A home is one of the most important purchases you will make in your lifetime, whether it is your first or your tenth. At Spillane Law Offices, we are committed to protecting your legal rights as we guide you through the steps of this detailed real estate transaction. We act as an authority for all buyers with a special place in our hearts for first-time homebuyers. We understand the anxiety that is involved and will do our best to provide you with excellent service and a smooth closing.
Our Staff and Fees
Our real estate paralegals, Lisa and Judy, will be monitoring the progress of your file through to completion and guiding you through the process. The paralegal assigned to your file will handle communication between you, the lender, the title examiner, the brokers, and all other parties involved. Our paralegals and real estate attorneys will be happy to answer any questions or concerns that come up during the process. We are also responsible for drafting and reviewing all closing documents and providing an efficient process and a comfortable atmosphere for you.
Our fees are both reasonable and competitive. Fees are charged on either a flat-fee or hourly basis, depending on the circumstances. A list of our real estate fees is available upon request by calling, faxing or emailing us at your convenience.
In Massachusetts it is quite acceptable and not unusual for a law firm to represent the Buyer and the Lender simultaneously. This is possible because both parties are interested in protecting their interests and making sure the title to the property is “good, clear, marketable record title.”
Purchase & Sale Agreement
When you contact Spillane Law Offices, one of our attorneys will ask you for some basic information. Our office will receive a draft of the Purchase & Sale Agreement from the broker or the seller’s attorney, at which point we will review it to make sure it is consistent with the information you provided and your accepted Offer to Purchase. In “draft form,” a P&S is a standard form. It is important to have an attorney review your P&S to make it a more well-balanced document and to protect your interests, not just those of the seller.
We will then schedule a time to review the contract with you. Please bring all of your documentation. We will explain all key elements of the transaction and will answer any legal or logistical questions you may have. Once you have negotiated and signed your Purchase & Sale Agreement, we will send you a letter outlining the rest of the process and a step-by-step description of your rights and responsibilities.
If you have not yet selected a lender, we will be happy to offer you a list of experienced, professional lenders who, in our experience, offer the best rates and service. Whether you choose a bank, a mortgage company, or a mortgage broker will depend on your personal needs and what you are most comfortable with.
The lender will offer you a financing package based on a certain interest rate, terms, and conditions that have to be met before closing. You are free to accept or reject those terms and may choose any lender you want once you are satisfied with the terms offered. At the closing, all documents are standard and “non-negotiable,” but will be fully explained to you by an attorney. Generally, all documentation for a residential loan is the same from lender to lender.
Mortgage Commitment & Title Order
Once your loan has been approved, your lender will give you a written Mortgage Commitment, which you must secure by the “mortgage contingency date” or “commitment date” indicated on your P&S. If this is not possible, it is of the utmost importance that you contact us so we may let the seller know it was not received. We will do everything in our power to extend the commitment date and make sure your deposit is not put in jeopardy.
Once you have received the Mortgage Commitment, your lender will send us a Title Order and we will begin a Title Search to verify ownership of the land you are purchasing and to find any mortgages, liens or “encumbrances” that affect rights of ownership to the land. Usually these are cleared up before or at the closing. If the title search reveals any defects, we will contact you to discuss alternatives. We will also order a Mortgage Plot Plan (not for condominiums) to ensure there are no “encroachments” on the land you are purchasing and to see if the buildings on the land meet local zoning requirements.
You are required to purchase a “Lender’s Policy” of title insurance and have the option at the time of closing of also purchasing an “Owner’s Policy.” An Owner’s Policy protects you from defects in the title for a reasonable one-time premium for as long as you own the property. It usually carries with it an “Inflation Rider” which takes into effect any increase in the value of your home over time. Although the Owner’s Policy is optional, 94% of homeowners request and purchase one. It is generally considered an excellent insurance value and we recommend it to all of our clients who are purchasing homes.
Spillane Law Offices is an agent for six different National Title Insurance Companies. Click on any of the names to view their websites.
- Chicago Title
- Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company
- Fidelity National Title Insurance Company
- First American Title
- Old Republic Title Insurance Company
- Stewart Title
The “Closing” or “Passing of Papers” is the culmination of the real estate transaction and is the time when the deed is delivered to you from the Seller. The “Deed” is the document that transfers title from the Seller to you. This transaction will generally take place at our office or at the County Registry of Deeds, and typically takes approximately one hour to complete, depending on the complexities of the transaction and the cooperation of the parties.
As the closing nears, we will remind you of the key items you need to bring. You will need to bring a valid driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued photo identification. Other forms of ID such as employment badges, wholesale club cards, etc. are not acceptable.
Our paralegals will notify you of the closing time, date and place, and advise you of all closing requirements and conditions. The closing usually takes place at our office, but other locations are possible for the convenience of all parties involved. Final closing figures are given to you as far in advance as possible (usually 24 hours prior to closing), allowing sufficient time for you to secure the necessary funds for purchase in the form of a bank or certified check. If you are relocating from another area or your funds are deposited in a mutual fund, please make arrangements to ensure that “good funds” are available at the time of closing.
At the closing, an attorney from our office will be present to discuss any last-minute issues, review, explain, and oversee the execution of all relevant mortgage and closing documents, insure proper disbursement of closing costs and give you a complete copy of the closing package. In the package you will find copies of all documents from your closing, including all bank papers, closing statements and an accounting of all disbursements.
Following the closing, the original deed and mortgage will be recorded at the appropriate Registry of Deeds. Your original deed (or a certified copy of it) will be mailed directly to you by the Register of Deeds.
Please let us know if you were satisfied with your real estate transaction and our staff. We are committed to helping you and are genuinely interested in any feedback you may have to improve our service.