Real Estate FAQs

What is an appraisal?

An appraisal determines if the price of the home you want to purchase is appropriate based on a number of factors. Some of the factors taken into consideration during appraisals include: condition of the home and property, location, features and upgrades. The general reason for appraisals is so that lenders are assured that buyers are not borrowing more money than at home is worth. That way, if the homebuyer happens to default on payments and go into foreclosure, the bank (or lender) will easily be able to sell the home in order to get their money back. The appraisal happens at the beginning of the closing process. As long as the home is appraised at or above the agreed-upon price in the contract, the closing will continue as planned. However, if the appraisal is below the contract price, negotiations will have to continue.

How can an attorney help me with my real estate contract paperwork?

If you've never purchased a home before, you may not realize the massive amount of paperwork that's entailed in buying and/or selling a home. Much of the paperwork is filled with legal and real estate jargon that your attorney can clarify for you to ensure that you are making a wise decision.

What happens during the closing and will my attorney be there?

A good real estate attorney will also be there to help you during the closing of the title. This is a meeting between you and your realtor and sometimes your seller's realtor. You sign all of the closing paperwork and the deed will be signed over to you. Your real estate attorney will be sure that the mortgage and deed are executed properly. The closing meeting can sometimes be overwhelming and having your attorney present can ease your anxiety.

Will the seller be at the closing?

While the buyer must attend the closing in order to sign all of the loan documentation/paperwork, the seller may or may not be in attendance. Often times, the seller either pre-signs all dosing paperwork or grants his attorney power of attorney so that he may sign any documents that need to be signed at the closing. It is usually a good idea for the seller not to attend the closing in order to avoid uncomfortable dialogue with the buyer, especially if there have been any contentions throughout the negotiation process.