Buyers & Sellers FAQs – Delaware Settlements

You must bring a valid government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, and a certified or personal check for the funds needed for settlement (see Do I need to have certified funds or a certified check? for an explanation of our settlement funds policy). In addition to these items, you may want to bring copies of other useful documents, such as your Agreement of Sale, including addendums or modifications, your home-inspection report and any disclosures or supporting documents that you have received from your mortgage lender. While it is not necessary to bring these documents, they may be useful, if a question, concern or problem arises at the settlement.

If you are receiving financing through a lender, the lender will send a closing disclosure three business days before closing with the estimated amount due for settlement. If a final number is not available prior to settlement, use the loan estimate provided by the lender and get a certified check made payable to Ward & Taylor, LLC in that amount. We will either refund any overage or you can write a small personal check for any difference.

If the amount you need for settlement is more than $10,000.00 you will need a certified check or a cashier’s check (or you may wire transfer the funds to our office prior to your settlement – please do not wire funds to our office without first speaking to the assigned paralegal or attorney). If the amount you need is less than $10,000.00, you may write a personal check.

If the amount of funds you need for settlement is more than $10,000.00 you will need to bring a certified or cashier’s check with you to settlement. This means that you will need to allow yourself adequate time to obtain the check from your bank or financial institution prior to coming to settlement. Buying a property can be a complicated and stressful process, so be sure to allow yourself adequate time on the day of, or prior to, settlement to obtain certified funds, if needed.

In a “Title State”, title insurance companies are permitted to prepare documents for and conduct real estate settlements. In an “Attorney State”, state law requires real estate settlements to be conducted by an Attorney licensed to practice in that state. Generally, these states also have very strict laws regarding the real estate settlement process, including the handling of settlement funds. These laws are designed to protect both the buyer and the seller in the transaction from dishonest settlement agents. Attorneys may, and often do, conduct real estate settlements in “Title States”. If you would like to discuss the benefits, of having one of our Attorneys conduct your settlement in Pennsylvania or Maryland, feel free to call our office and ask to be connected to one of our attorneys.

The attorney’s office provides a number of services. Some of the most important are the following: (a) work with the lender to prepare the buyer’s settlement statement and prepare the seller’s settlement statement; (b) prepare the deed which will transfer ownership to the buyer; (c) order a survey and title search for the property; (d) obtain title insurance for the property; {e) payoff existing liens and/or judgments; (f) help resolve problems.

No. The Buyer’s attorney only represents the Buyer. However, if there are problems prior to settlement the Buyer’s attorney can work with both parties to resolve any issues. Although usually Sellers do not have an attorney for settlement, they can retain an attorney to advise them if they feel it is necessary.

The survey will show any existing structures on the property, where the property lines are located and if there are any encroachments. If there are any encroachments or zoning violations the attorney will contact you prior to settlement to discuss these issues with you. If you are borrowing money to buy the property, a survey will usually be required.

A title search will find any liens and/or judgments against the property and parties involved in the transaction.

Title insurance protects both the Lender and the owner of the property from any claims made with regard to the title for the property.

Please follow this link to calculate the cost. CLICK HERE to access the PA Rate Calculator

You must contact an insurance company prior to settlement to obtain homeowners insurance for the property you are buying. You should arrange for a pest/termite inspection and a home inspection. If you would like a radon inspection you are responsible for this as well. If you have a realtor, your realtor will arrange for these inspections. You are also responsible for meeting all deadlines stated in the Agreement of Sale. You will also have to contact the electric company to transfer service into you name. The same holds true for phone, cable and any other utilities.

One of the most important things you can do is fill out the buyer’s information sheet that you receive from our office and return it to us as soon as possible. Providing any necessary information to your lender, real estate agent or the attorney’s office in a prompt manner will go a long way in making the settlement process go as smooth as possible.

You have the choice of calling any insurance company or broker to obtain your homeowner’s insurance. You may want to call around and get several quotes before you decide what company to choose. If you do not have an agent, contact us and we will be happy to recommend someone.

Typically, the walkthrough inspection is completed a day or two before settlement. The purpose is to make sure the house is in the same condition at settlement as it was when the contract was signed. The seller does not need to have the house empty for the walk-through.

The paralegal assigned to your file is your contact person. The initial letter we sent you lists the paralegal and all the contact information. If you do not have the contact information, you can call our office at 302.225.2410.

Contact the paralegal assigned to your file.

Generally from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. However, we can schedule to meet before or after those hours by making special arrangements. We will try to be flexible to meet your needs.

No. However, if you contact our office before settlement we can give you our wiring instructions and you can have the money wired into our account.  We do not accept or send any wiring information via email.

Yes. Contact our office prior to settlement and we will give you the necessary wiring instructions.  We do not accept or send any wiring information via email.

An attorney will review your survey prior to settlement. If there are any issues the attorney will call you to discuss the problem and let you know what options are available.

