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Real Estate Closings Attorneys in Jacksonville

If you are getting ready to close on a new home or business office, contact our team at Edwards and Edwards P.A. Our Jacksonville real estate attorneys (one of whom is a licensed real estate agent) are here to make sure every step of your closing goes through perfectly.

How Our Jacksonville Commercial Real Estate Attorney Can Help 

With 65+ years of legal experience, we can provide all the following and more:

  • Contract negotiations – advancing your best interests in residential and commercial closings
  • Buyer/seller representation – providing counsel and advocacy backed by extensive knowledge of all sides of a real estate transaction
  • Closing and title services – resolving title issues, defects, and liens in-house, and conducting offsite closings as needed
  • Foreclosure and short sale assistance – obtaining the best outcome for those currently facing foreclosure or participating in a short sale as a buyer or seller
  • Client-focused accommodations – providing services outside normal business hours and offering fair, competitive pricing

From completing the paperwork to conducting the final inspections, our legal team works hard to provide you with the information you need, steer you away from potential pitfalls, and help you make the best possible legal and financial decisions.

If you are preparing for a commercial or residential real estate closing, contact us online or call (904) 478-9255 today! We look forward to working with you.

The Real Estate Closing Process

The purchase or sale of a home is often one of the largest transactions an individual or family will make in their lifetime. Regardless of the whether the property is the first home for a family or an investment property, a substantial amount of money is being moved around. As such, it is important that the closing process is handled by a competent team that works hard to take all the appropriate steps to protect your investment.

All real estate transactions require a “closing,” which is a transaction that transfers ownership from the seller to the buyer on an agreed upon date. However, most of the work involved in a closing is done before the actual transaction.

Here are some of the most critical steps that lead to the closing:

  • The closing attorney/title agent must perform a title search to determine whether the title is marketable and therefore insurable.
  • A lien search is performed to determine if there are any existing liens against the property that must be cleared prior to transferring ownership.
  • A survey determines whether there are any issues with the boundary lines or encroachments.
  • Estoppel letters and requests are sent to Homeowner’s Associations and Mortgage lenders to 1) determine if there are any outstanding HOA assessments and 2) determine the payoff amount(s) for any existing mortgage(s).
  • The attorney drafts a settlement statement (or closing disclosure, known as a “CD”) that reflects all costs and fees associated with the subject property.

After all the parties have fulfilled their responsibilities per the Purchase and Sale Agreement (PASA), the parties may proceed to closing. The buyer brings the requisite money to be distributed to the seller after all other liabilities and encumbrances have been satisfied.

After the deed has been signed and checks have been cut, we will need to record all necessary documents in the appropriate county Land Records Department: the deed, mortgage, satisfactions, and affidavits. Additionally, we must draft and issue a Title Insurance Policy to the new owner (and the lender, if the purchase was financed).

Due to the vast amount of work and complex series of steps involved in any closing, retaining the services of a competent and efficient team of attorneys is critical to your success.

Preparing For A Commercial Real Estate Closing

The main goal of the closing is to make sure the transfer deed gets recorded correctly and that all the money is paid the right way. Navigating the purchase or sale of commercial real estate property can be a daunting task, particularly for small business owners. Familiarizing yourself with the general steps involved can significantly reduce the stress associated with this intricate process.

Outlined below are six key facets of a Florida commercial purchase and sale transaction, offering valuable guidance for both sellers and buyers.

Letter Of Intent

Although not mandated by Florida, the commercial real estate closing process typically starts with a Letter of Intent (LOI). While the contents of an LOI aren't rigidly prescribed, certain essential elements must be covered, including:

  • Names of the buyer and seller
  • Where the property is located
  • Agreed-upon purchase specifics: Outline purchase price, pivotal financial terms (like initial deposits), and more

Drafting Purchase & Sale Agreement to Use

Purchase and Sale Agreement to Use come in various types, covering different property kinds like apartments, stores, factories, and empty land. While basics like the price and deadlines stay the same, each agreement type has its own details to consider. This could include things like current tenants or plans for the property.

Remember, if the earlier agreement (LOI) must be followed, the new agreement should include what you've already agreed on.

Your commercial real estate attorney in Jacksonville will help make a suitable list of things to consider for your situation.

