The decision about who provides settlement (also known as closing or escrow) services varies from one market to another. In many places, the buyer chooses the settlement company, but in others the seller chooses. In Seattle the seller typically will request a settlement agent of their choice however it’s agreed upon by both parties in the contract terms. During the negotiation stage of the transaction, a mutually agreed-upon date for closing is determined. The actual closing is when you and the buyer sign all the paperwork and pay your share of the settlement fees, and the documents are recorded. Settlement obligations vary widely due to specific contract language, state and local laws.
At a typical closing, adjustments are made to the final amounts owed by the buyer and you as the seller. For example, if you’ve been paying your property taxes through an escrow account, you may be credited extra for prepaid taxes or you may receive less money at settlement if the property taxes haven’t been paid properly.
At the closing of escrow, the buyer will need to provide the funds to buy your home and the settlement officer will review the sales agreement to determine what payments you’ll receive. The title to the property is transferred to the buyers and arrangements are made to record that title transfer with the county records office.
THE SELLER PAYS:
• Brokerage commission to the real estate brokerages involved with the transaction
• One-half of escrow or legal fees paid to the attorney or escrow company for handling the closing
• Document preparation fees
• Recording and notary fees
• Title search and title insurance
• Local transfer taxes, if any
• State taxes, if any
• Payoff of any mortgage balances
• Payoff of any liens or any other encumbrances attached to the property
• Repairs or inspections seller has agreed to pay for
THE SELLER WILL TYPICALLY RECEIVE:
• Utility deposits held by gas, electric, cable, telephone and other companies
• Prorated portion of pre-paid property taxes
• Prorated mortgage interest if any payments were made during the current month
• Rebate for oil or propane remaining in storage tank
• Net proceeds after the required seller's share of costs is paid