What Does the Closing Attorney’s Office Do?
So, your offer on a home or property was accepted and you now have a contract. Now what? Well, you need to hire a law firm to close it for you, which we hope will be Hughes Brown, PLLC. But what does the closing attorney actually do? Actually, lot of stuff behind the scenes, and then an in-office visit for the actual closing day and exchange of keys. A little more detail is that the we, as your closing attorney, represent you in your purchase of a home or land, or refinance of a mortgage loan. The closing process is easiest explained in three parts: Pre-closing, Closing, and Post-Closing.
Once you or your realtor gets the sales contract to the lender and our firm, we conduct a title search. This is one of the most important parts of the closing process. Briefly, we search the official land records in the office of the Chancery Clerk in the county where the land is located. This helps us confirm who actually owns the land, find any restrictive covenants that may apply to it, and identify any easements or rights that help or impact the property. We search the title history for at least 30 years to be sure a clean “chain of title” is in place leading to the current owner. We also check the other records to be sure there are no judgments or liens that are attached to the property or its owners. If the property is being sold out of an estate, we also examine the court records to be sure who has authority to sign the dee and closing documents. The final part of the title search includes reviewing the property tax records to make sure they are current and so that you and your lender will know how that amount for budgeting purposes.
Once the title search is done, we prepare a “Preliminary Title Opinion” or “Title Commitment” and, depending on the type of loan, have Chicago Title Insurance issue a Title Binder for title insurance on it. Title Insurance is kind of like homeowners insurance – if something happens to the title to the property where someone else is claiming they own it or there is a defect in the title, this insurance covers the cost of defending and protecting the title, up to the amount owed to the bank. The premium is one-time and paid at the time of purchase. Some lenders require lenders Title Insurance for the loan amount, which only protects the lender, while Owner’s Title Insurance is also available to protect the owner.
One of the main tasks for our firm is timely gathering accurate and complete information from a variety of sources, and assembling it for closing, including things such as:
- Homeowners insurance policies and premiums
- Homeowners Association Dues (which are collected and/or prorated at closing)
- Termite reports, home inspections, other costs to be collected at closing
- Home warranty information
- Realtor commission information
- Property taxes
Prior to closing, the lender transmits a loan package to our office. We review the documents, incorporate the legal description, property tax information, homeowner’s insurance information, and various terms and details as needed to ensure the documents are fully complete and accurate. The lender then reviews and approves them, and we are authorized to close.
The Closing Disclosure Form (“CD”) is where all funds and information about the closing are summarized in one document. This final CD Form is occasionally different (hopefully only slightly) from the preliminary CD Form, when the property taxes or insurance premiums are slightly different than estimated. You will be provided a copy of the CD to review at least three business days before the actual closing.
You are informed of the amount of money to bring to closing (which must be either “certified funds” such as a cashier’s check or wired funds).
All the preliminary activity leads up to the actual closing day, which usually takes place in either our Oxford or Pontotoc offices. Those who will likely attend the closing will be you, your realtor, the sellers, their realtor, and sometimes the lender. We then review all the information for the closing with you, get the certified funds to close, and then have all the documents signed by you and the sellers. Copies of key documents are then made at closing, and we provide those to each of the people in the transaction, and distribute checks to the sellers and realtors, if applicable. You, however, get the keys to your new home or property.
After closing, we record the deed and the deed of trust at the office of the Chancery Clerk, return original documents to your lender, and then disburse funds to the homeowner’s insurance company, termite inspection company, and all the other parties whose funds were collected at closing.
Soon after recording of the documents with the Chancery Clerk, and the status of the seller’s mortgage loans that have been paid off, and then we issue a Final Title Certificate or Title Insurance Policy to the lender.
Once the original deed and original deed of trust are returned to our office, we mail the originals to the lender and mail you a complete copy of every document you signed at the closing. This process usually takes one or two weeks.
Thinks to do once you’ve moved in:
- Oxford: A & K Locksmith – 662-607-1060 (Alvis Lewis)
Update your address with the County Circuit Clerk
Update with all recurring bills, credit cards, subscriptions, etc.
Replace them for the air conditioner and heater.
Arrange for an annual service contract.
Limited to applications only between JANUARY 2 – MARCH 29, 2021
If you are filing a NEW HOMESTEAD, you MUST have the following information:
- Warranty Deed (copy)
- Social Security Numbers of both husband and wife, if married
- Settlement Statement or Closing Disclosure (“CD) showing full purchase price of your house and land. (MS CODE 27-33-31)
- Tag Numbers of all vehicles in your possession
If you became 65, declared 100% disabled or 100% disabled veteran on/or before January 1, you will file a special exemption.
- Additional information needed for filing over 65 exemption:
- PROOF OF DATE OF BIRTH (Driver License or Birth Certificate)
Additional information needed for filing 100% disability exemption:
- LETTER FROM SOCIAL SECURITY stating the original date you were declared 100% disabled
- OR, two detailed letters from two different doctors stating that you were 100% disabled before January 1
Additional information needed for filing 100% disabled veteran exemption:
- LETTER FROM DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS