Real Estate

Real Estate

Peck & Tuneski, P.C. is the preeminent real estate settlement attorney in Eastern Connecticut. We work with clients who are buying, selling, and refinancing residential and commercial real estate all over the State of Connecticut. Our relationships with realtors and mortgage lenders allow us to work with those professionals on closing issues in a professional, yet familiar manner. They know and trust our judgment, and issues that may arise during the transaction are dealt with easily and effectively.

Our relationship with CATIC Title Insurance Company allows us to deal efficiently with title problems. Our experienced staff works with theirs to facilitate the closing of your transaction. When title problems are encountered, this experience and the relationship we have developed allows us to solve the most difficult of title defects expeditiously and effectively. While the closing process is complicated, and you should always deal with experienced real estate professionals, all of us should be concerned with spending more than is necessary.

This section of our website is dedicated to clients, potential clients and lenders who are either using our services or are considering using our services for a real estate transaction. It includes information which may be helpful for those new to the closing process, or those who may want to review certain aspects of purchasing, refinancing, or selling real property in the State of Connecticut. Please feel free to browse our site and contact us with any questions.

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What is the process of closing on a home in the State of Connecticut?

Buyers and Sellers in Connecticut are represented by separate attorneys. In most situations the Buyer and the Lender in a transaction are represented by the same attorney and the Seller is represented by separate counsel. Buyers’ counsel also acts as title agent, performs a title search, and issues title insurance for the closing. Title insurance companies, such as our title company, CATIC, have licensed Connecticut attorneys to issue policies in the same way that they are issued in states in which title companies do business through direct operations.

The Rules of Professional Responsibility govern the ethical considerations of attorney representation. As a result, closing attorneys are prohibited from representation of both Buyer and Seller. This is the primary difference between closing with an escrow company and in a State like Connecticut. As a Buyer you are represented with respect to issues between you and the Seller. Your attorney will advocate for your interests if the transaction requires. Closings are performed by having each attorney meet with their own clients, and then arrange for delivery of conveyancing documents, and delivery of funds. The final closing date will be the date the buyer/borrower signs papers relating to the transaction. On the closing date Buyers/Borrowers must deliver good funds to our office. This typically means that a wire is arranged, or a bank check delivered. Personal checks are not acceptable.

Once the closing is complete the Buyers’ attorney records all the appropriate documents at the town hall where the property is located. The Sellers’ attorney handles the payoff of any liens with funds received from the Buyers’ attorney. The final title insurance policies are issued by the Buyers’ attorney after all documentation is filed at the town clerk’s office. The original loan package is then sent to the Lender.

What does your firm do when representing a Buyer in a real estate transaction?

The home buying process can seem very confusing. We hope that our office can make the entire purchase process easy and enjoyable for you. You will be assigned a paralegal dedicated to your file. There are just a few things to remember.

In most situations, the Lender’s attorney and your attorney will be the same. Our office represents most Lenders in the State of Connecticut and will also represent your interests, if you wish. This will reduce the attorney fees paid by you at closing because even if you want to have your own attorney, separate from the Lenders, you will be required to pay for the Lender’s attorney. Even though it is typical for the Lenders’ attorney to also represent the Buyer/Borrower, the Rules of Professional Responsibility require that all attorneys disclose a potential conflict of interest in such representation. In the event of a dispute between you and your Lender, the attorney would be able to attempt to mediate the dispute; However, if the dispute could not be resolved, the attorney would have no choice but to decline to represent either party against the other. This type of conflict very rarely occurs but must be disclosed. You should also know that the loan documentation typically used by most Mortgage Lenders is very standardized. As a result, there will be no negotiation with respect to their terms and conditions. This should provide some comfort as the same loan documents are used in virtually all transactions across the country.

Some of the services we provide when representing buyers are:

  • Review purchase and sale contract between you and the Seller, if desired.
  • Perform and review the title search for the property you are purchasing.
  • Resolve issues which may arise during the pendency of your purchase.
  • Explain the mortgage process and assist you in understanding just what the lender’s commitment letter says.
  • Assist in the coordination of the closing, represent you at the closing, review all closing documents, and explain their meaning and significance to you.
  • Record all documentation with the Town Clerk.
  • Issue title insurance for both you and your lender, to protect your interest in the property against title defects.
  • Answer questions you might have and resolve disputes that may arise at any time during the closing process.
  • Disburse all closing funds to the appropriate parties.

Please call our office to discuss how we can represent you, and what our fees are for this service. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you. Until such time as we have confirmed our representation in writing please do not assume you have retained our firm.

How much does your firm charge for representing a Buyer in a real estate transaction?

