Who's Who At A Closing?
It takes more than just the buyer and the seller to conduct a closing. When you enter the room and see a table full of people you don’t recognize, don’t panic. Here’s who’s who:
Both the buyer and the seller will each be present with their attorney. All buyers and sellers must be present, unless one party has a power of attorney for another, which must be arranged for in advance. Since closing can take many hours, for reasons beyond our control, and closing rooms are frequently crowded, it is best to leave children and non-essential relatives at home.
If the purchaser requires a loan to complete the transaction, then the lender will have an attorney at the closing. The lender’s attorney will provide loan documents for the purchaser to sign. This is usually the most time consuming part of the closing. It is best to arrive promptly and commence signing the bank documents first, since loan proceeds won’t be released until all documents are signed. Sometimes the lender’s attorney will have to obtain approval from the lender to release funds and this may take some time. The lender’s attorney receives the loan proceeds by wire transfer from the lender and disburses them at the closing. Many closings are delayed while the parties wait for the wired funds to arrive.
Seated at the head of the table, usually in close proximity to the telephone, is the title closer. This representative of the title company issues the title insurance at the closing table. All documents to be recorded at the county clerk’s office, and all fees and taxes required to do so, must be completed to the satisfaction of the title closer. The closer is responsible for verifying the amount of all liens against the premises and seeing to it that they are paid at closing so that the title will be clear. The closer usually notarizes all documents and makes copies available to the parties.
The purchaser’s attorney supervises the signing of all loan documents and agrees on all last minute adjustments between the seller and purchaser (like fuel and taxes).
The seller’s attorney ensures that all of the seller’s obligations are satisfied at the closing (mortgages paid off, repairs completed).
Frequently, realtors are present at a closing. They may be involved in last minute negotiations and they receive their commission payment at the closing.
The mortgage lender may also be present at the closing to verify that the loan documents were prepared correctly and to review the lender’s portion of the closing costs with the purchaser.
In co-op transactions, additional parties are present. If the seller is paying off a loan, the payoff bank will attend the closing to receive the payoff proceeds and deliver the documents required to cancel the loan. Also present will be a representative of the co-op board. This may be an employee of the managing agent or an attorney for the coop. This person will accept for cancellation the stock certificate previously issued to the seller and issue a new certificate and proprietary lease to the purchaser.
So that’s it. The interesting part of it all is that each person at the table has a different responsibility and will be quietly doing their own work, and then consult with the other parties at points where their work coincides. Even the waiting time is used constructively for networking and sharing stories of closings past.
Questions? Just contact our office by phone, email or instant message.