Frank’s almost famous real estate blog

HOW TO HAVE A SMOOTH CLOSING, PART ONE, SELLERS

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     I first wrote this list years ago for my first web site.  How times have changed! Now there are pressures in the marketplace to accomplish the entire process of home-buying and home-selling by using the mobile device in your hands. From looking for homes, to signing contracts, to applying for a loan, to transferring funds for closing to signing the closing documents, to recording the documents at the courthouse, the entire process can (in theory) be accomplished without ever having to get into your automobile or see another human in person.

     The reality in 2018 however is that only parts of the process are accomplished electronically. Usually our “closings” involve real people sitting around a real conference table.  The participants are happy and sad,  filled with hopes and dreams for the future on the one hand and fond family memories and melancholy on the other.  It is, without question, my favorite part of the entire process; the signing of the deed and the delivery of the keys harken back to the “Livery of seisin”, later sometimes called the “turf and twig” ceremony…but that is a topic for another day.

Today’s topic is what should Sellers be aware of in preparation for a smooth (happy and sad) closing.

< ![if !supportLists]>1.       < ![endif]>Make sure that your driver’s license name matches the name on the deed when you purchased. If you have changed your name by marriage for example, please provide that information to the closing agent as soon as possible.

< ![if !supportLists]>2.       < ![endif]>If you cannot attend your closing and need to use a Power of Attorney (POA) to authorize someone to attend for you, make sure that the closing agent knows this well in advance, and can either review the POA document you already have or prepare a new one for you.

< ![if !supportLists]>3.       < ![endif]>If the seller is the representative of an estate or a trust or a business entity like a corporation or LLC, make sure that you provide all of the papers available which prove your authority to sign. Examples would be probate documents such as Wills and Letters Testamentary, memorandum of Trust documents, Operating Agreements for LLCs, etc.  When in doubt, call the closing agent as soon as possible to discuss.

< ![if !supportLists]>4.       < ![endif]>If the closing agent sends you a “Sellers Information Sheet” please fill it out thoroughly including social security numbers, loan numbers and written authorizations to obtain payoffs, and HOA contact telephone numbers.

< ![if !supportLists]>5.       < ![endif]>Lastly and most importantly, if you don’t wish to walk out of your closing with a paper check, please be prepared to provide written wiring instructions in advance and to verify them before the funds are sent. The theft of money from real estate closings is an enormous problem in this digital world.  The following language appears on every email sent by anyone in our office.

                 PLEASE NOTE: We Do NOT request or accept changes to wiring instructions via email or fax and without verbal confirmation from our office.

Be smart about using email.  Closely examine any emails you receive to verify that they are from who they say they are from. Fraudsters can change one number or one letter to an email address and fool most people most of the time.  Do not discuss wire transfers with anyone other than your closing agent, after you have verified that they too are who they say they are.  You cannot be too careful. The horror stories about sellers and buyers losing their life savings are unfortunately true and heartbreaking.

Next time, we will work on the Buyer’s side.  Until then, be smart with your technology.