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Frequently Asked Questions for a Real Estate Attorney

Frequently Asked Questions | For the Buyer | For the Seller | Homestead Act

Scott J. Clifford
Scott J. Clifford
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Generally when the buyer is getting an institutional first mortgage, the closing process should take eight to ten weeks (assuming there are no title problems). We would advise holding off on booking the movers for now, however, and wait to see if your transaction is indeed an average deal. The movers probably will not need much lead time, and you do not want to commit to a date you cannot honor.

Doesn't The Selling Broker Represent Me As A Buyer?

Why Can't I Take The Chandelier And Built-in Bookcases?

Why Can't We Move In Early/Stay On After The Closing?

Who Gets The Interest On The Deposit?

What Will Our Closing Costs Be?

What Is Title Insurance And Do I Need It?

What Are "Points"?

What Are Some of the Legal Responsibilities of an Executor in Massachusetts?


 Doesn't The Selling Broker Represent Me As A Buyer?

No. All brokers represent the seller unless they specifically are engaged as a "buyer's broker." You should have received a notice explaining this when you first began dealing with the broker in question.

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 Why Can't I Take The Chandelier And Built-in Bookcases?

They are fixtures and attached to the property in such away as to make their removal impossible without altering the property. If you wish to take them, they must be deleted from the purchase and sale agreement's description of the premises to be sold, and any structural changes made must be remedied (i.e., the light fixture must be replaced with another, and the wall behind the bookcases repaired).

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 Why Can't We Move In Early/Stay On After The Closing?

Because you do not own it yet/any more. If coordinating moving dates is a real problem, we can try to arrange for a use and occupancy agreement--but it should be in writing and address issues such as responsibility to insure, assumption of liability, possibility of damage to the property and a contingency in the event that the owner has to evict in order to regain possession.

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 Who Gets The Interest On The Deposit?

That is a matter for negotiation at the purchase and sale agreement stage. While both parties feel the money is theirs pending the closing (and both have good arguments to support such statements: the seller's being that the money is part of the purchase price and is held in escrow only as a matter of custom; the buyer's being that the money is held in escrow until the seller performs by delivering a deed), I suggest that we split the interest in half. (Considering the attorneys' hourly rate, why waste time haggling over a small percent return?)

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 What Will Our Closing Costs Be?

It depends on the loan program offered by the lender. Even if you choose a no-point program, you will pay various fees including an application/credit report/appraisal fee of approximately $300, some of which may be prepaid; one year's mortgage insurance (if applicable); and interest in advance for the balance of the month is which you close. In addition, the lender will collect the prepaid escrows for taxes (which when "netted out" against the tax adjustments will equal about three months' worth), hazard insurance (usually for two months, based on the actual premium) and mortgage insurance if applicable (for two months, based on the actual premium). Depending on the lender and the program, there may also be charges for document preparation (usually $150-$300), a tax service fee (usually $70-$100), courier fees ($25-$30) and various miscellaneous charges ($10--assignment; $5--certified copies).

The bank attorney will collect and disburse for recording fees ($59); title abstract ($150); municipal lien certificate ($25); plot plan ($125-$150); title insurance; and his or her fee.

Note: All costs listed above are approximate.

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 What Is Title Insurance And Do I Need It?

It is a policy of insurance that protects the lender and, if purchased by the buyer, the owner of the property from claims against the title to the real estate. While attorneys must certify to buyers that the title to the property is good (if such certification is made to the lender), the owner will not be able to collect on such a certification if the attorney is gone or if the problem is one for which the attorney would not be liable, such as a forged document in the chain of title. In such an instance, the insurance policy would cover where the attorney would not.

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 What Are "Points"?

Points are fees charged to bank customers for the use of money. Although charged in many kinds of loan transactions, they are most commonly thought of in connection with residential lending (that is also the only loan in which the amount of the fee is regulated by state law: they are capped at one percent if the loan is not to be sold in the secondary market and at two percent if the loan is intended for sale ). A point is calculated at one percent of the loan amount; thus, on a $160,000 loan to purchase a $200,000 house, one point would equal $1,600; one and a half points would equal $2,400; and two points would equal $3,200. You may choose a "no-point" loan but the rate will be higher than a loan in which you pay points.

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 What Are Some of the Legal Responsibilities of an Executor in Massachusetts?

The Executor (or in the case of a female, Executrix) is responsible for stepping into the Decedent’s shoes and taking control of the Decedent’s assets. The Executor then becomes responsible for the management of the estate and distribution of any estate assets. The Executor accounts for the estate assets and preserve the estate assets until liquidation or distribution. The Executor pays all debts of the decedent that the estate is responsible for and pays the administration costs associated with the estate. Finally, the Executor will distribute the assets of the estate pursuant to the provisions of the Decedent’s Last Will & Testament. If there is no Last Will & Testament, the foregoing responsibilities are handled by the Administrator (or in the case of a female, Administratrix) with the only difference being the estate assets will be distributed by Statute in the absence of a will. Some other common responsibilities of an Executor include applying for death benefits that may be due the estate, locating insurance policies, defending the estate in litigation, collecting income or debts on behalf of the estate, establishing bank accounts for the estate and selling of real property in some instances. If you need assistance in carrying out your duties as an Executor and/or Administrator, contact the Law Offices of Lipsey & Clifford, P.C. so that we can assist you.

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If you have any questions or concerns, please contact attorney Scott Clifford or one of our many office locations across the South Shore.

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