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What You Should Know About the Home Closing Process: An Interview with Richard Palumbo of The Law Offices of Richard Palumbo, LLC

By Richard Palumbo

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.

Our firm and its attorneys are uniquely prepared to efficiently and effectively serve the needs of our real estate, condominium, corporate, business, insurance, probate and other clients. Our firm's founding attorney, Richard Palumbo's experience as a contractor, developer, property owner, insurance adjuster, business owner and landlord gives him the first-hand knowledge and experience that you want on your side when you are being represented. He understands our clients' specific needs as homeowners, landlords, investors, business persons and/or insureds. When it comes to real estate, Richard has more likely than not been in your shoes, understands your legal needs and can often offer practical solutions. Richard has the legal knowledge and first-hand experience to guide you through your legal situation from the simplest situation to the most complex. His real estate, business, insurance and legal experience spans a period of over twenty-five years. Richard's past business experiences include the following areas: construction (new construction, remodeling, modular and panelized construction, historical restoration, and insurance related reconstruction); environmental related manufacturing and remedial services; insurance adjusting; real estate (buying and selling, management of multifamily and commercial real estate, green and sustainable housing and for-profit and non-profit developments) and various other service related industries. A primary focus of our firm is real estate law. Included in the real estate services that the Law Offices of Richard Palumbo offers is real estate closings. Our founding attorney, Richard Palumbo's passion for real estate is apparent in our firm's commitment to real estate law and in the care that our firm takes with every client and with every closing.

What's the role of an attorney in home closings in Rhode Island?

The role of an attorney in home closings in Rhode Island is to diligently coordinate all aspects of the closing from the review of the purchase and sales agreement through the post closing issuance of the insurance policy that insures the property's title and everything in between.

Can you list the basic steps in the home closing process?

The real estate closing is a final gathering of all of the parties involved in the real estate transaction (i.e. the Buyer, Seller, and Lender). Attorneys for the parties will meet with the parties to sign and officially transfer title to the buyer. The closing attorney will facilitate the transfer of title and is responsible for recording the new deed. Rhode Island buyers of residential real estate have the right (in accordance with state law) to choose the closing or title attorney. Once you have chosen your real estate attorney the process begins. Your closing attorney should review the purchase and sales agreement prior to the buyer or seller signing it. Once your attorney receives a signed purchase and sales agreement and a title order your closing attorney will need to do the follows: order a municipal lien certificate (MLC); conduct a title search; review the title search and recorded maps; prepare a title commitment; obtain a title closing protection letter; prepare lender required information (i.e. wiring instructions, etc.); request a final water and sewer bill; request a smoke detector certificate; request and review condominium and/or HOA documents (if applicable); prepare the HUD; prepare and review closing documents; review the loan documents; and other pre-closing tasks. There are a number of post closing issues including the following: updating of the title; recording of the deed, mortgage, and other related documents; payment of city taxes, water, sewer, tax stamps and recording fees; payoff of any existing mortgages; other payments (i.e. seller's attorney, realtor commissions, title insurance, etc.); disbursement of funds to the seller; and generating the title insurance.

Is there a common misunderstanding that you've noticed potential sellers and buyers have about the process?

Buyers and Sellers of properties often don't take the time to research the right attorney for their closing. Buyers and sellers of real estate should choose an attorney and law firm who understands and focuses on real estate law. If you are going to have open heart surgery you would never chose a podiatrist. Then why choose an attorney who does not focus on real estate law to conduct a closing.

What is something about buying or selling a home in RI that most people aren't aware of that they should know?

When buying or selling a condominium it is the seller's responsibility to provide the buyer a complete and recorded set of condominium documents. As a buyer, you have the right to receive a legible set of condominium documents that have been recorded. The buyer should take the time to ready the condominium documents from cover to cover. Then call your real estate attorney and ask questions.

What are one or two things that the seller can do to help make the home closing process easier?

Pay attention to the terms and conditions of the purchase and sales agreement. For example, if you are supposed to have the property empty of all contents and broom swept by a certain date then be certain to do the same.

What are one or two things that the buyer can do to help make the home closing process easier?

First and foremost chose the right attorney. You have the right to choose your real estate attorney. You have the right to choose an attorney whose primary focus is Real Estate Law. Once you find an attorney who understands real estate law then make certain to communicate regularly with your attorney to avoid missteps in the closing process. I always encourage clients to contact me throughout the closing process.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your company?

The best way for people to reach Richard Palumbo and the Law Offices of Richard Palumbo is as follows: call 401.490.0994 or email us at rpalumbo@richardpalumbolaw.com or visit us on the web at www.richardpalumbo.com.

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