The process of purchasing a home in Fairfield County is a unique process that can be quite confusing to first time homebuyers or someone who hasn’t done it in a while. It can be broken down into these phases:
- Making an offer. Usually your realtor guides you through the process of making an offer. You’ll sign a “binder” with the seller that lays out the terms of the deal. Despite it’s name, a binder is a “gentlemen’s agreement” that will later be formalized by the attorneys. The Buyer will put down a 1% good faith deposit to prove they are serious.
- Inspections. Before the deal is formalized, you’ll want to conduct a detailed inspection with a licensed home inspector. They will look at the condition of the home, the performance of the mechanicals and a variety of other issues including termites and radon.
- The Purchase Agreement. The Buyer’s and Seller’s attorneys will negotiate a formal purchase agreement that will be legally binding. It will be based on a contract form negotiated by the local bar and the Buyer will make an additional deposit payment of 9%.
- Mortgage Contingency. Most purchase agreements are contingent on the buyer getting approved for a mortgage to complete the purchase. After the purchase agreement is signed, most of the Buyer’s efforts are focused on satisfying their mortgage company’s requests. You can expect the Mortgage Company to want to see your tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs. You will be expected to answer a host of questions regarding your income, expenses and assets.
- Title and Municipal Search. The Buyer’s attorney will order a title search and a municipal search of the property the client is buying. The point of the title search is to see if there are any mortgages or liens on the property’s chain of title that will need to be released before closing. The municipal search will look for open building permits or other issues with the town that will need to be resolved before closing. Though the buyer’s attorney orders the searches, they can create a great deal of work for the seller and the seller’s attorney.
- The Closing. Scheduling and executing a closing is a challenging coordination of both attorneys, the buyer’s mortgage lender and the seller’s mortgage payoff. If the parties also have other transactions (the Buyer is also selling/the Seller is also buying), then it can be even more difficult. That being said, professional real estate attorneys do it several times a week and are experienced at making it as effortless as possible. A buyer should plan on walking through the property with their realtor the morning of the closing to make sure the property is in the expected condition. Then they buyer will spend about an hour with their attorney reviewing closing documents and signing the mortgage paperwork. A seller should expect to meet with their attorney for fifteen minutes a few days before closing to sign all of the sales paperwork.
The attorneys at Russo & Rizzio would be happy to answer all of your questions about the closing process. We don’t charge to answer simple questions for persons looking to learn about the process!
If you’d like to learn more about real estate closings in Fairfield County, please watch our PowerPoint Presentation: Russo Real Estate Presentation
This post is not intended as legal advice and is not a substitute for talking to an attorney. The facts in each case are different and may lead to different results. Please do not rely on the advice on this page alone.