Part III of the “Avoiding Major Pitfalls at the Closing Table” series covers townhouse sales. This type of property is a beast of its own nature. Unlike condominiums and cooperatives, you are your own management company and superintendent. This means you have to make sure all City, DoB and utility-related items are in place in order to have a successful closing. These tips will help you prepare:
PART III: Townhouses
- Judgments Against Seller: Check for any judgments against the seller. They must be resolved to receive a clear title.
- Survey/Encroachment: It is best to conduct a survey prior to closing so you can determine if there are any encroachments on the property or any adjacent properties. The title company will need to have documentation at closing to record any agreed upon survey changes with adjacent properties.
- Environmental Control Board Violation: Sellers should make sure there are no fines against the property no matter how small. It will be found on the title continuation and must be paid to receive a clear title.
- Sidewalk Violation: This is a major issue in townhouse closings. If the City has filed a violation prior to contract signing it is the responsibility of the seller to remedy it. If it is not remedied, some lenders will not allow the closing to take place until it is fixed.
- Mechanic’s Lien: The title search will pull up any liens and the seller should be aware prior to closing so they can resolve each lien. This is needed to receive a clear title.
- Open Building Permit: As a seller, make sure you have sign offs from the building department to show that all your work permits are closed. Sometimes title reports will have conflicting information.
- Water Bill: The seller should attain the last water bill from the City and make sure it is paid to date.
- Covenants and Restrictions: This may reflect that there are set back lines and restrictions as to what the property can be used as. What may happen is that the title company may need to provide affirmative insurance in the lender’s title policy for these recorded documents. As a buyer, you should check to see if you will need this insurance ahead of time.