In most instances, we will be able to provide you with a final settlement figure 24 to 48 hours prior to your settlement. Unfortunately, our ability to provide you with a final settlement figure is dependent upon receiving information from several other outside sources, such as homeowners’ associations, tax assessment offices, cities and towns (for properties with municipal water or utility service), oil companies (for properties with oil heat and/or hot water), realtors and mortgage lenders, just to name a few. Settlement figures are subject to change up to the moment of settlement. If you receive a final figure, you should always bring your personal checkbook to settlement, just to cover any incidental changes that arise at, or prior to, settlement. If your settlement figure decreases and you have already obtained or written your check, we will provide you with a refund of any excess amounts at settlement. If you are not able to obtain a final settlement figure prior to settlement, you should use the Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs obtained from your mortgage lender as a guide and be prepared to provide a personal check for any shortfall, or receive a refund for any excess funds, at settlement.

While we do accept cash, we suggest that you bring a certified or cashier’s check (or wire transfer your funds prior to closing) for amounts over $10,000.00 or a personal check for lesser amounts. If you bring cash we may have to provide you with change in the form of a check. Additionally, we are required by federal regulations to report certain cash transactions to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept payment for settlement by debit or credit cards.

Checks for Delaware and Maryland properties should be made payable to Ward & Taylor, LLC.  Checks for Pennsylvania properties should be made payable to Best Abstract, LLC.  Since wires are preferred on Pennsylvania and Maryland properties please contact our office prior to settlement if issuing a personal or certified check.

If you have a problem with your final walk through, you should discuss the problem with your realtor immediately. If you would also like to discuss the problem and your options with one of our attorneys, you should call our office and ask to be connected to one of our attorneys. In most instances, such problems may involve significant legal issues which should be addressed by an attorney and not by a paralegal.

Yes. Ward & Taylor, LLC provides a variety of legal services, including the preparation of wills, powers of attorney and advanced care directives. If you have questions about the services we offer, you should contact our office and ask to be connected to an attorney.

Yes. Call an attorney in our office to schedule a meeting to discuss your needs and then we can quickly and easily form the entity best for your circumstances.

Realtors & Loan Officers FAQs

Your Buyer may write a personal check for his or her closing costs as long as the costs do not exceed $10,000.00. If you client has not received a final settlement cost number from our office, he or she should be prepared to pay the amount of closing costs in the Good Faith Estimate received from the mortgage lender. If this number is close to, or exceeds $10,000.00, the buyer should bring a certified or cashier’s check for that amount along with his or her personal check book. In the event that the certified check is too high, the Buyer will receive a refund from our office at closing.

If your Buyer will need less than $10,000.00 to come to settlement, he or she should simply bring their personal check book. If your Buyer will need $10,000.00 or more of those proceeds to come to settlement, we would recommend having the funds wired into our escrow account. Your paralegal can provide written wire transfer instructions to you, or directly to the person performing your Buyer’s settlement, in advance. Of course, funds that are wired to our account and are not needed for your Buyer’s settlement will be refunded from our office at closing.

Since rules regarding the availability of funds can differ from state to state and even among financial institutions, we recommend having the funds wired to the attorney or title company that is performing your client’s settlement. You should also remember that various new laws relating to homeland security and counter-terrorism efforts can affect this process. You should obtain written wire transfer instructions from the transferee that include the account number, name corresponding to the account, street address corresponding to the account (P.O. Boxes are NOT acceptable), the financial institution’s ABA number, name, street address, phone number and any references required by the institution in order for the funds to be credited to the appropriate account. For most Sellers, these funds will be the most important portion of their personal financial “nest egg”, so precautions should be taken to ensure that all information is double checked and correct before it is provided to us for use. For your convenience and to missed information and embarrassing mistakes, we can provide an Outgoing Wire Request Form that details all required information. Simply fill in the blanks and provide a copy to your paralegal at or before settlement.

Please contact your paralegal immediately. We will be happy to make arrangements with you to keep the settlement on schedule, such as wiring the deposit into our account or deducting the deposit funds from the commission check received at settlement.

We feel that attendance at settlement is an important opportunity for both Buyers and Sellers to exchange valuable information regarding what is likely to be the largest investment either of them has ever made. However, we recognize that personal circumstances often make it impossible for all parties to attend settlement. If your client is unable to attend settlement in person, you should notify us as soon as possible, so that we can make arrangements to have all documents properly executed. Acceptable arrangements include delivering documents to the parties prior to settlement for signing or preparing a power of attorney that will permit another person to attend settlement and sign all necessary documents for your client. You should remember that many mortgage lenders will require a power of attorney to be approved by them before it can be used by a Buyer and that this can take time and can delay settlement if it is not handled in advance. We will be pleased to work with your client to ensure that all necessary arrangements are in place so that settlement can occur on schedule.

Please contact your paralegal as soon as possible and inform them of this requirement. We will work with the Seller to ensure that all of their needs are met, as well as the needs of our client, the Buyer.

Please contact your paralegal as soon as possible and inform them of this circumstance. We will work with the sellers and their attorneys to ensure that all requirements are met and that settlement is not delayed.

Ward & Taylor, LLC Realtor Loan Officers FAQs