The participants at a real estate closing will differ from state to state, and sometimes even from county to county within the same state. The terminology varies as well. This final stage of the real estate process might be called “closing” or “settlement,” depending on where you live.
The two participants you can count on being at the closing (or at least represented at the closing) are the home buyer and the seller. They can attend together or separately, depending on local custom.
Who Attends the Closing?
In addition to the buyer and the seller, there is typically a representative from the bank, the title company, and the real estate agent’s office at the closing. In some states, like New York, there will also be attorneys for the buyer and the seller present at the closing.
The role of the seller is obvious. The role of the buyer is obvious. But what about the roles of the other players at the closing? Let’s talk about those.
The role of the lending institution is to ensure that all of the mortgage documents are properly signed and the funds are distributed. Some lenders will use the title company representative to handle this on their behalf, others will use a representative specifically from the bank, while other lending institutions may have attorneys handle their closings. As mentioned earlier, it varies from state to state.
The primary focus of whoever is representing the bank is to protect the interests of the bank. But this representative also wants to see the loan close successfully. So you can think of them as members of the same team, not opponents.
Title Company Representative
The tile insurance company will have a representative at the closing to make sure all the terms and conditions (often referred to as exceptions) of the title policy are satisfied, and that the deed is properly executed and transferred.
The title insurance company will make sure all mortgages are paid off and there are no liens against the property. The person at the closing will also issue the official title insurance policy that protects the bank and the buyer.
Real Estate Agent(s)
The real estate agent(s) at the closing are primarily there to collect their commission. But they will also assist the buyer and the seller in completing the transaction. The real estate agent can prove helpful if any issues arise with adjustments or related issues that impact the transaction.
Real Estate Attorney(s)
If there are attorneys present, keep in mind that each attorney represents their client individually. Though everyone is working as a team to complete the transaction, it’s still wise to know who has what interests at heart.
Who Runs the Show?
The title company representative will dictate most of the action at the closing, ensuring all documentation has been properly executed and the transaction was completed. The bank / lender representative will be the one dispersing the funds on behalf of the buyer to the seller.
As long as you keep in mind that everyone in the room has the same goal, yet each has a different area of focus, you will be able to enjoy a smooth real estate closing.