Why do I need an attorney when selling a home?
Buying or selling a home is one of the most important financial endeavors that most individuals will undertake during their lifetime. It is important that you fully understand what your legal obligations are and have an advocate to represent you should you need to negotiate with the other parties to the transaction.

As a seller, your attorney is responsible for reviewing the buyer’s attorney’s title search and clearing title to property. This will involve ordering payoffs for any liens or encumbrances against the property and also proposing adjustments for items paid in advance such as taxes, sewer and water charges, and home heating fuel.

The seller’s attorney is also responsible for drafting a deed to transfer title to the property to the Buyer as well as preparing many accompanying forms such as a Title Affidavit, and Conveyance Tax Form.

What is a Title Search?
A title search is a search of the land records conducted regarding the property being sold. A title search will reveal all liens, encumbrances, easements, restrictions, covenants, and possible title defects that will affect property. The Seller’s attorney is typically responsible for clearing all liens on title and providing the Buyer with clear title to the property. As your attorney, Grassette & Associates will work with you to clear and transfer title to the Buyer. The attorneys at Grassette & Associates have handled thousands of title issues to allow our clients to successfully sell their properties.

What is Title Insurance?
Title insurance is a one-time fee that can protect your ownership of your property for the duration of time that you own the property. This premium is paid at closing and is a relatively low-cost investment that offers a high return in the form of peace of mind. When you elect to sell your ownership interest in a property, it may be helpful if you purchased an owner’s title insurance policy in the past. Possession of an owner’s policy can be helpful to Sellers who encounter some of the common title claims, such as:

  • Forged deeds, mortgages, satisfactions or releases;
  • Capacity/ Authority issues regarding the Grantor/Signor of a document;
  • Unrecorded claims or interests against the property such as mechanic’s liens and adverse possession claims;
  • Errors or deficiencies in recorded legal documents; and
  • Pre-existing violation of zoning and building ordinances, covenants and restrictions, and subdivision mapping laws.

Unlike many other types of insurance policies, title insurance is a one-time payment. If, as the Seller of property, your attorney discovers an issue surrounding your ownership interest in the property, or a prior unaddressed issue belonging to a previous owner, a title insurance policy may allow you to proceed to closing by allowing your attorney to request a letter of indemnification from the insurance company to protect the new buyer or allow your attorney to assist with filing of an insurance claim to address the matter at hand.

How long does this process take?
The process from the time you receive an accepted offer to obtaining proceeds from the sale can vary from two weeks to six months, or longer, depending on the circumstances surrounding the transaction. The typical duration from contract to closing is roughly 2 months; however, this time frame is based largely on how long inspection negotiations take, the buyer’s lender/loan product, and other relevant circumstances such as a short sale or title clearance issues. It is important to work with a dedicated real estate attorney, such as those at Grassette & Associates, in order to allow your attorney to help you to plan and prepare for the timeline of your individual transaction. It is important to never make moving arrangements or enter into agreements with other parties surrounding your home sale until consulting with your real estate attorney to ensure that the transaction is moving forward as anticipated.

What will happen at the closing?
On the day of closing or at a pre-scheduled date you and your attorney will meet at a time and place that is convenient to sign documents. Your attorney will review every document you sign and provide you with a clear, concise explanation of each document. Should you wish to pre-sign your documents and not attend the closing, you will sign a Power of Attorney allowing your attorney to represent you at the closing documents and to sign any documents remaining to be signed at the closing table. Your attorney will then handle the exchange of documents and money with the Buyer’s attorney on the date of closing. Barring any unforeseen issues or closing delays such as a delay in funding or moving issues, when you or your attorney leaves the closing table you will no longer be the owner of the property. You and your attorney will make arrangements for transfer of any closing proceeds to you once they are clear and available in your attorney’s escrow account. Your attorney will also ensure that any loan payoffs are made to satisfy any outstanding obligations surrounding your ownership interests in the property.

What happens if we cannot close on the contract closing date?
In the State of Connecticut, parties to a contract have a reasonable time to close after the contract closing date, unless otherwise specified in the Contract. If a party is unable to meet the closing date, they can typically request an extension to set a future date for the closing. A penalty is not usually imposed against the party requesting the extension unless the parameters for said penalty are outlined in the contract or if the contract states the closing date as “time is of the essence.”