This is the first of an informational series to provide Seller and Buyers alike with the necessary tools and know-how to make their sale or purchase of real estate a smooth transaction. I hear it often from clients. This real estate business is so stressful. Should you sell now with property values rising? Should the Contract for Sale and Purchase be reviewed by a real estate attorney before or after it is signed? What if you sign and then something needs to be changed? Are you bound by the terms? Is there a three day recission period? All valid questions.
And while we know that selling and buying real estate can be a daunting task, we at The Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines dedicate our practice to REAL ESTATE LAW. We are here to take the stress out of the transaction for you so that you can rest, relax, close and get on with your life.
Sellers for the most part have it easy. You name your price. Sign up with a realtor. Sign a contract. Wait for closing. Show up. Sign. Get paid!.
Well…NOT SO FAST! Many sellers don’t know that they can obtain the services of their own real estate attorney to represent them in the sale. Although the buyer usually says Oh… don’t worry. My attorney or my title company will prepare your documents, SELLER BEWARE! When the buyers title company represents the buyer, it is doing just that, only guarding the buyers interests. The buyers title company will prepare and examine title for the buyer and though the seller will be charged regardless for their services, they DO NOT REPRESENT THE SELLER. Yes. You heard correctly. You will get charged a fee but the DO NOT REPRESENT YOU. Their interests and loyalty lies with the buyer. Therefore, I don’t know about you, but when you are selling what may be the largest investment of your life, this is a big deal, I want someone in my corner looking out for and protecting my interests.
Sellers are not aware that while the title company should order a lien search to see whether there are any open code violations, or liens, if the title company does not order one, or orders one but does not review it properly, the transaction may close but the seller is on the hook… even 10 years later. If the buyers title company does a shoddy job, then the seller may buy itself a lawsuit. And good luck finding that title company ten years later.
Secondly, many sellers don’t know that under the contract, there are certain costs that the buyer is required to pick up. Many a time, I have seen HUD-1 Settlement Statements on transactions that have closed wherein the seller was charged with a title search or other costs, that the buyer should have paid. Remember, the title company is looking out for the buyer. And quite frankly, with nobody in the seller’s corner, how do they know the difference.
Usual seller costs as closing consist of the following:
- Documentary stamp taxes on the deed (.60 cents for every $100.00 sale price in Dade and .70 cents in Broward)
- Lien Search/Lien Letters
- Wire Fee
- Title Search (a discount is usually provided when the prior policy is provided. Again, something that is not told).
- Estoppel fees for any Homeowner or Condo Assn.
- Prorated taxes from January 1st to date of closing
- Past due HOA or Condo Dues
While many Sellers don’t know how to read a HUD, the title company may overcharge or charge items to the seller that do not pertain to the seller. Or, they may undercharge for taxes. How do you know if the right number was used for the proration. Any error may result in less money paid to the Seller at the time of closing.
Sellers are also required to provide a payoff statement of their mortgage. This is something that again, the title company for the buyer may request but WILL NOT review. So if your lender is overcharging you or not providing adequate credit for payments made, they will not alert you. You are on your own.
For these reasons, and many more, it makes sense to hire the services of a professional real estate lawyer.
A real estate lawyer will protect your interests, make sure that once you close, you are really done with the transaction. Not leave anything open that may result in the file being reopened or a lawsuit against you. And will make sure that the figures on the HUD are correct and you get monies that are rightfully yours.
For a small fee, usually less than the title company is charging you to prepare your seller documents, you can have the expertise and experience of a real estate attorney in your corner. For what is usually the larges purchase or sale one ever makes in their life, it makes no sense to go it alone.
Trust the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA to protect you and your largest asset.
Visit us on the web: WWW.SalcinesLAw.com
Offices in Coral Gables.
706 S. Dixie Highway
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Telephone: (305) 669.5280
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