Choosing Your Attorney
In Massachusetts we do not have "Title” or “Settlement” companies that supervise the closing process. The attorneys for the buyer and seller and their respective staffs manage the legal aspects of the sale. Ask your attorney and his/her paralegal as many questions as you need answered. Questions below are a good place to start.
·What provisions in the Purchase & Sale Agreement protect us?
·As you represent our needs do you also represent those of the mortgage lender?
·When will the Purchase & Sale Agreement be ready to sign?
·When will the rest of the deposit be due?
·Will a title examination need to be done?
·When will the closing be scheduled?
·Where will the actual closing take place?
You will need an attorney to act on your behalf
As we don't have "Title" companies that handle closing in this area of Massachusetts, you will need to hire an attorney to represent you in the transaction, and give you any legal advice you may require. Your attorney will have many tasks including reviewing and negotiating the Purchase & Sale Agreement, adjustment and review of closing figures, title insurance, and coordinating the closing with the seller's attorney, among other duties. Note that in contrast to a settlement company it's nice to have someone actually represent you.
Selecting an Attorney
In our area of the Upper Pioneer Valley it’s customary for the attorneys for the buyer and seller to work out the Purchase & Sale Agreement. Therefore, once you have an accepted offer from a seller you will want to engage an attorney to work with the seller’s attorney to make sure this agreement protects your interests.
Most likely your attorney, as the buyer’s attorney, will act as the settlement/closing agent thereby helping you prepare for the closing. Should you be obtaining a mortgage, he or she may also be responsible for certifying the title for the title insurance company as required by your lender.
If you have not already chosen an attorney, you should shop around and ask what services will be performed for what fee. What is the charge for negotiating the agreement of sale, reviewing documents and giving advice concerning those documents, for doing the Title search, for reviewing instructions from the lender, or for being present at the closing. And, of course, make sure that he or she practices real estate conveyancing, and is specifically experienced in representing homebuyers.
A reminder: in many areas of the country attorneys are not normally involved in the home sale. For example, in western states escrow agents or settlement companies handle the paperwork to transfer title without any attorney involvement. Therefore, in Massachusetts, it greatly benefits you to have an attorney you hire, and represents you only, handle the legal aspects of the sale. The transaction cost is about the same.
Real Estate Attorneys – Hampshire and Franklin Counties
Allison, Donald 69 So. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-253-9700
Brown, Jeffrey 35 South Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-256-8125
Bulman, Michael 79 S. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-253-3015
Edelstein, Michael 150 Fearing St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-695-3770
Edwards, John 437 Main St, Amherst, MA 01002 413-259-2900
Farber, Larry 30 Boltwood Walk, Amherst, MA 01002 413-256-8429
Hart, William 35 S. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-256-8125
Hawley, Barbara 462 Main St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-256-0901
Jankowski, Deborah 5 E. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-549-0041
LaMountain, Greta 256 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-230-3842
MacConnell, Peter 6 S. East Street, Amherst, MA 01002 413-256-6701
Reidy, Tom 6 So. East St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-256-6701
Serduck, Michael 256 No. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-253-5761
Sharpe, Alan 30 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-253-7255
Spencer, Robert 5 East Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002 413-549-0041
Ziomek, Megin 27 University Drive, Amherst, MA 01002 413-549-0080
Galanek, Greg 35 Turkey Hill Road, Belchertown, MA 01007 413-323-8886
Tsoumas, Themis 37 Main Street, Belchertown, MA 01007 413-323-7262
Albano, Alfred 104 Russell St., Hadley, MA 01035 413-586-5055
Dwyer, William 190 Russell St., Hadley, MA 01035 413-584-1275
Sanderson Linda 190 Russell St., Hadley, MA 01035 413-584-1275
Arbeitman, Laura 17 Hawley St, Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-8538
