Real Estate FAQs
Useful information from an Indiana real estate lawyer. More than 20 years' experience.
If you're looking for information about real estate law in Indiana, we have your answers. As a special service to you, we have created this frequently asked question page. Don't see your question here? Call Hocker & Associates, LLC right now to find out how a real estate attorney in Indianapolis can help: (317) 578-1630. Our real estate attorneys in Indianapolis, Janet Davis Hocker and Kathleen S. Crebo will be on your side.
- What Real Estate Legal Services Do You Offer?
- What is Seller Financing and How Does It Affect Transactions? (LISTEN)
- Why Hire a Real Estate Lawyer?
- What is Title Insurance? (LISTEN)
- What Should I Bring to My Meeting with My Attorney?
- How Does Identity Fraud Affect Real Estate Transactions? (LISTEN)
- What Should I Expect at Closing?
- Can You Break Down Real Estate Transactions Piece by Piece? (LISTEN)
- Do You Handle Closings When HUD is the Owner?
- What Is The Difference Between A Property's Estimated Value And A Property's Assessed Value?
Our experienced Indianapolis real estate attorneys can work with you on a wide range of legal matters, including:
- Real estate title issues
- Tax Sale Deeds
- Tax Sale Notices
- Land Sale Contracts
We also represent landlords in disputes with tenants.
During our more than 20 years of practice, we have helped businesses and homebuyers resolve issues in their current transactions, as well as prevented problems in the distant future.
Sometimes more than one person believes they have a right to a particular piece of property. Other times, people are unable to sell land they purchased at a tax sale. When these situations occur, you need to prove you have the right to sell your land by filing a quiet title action - something our attorneys have been doing for more than 20 years.
Whether someone is asserting a right to your property, or if a lien is preventing your transaction from moving forward, we are here to help. We can assist you with many other real estate issues as well such as purchase agreements, boundary disputes or construction projects.
When you meet with us, we urge to bring a copy of any legal documents pertaining to the property in question. This can include a copy of your purchase-and-sale agreement, formal notices from government agencies about unpaid taxes and other relevant information. Examples of important real estate documents include:
- Title and homeowner insurance policies
- Purchase and sales agreements
- Realtor or broker agreements
- Offers to buy
- Construction and service contracts
- Mortgage notes and contracts
- Court or agency documents
- Documents related to zoning and variances
- Wills and trusts related to real property
- Guardianship or conservatorship documents related to real property
- Correspondence from government agencies, officials and any other relevant parties
- Assessments, appraisals, inspections and surveys
- Property tax statements
- Photographs of property
If you do not readily have access to the information listed above, do not wait to contact us. We can always obtain your official documents later. What matters most is meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case.
A closing, or settlement, is the meeting during which ownership of the property is officially transferred from the seller to the buyer. The buyer and the seller, their attorneys, both real estate sales professionals, a representative of the lender and the closing agent typically attend the closing. The closing involves settling any open issues, balancing and verifying an often-complex closing statement and signing all documents necessary to complete the transaction. An attorney with experience in closing real estate transactions from Hocker & Associates, LLC in Indianapolis, Indiana, will advise you at closing to ensure that your rights are protected.
Closing costs are one of the least-understood aspects of the home-purchase procedure. Although a good closer will take time to walk a buyer through the numbers, an experienced attorney from Hocker & Associates, LLC will provide additional insight and verify that the costs are being appropriately allocated between the buyer and the seller.
Closing costs vary somewhat by community, but they generally are between two and five percent of the home's purchase price and include:
- Attorney's fees
- Escrow fees
- Property taxes to cover the period to the closing date
- Interest from the closing date to one month before the first monthly payment
- Loan origination fees
- Recording fees
- Survey fees
- Mortgage insurance, if applicable
- Title insurance, both for the buyer and the lender
- Loan discount points
- The first escrow payment for future real estate taxes and insurance
- Homeowner's insurance policy payment or receipt
- Appraisal fees
- Pest or other specific inspection fees
- Document preparation fees
At closing, the buyer typically presents his or her paid homeowner's insurance policy or a binder and receipt showing a paid premium. The closing agent will then list the amounts the buyer owes the seller and the amounts the seller owes the buyer. The seller will provide any items the contract requires him or her to provide. Once the parties have verified that the numbers are correct, the parties sign the closing statement, the buyer signs the mortgage note and the mortgage, and the seller gives the buyer title to the property in the form of a signed deed.
The buyer often pays the lender's agent all closing costs, and the closer provides the buyer with a settlement statement listing all the monetary items. Immediately after closing, the closing agent should record the deed and mortgage. During the closing process, the buyer also typically receives:
Settlement statement, itemizing the services provided and the fees charged
- Truth-in-lending statement
- Mortgage note
- Mortgage or deed of trust
- Sales contract
- Any required affidavits, if any
- Copy of the deed
- Keys to the home
Real estate closings can move very quickly, with both parties discussing and sometimes disagreeing about the numbers, all of which ultimately represent your hard-earned money. A real estate attorney who thoroughly understands real estate law at Hocker & Associates, LLC can look out for your best interests and help you protect your rights.
Hocker & Associates, LLC Attorneys at Law are pleased to be under contract with the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (hereinafter "HUD") to act as closing agent for designated properties located in the State of Indiana. As such, Hocker & Associates, LLC and all their employees designated as closers are authorized to complete all aspects relating to the closing of a residential sales transaction wherein HUD is the seller, including signing closing documents on behalf of HUD.
Said contracts are identified as C-ATL-01961, C-ATL-01962 and C-ATL-01965. Any further questions relating to this authority should be directed to HUD's Atlanta Contracting Operations located in Atlanta, Georgia (678) 732-2556. Any further questions regarding Hocker & Associates, LLC employees designated as closers should be directed to the undersigned.
(Read attorney Janet Hocker's interview with The Indiana Lawyer to learn more about this issue.)
There can sometimes be a big difference between the estimated value of a property and the actual assessed value of a property. Sometimes, one number is significantly more or less than the other. This discrepancy can come into play when buying or selling a property. In general, Indiana bases its assessed value of a property based on the fair market value standard. As a result, the purchase price of a property is used to determine the assessed value of a property. Big differences between the estimated value and assessed value can occur, especially if improvements have been made to the property which are not reflected in the assessed value. All these numbers need to be considered when buying or selling a property. That's why it's important to speak with experienced real estate attorney Janet Hocker or another lawyer at our law firm before finalizing a property sale or purchase.