10 Things a Broker Can Do to Facilitate a Residential Closing

Our job, as attorneys, is to facilitate smooth, timely closings. We work collaboratively with clients, brokers, and other attorneys to achieve that result. Below are 10 tips for real estate brokers to help increase the likelihood of a smooth closing.

  1. Circulate the completed disclosure forms. In addition to the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure form, in most cases Sellers are now required to complete a Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS). The brokers can assist with this process by circulating the completed PCDS early in the process. This allows the Purchaser time to review the PCDS and complete any additional diligence based on the information contained therein.
  2. Coordinate private well water testing. In Westchester County, Sellers must have private wells tested prior to closing a residential real estate transaction. Brokers can facilitate this process by allowing access to test and circulating test results as early as possible. By circulating the water test results early in the process, the Seller has more time to remediate if necessary.
  3. Coordinate final fuel and water meter readings. In certain cases, the final fuel and water meter readings have been delayed, causing unnecessary stress at the closing table. In other cases, the readings have been provided too early, causing the Purchaser to request updated readings. An experienced broker can facilitate this process so that the readings are circulated just prior to closing.
  4. Assist with identifying and resolving zoning issues. Zoning issues can delay a closing. Many lenders will require open permits and violations to be closed prior to closing. Brokers can assist by reviewing the municipal files early in the process and alerting Seller’s counsel to potential zoning issues.
  5. Assist with identifying and resolving repair issues. Brokers can assist with repair issues by (i) identifying them with specificity (i.e. “the broken window in the kitchen” as opposed to “the broken window”); and (ii) following up with the Seller to ensure that the repairs are completed and documented prior to closing.
  6. Coordinate access for surveyors. In certain cases, access to a property may be limited, e.g. due to security fencing and gates. A broker can assist with providing access to the surveyor. In certain cases, a missing survey can delay a closing.
  7. Coordinate tax payments. Depending on when the closing falls during the property tax period, information regarding the status of the tax payments can help the attorneys prepare for closing. It may be counter-intuitive but in some cases it is actually more efficient to have the Purchaser make the tax payment at closing instead of having the Seller make a payment on the eve of closing.
  8. Identify and resolve final walk-through issues. A broker can attend the final walk-through and help resolve any issues before the parties arrive at the closing table. Issues that arise during the final walk-through are often minor and experienced brokers are able to control clients’ expectations and resolve the issues prior to reaching the closing table.
  9. Provide commission invoices early. In certain cases, we have received commission invoices late which can delay the final closing statement. Most offices are prompt but once a contract is signed the commission invoices can be circulated to the attorneys.
  10. Provide keys, garage door remotes and access codes. Given that many closings are now completed remotely, it is imperative that the brokers coordinate the keys, garage door openers, security codes and other information in advance so that the Purchaser may access the property after the closing.

We hope this checklist is helpful to you.

If you have any questions regarding residential real estate closings in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, please contact us at (914) 338-8050 or send an e-mail to keith@betenskylaw.com. We look forward to working with you.

Betensky Law PLLC
118 N. Bedford Road, Suite 302
Mount Kisco, New York 10549
(914) 338-8050

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