Bates, Spencer 78 Main St., #303, Northampton, MA 01060 413-582-1225
Bishop, Richard 43 Center St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-584-5757
Bloomberg, David 64 Gothic St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-584-8067
Corash, Robert 86 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-0264
Corliss, Duke 50 Center St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-2289
Dushame, Laura 7 Conz St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-9998
Evans, Richard 56 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-1348
Fernald, Diane 351 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-727-8025
Flanders, Will 351 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-2729
Gerard, Peter 78 Main St., #303, Northampton, MA 01060 413-582-1225
Ghazey, Robert 78 Main St., #303, Northampton, MA 01060 413-582-1225
Growhoski, Thomas 60 State St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-584-1500
Gulmi-Landy, Wheatly 76 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-341-3570
Jekanowski, Leonard 351 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-5900
Lesser, Thomas 38 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-584-7331
Lieberman, Ken 60 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-727-3368
Lipton, Roger 77 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-8218
Miles, Harry 77 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-8218
McGuire, Charles 225 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-2294
Miranda, Thomas 64 Gothic St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-584-1282
Nasser, Merry 38 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-584-7331
Parizo, Ann 20 Hampton Ave., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-8423
Reilly, Timothy 82 ½ Maple St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-584-9900
Samolewicz, Steven 8 Bridge St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-5622
Seewald, Alan 71 King St., Northampton MA 01060 413-584-4455
Shimel, Brad 74 King St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-3480
Thomas, Margot 2 Conz St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-384-2759
Verson, Alan 56 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-1348
Walaszek, Roger 76 Gothic St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-584-8223
Weiss, Mikal 78 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-3700
Welch, Margo 143 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-3558
Willensky, David 60 State St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-585-1675
Wilhelm, Joseph 74 King St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-3480
Zurn, Marianne 100 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060 413-586-0264
Carey, Michael 203 Northampton Rd., Easthampton, MA 01027 413-527-0600
Hancock, Catherine 25 Main St., Easthampton, MA 01027 413-527-1400
Moriarty, John 72 Main St., Easthampton, MA 01027 413-527-6040
O’Leary, Tim 1 Campus Lane, Easthampton, MA 01027 413-527-5710
Dunn, Marjorie 25 Clig St., S. Hadley, MA 01075 413-536-1754
Whalen, Bernard 318 Newton, S. Hadley, MA 01075 413-536-2170
Whalen, Dean 318 Newton, S. Hadley, MA 01075 413-536-2170
Caplice, Byron 486 Main St., Grenfield, MA 01301 413-772-2536
Gates, John 173 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301 413-774-4331
Graves, Daniel 173 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301 413-774-4331
Gruber, Gary 20 Federal St., Greenfield, MA 01301 413-774-7258
James, Peter 393 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01032 413-774-2966
Mason, John 486 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01302 413-774-6366
McDonald, Frank 377 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301 413-774-2242
Stobierski, Pam 377 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301 413-774-2867
Tombs, Susan 393 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301 413-772-8600
Kahn, Kenneth 90 Main St., Sunderland, MA 01375 413-665-7000
McLaughlin, Lawrence 193 Main St., Athol, MA 01331 978-249-3570
Oldach, William 18 Dunbar Rd., Athol, MA 01331 978-249-7977
Parker, Cheryl 124 College Hwy., Southampton, MA 01073 413-527-8660
Pudlo, William 7 Park Drive, W. Springfield, MA 01089 413-739-4000
Shauger, Susan 29 Upper St., Buckland, MA 01338 413-625-6400
Taylor, Susan 330 Whitney Ave., Holyoke, MA 01040 413-536-0653
Wexler, Donna 33 State St., Springfield, MA 413-781-0560
Please let me know of other attorneys who handle real estate sales and should be included in this list……….
