The actual closing process is regulated by state law and local practices which protect both the Buyer and the Seller. In the vast majority of the Commonwealth, the Purchaser's settlement attorney or settlement agent disburses all the proceeds from the transaction. The Seller is basically unrepresented.
In Central Virginia, our local practice results in actual representation for the Seller. As a result, the Seller's attorney or Settlement Company disburses the Seller's proceeds including pay off of the mortgage and real estate commission. Our local bar has procedures in place which allow this to occur while still protecting the Purchaser.
Unfortunately, whenever a lawyer or settlement company from outside our area is hired to represent the Purchaser, a major issue occurs. The Purchaser's non local settlement agent, unfamiliar with our practices, insists on the closing occurring his way. This may mean that someone unfamiliar with our local practice demands to record and disburse all the proceeds. Not only is there no protection for the Seller, but the use of an out of the area settlement company may result in several days delay in recording the Deed and paying the mortgage and realtor. (It makes no sense for a Northern Virginia title company to insist that the Purchaser close in Fairfax, then delays two days to record and finally days later the mortgage is paid off).
Accordingly, there are a number or excellent real estate attorneys and settlement companies in the Central Virginia market. When the Purchaser mentions the desire to use a non-local settlement agent, strongly discourage this practice from happening. The time involved and problems caused in requiring the settlement agent to follow our local practices is not worth all the problems caused.
P.S. This Tucker's tip is not meant as a self-advertisement but is really just trying to create solutions for a smooth closing. Thanks.
William D. Tucker, III
Tucker Griffin Barnes