Q. Why Do I need a lawyer for my closing?
Conducting a real estate closing is the practice of law, which only an attorney can do. In New York, your mortgage lender will require that an attorney be selected to conduct the closing. Also, New York real estate law is quite complex and you need an attorney toexamine the title records for prior conveyances, liens, encumbrances,and errors in the deeds in the chain of title.
Q. Can I, as the buyer, select the attorney of my choice for my closing?
A. YES. If you are buying the property, you are paying the closing attorney. Don't let any involved party tell you you must use a certain attorney for your closing -- remember, the closing is for YOU, not for someone else who won't be living in your house or paying your mortgage. Choose a lawyer who will represent YOU -- not one who is trying to make someone else happy. Your realtor or lender won't walk away from the deal if you insist on choosing the lawyer yourself. If they recommend a certain attorney, their recommendation is certainly worth considering. But often a buyer finds out later (around closing time) that someone has already hired the lawyer for them, without telling them or making this clear, so be sure to speak up early in the process and communicate with everyone in the "loop." Otherwise, sometimes around closing time, it turns out two separate lawyers have been hired, and each is preparing to do the closing!
Q. Why should I retain Held, Held, & Held to do my closing?
Held, Held & Held, Attorneys at Law has over thirty years experience in New York real estate law, and has supervised thousands of real estate closings and title examinations, all over New York. Their closings are pleasant, relaxed and worry-free, thanks to his vast experience as a real estate attorney. If there is ill will and tension at a closing, it usually comes from the frustration of dealing with an inexperienced attorney or other party. You will not experience any of this at Held, Held & Held's closings. In addition, you will find their rates to be reasonable.
Q. What do I need to bring to closing?
You will need to bring some current (not expired) government-issued identification with your photo on it, such as a driver's license, passport, or military ID. This is required in New York for notarizing your signature. If you are married, you will also need to bring your spouse (see questions
On Next page).
If you are the buyer, the money you bring to closing needs to be in the form of "certified" funds, such as an official bank check, certified check, cashiers check, or money order (or wire transfer, or even cash), made payable to the trust account of the closing attorney.
The above guidelines are only general; in your specific situation the closing attorney might modify or add to them.
Q. The house I am selling is in my name only. Does my spouse have to attend the closing?
A. Yes, your spouse must also sign the deed. This is because spouses have potential property rights in any real property their spouse owns, and they must release those rights if the property is conveyed. This is true even if you, the owning spouse, got the property before you were married, or inherited the property from your family, or you have a prenuptual agreement.
Q. I am married, but the house I am buying will be in my name only, and my spouse will not be a co-borrower on the mortgage. Does my spouse have to come to the closing?
A. Yes. This situation is really the same as the one in the question justabove. Though your spouse does not need to participate in the buying of the house, he or she must also sign the mortgage. When you get a mortgage loan, you convey to your lender a property i nterest in your house, and your spouse's potential property rights need to also be subject to the mortgage. If, however, you are buying real property in your name only, for cash, that is, you are not getting a mortgage loan, your spouse is not needed at the closing.
Q. My spouse has my Power of Attorney. Can she sign for me at the closing so I won't have to attend?
A. Possibly. You need to inform the closing attorney that you want to do this, because he or she will need to see the Power of Attorney beforehand to see if it is valid for a real estate closing. Also, the attorney will need time to prepare additional documents in this situation, and the original Power of Attorney will have to be recorded. I often see Powers of Attorney that the persons filled out on a form they got at an office supply store.
If you are a borrower on the mortgage, your lender also has to approve your non-attendance at the closing through the Power of Attorney; many lenders will require you to attend anyway. (If you want the loan).