Real Estate Law Services
Not only do we provide a huge range of legal services to aid with commercial real estate and land development, but our experienced team of lawyers can also help with private/residential real estate transactions. Whether you’re looking for a home right on the water to live in for years to come, or you’re looking for a vacation getaway to enjoy life on the Emerald Coast, it’s important to protect that investment to the fullest. Our real estate legal services are designed to help ensure that you are prepared and protected from the moment you go under contract on a new property to the time you decide to sell — and that includes estate planning so you can designate what will happen to your property if you want it to go to a family member or someone else. Our role as real estate lawyers is to help you through understanding the contracts and ensuring your interests are protected as much as possible. If you’re on the hunt for a new home in Destin, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, or anywhere across the Emerald Coast, connect with the attorneys at Matthews & Jones, LLC for guidance.
Our real estate legal services include:
- Lenders and owners title insurance
- Escrow services
- Legal guidance to carry you through — from going under contract to pre-closing, the actual closing process, and post-closing needs
Areas of Practice
Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects owners and lenders against a loss due to legal defects in the title. Unlike more common insurance policies such as auto or health insurance which cover only future events, title insurance protects the insured against past issues such as filing errors, undisclosed heirs, fraud and forgery that may affect legal ownership. The title insurance underwriter will defend the property owner in any valid claims made against the property.
There are two types of title insurance; lender’s title insurance and owner’s title insurance. Lenders require that a loan policy is purchased to protect their interest in the subject property. Owner’s title insurance is always optional; but it is important to know that the lender’s policy will not cover the owner in the event of a claim. While you only pay for your owners policy once, the coverage provided protects you against any claims prior to your purchase.
Escrow is an arrangement where you use a “third party” (a disinterested party who is neither the buyer nor seller) to hold something of value. That third party serves to make the transaction safer by verifying that both the buyer and seller meet contractual obligations.
Once the parties have executed the purchase and sale contract, one of the parties, or their real estate agent, will send a contract to the a title company or law firm that handle real estate closings.
When we get a new contract we order a title examination of that property. A title exam is an examination of the public real estate records for that property. The title examiner will determine the name of the owner, requirements to be met prior to a title insurance policy being issued, and any mortgages or liens associated with the owners or attached to the property, and exceptions to the title insurance policy.
This is the information gathering phase. We will send out information forms for the buyers and sellers to complete. This information allows us to order mortgage payoffs, obtain owner association information, and anything else we need regarding the property.
We will also communicate with the lender throughout the process regarding the loan documents and clearance of any title issues.
Once the lender is ready to close and all documentation has been provided to us, we will notify all parties of the time and place of closing. A settlement statement will be sent to all parties to reflect the money that is being collected and paid at closing. The parties will be notified of how much they need to bring to closing and wiring instructions, if needed.
Buyers, sellers, their agents, and the closing agent or attorney will meet and sign the closing documents, or these documents will be provided by mail for closing “a mail out closing”.
Deed This is the document the seller signs that conveys the title of the property to the buyer. The deed will be recorded with the Clerk of Court in the county where the property is located and the original will be provided to the new owner once it is returned to our office from the county.
Mortgage This is the document that secures the borrower’s obligations under the Promissory Note; the mortgage is also recorded with the Clerk of Court.
Promissory Note If the buyer is using a lender they will be required to sign a promissory note as well as a Mortgage. The Promissory Note is not recorded; the original is sent to the lender. It describes the terms of the loan, and is the promise to pay back the loan to the lender with interest.
Transaction Documents These documents include the Settlement Statement, Owners Affidavit and additional disclosure documents that must be signed at closing.
After the closing is complete, the attorney or closing agent will send all of the signed loan documents to the buyer’s lender and will send any documents for recording to the Clerk of Court. Any payoffs of existing loans are sent to the appropriate lender so that the loan will be paid in full and released by the lender. All other monies gathered at the closing are then disbursed accordingly.
Since 1998 we have been helping people who are purchasing or selling real estate avoid delays and excessive fees with a process that provides speed and accuracy. We help people so they can enjoy their purchase or sale with peace and confidence.