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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How should I select the attorney to handle my settlement?

  

You, as the buyer, have the right to choose the attorney who handles your settlement. Your real estate agent can make a recommendation or provide you with the names of several real estate attorneys to choose from.

Under the Delaware Lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility, our office must disclose the following information to a buyer prior to accepting representation of their interests in a transaction if a seller, lender, real estate agent, mortgage broker, or other person having any interest in the transaction referred the buyer to our office:

1. You have the right to choose your own attorney to represent you throughout the transaction regardless of any preference a seller, lender, real estate agent, broker, or other person may have.

2. The fact that you have been referred to an attorney by a seller, lender, real estate agent, mortgage broker, or other person may create a conflict of interest and could adversely affect the exercise of the attorney’s professional judgment on your behalf in a case of a dispute between the parties. 

3. In connection with representing you in this transaction, the attorney will also be representing your mortgage lender to the extent that the attorney will certify to the lender that its mortgage will be a first lien on your property. It is likely that the attorney has represented the lender in that respect in other residential real estate transactions in the past. Attorney does not represent any real estate broker or agent in connection with this particular transaction. However, one of the agents or offices involved in this transaction may have referred attorney business in the past.

What do I need to bring to settlement?

  

Photo Identification:  Pursuant to the U.S. Patriot Act, mortgage lenders are required to ask for photo identification prior to opening new accounts so please have your driver’s license, passport, military identification, or some other form of government-issued photo identification with you. 


Funds Due at Closing:  Our office accepts payment in the following forms:

Cash - Up to $500

Personal Check - Up to $5,000

Bank Check (also referred to as a Certified Check or Cashier’s Check) -  Over $5,000 

Wire Transfer - Wire instructions are available upon request.

We can also accept funds by check drawn on the account of another Delaware attorney (see below for more information if you are using the proceeds from the sale of another property for settlement on the property you are purchasing).

Do I need to obtain a bank check/certified check for closing?

 Yes, if the amount due is over $5,000. 

Who do I make the check payable to?

 All checks should be made payable to Cramer & DiMichele, P.A. 

When will I know the final amount of money I need to bring to settlement?

  

If you are obtaining a mortgage to finance the purchase, under new federal mortgage guidelines, your mortgage lender is required to provide you with the Closing Disclosure at least three (3) days prior to closing. The Closing Disclosure will provide you with the amount of funds you will be required to bring to your settlement. 

However, please be aware that the final figure for settlement is dependent on information gathered from various outside sources, local county and city/town offices, homeowners associations, oil companies, realtors and mortgage lenders, etc. Unfortunately, there are times when adjustments need to be made to the Closing Disclosure after it has been provided by your lender. Therefore, you should always bring a personal check with you to settlement in case an adjustment was made to the Closing Disclosure resulting in an increase in the amount due.  Please be aware, that in the event the amount of your bank check is greater than the final amount due, our office issue you a refund check for the overage.

If you are paying “cash” for the property, someone from my office will contact you or your representative as soon as the Settlement Sheet has been finalized to notify you of the amount of funds you will be required to bring to your settlement. In the event the Settlement Sheet has not been finalized by the end of the day prior to your settlement, we will contact you to provide you with an estimated amount. 

What does the attorney's office do for the buyer?

  

Our office provides a number of services, including ordering and reviewing the title search of the property, ordering and reviewing the survey of the property, preparation of the Closing Disclosure in conjunction with your mortgage lender, preparation of the deed which will transfer ownership of the property to the buyer, and issuance of title insurance policies. We will also assist in resolving any issues or problems that may arise.

What is a survey?

  

A survey is a plot of the property. It shows the size of your lot, where the property lines are located, the location of existing improvements on the lot, and identifies any encroachments that may exist.

Is a survey required?

While a survey is always recommended, at Cramer & DiMichele, it is only required if it is a requirement of your mortgage lender.

What is a title search?

 A title search is a search of public records on the property. It will reveal any mortgages and other liens against the property, as well as any judgments against the buyers and sellers involved in the transaction.

What is title insurance? What is the difference between a lender’s policy and an owner’s policy?

  

Title Insurance: Title insurance protects against losses incurred as a result of certain defects in title that may not or could not have been disclosed by the title search. Examples of a defective title include a fraudulent or forged deed in the chain of title, a missing heir to an estate which previously owned the property, or a deed signed by an incompetent person, just to name a few.


Lender’s Policy: If a mortgage company is involved in your transaction, your lender will require a lender’s policy of title insurance. Our office will issue the policy to your lender after closing. The charge for the lenders policy will appear on your Closing Disclosure as a settlement cost. The lender’s title policy protects the interests of the lender in the property.


Owner’s Policy: While the lender’s title policy discussed above only protects the interests of the lender in the property; it does not protect your interests as the buyer of the property. An owner’s title policy is a separate policy issued to the buyer to protect your interests in the property. Owner’s title insurance is purchased on the day of settlement for a one-time fee and it protects your interests for as long as you own the property. Although not required, an owner’s policy is strongly recommended, therefore, it will automatically be provided to you at the time of settlement unless it is expressly declined.

Who is responsible for transferring utilities?

Property tax and sewer billings will automatically be transferred to the buyer upon recording of the deed. In most cases, our office will handle the transfer of water service. If the property is located in a city or town that provides electric service to the property, our office will handle the transfer. However, in most cases where electric service is supplied by a private company such as Delmarva, the buyer will be responsible for contacting the electric company to transfer service into their name. The same is true for trash service. The buyer will also be responsible for setting up phone and cable services.

When will the date and time for my settlement be scheduled?

  

The date for your settlement will generally be the date stated in your contract as the settlement date. The time for settlement can be scheduled at any time with our office. You may contact our office directly to schedule or discuss your time preference with your agent and they can notify our office. We are generally able to honor our buyer(s) preferred time for settlement.

Where is your office located?

Our office is conveniently located in Pike Creek at 5305   Limestone Road, Suite 200, Wilmington, DE 19808. However, we do handle settlements throughout the State of Delaware and can arrange to conduct the closing at the office of the your agent, the listing agent, or at a mutually agreeable location, which is closer to the property and therefore, more convenient for the parties involved.

What are Cramer & DiMichele’s office hours for settlements?

Our office hours are generally from 8:30am to 5:00pm. However, we are flexible and can schedule closings outside of normal office hours to meet the needs of our clients. 

I am using money from the sale of another property, how should money be paid to your office?

If the property you are selling is also located in the State of Delaware, simply contact our office and provide us with contact information for the attorney’s office handling the sale. We will make the necessary arrangements to have the proceeds issued to our office by check or wire transfer.

If the property you are selling is NOT located in Delaware, the settlement is being handled by an out of state title company and/or attorney. We are not permitted to accept a check from an out of state title company/attorney, therefore, the proceeds will have to be issued by wire transfer. You can contact our office and provide us with contact information for the title company handling the sale and we will make the necessary arrangements to have the proceeds issued to our office by wire transfer.

Can your office wire funds from the sale or refinance of my home into my account?

Yes, our office can wire funds from your sale or refinance into your account. Due to recent increases in wire fraud related to real estate settlements, our office will not accept wire instructions via email or phone. We do not need your account details in advance of closing so if you are attending settlement, you can simply bring your account information with you and provide us with the information at closing. If you are not attending settlement, please contact our office. We have a form that you can complete and return to our office. However, because of wire fraud concerns, we cannot accept your account information on any other document other than the form supplied by our office. We may also need to contact you via phone to verify the account information as a secondary precaution. 

Have additional questions?

Contact us at (302) 397-8959 or email at settlements@derealestatelaw.com.