At MA real estate closings, home buyers expect to sign a lot of paperwork. What they often do not expect are some of the questions within that paperwork. Although these questions are standard, they can be a bit unexpected for first time home buyers. Here are 5 unexpected questions asked at MA real estate closings.
What are your aliases?
Included within closing documents is a form listing your prior aliases. This might be an urban legend, but we once heard of a story where a wife went running out of a closing in tears when this document was presented. Apparently, she had not disclosed to her husband that she was born a man. Her birth name was listed as an alias. Clearly, she had not expected this to be one of the questions asked at closing.
What is your marital status?
Among the unusual questions asked at MA real estate closings is your marital status. This is important information for several reasons. First, in the state of Massachusetts, your spouse has certain legal rights when it comes to buying and selling property. When selling, your spouse must sign a document even if he/she is not listed as an owner of the home. As a buyer, the deed transferring ownership to your name references your marital status.
Is the home your primary residence?
This question relates to your financing and tax liability. Mortgage programs often provide different rates for borrowers based on whether the property being purchased will be a primary residence or investment property. You may be asked to confirm this by signing a document at closing. On the selling side, the question is asked to determine potential tax liability. If you lived in a home for 2 out of the last 5 years, you may be able to exclude a certain amount of gain from the sale. The threshold depends on whether you file as single ($250,000) or married ($500,000). Any overage would be subject to capital gains tax.
Have you sold another home within the last two years?
This unexpected question is somewhat related to the previous one. As we mentioned above, you may be exempt from paying a certain amount of capital gains when selling a primary residence. However, you can only use that exemption once within a two year period. This question appears on a tax form and will help determine whether you may owe capital gains on this particular home sale.
Are you signing of your own free will?
You will be asked by the closing attorney if you have signed everything at closing of your own free will. You may jokingly say no and imply that your spouse is making you buy or sell the home. It is important to answer this question honestly for legal reasons. Individuals not signing of their own free will could nullify a contract!
So there you have it,… 5 unexpected questions asked at MA real estate closings. If you’d like to learn more about what to expect when selling or buying a home, contact us today. We represent both buyers and sellers in MA real estate closings.