Common Questions At Florida Real Estate Closings
The closing is the last step of what can be a complex process of buying real estate. While the process in Florida is fairly straightforward, it is not uncommon for last-minute questions or concerns to crop up before the closing can be successfully completed. Both buyer and seller may want to be reassured about little details, and there must be a ‘meeting of the minds,’ so to speak, before the contract can be concluded. If you have questions before your closing, it is a good idea to ask your attorney so that your mind can be at ease.
Who needs to be present at the closing? In general, the number of people who need to be present can vary, depending on the specifics of your situation. For example, it is not strictly required to have an attorney present, but most careful buyers and sellers will choose to do so, not least of all because a Florida real estate agent does not always owe either party a duty of care, and may not represent their interests. Most Florida real estate agents act as ‘transaction brokers,’ rather than as the agent for either buyer or seller.
If the buyer or seller is out of state on the day of the closing, Florida allows remote online notarization that can help conclude the sale, as opposed to having to wait for both parties to be present. Essentially, both parties must be present, but not necessarily at the same time – if electronic notarization is not an option, a “mail-away” where the keys are sent via overnight or registered mail may also be approved.
Is the disclosure form complete? Florida law requires sellers of property to disclose “material” facts about defects in the property to buyers, if the defects affect the value of the property and are neither known to or “readily observable” by the buyer. If a seller does not complete the required forms, the buyer may have grounds to halt or even cancel the closing. It is possible for a seller to offer a property “as is,” but that condition must be agreed upon by the buyer in advance, not arbitrarily imposed by a seller’s refusal to disclose any potential problems.
When will I get the money from the sale? The funds for a real estate sale are generally placed in escrow, which is when a third party retains control of a sum of money until a particular condition has been met (for example, in most closings, the ‘condition’ is the completion and signature of all the relevant paperwork). Funds are released from escrow only when the purchase agreement has been completed in full, after which it can take anywhere from days to months to be released, depending on the total amount and whether the transaction was made in cash, or with the involvement of a third-party lender.
Contact A Tampa Real Estate Attorney
Real estate closings can be labyrinthine endeavors, but with the right Tampa real estate attorney on your side, the process can be demonstrably smoother, with far fewer surprises. Attorney Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office have experience in these matters, and are ready to put that knowledge and experience to work for you. Contact the Seward Law Office today at 813-252-6789 to schedule a consultation.