared on the date on closing. Have your lawyer provide you with a written list of what’s required by you on closing.

You will also want to ask him or her about what exactly takes place on closing and what this means for you as the new homeowner. 

Man paying closing fees

7. What Costs Are Included in My Closing Fees?

Of course, it’s vital to have a firm understanding of what costs are included in your closing fees. 

This is likely one of the most important questions that you will ask your attorney. Remember, these costs may differ from state to state, so it’s essential to ask your attorney in addition to simply perusing online information. 

Things to bring to closing

8. What Do I Need to Bring to Closing? 

Lastly, you’re going to want to ensure that you have a pre-calculated list of what you need to bring on the closing day.

This may include anything from legal documents and identification to cheques and your original agreement. Again, it’s best to prepare for this in advance to ensure that you have each and every required necessity. 

This is important as if even a small part of the equation is missing, it’s possible your closing could be delayed. 

Lawyer with his thumbs up

Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Closing Attorney 

For all homes purchased in 2016, 35 percent were purchased by first-time homebuyers. 

For these buyers, closing on your first home can be incredibly intimidating. After all, this is the final step in concluding the real estate transaction and where the title of the home officially shifts to the new homeowners. 

For first-time homebuyers, it’s essential to have a firm understanding of how the closing process works and what this means for you. That said, it’s best to have a pre-determined list of questions readily available for your attorney. 

In presenting these questions to your real estate closing attorney, it ensures that your closing process is as smooth as possible. Asking these questions ahead of time will also guarantee that you are prepared for the process and that there will be no surprises when your closing date approaches.  

If you’re new to homeownership, be sure to visit our website for a number of tips and tricks. Here, we’ve crafted countless articles aimed at first-time buyers that will help you wrap your head around selling or purchasing your first home! 

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