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  by W. Troy Swezey

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  The attorney should be responsible for preparing or evaluating documents which may be necessary for completing transfer of the property. There are usually several documents to prepare in any real estate transaction, and the attorney can evaluate and explain each document to the buyer or seller whom he or she represents. The deed, the bill of sale, mortgage, promissory note, title commitment and the closing statement are only a few of the important documents that an attorney should review with the seller or buyer prior to the closing.

One of the attorney’s most important responsibilities in the real estate transaction is to determine the condition of the seller’s title to the property. Through this process, the attorney will discover if the seller is the legal owner of the property and if there is an unpaid mortgage or lien which must be settled before the title to the property can be properly transferred. The attorney will also discover any restrictions or easements which are on the property and the status of any unpaid property taxes or assessments.

The buyer, the seller and their attorneys usually appear together at a final meeting to review all closing documents. As this meeting, usually referred to as the “closing,” the attorneys help explain, sign and exchange the documents and approve or clear up any remaining financial matters relating to the transaction. After the transaction is closed, an attorney will attend to any final details such as properly recording the deed, mortgage or other necessary documents and issuing title insurance policies.
 
     
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