If you would like to retain Peck & Tuneski, P.C. for a real estate closing, where our office will represent your interests as a Buyer/Borrower relating to real property we would be happy to do so. Our typical attorney fee for representation of a Buyer/Borrower in a real estate transaction involving a lender is $995.00. Out of pocket costs such as for wire fees, overnight mail fees and courier fees are billing separately. In addition to our legal fee, we must perform a title search. The fee for our title search is $275.00. In the event no Lender is involved, and you are paying cash for the property, our attorney fee is reduced to $895.00 with a title search fee of $275.00. Our fee does not include title insurance for you or your lender. As title insurance rates are based on the purchase price and loan amount it must be quoted separately. You may use the title insurance rate calculator located here<>. All fees, unless other arrangements are made, are payable as part of your closing costs, at closing. On the closing date Buyers/Borrowers must deliver good funds to our office. This typically means that a wire is arranged, or a bank check delivered. Personal checks are not acceptable.

Until such time as we have confirmed our representation in writing please do not assume you have retained our firm

What are some of the attorney charges associated with a real estate transaction as a Buyer/Borrower?

Our firm makes every effort to assist borrowers in the mortgage loan transaction. Sometimes issues arise regarding the record title to a borrower’s property. If there are title issues or issues involving inaccuracies, we work with the buyer/borrower and keep them informed of all relevant issues. When possible, we seek to resolve title issues and disputes as reasonably as possible. Significant title issues and the resolve of them may incur additional fees.

The fees quoted to you by your lender include a variety of items. Those which involve our office may include the following, and are standard transactional items for representing the lender in residential loan transactions:

Legal Fee: May include any or all of the following: obtaining a title examination at the various Town Land Records, title review, loan document preparation, title certification, communications with borrowers, sellers’ attorney, broker, etc., conducting closing, payoff of all liens and other matters relating to the loan closing.

Title Search: A review of the title history of the property.

Title Insurance: The lender requires a loan policy of title insurance for the loan amount to protect their interests from issues relating to the title to the property that could not be determined from an examination of the record of the title. Peck & Tuneski, P.C. will also issue a policy to protect your interests. Please review the section on this site regarding Title Insurance or go to the link for CATIC Title Insurance Company.

Recording Costs/Courier, Wire Fees & Certified Copy Fees: These include the cost to courier or wire, the mortgage payoff, if this is a refinance, to your lender. Separate fees may be charged to deliver the loan documentation to your lender, who expects to have all executed documents to them within twenty-four (24) hours of closing. These charges also include those to record the mortgage, and other transactional documents at the Town Clerk’s office, and obtaining Town certified copies that may be required in certain transactions by your Lender.

This is a list of some of the items that you may be asked to pay in a normal residential loan transaction. This explanation should serve as a brief overview of the items described above. For a further explanation, please contact your lender or our office.

The mortgage loan closing process may sometimes seem complicated and confusing. However, you will find that a few minutes of simple explanation can almost always relieve any anxiety or confusion about the process. We look forward to seeing you at your closing. Until such time as we have confirmed our representation in writing please do not assume you have retained our firm.

What does your firm do when representing a Seller in a real estate transaction?

Unless our firm is representing one of the other parties in your sale, our office can represent you for a reasonable fee, and give you the comfort you need to proceed confidently toward the sale of your home or investment property. In most areas of Connecticut, Realtors prepare the Purchase and Sale Agreement. Our standard quoted fee for Seller representation is $995.00 and does not include contract drafting. We are happy to review contracts drafted by others, on behalf of our clients. In addition to contract review, other services we provide when representing sellers, include:

  • Resolving issues which may arise during the pendency of your sale.
  • Explaining the mortgage process and assisting you in understanding just what your buyer’s lender’s requirements mean to you.
  • Assisting you in resolving and clearing any issues that may be found in the examination of your property’s title.
  • Preparation of the deed from you to your buyer.
  • Assisting in the coordination of the closing, represent you at the closing, review all closing documents, and explain their meaning and significance to you.
  • Answering any questions, you might have, and resolving disputes that may arise, at any time during the closing process.

Please call our office to discuss how we can represent you, and what our fees are for this service. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you. Until such time as we have confirmed our representation in writing please do not assume you have retained our firm.

What do we need to do if you are handling the sale of our home?

If we are handling the sale of your home, there is significant information we will need to accumulate about your transaction. You will provide this to us a variety of ways including through our Connect Software and through communication with your closing paralegal. Please also remember that you must bring a valid driver’s license or passport with you for your signing so that we can identify you. The closing cannot take place, if you do not have this identification with you.

In order to ensure a smooth closing, we would like to review the following information that will be necessary for us to represent you in the sale of your home.

