Purchase & Sale Agreement

Contract to Purchase

The Process of Buying/Selling a House


Pre-qualification with a reputable lender.


Select an expert realtor.


Begin working with an experienced Real Estate Lawyer.


Visit houses with your Realtor.


Submit offer to purchase*(See sample on this site)


Offer is accepted, subject to a more detailed contract (Purchase & Sale Agreement)* (See sample on this site)‍


Home inspection takes place.‍


Attorney negotiates the terms of the purchase & sale agreement with the Seller’s attorney.‍


Sign the purchase & sale agreement and pay the 2nd deposit.‍


Attorney prepares the title and other documents for closing.‍


The lender processes the loan for final approval.‍


Realtor works with the Seller’s realtor to obtain required documentation and information to prepare the file for closing.‍


Attorney’s office schedules a time for signing the papers and closing on the home.‍




What is a title company?

Title companies conduct "title searches" looking at real estate records trying to find information about the property you are trying to purchase. Such information includes:Identifying the legal owner of the propertyLiensJudgmentsUnpaid taxesAfter the search is complete, the title company will complete a "commitment of title insurance" on behalf of either the lender or the buyer. This step ensures the buyer is receiving a clear title on the property and any outstanding issues are resolved. Once these steps are done, the title company will use their underwriter to issue a policy of title insurance covering the lender and the buyer.

Can a title company act as settlement agent?

A title company can generally acts as settlement agent. They can explain all the costs involved for both parties, secure the lender, and prepare a closing statement. The title company will then collect money from both buyer and seller, signed documents, and approval given by lender. The lender wires money to the title company to pay all the expenses, any mortgages, and the seller their proceeds.

What is a Closing Attorney?

A closing attorney represents either the buyer or the seller.  In Massachusetts, the Buyer and Lender can be represented by the same closing attorney/title company.

What is a title?

A title is a right to ownership of specific real estate property. Titles can change hands through a will, court decree, law, or by selling the property (deed). Any time a title is transferred it is recorded in a deed and filed with the registry of deeds for the appropriate county and/or the land court.

What is title insurance?

Having title insurance protects the lender and the buyer from financial loss due to title defects.

What can make a title defective?

Many defects can hinder the transfer of a title:

(i) Fraud


(iv)False affidavits

(v)Unpaid judgments

(vi)Unfiled liens

(vii)Forged documents

(viii)Improperly indexed documents

(ix)Errors in tax records

Do I need title insurance?

Unless you are paying for your home out of pocket, your lender will require you to purchase title insurance. It's advisable to purchase a policy to protect yourself as well. By doing so, you are protecting yourself from title defects that may give someone else claim to your property.  The lender’s policy protects the lender for the amount of the loan.  The owner’s policy protects the owner for as long as the owner retains ownership of the property without the need to re-purchase a policy in the future.  A lender’s policy is repurchased each time the owner refinances, but can be discounted in some cases.

What does title insurance protect you against?

There are many things title insurance protects you against, but some of the most common are:


(ii)Forged deeds, releases or wills

(iii)Misinterpretations of wills

(iv)Deeds by minors or by persons of unsound mind

(v)Deeds by persons supposedly single, but in fact married


(vii)Unpaid taxes

(viii)Unpaid inheritance

What is a title report or title exam?

The title report is prepared by the title company and discloses any information about easements, restrictions, ownership, and liens on the home.

What is a settlement?

The settlement is another term for "closing." It's the completion of a real estate transaction where the title passes from the seller to the buyer.

What is closing?

Closing is another term for "settlement." It refers to the part of the real estate transaction where the title moves from the seller to the buyer's hands.  This is the process of transferring ownership and signing the appropriate documents.

At closing, how do I pay my closing costs and the rest of my down payment?

Funds for closing must come in the form of a bank wire or certified check payable to the settlement agent, Cherry Tree Title.

How much can I expect to pay for title insurance?

Rates vary depending on how much you paid for the home and the state/county in which the property is located.

What is the difference between the Contract to Purchase and the Purchase & Sale Agreement?

In Massachusetts, we utilize two contracts when buying real estate…the Contract to Purchase and the Purchase & Sale Agreement.  Think of the Contract to Purchase as a preliminary contract, laying out some of the important provisions for the transaction, and the Purchase & Sale Agreement is the more detailed contract.  The Contract to Purchase is usually good for 7-10 days until the Purchase & Sale Agreement is signed.

What is the Mortgage Commitment Date?

The Mortgage Commitment Date, also known as the Mortgage Contingency Date, is the date by which a Buyer must notify the Seller of his/her inability to obtain financing to purchase a property.  As long as the Buyer provides timely notice, his/her deposit will be refunded and the Buyer is able to terminate the transaction without penalty.  If the Buyer does not provide timely notice of termination, and ultimately does not complete the transaction, the deposit may be lost.Note, this date is often extended from the original date set forth in the Purchase & Sale Agreement, which requires written agreement of the Parties often through their respective attorneys.

Where do I go for my closing?

Our staff at Cherry Tree Title will be in touch with you a few days prior to closing to schedule a time and place that is agreeable for all involved.  We always do our best to accommodate time requests.

When do I get the keys to my new home?

After all closing documents are signed, our staff will record the new deed and mortgage electronically at the appropriate registry of deeds.  Once these documents are recorded, the transaction is complete and you get the keys!

Are there any special considerations for condominiums?

When purchasing a condominium, the Seller will provide a certificate to the Buyer certifying that all monthly fees and special assessments (if any) are paid in full as of the date of closing.  These fees along with taxes are pro-rated as of the closing date.  We recommend that prior to purchasing a condominium, you review the condominium documents and budget.  If you have questions, you can ask your attorney at Cherry Tree Title to review these documents, sometimes at an additional fee.  Other questions to ask that are often important include pet policies; assigned parking; and assigned storage.

Are there any special considerations for multi-family homes?

When purchasing a multi-family home, it is very important to know specifically which units are being delivered vacant and which units are being delivered with tenants.  At the time of your final walk through, you will want to make sure that units that are to be delivered vacant are, in fact, vacant.  For tenanted units, you will want to make sure that you review the rental agreements/leases prior to signing a Purchase & Sale Agreement.  You will also want to make sure that any pre-paid rent and deposits are transferred from Seller to Buyer at closing.

Your Title Here

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