Real Estate Closings Attorney in Gainesville, Florida
Real estate values continue to rise rapidly in today's economic climate largely in response to low interest rates and reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic. Home sales and the refinancing of residential mortgages are occurring at an almost historic rate as home values seem to increase monthly.
If you have found my website:
You may have just moved to Central Florida because of a business transition. You have a down payment ready, you have located a home, have agreed with the Seller on a price and you are ready for your next step;
You might want to make major repairs or upgrades to your existing home and want to refinance it. You may already be in negotiations with your current lender, or you may be refinancing with a new lender; or
You might be ready to take advantage of the market and sell your property. You may have questions regarding protection of your homestead earnings, preparing the necessary sales paperwork, right-of-way issues, or transferring your sale proceeds into something new.
In any event, you are here, and I can help you.
As a member of TheFund since 2020, my law firm is a title agent authorized to do all types of real estate closings. Whether you are either a buyer, a homeowner looking to refinance, or a seller, before you hire a title company to perform your real estate closing, consider whether a title attorney might be a better option for you.
If you’re considering purchasing a home in or around Gainesville, Florida, contact me at Carolyn N. Budnik, PLLC. With more than two decades of experience in helping people navigate real estate transactions in South Florida, I am ready to advise you every step of the way and help you make sure every challenge is met and the closing goes smoothly.
The Real Estate Process: What’s Involved?
Finding a home and putting “earnest money” (i.e., a down payment) into escrow are really just the start of the process. After that, the seller’s realtor will submit a contract, often a standard form called FAR/BAR (which stands for Florida Realtors/Florida Bar), or maybe a tailor-made contract drafted to the seller’s specifications. An attorney should review the contract. As the buyer, you may need to have the contract re-negotiated if the terms are vague or unfavorable for any reason.
The contract will also normally specify a time period for the buyer to inspect the property. Though Florida law requires the seller to reveal any defects or conditions that can impact the value of the property, you should hire a professional home inspector to check on conditions in the residence. If there are problems that weren’t disclosed, the inspector should find them. There should also be a termite/pest inspection done.
A buyer should insist that any disclosed defects, or defects found during the home inspection, be corrected. However, the contract may state that the sale is “as is,” and in this case, you will have to consider if you want to undertake the repairs yourself, or insist that the contract be revised.
Appraisal & Financing
Although a buyer obtains "pre-approval" for a loan before they go shopping, this is different from financing. You will also need to obtain financing for your home purchase. As part of the loan process, the lender will send out an appraiser to make sure the property in question is worth the sales price and financing requirements. The purchase agreement contains different deadlines for each step of the way.
Titling & Liens
An attorney can also assist with your title inspection, which is generally conducted by a title insurance company that searches through public records to make sure there are no outstanding liens on the property outside of any mortgage financing the seller is using.
Troublesome encumbrances include liens on the property awarded in a court judgment, mechanic’s liens for work done but not yet paid for, property tax liens, and even liens by water and power suppliers for past due bills.
Lenders will often also require that a land survey be conducted, and it is in your best interest to do so. This is done to make sure no neighboring property is encroaching on your land. A fence may have been erected that slices into land belonging to the property in question, or a driveway could cut across land rightfully belonging to the property for sale.
Final Closing Steps
Before the closing of the transaction, you should make one last inspection of the property, especially if repairs were required as part of the deal. Even if the property was free of defects, a final walk-through can verify that the property is still in move-in condition.
When it comes to closing, money from the lender must of course be funded for the transaction, but there are several documents that should be reviewed by your attorney to make sure they are in proper order and your rights are being honored. These documents can include a warranty deed, bill of sale, closing affidavit, a closing statement, and loan documents such as the note and mortgage.
Real Estate Closings Attorney
Serving Gainesville, Florida
If you’re purchasing a home in South Florida, contact me at Carolyn N. Budnik, PLLC. Let’s work together every step of the way so that your real estate purchasing experience gives you peace of mind, knowing your interests are well represented and protected, now and into the future. Reach out to me at my Gainesville, Florida office to get started.