In Virginia, settlement in a real estate matter is the formal process that effectuates the transfer of ownership of the property. The buyer typically has the right to choose his or her Settlement Agent. While the law does not require settlement agents in Virginia to be attorneys, non-lawyers may not practice law. As such, they are not licensed to interpret contracts or explain legal documents. While the law provides that a singular attorney can represent both buyer and seller, the parties must mutually consent to this arrangement in writing. If any conflict arises between the parties, the original settlement agent will be required to withdraw from representation and each party will have to acquire independent representation.

The settlement agent typically reviews the real estate contract, assembles necessary documentation for settlement, reviews the title information, the survey and the title insurance, and prepares, explains and records applicable documents. The settlement agent also receives and appropriately disburses funds related to the transaction.

Among other documents, the Seller will sign the deed at settlement. The deed transfers the property to the buyer and is recorded in the local courthouse. Buyers will sign a promissory note and deed of trust if they are financing the property as well as many other disclosure documents and other certifications required by the settlement agent, the lender and the title company.

Following settlement, the Settlement Agent records the deed and deed of trust and disburses the funds according to the Settlement statement.

The law firm of Paulson & Paulson, PLC can help you with your real estate purchase or sale. Please call an experienced attorney at the law firm of Paulson & Paulson, PLC for more information.