MORTGAGES: If your property is presently mortgaged, the mortgage(s) will be paid off at the time of closing, using proceeds from the sale, if any. Please provide information regarding the bank holding your mortgage, as well as any equity mortgages that may be on your property, in the fill-in form on this site. We will need this information so that we may contact the banks or other liening creditors and make the necessary arrangements for payment. This is very important and requires your prompt attention. After your mortgages have been paid in full, the banks will send us releases, which we will record at the appropriate Town Land Records.

In the event there is a non-institutional mortgage (i.e. one given to a private individual, trust or corporation as opposed to a bank or loan company), we will require that the payoff amount be furnished to us in the form of a payoff letter before the closing, and a discharge be delivered at or before the closing. UNFORTUNATELY, THERE CAN BE NO EXCEPTION IN THIS REGARD. If you are uncertain about whether an outstanding loan is held by a private lender, please contact our office.

DEED:The preparation of a new deed to convey the premises to the buyer is your responsibility. Our office will be responsible for this task. If you have a copy of your deed to the property, please forward a copy to our office.

ELECTRICITY, WATER, SEWER, FUEL: Fuel oil readings, if your property is serviced by oil, should also be supplied to us close in time to closing so that appropriate adjustments can be made. You will be reimbursed for the amount of oil or propane in the tank at the same rate you last paid for oil or propane You should also work with your real estate agent, or our office to order final readings of water, and if applicable, electricity.

EXPENSES: You will also be required to pay any applicable Conveyance Taxes, recording fees to discharge mortgages, and other liens from the proceeds of the sale, assuming there is sufficient sale proceeds to do so. In the event additional funds are needed beyond sale proceeds, they must be presented at closing in the form of a bank or certified check.

POWER OF ATTORNEY: If you intend to use an existing power of attorney to close, please send our office a copy of the power of attorney document, prior to the closing, or contact your closing coordinator for the preparation of one. An additional fee will be charged at closing for this service. The use of, and form of the power of attorney, will have to be approved by the Buyers’ counsel.

CONDOMINIUM UNITS: If the transaction involves a condominium unit, the seller is required to provide a certificate that states any unpaid common expenses which have been assessed to the unit owner. You will also be required to provide a Certificate of Insurance, naming, as insureds, the buyer and their lender, and its successors, and assigns, as their interest may appear.

SALE PROCEEDS: The final closing will usually take place in the office of the Buyers’ attorney. Your funds will not be released to you until the deed and mortgage have been recorded at the appropriate Town Land Records. Your proceeds will be issued to you by a check drawn on the client’s fund account or by wire.

FEDERAL TAX LAWS: Since January 1, 1986 Federal Law requires the closing attorney to report the proceeds of the transaction to the Internal Revenue Service under certain circumstances. This reporting will be necessary, in the event you have sold another property that was your residence in the last two (2) years, have not resided in the property for two (2) of the last five (5) years, used the property for investment or income purposes, or if the sale proceeds are in excess of $250,000.00 for a single person, or $500,000.00 for a married couple. If a report is necessary, you will need to consult a tax advisor for treatment of this transaction on your income tax return.

Please call our office to discuss how we can represent you, and what our fees are for this service. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you. Until such time as we have confirmed our representation in writing please do not assume you have retained our firm.

What is the purpose of title insurance and do I need it?

Since the early 1980’s, most lenders nationwide have required title insurance as a prerequisite to accepting mortgages on residential and commercial real estate. Although title insurance companies have been writing such insurance since the late 1800’s, its popularity has grown with the onset of secondary market mortgages. These are mortgages which are originated locally and sold nationally to investors in the same way that bonds, and other securities are sold. Real estate title insurance, very simply, is an insured statement of the conditions of one’s title or ownership rights to a certain piece of real estate. The policy guarantees that the property being purchased or mortgaged is free from undisclosed liens or rights, and it guarantees additionally, that any confusion as to rights of ownership, will be resolved in favor of the insured, or the company will pay up to the policy limits to the policy holder.

A party purchasing real estate is always offered the opportunity to purchase an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance by the party conducting the real estate closing. For example, you have decided to purchase a house in Old Lyme and are obtaining a mortgage to help you finance the purchase from a bank or mortgage company. The lending institution will require an attorney or title agent to research the title to the property and issue them a Lender’s Policy of Title Insurance. This assures to the lender that the property is or will be owned by the purchaser, and that no defects, liens or encumbrances exist on the property that would adversely affect the marketability of the title. Furthermore, the lender’s policy guarantees that the mortgage will be recorded properly and secures the property for the repayment of the loan. Since the closing attorney is already issuing a lender’s policy of title insurance, the buyer has the opportunity at that time to obtain an owner’s policy of title insurance, at a cost substantially less than the buyer would pay, if the policy was not written simultaneously with the lender’s policy.

