The following are the typical steps followed when purchasing real estate:

1) THE CONTRACT (AND ATTORNEY REVIEW): When you find a home you wish to buy, you will sign a contract. In most cases, it will be a standard contract from a realtor. After all parties sign, you will have a “3-day attorney review period” during which an attorney can make modifications or clarifications to the contract. Also at this time, an attorney may cancel the contract on your behalf if the contract terms meet with your disapproval. Please note that all time periods for various steps in the process (i.e., mortgage contingency, inspections) will begin at the end of attorney review. The Law Office of Adam Araten will make sure that you have favorable terms and time frames in your contract.

2) THE INSPECTIONS: While it is not required, it is highly advisable to have the home you are going to purchase inspected by a licenced home inspector. An inspection will uncover any serious structural or systemic issues with the home and whether they are serious enough to be repaired by the seller. Sometimes the seller will issue a credit to the buyer at closing rather than make the repair. The Law Office of Adam Araten will review the inspector’s report and communicate with the seller’s attorney to make sure that defects are repaired as dictated by the specific terms of the contract. The buyer pays for the cost of the inspector.

3) THE MORTGAGE COMMITMENT: The contract will specify how long buyers have to get a mortgage commitment. Usually, buyers are either prequalified (meaning they have made some application for a mortgage and qualify for some loan programs) or preapproved (meaning that the mortgage company has virtually committed to give you a loan for a certain amount of money without specifying a particular house). Buyers are advised to speak to more than one lender about rates, terms, and fees (upfront vs. those due at closing). Mortgage costs are paid by the buyer. The Law Office of Adam Araten will check in with you to make sure that you acquire your mortgage commitment in a timely basis.

4) THE TITLE WORK: “Title work” is a combination of title searches, title insurance and surveys. Title insurance is a necessary policy that insures the ownership interests of the mortgage company and of the buyer. The title insurance company does title searches to assure that the seller is providing title that is free and clear of any liens, judgments or other encumbrances. In other words, the title company is doing any and all necessary investigation into the history of the property to make sure that the seller owns the property legally and that no one else has an interest in the property that can interfere with the buyer’s use and enjoyment of the property. If a mortgage company requires a survey of the property, the title company will order it. The Law Office of Adam Araten will order your title work. We will also inquire to see if the seller has a valid survey to save the buyer the cost of a new survey (assuming this is acceptable to the mortgage company). The buyer pays for title insurance and title search costs at the settlement.

5) THE CLOSING (SETTLEMENT): The closing or settlement usually takes place at the office of the buyer’s title agency or the buyer’s attorney. At this meeting, the buyer and seller and their attorneys meet. The buyer signs the mortgage paperwork and the settlement sheet. The settlement sheet (also called a TRID form) is a form used by a settlement or closing agent, itemizing all charges imposed on a buyer and seller in a real estate transaction. This form gives a picture of the closing transaction, and provides each party with a complete list of incoming and outgoing funds. The Law Office of Adam Araten will attend this closing and will scrutinize this sheet to make sure that the buyer is only paying for his/her responsibilities. The buyer pays the balance of the down payment, mortgage fees (if any), title charges (including title insurance), and the buyer’s attorney fee. The Law Office of Adam Araten has a flat fee for the entire transaction (contract to closing).