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Home Closing Preparation: An Interview with Jacqueline Hudkins of Hudkins Law

By Jacqueline Hudkins

Tell us about Hudkins Law.

Hudkins Law was founded in 2006 by Jacqueline M. Hudkins with an aim to offer a collaborative approach to legal representation in order to provide upscale customer service. At Hudkins Law, each real estate transaction is managed by a team of Attorneys and Paralegals, rather than one Attorney or one Paralegal as in most law firms or title companies. The "HLaw model" guarantees almost 24/7 coverage throughout the entire closing process and combines the expertise of Real Estate, Title, Trust, Estate Planning and Corporate Attorneys to offer competitive flat fee pricing.

The firm is comprised of seven attorneys and three full time paralegals and maintains offices in Windham, NH, New London, NH, Lebanon, NH and Andover, MA. Hudkins Law represents clients in all counties of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

To learn more about our firm, please visit our website at www.hudkinslaw.com or our eBook at hudkinslaw.com/HudkinsLaw_Ebook.pdf.

Please explain the general process of closing a home sale.

Once a buyer and seller have reached an agreement with respect to the purchase price, closing date and any contingencies (such as a home inspection, appraisal or financing contingency), a Purchase and Sale Agreement is prepared to memorialize all of the terms in the Agreement. The P&S is often prepared by a Realtor and then reviewed by an Attorney. If there are special provisions or terms to be drafted, they should always be handled by an Attorney. The title to the property must be examined to confirm that there are no outstanding liens or encumbrances on the property and that any such items be discharged or released before or at closing. Obligations such as property taxes, municipal charges including water and sewer, New Hampshire conveyance tax (commonly referred to as the "tax stamp"), and any homeowner association dues are all verified, pro-rated, and allocated to Buyer and Seller in accordance with the terms in the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

When financing is secured, the attorney or settlement agent collaborates very closely with the lender to prepare the closing documents, including the HUD Settlement Statement, which outlines all of the charges and credits relative to the transaction. The closing attorney conducts the closing which includes a thorough review and explanation of the closing documents including the promissory note, mortgage and monthly payment information as well as various lender and title related documents and New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration forms. After the closing, the Deed, Mortgage and other relevant documents are recorded at the Registry of Deeds and the conveyance tax is remitted to the State of New Hampshire. Finally, Owner and Lender title insurance policies are issued by the closing attorney to insure the transaction.

How long can this process take?

A buyer and seller can agree upon any timeline that the desire. If the buyer is using cash to complete the purchase, our firm only needs a couple of business days to examine the title to the property and prepare the closing documents. If the Buyer is using a lender to finance the transaction, the average turnaround time for a local bank is 30 days. Some mortgage brokers and national lenders can take 45-60 days.

What are some issues that can arise during this process and how can they be resolved?

Frequently there are title problems that cause delays in the closing process. It is important that an Attorney be involved to expedite the resolution of a title problem. The most common title problem is a missing "discharge" or "assignment" which must be obtained from a lender that formerly financed the property but did not properly release their lien from the registry records. The financing process can also be lengthy. It is very important that a buyer/borrower work diligently to fulfill all requirements set forth by their lending institution.

How does this process differ, requirement wise, for the buyer or the seller?

It is very important for a Seller to prepare the home for closing and ensure that it is in the same condition at the time of closing that it was in when the Buyer made their offer. Sellers must also ensure that their title is not encumbered and that it is insurable by a nationally recognized title insurance company. A Seller's attorney or the settlement attorney may assist with this process. The Buyer's main responsibility is to guarantee that the funds for closing are delivered to the seller in a timely fashion. If financing is involved, this means fulfilling all of the lender's requirements expeditiously to prevent delays in the underwriting approval process.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Hudkins Law specializes in real estate including Buyer, Seller and Lender representations. The firm handles all aspects of real estate conveyancing including title examination and serving as settlement agent to conduct residential and commercial real estate closings. Hudkins Law also offers a full range of Estate Planning and Corporate Law services in MA and NH.

What is the best way for people to reach you and or your company?

Our office is headquartered in Windham NH at 25 Indian Rock Road. Our phone number is 603-434-1770. We also maintain offices in New London, NH, Lebanon, NH and Andover, MA. Attorney Jacqueline M. Hudkins may be reached via email at jackie@hudkinslaw.com.

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About The Author

JACQUELINE M. HUDKINS founded Hudkins Law PLLC in 2006 and focuses on representing...

Phone: (603) 434-1770 x101

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