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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Some Typical Questions That Buyers and Sellers Have About Closings

[Published June 27, 2013, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section and in five Jefferson County weekly newspapers]

What do I bring to closing? Because some documents need to be notarized, both parties have to bring photo IDs. If either party needs to bring money to the closing, it should be a cashier’s check payable to him or herself, to be endorsed over to the closing/title company. Both parties will get a draft settlement statement a day or two prior to the closing, so that any mistakes can be identified, explained and/or corrected.

Should I contact the utilities? Yes, you should contact all the utilities except water & sewer, which will be handled by the closing company. The water utility will take a reading on the day of closing and send the final bill to the closing company, which will at closing withhold some of seller’s proceeds — about twice the expected bill amount — for the purpose of paying this bill.  The excess will then be refunded to the seller. This is done because an unpaid water bill can become a lien against the property, and the title company, which insures all liens are paid, can not let a final water bill go unpaid. This is not true of other utilities.

Will gas & electricity be turned off?  No, the seller’s final reading will become the beginning reading for the buyer when he gets around to identifying himself.

Why am I being charged for property taxes when I just paid them?  The taxes you paid were for last year.  This year’s property taxes aren’t due until next April, so sellers are debited at closing for this year’s taxes, pro-rated to the date of closing. This money is credited to the buyer, who will pay the full year’s taxes next April. After closing, seller’s lender will refund money they escrowed.

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