The owner’s policy of title insurance insures that the owner has good and marketable title to the property, free from any encumbrances or liens that would adversely affect the property, with the exception of defects or liens made known to the buyer, and insures to the owner that if any such liens, encumbrances, defects or other title problems become known, the title insurer will defend the buyer’s title to the property.

In many instances, we are asked whether title insurance is necessary or advisable for the owner to purchase. We recommend the purchase of the title insurance, for a few simple reasons. First, the premium for purchase of the title insurance policy is a one-time charge. Since the purchaser is usually borrowing money to finance the purchase of the property, the majority of the cost of the title insurance policy has been paid for by the premiums of the lender’s policy that is required by the lender. Usually for an additional few hundred dollars or less, the owner can insure against a variety of problems that could arise in the future, as relates to the property. These items include forged documents in the chain of title, signatures of mentally incompetent persons or minors which are unknown to the party reviewing the title, mistakes or inaccuracies in recording of legal documents of title at the Land Records or in the Probate Court, fraud in the execution or in the handling of a transaction in the Probate Court, undisclosed or missing heirs, fraud in the execution or in the handling of a transaction in the prior chain of title, invalid divorces or misrepresentation of marital status of the parties signing the documents, unpaid taxes which were not paid prior to the purchase of the property, and most importantly, clerical errors in the public records and claims of parties unknown because their claims have not been filed in any indices of public record in the State of Connecticut. The lender’s policy of title insurance does not protect the buyer and can only be claimed against if the lender suffers a financial loss because of a title defect that adversely affects a foreclosure of the buyer’s mortgage. These are just a few of the issues which can arise in the title to anyone’s real estate in Connecticut, and in other parts of the country.

Our office has seen many defects in titles which could not be revealed by examination of the Land Records and Probate Courts. These defects arise at a time after the transaction has taken place, and often purchasers suffer significant losses as a result of them. That is why owner’s title insurance makes a great deal of sense. Title insurance, like any other insurance, protects against the eventuality of an unforeseen and an unfortunate circumstance. For more information on Title Insurance, go to our section on Links, and go to CATIC website. Please feel free to contact our office with any additional questions you may have regarding title insurance.

How are tax and fuel adjustments handled for a closing in the State of Connecticut?

Taxes are due in Connecticut for all real property on July 1 of each year. Payment for the tax bill of July 1 can be paid in two (2) installments, one due by August 1 with the balance due January 1 and considered late if not paid by February 1st. All taxes are based on a valuation of property that is calculated on October 1st of the prior year, by the town assessor. For example, the taxes due July 1, 2021 are based on the tax valuation done October 1, 2020. As a result, the tax bill that would be received July 1, 2021 states that is based on the October 1, 2020 Grand List. The Grand List date is a valuation date only and does not require you to own the property on the October 1 date to obligate you for payment. At closing an adjustment is done giving the Sellers credit for any taxes they have paid in advance so that if a closing takes place September 1, 2020 the Buyers will give the Sellers a credit for taxes they have paid for the first half through December 31, 2020. The second half tax bill will then be due January 1, 2021 covering the period through June 30, 2021. Tax bills will typically be paid by your mortgage company if you escrow for taxes.

Fuel adjustments are also due at closing and will be based on the amount of oil or propane, if any, remaining at the property on the date of transfer. Payment will be calculated by multiplying the volume of fuel times the last amount paid by the Seller. Work with your real estate agent to insure that a correct reading is obtained.

Get In Touch With Us

Peck & Tuneski, P.C. Logo

New London Location

10 Pearl Street
P.O. Box 37
New London, CT 06320

Phone: (860) 447-3370
Fax: (860) 447-3150

*Metered parking is available in the municipal lot to the right of our building.  Please pay at the kiosk located in the center of the parking lot.

Norwich Location

118 New London Turnpike
Norwich, CT 06360

Phone: (860) 886-9225
Fax: (860) 887-5336

*Direct access to the second floor is available by parking in the back of the building.

Old Saybrook Location

139 Mill Rock Road East
Suite 101
Old Saybrook, CT 06475

Phone: (860) 395-1811
Fax: (860) 395-1812

*Entering Mill Rock Road going past Mystic Market you will see a sign for 139 Mill Rock Road. Go past the first of those signs and then go left at the second sign into the parking lot. With the building on your left our entrance is the first canopy. Our office is in the left portion of this shared space.

New London

10 Pearl Street
P.O. Box 37
New London, CT 06320

Norwich Location

118 New London Turnpike
Norwich, CT 06360

Old Saybrook Location

139 Mill Rock Road East
Suite 101
Old Saybrook, CT 06475