If you live in a non-escrow state (sometimes called a title state), a real estate attorney takes care of the closing. Title states include Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and many others in the eastern U.S. In such states, your attorney or lender sets a time and place for the closing. You and the seller get together with the other players (such as attorneys, agents, and the lender's representative) to sign papers, distribute funds, and transfer the property.
You may find most of your real estate team at the closing, along with some players from the seller's side. Some or all of these people will attend:
- You. You might want to give your writing hand a couple of good workouts ahead of time, because you'll be signing a lot of papers.
- Your real estate agent. Your buyer's agent will be at your side, to encourage you, congratulate you - and pick up her share of the commission check.
- Your attorney. If you have any questions about any of the papers you're signing, your attorney should be there to answer them.
- The seller. Sometimes the seller's attorney or other authorized person may act on the seller's behalf - if, for example, the seller has already moved out of state. But usually the seller wants to attend the closing to make sure everything goes smoothly - and, of course, to collect whatever funds he's due after he pays his mortgage and other fees.
- The seller's real estate agent. Like your agent, the listing agent attends the closing primarily to collect his commission check, but he also offers his client support and guidance.
- The seller's attorney. If the seller has an attorney, that attorney may attend the closing to keep an eye on the proceedings and answer any questions the seller has.
- Lender's representative. The bank may send a representative, usually your loan officer or the bank's attorney. Often, though, someone at the bank prepares all the documents and sends them directly to the closing agent, who contacts the bank if any questions come up.
- Notary public. This person witnesses and certifies the participants' signatures.
That's an awfully crowded room! Not everyone on the list attends every closing, but it gives you an idea of the players required to close a sale.