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Duties of a Closing Agent

Ocala Attorneys Helping With the Purchase or Sale of Real Estate

When buying a condominium or an office building in Florida, you should consider retaining an experienced lawyer to serve as a closing agent during the real estate closing ceremony. The duties of a closing agent encompass many different functions before and during the real estate closing, and the failure to complete these duties can result in serious legal consequences. The Ocala real estate attorneys of the Dean Law Firm provide experienced legal guidance to buyers and sellers of real property throughout the transaction process.

The Role of a Closing Agent for Residential Real Estate

The attorney for the buyer or seller may serve as a closing agent to close a residential real estate transaction. The contract should identify which party will choose a closing agent and pay for the services rendered. In some cases, the parties may use a title company for the closing, but retaining an Ocala lawyer who understands and can explain the legal ramifications of various documents and decisions offers advantages to both sides.

Irrespective of who they represent, a closing agent must make sure the transaction is handled appropriately. Under case law, a closing attorney should honor his duties to both buyer and seller in a real estate transaction, assuming the parties’ interests don’t differ. The consequences of a closing agent’s failure to honor residential real estate duties vary depending on the particular circumstances.

The duties of a closing agent include ordering title work and a property survey, assisting with obtaining requisite insurance, communicating with the lender and mortgage broker, issuing and sending the title insurance policy to both the buyer and lender, issuing the title commitment, assembling the loan closing package, handling the closing, disbursing closing funds, recording documents, preparing and filing a Form 1099, preparing a DR 219 for recording documents, and forwarding the recorded documents to the lender and parties. A closing lawyer must coordinate with a lender to prepare and deliver documents that need to be signed at closing, including the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, along with the promissory note and mortgage.

Additionally, a closing lawyer needs to coordinate with a seller to obtain the deed to property, condominium certificates and final utility bills. The attorney also examines title to property, going back 50 years to determine whether there are any title defects. A closing agent can work with the parties to resolve any title defects. Often, closing agents also serve as escrow agents to hold funds pending disbursement.

At closing, the closing attorney will handle paying realtor commissions, discharging the existing mortgage, disclosing and paying lender fees and closing costs, funding the mortgage escrow account, paying prepaid interest, and distributing the sales proceeds. The closing attorney needs to explain the documents being signed, distribute funds, and make sure the closing is conducted in compliance with applicable regulations.

Duties After Closing

A closing agent also has duties after closing occurs. After closing, he must make sure all mortgages and liens that are paid off are discharged. He must also process loan funding.

Commission Notice

Under section 475.709 of the Commercial Real Estate Sales Commission Lien Act, a closing agent needs to reserve from the owner’s net proceeds an amount that equals the broker’s commission as claimed in the commission notice under certain conditions. For example, the closing agent should reserve this amount where he receives a commission notice related to commercial real estate in accordance with the mandates of section 475.705. When an owner’s net proceeds are not enough to pay that full amount, a closing agent can reserve the full amount from the net proceeds. A closing agent for commercial real estate can also ask that the owner of commercial real estate to send a sworn affidavit with particular disclosures, such as the amount of a commission claimed.

Retain a Seasoned Attorney for Your Real Estate Closing

Buying real estate of any kind in Florida is a huge investment. It is critical to approach buying real estate with caution and an awareness of potential legal pitfalls. Because Florida real estate law is complicated, an experienced lawyer who also serves as a closing agent can help guide you through the entire process. If you’re concerned about the duties of a closing agent in Ocala, you should talk to the Dean Law Firm. Attorneys Michael E. Dean and Timothy S. Dean represent buyers and sellers of residential and commercial property in real estate transactions in Ocala, The Villages and Crystal River, as well as in areas of Marion, Sumter, Lake, Citrus, and Levy Counties. They possess years of experience serving as closing agents. Call us at (352) 387-8700 to set up a free consultation or contact us online.