Role of Attorneys in Purchasing Real Estate
Legal counsel is indispensable to a real estate sale. If a buyer or seller, for any reason, does not identify an attorney to work on his or her behalf the sale does not move forward. Here is a summary of what the attorney for the buyer usually does:
1. Conference with client, including issues such as how to take title, information on type of property to be purchased (i.e., single family, multi-family), and financing issues
2. Review offer to purchase
3. Review or prepare purchase and sale agreement and negotiate its terms with attorney for seller
4. Advise concerning financing and tailoring of purchase and sales terms to lender's requirements
5. If desired, review building inspections
6. Arrange title insurance protection as requested by mortgage bank for buyer against losses due to title defects
7. Review papers which buyer is required to sign
8. Attend closing and have buyer sing all pertinent mortgage documents
9. Exchange with seller’s attorney escrow and remaining deposit funds for deed
Buyer's normal expenses include:
· attorney's fee, drafting documents, including any negotiations,
· cost of the title examination and insurance (both mortgage amount and equity)
· cost of reviewing mortgage documents
· mortgage plot plan
· lender attorneys' fees, if applicable
· recording charges for deed and mortgage
· miscellaneous expenses, such as Homestead protection, certificate of municipal liens, bank application fee, points and/or other finance charges, if any required
Real Estate Procedures in our area of Western Massachusetts
Each state, has its own set of "customary" although similar ways of doing business...this is an overview of what you can expect as you do business in Massachusetts.
All offers to purchase real estate must be in writing, and subsequently be presented to seller. (State Law)
The real estate agents will explain to their respective Buyer and Seller parties the options for representation (Buyer Agency for buyers) at the first meeting. Both Buyer and Seller will sign the Agency Disclosure Form. (State Law)
The Offer, or short-form Agreement to Purchase, is typically a one-page form on which the buyer offers a price and closing date, further describing the basic terms to be considered by the seller. This Offer usually includes reference to a final Purchase and Sale Agreement to be executed by the parties, outlines inspections and, if needed, outlines the buyer's financing contingency, which states the length of time during which the buyer will apply for and receive financing from a lending institution.
Typically, an initial deposit of $500 - $1000 is usually required to accompany an offer to purchase property. As with all monies deposited prior to closing, this money is held by the listing real estate agency’s office in a state-monitored escrow account.
Commonly, the offer affords buyers the opportunity to have inspections at their expense by a qualified inspector(s): most common..... structural, radon-in-air, and, if private water, radon-in-water. If appropriate, lead paint, and/or mold testing may also be investigated by respective specialists. The customary time frame is within 10 to 15 days of the accepted offer. The “insect” inspection, as noted in a separate paragraph in the offer, may be done after the primary inspection period. Typically, it is the responsibility of the seller to obtain a “Title 5” certification for a private sewerage system prior to the closing. It is recommended that the buyer have a separate Title 5 examiner review the paperwork prepared by the seller’s examiner.
The Purchase and Sale Agreement is usually prepared by the seller’s attorney and reviewed by the buyer’s attorney; any changes being worked out by the attorneys. The P&S Agreement is signed by both buyer and seller within the mutually-agreed upon time as outlined in the offer. Typically, the Purchase and Sale Agreement is accompanied by a deposit usually equal to approximately 5 – 10 percent of the total agreed upon purchase price. Note that the date for putting down this additional deposit may, but is not always coincident with signing the P&S, i.e. if for some reason the P&S does not get signed, the buyer still needs to put down the deposit. The Purchase and Sale Agreement defines in detail all rights and responsibilities of both buyer and seller. It states the intended date of conveyance and the terms of the sale. In case the P&S does not get signed, the original Offer, or Agreement to Purchase, remains the controlling document and will guide the parties to the closing.
The contingency clauses included in the Purchase and Sale Agreement provide opportunity for the buyer to withdraw from the transaction if he or she is unable to meet the contingencies within specified times and conditions.
The financing procedure can take from four to six weeks depending on the lender and market conditions.
On the day of the closing, or if appropriate several days earlier, the buyer and seller separately will meet with their respective attorneys and sign necessary paperwork.
The actual conveyance takes place at the Registry of Deeds where the attorney for the buyer checks the deed for any last minute claims, and the two attorneys swap money for deed, the attorney for buyer records the latter.
It’s possible that the closing will take place at the offices of the buyer’s attorney. Note that it’s a custom of the past when all parties sit around a closing table. This rarely happens today as federal regulations require settlement details to be disclosed to the parties days ahead of the closing.
You can depend upon me as your agent to assist you through the complexities of the transaction.