Real Estate Closings: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Legal Process

young couple looking over legal documents

The process of acquiring real estate culminates in a watershed moment: real estate closings. This complex procedure, sometimes fraught with legal jargon and critical decisions, represents the transfer of property ownership from the seller to the buyer.

The team at Langevin Law digs into the various stages that lead to successful real estate closings in this detailed blog.


Pre-Closing Steps

Purchase Agreement

This is the fundamental document that specifies the buyer and seller’s agreed-upon terms and conditions. It contains critical information such as the purchase price, closing date, any contingencies (such as the sale being contingent on the buyer obtaining financing or the property passing inspection), and other transaction-specific conditions. The purchase agreement becomes a legally enforceable contract if both parties sign it.

Title Search and Title Insurance

A title search is performed to confirm that the title to the property is clear and free of any legal difficulties or disputes. Examining public records confirms that the seller has the legal right to sell the property and that there are no outstanding liens, judgments, or other encumbrances that might influence the property’s ownership. Title insurance is generally bought to protect the buyer and lender if concerns with the title are detected during the title search.

Property Inspection

The buyer usually arranges for a professional building inspection. This examination is critical since it identifies any underlying problems with the property. A skilled inspector analyzes the structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, and other features of the property. The inspection report gives essential information about the condition of the property, allowing the buyer to negotiate repairs or revisions with the seller before closing.

Financing and Mortgage Approval

Unless the buyer is buying the property entirely, obtaining finance is an important step. The buyer must apply for a mortgage loan with a lender. To calculate the loan amount and terms, the lender considers the buyer’s financial status, credit history, and the property itself. The mortgage application process entails submitting financial data, going through underwriting, and receiving final loan approval. This stage is critical for verifying that the buyer has the finances to finish the transaction.


Closing Steps

Final Walkthrough

This happens just before the planned closing date. The buyer returns to the property to confirm that it is in the condition agreed upon in the purchase agreement. They ensure that all negotiated repairs have been made and that the property is in the expected condition.

Closing Disclosure Review

The buyer receives the Closing Disclosure at least three days before the closing date. It specifies the final loan conditions, interest rate, monthly payments, closing charges, and any loan fees. The buyer thoroughly examines this document to guarantee its correctness and to comprehend the financial implications of the purchase.

Closing Meeting

This meeting brings together all parties engaged in the transaction, including the buyer and seller, real estate agents, attorneys, and maybe a title company representative. The relevant legal paperwork to transfer ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer is signed during this meeting.

Document Signing

The buyer and seller sign a variety of legal documents, including the deed, mortgage note, promissory note, loan disclosures, affidavits, and other necessary documentation. Each document has a specific legal purpose and is required for ownership transfer and the mortgage procedure.

Payment of Closing Costs and Fees

The buyer pays the closing costs, which include attorney fees, title insurance, property taxes, loan origination fees, and other transaction-related charges. These charges might vary depending on the region and the nature of the transaction.

Transfer of Funds

The buyer pays the agreed-upon purchase price for the property. This payment is frequently made via wire transfer or cashier’s check. The money is given to the seller, and any existing mortgages or liens on the property are paid off.

Recording of Documents

Following the closing, the deed and mortgage paperwork are filed for official recording to the local county recorder’s office or other applicable body. This registration establishes the buyer as the new legal owner by creating a public record of the property transfer.

Possession and Keys

The buyer obtains the keys to the property after signing all agreements, transferring monies, and completing the closing procedure. This is the formal transfer of possession, which allows the buyer to assume ownership and inhabit the property.


Post-Closing Steps

Title Transfer Confirmation

The buyer should get proof that the property’s title has been effectively transferred into their name once the closing is completed and all paperwork is registered. This confirmation is frequently in the form of a title insurance policy or a registered deed, which acts as legal proof of ownership.

Change of Utilities and Address

Typically, the buyer takes measures to convert utility services into their name. Contacting utility companies (such as electricity, water, and gas) to transfer service accounts and amend billing information is part of this process. Furthermore, the buyer adjusts their address with important businesses such as the postal service, banks, insurance companies, employers, and any other organizations or subscriptions associated with their prior address.


Langevin Law LLP – Litigators in Ottawa & Cornwall

Please contact us when you are looking to handle real estate closings efficiently. Our staff at Langevin Law is well-versed in the complexities of real estate closings. Whether you live in Ottawa or Cornwall, our experience assures a smooth path to home ownership. Allow our experienced specialists to walk you through each stage of the process, from negotiations to document signatures, to ensure a smooth real estate closing. Trust Langevin Law to protect your interests and guide you through the legal complexities of real estate transactions. Contact us today to begin your stress-free real estate closing adventure. Let’s make your real estate aspirations a reality.