Consider the following:
- Relax. Avenue will handle most of the details of your closing. Click here to learn more about closings.
- Check with your new lender about their requirements for proof of hazard insurance, including whether or not a master insurance certificate (if a condo) will be needed. In most cases, a termite inspection will also be needed. Your real estate agent will assist with the termite inspection (some condos also need termite inspections). In most contracts the seller has agreed to pay for the termite inspection as well as any damage repairs required prior to closing. Your agent should ask the sellers agent to have the termite inspection arranged as soon as possible.
- DC, MD and VA no longer have antiquated Dower laws; a married person may now mortgage and sell property intheir sole name without the consent of their spouse. However, if you are buying property with another person (married or otherwise) but only one of you is borrowing the funds (e.g. one person is on the Note), each person to be vested on the Deed must attend closing in order to sign the Deed of Trust encumbering the property for the lien to be perfected. Please let us know asap if title is to be vested in the names of persons other than the borrower.
- Make sure that you have provided both Avenue and your lender with your complete legal name for title purposes. For example, if you use your middle initial, as opposed to your middle name, make sure both your lender and our office know about it. We also need to know how the buyers will take title (Tenants in Common, Joint Tenants, or Tenants by the Entirety). We can explain the benefits of each method to you.
- If the property is a DC condominium, Section 45-1871 of the D.C. Code requires the seller to obtain certain documents for your review within ten (10) days, and certifications from the condominium association and to deliver those to buyer. Review your condo documents and the accompanying certificate carefully to be sure you understand the general and special assessments (if any) related to your unit.
- If this is not a condominium, we will require a survey. Please note that there are many kinds of surveys. You can save up to $100 if the seller of your property can give us a copy of his/her old survey. Be aware that the survey we will otherwise order is cursory and will not verify boundary lines; your owner's title insurance policy will take exception to boundary disputes. If you want a more thorough "boundary" survey (the cost is roughly $1,500.00 and it takes 3 weeks) you must let us know in advance.
- If you are the subject of any tax liens, court judgments, bankruptcy proceedings, or mental competency proceedings, please let us know. We will find out anyway, and can help you explain these items to your lender in a better light.
- If you are over 65 years of age and want to apply for the D.C. Senior Citizen's property tax exemption, please advise us. Buyers in D.C. who intend to owner-occupy their property and pay D.C. income taxes are eligible for the $60,000 "Homestead Deduction" when calculating their real property tax assessment. See the form of application in "Forms". We will submit the application for you, and obtain a receipt for the filing.
- Certain "low income" residents in D.C. are eligible for free window, storm-door, furnace, and other energy conservation assistance. For more information call "RCAP" at (202) 724-2100. Also, certain "low income" purchasers in DC may be eligible for the "tax abatement" program, saving the 3.0% transfer and recordation tax normally assessed, and exempting the property from the real property tax for five years. To qualify, a single person's gross income as shown on IRS Form 1040 must be below $45,720. Call us if you believe you might qualify.
- If the buyer is a corporation, a limited partnership, or a limited liability company please produce a Certificate of Good Standing at settlement that is no more than thirty (30) days old. In the case of a corporation, we also need certified copies of corporate resolutions authorizing the purchase and encumbrance of the property. Call us and we will explain how to order the Certificate.
- How much do I bring to settlement? Sometimes we will not be able to give you an accurate answer until the day of settlement. You can use the enclosed worksheet for an approximation. You must bring a certified check to settlement in the amount of the worksheet total. You should also bring a personal check for any additional payment due, which we will calculate at the table. If you must send us a wire, the wire must be received and acknowledged by our bank on the morning of the day of settlement. Please call us for wire instructions. All funds and checks should be made payable to "Avenue Settlement Corporation."
- There are two types of title insurance policies. Your lender will require a "Mortgagee's Policy" that does not afford you, the buyer, any coverage. You should also obtain an "Owner's Policy" of title insurance which provides title insurance coverage to you for a small additional cost. See the policy cover in Forms. If you are uncertain as to whether you should obtain an Owner's Policy of title insurance, you are urged to seek independent advice. Because of the poor state of the land records maintained by the District of Columbia, all buyers in DC are strongly advised to purchase an owners policy.
- You should ask your lender to send you a copy of the appraisal for which you paid. You should tell them to include it with the loan documents. We in turn will include it with your settlement documents distributed at closing.
- Surely you want to deduct any "points" you pay to your lender fromyour taxes. The IRS has issued new regulations governing any such deductions. Check with your accountant if you have concerns or questions.
- A few days before settlement, a buyer should arrange for the utilities to be placed in the buyer's name. For utility contact information, please see our links page for each jurisdiction.