Creating and Reviewing Purchase & Sale Agreements

Commercial purchase agreements are often made by the seller's lawyer and sent to the buyer's lawyer to look over and suggest changes. All parts of the purchase agreement are negotiable. Below are some things to consider when making the agreement:

  • Terms of the LOI
  • Property Description - Explain what exactly is being sold, both the land and anything else that comes with it. You may also specify if something will not be sold.
  • Negotiate Warranties - Discuss any promises or agreements, like if the seller can still use the property in some way after you sign the contract.
  • Inspection Period - Decide how much time you will get to inspect the property before you make a final decision.
  • Decide who pays the various costs associated with the transaction

Due Diligence

Just like when buying a house, the time for the buyer to inspect the property starts when both parties sign the contract. During this period, the buyer should try to learn as much as possible about the property's condition to decide if they want to go ahead with the deal. Once this inspection time ends, the buyer's deposit usually can't be given back unless they discuss it with the other party.

During this period, the buyer will check the property's history, study its layout, look into any environmental concerns, check its structure, and review its profitability.

Closing Documents

In Florida, a special agent called an escrow or title agent helps get the necessary papers ready, exchanged, and recorded (if needed) for the closing. The papers that need signing might change depending on how complicated the deal is.

Below is a basic list of documents that almost always go along with a commercial real estate purchase in Florida:

  • Transfer deed
  • Bill of Sale
  • A change of hands for service contracts that the seller has
  • A change of hands for leases that the seller has
  • Notices for tenants and/or people the seller does business with
  • Tenant estoppel certificatesFo
  • FIRPTA certificate

Before everything is done, it's smart to have your Jacksonville commercial real estate lawyer look at these documents to ensure that everything is accurate and compliant.

End of Closing Process

The title agent should only pay out money following the rules in the escrow instructions and the approved closing document.

When everyone gets paid and the documents are filed, the title agent will send the buyer a new Owner’s title insurance policy. If the deal was financed by a lender, they also send a Lender’s title insurance policy to the lender.

For skilled guidance with commercial closing, speak with an experienced Jacksonville commercial real estate attorney at Edwards & Edwards, P.A..  Contact us online or dial (904) 478-9255 to set up an appointment. Are services are available in English & Spanish!

Purchasing a Foreclosed Home

Compared to other states, Florida has one of the highest foreclosure rates. An estimated 1 out of every 662 housing units receive a foreclosure filing, compared to the national rate of 1 out of every 1,268. As a result, foreclosure sales have been a large part of the market, expanding the possibility for sellers and buyers to obtain a great result, particularly in Jacksonville.

You may acquire a foreclosed property in one of the following ways.

1. Entering into a PASA with the Seller

For example, a seller may be quite far into the foreclosure process with the lender or mortgage holder, but they may still enter into a PASA with you in an effort to avoid a Final Judgement of Foreclosure. Timing is everything, however, and we can assist you with every step of the foreclosure and sale process. We can negotiate with the lender, work with the lender’s attorney, file necessary documents with the Court, and create and implement a timeline that works in the best interest of all parties.

2. Via Public Auction

This is slightly different from the above example because, by the time the property reaches a public auction, there has already been an entry of a Final Judgment of Foreclosure. While obtaining a foreclosed property via public auction can yield a great deal, it can also come with legal challenges that we are fully prepared to help you navigate.

3. Buying the Property Directly from the Bank

The bank from which you purchase the property is typically the lender of the previous owner. Unlike in other types of sales, the bank will make no guarantees or warranties as to the condition of the property or title. An inspection and a title search are investments worth making prior to the purchase of a foreclosed home from the bank. If issues come to light after the title search (such as a tax lien), we can help you resolve these problems with efficiency and care.

65+ Years’ Experience on Your Side

Real estate matters are highly complex and riddled with legal obstacles. Our team at Edwards & Edwards, P.A. can minimize and even eliminate the risks while maximizing the benefits of your transaction. We are fully equipped to develop the strategy you need because we have extensive experience in a wide array of practice areas, which allows us to consider all potential legal and financial ramifications of your decisions.

Call (904) 478-9255 or contact Edwards & Edwards, P.A. online for the exemplary level of assistance you need.

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