What Does A Settlement Attorney Do

What Does A Settlement Attorney Do


Below is information about the role of the settelment attorney. This is a modified transcription of a video interview that Brad Rozansky of The Rozansky Group did with Randy Rothstein of Paragon Title.  We have also included the video for you to watch.  If you have any questions about home inspections, please get in touch with us.   

Here is the video transcript.

Brad Rozansky:                 Hi everyone, Brad Rozansky here and as we continue our video series, we're really lucky to have one of the premier settlement attorneys in the city with us, Randy Rothstein President of Paragon Title. Randy, thanks for joining us.

Randy Rothstein:              My pleasure.

Brad Rozansky:                 Terrific. Randy, I'd like to ask you a couple of questions that some of our clients have asked. You ready?

Randy Rothstein:              Sure.

Brad Rozansky:                 All right. The first one is, the selling agent represents the buyer. The listing agent represents the seller.

Randy Rothstein:              Right.

Brad Rozansky:                 Who in the heck do you represent?

Randy Rothstein:              A good question.

Brad Rozansky:                 Okay.

Randy Rothstein:              And it's a question often asked by a lot of people, especially people from out of the Washington metropolitan area, because you have people who come from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and those jurisdictions the buyer's got a lawyer, the seller's got a lawyer, the bank's got a lawyer. It's a great place, I think that's where I'm going if things ever get bad in this market. But everybody represents an individual party, and it sets things up for somewhat of an antagonistic type of transaction.

Randy Rothstein:              The Washington area, the settlement attorney is the guy in the middle. We don't represent buyer, nor the seller, nor the bank. And if we had a client, we'd have to say we represent the contract. It's our goal, and our responsibility as best we can, to ensure that the provisions of the contract get carried out as they relate to the different parties, and their responsibilities to each other.

Brad Rozansky:                 Okay.

Randy Rothstein:              We are a quarterback as we get to the end of the road. We help facilitate the buyer, and the seller, and the bank, and everybody working together to reach that common goal, which is the completion of closing.

Brad Rozansky:                 If there's ever a problem, do you help mediate it?

Randy Rothstein:              That's what we do. We actually, mediation's exactly what we do. So what happens, is that our guidelines are the provisions of the sales contract. And if there is a dispute regarding something about the transaction, we look at the sales contract to see what happens in the event that something doesn't go the way that it's expected to go under the terms of the contract. And we do our best to have put people reach a meeting of the minds, and hopefully have everybody walk out feeling like a winner.

Brad Rozansky:                 Terrific.

Randy Rothstein:              Most of the time that occurs. Every once in a while when people are very adverse with each other, which is very very rare, they might have to go and get separate counsel. But somebody does the job the way we do it, whether we expect somebody to do it, they will be able to mediate through a dispute and have everybody again walk away feeling like a winner.

Brad Rozansky:                 Okay, thanks for that answer.

Brad Rozansky:                 Randy, could you walk us through the perfect settlement?

Randy Rothstein:              Well you know, the perfect settlement is probably the ones that you don't remember, because the ones that you do remember it's where something went wrong, where the train got derailed, and settlements become memorable for the wrong reasons.

Randy Rothstein:              What helps to achieve a perfect settlement is, or the factors that help you to achieve a perfect settlement are I should say. Firstly, a great buyers and sellers who work well with each other, great agents who represent their clients appropriately, work very well with the other agents, selling agent, listing agent, great communication, great drafting of the contract, an excellent lender to whom the buyer applies on time.

Randy Rothstein:              The buyer provides all of their documentation to the lender on time, such that they get approved and their loan papers and their loan is ready on time so that the papers' arrival in time when everybody comes to settlement. The seller completes all of their repairs they were required to do pursuant to their home inspection, and people arrive, and people do their final walk through, and everything is smooth, and people feel good.

Randy Rothstein:              And they come to settlement, and when they get to settlement they just feel good about the transaction, and it makes it so much easier to present the volume of documents that people have to sign. Just because of how things have gone, the ground has been laid by the agents and by the lender, up until the date of closing. And then what happens when we reach the settlement table, now we go through and explain all of the documents very carefully so people understand the mechanics of the closing, and what has happened from beginning to end. But at the end of the day, the perfect closing really as a result much more so because of the preparation than the actual closing itself.

Brad Rozansky:                 So at The Rozansky Group, our definition's a lot shorter.

Randy Rothstein:              Okay.

Brad Rozansky:                 That everybody gives each other a hug at settlement, then we know we've had the perfect transaction.

Randy Rothstein:              And we feel that if the perfect settlement is when everybody comes out and feels like a winner.

Brad Rozansky:                 Absolutely.

Brad Rozansky:                 So Randy, the internet has impacted the buying and selling process.

Randy Rothstein:              Right.

Brad Rozansky:                 Has it impacted the settlement process?

Randy Rothstein:              It has, but not nearly as much as it's going to. Like in California where they're doing actually electronic settlements in some of the jurisdictions, and that is a movement that is coming eastward. But while we're waiting for that to happen, there are a lot of resources now that are available to buyers and sellers that didn't use to be available because of the internet.

Randy Rothstein:              For example, closing cost calculators, information on taxes, information on how does the process work. A lot of educational tools that are available so buyers and sellers can be more informed, which today's buyers and sellers really want to be very very informed about the process, and there's just a multitude of information available to them to get information about the process.

Randy Rothstein:              Also, buyers and sellers provide us with information that we need in order to prepare for a closing online now. One day, all the documentation will be done online, but we're moving in that direction. But it definitely is impacting us in a very positive way.

Brad Rozansky:                 That's great. Okay.

Brad Rozansky:                 Randy, I've probably been in hundreds of settlements with you, but I know through the years you've conducted thousands and thousands. You probably have a couple great stories. Could you share one or two of those with us?

Randy Rothstein:              Well let's see, something memorable. We had a transaction whereas part of the home inspection, big home out in Potomac, five fireplaces. During the home inspection it turned out the fireplace in the basement where that little hole where you sweep the soot.

Brad Rozansky:                 Right.

Randy Rothstein:              It was blocked. And a condition of settlement was that prior to closing that the seller, who had been home for 40 years raised four sons, the seller would have that hole cleaned out so that soot could be swept into the hole.

Randy Rothstein:              Well it wasn't until the date of closing that the seller finally got around to doing it, and when they opened up the hole the fireplace guy pulled out hundreds of beer cans that had been smashed and stuffed down in there over the years. Two of the sons actually were at the settlement table, and it made of a pretty funny memorable moment.

Randy Rothstein:              Well mom, who was about 88 years old was going like this with her sons. It was a happy, but memorable and funny moment.

Brad Rozansky:                 And most of their sons are out of jail now, right?

Randy Rothstein:              Right.

Brad Rozansky:                 That's terrific. Great story, Randy. Randy, I want to thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with us, and we'll look forward to the next deal. Thanks Randy.

Randy Rothstein:              Pleasure.

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