Summary of Traditional Practices in the Greater Cincinnati Area

  1. CONTRACTS - The Offer to Purchase is presented by the listing Realtor. The Offer to Purchase has been prepared by legal counsel for the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors and is extremely comprehensive, covering all significant elements of the transaction. Addenda are available for any elements not covered. Once an Offer to Purchase is signed by all parties to the agreement, it is a legally binding (enforceable) document.
  2. EARNEST MONEY - A deposit equivalent to 2% - 5% of the purchase price generally accompanies every Offer to Purchase at the time it is written. This deposit is held by the listing Realtor in an escrow account pending closing. The earnest money deposit is applied toward the down payment and/or closing costs at the time of closing.
  3. FINANCING - The Offer to Purchase is generally contingent upon the purchaser's ability to secure financing at prevailing interest rates within a specified period of time.
  4. LOAN COMMITMENTS - Commitments on conventional mortgage loans are typically offered for a 30 - 60 day period. Extended loan commitments required for the purchase of uncompleted new construction may require a non-refundable fee (generally equal to 1% of the mortgaged amount) which is applied to the closing costs. This fee is paid at the time of approval of the application for the mortgage.
  5. CLOSING - Transfer of title or closing generally takes place 30 - 60 days after acceptance of the Offer to Purchase and is a negotiable term.
  6. OCCUPANCY - Occupancy takes place at closing or at a time specified in the contract. During this period, the seller usually resides in the property free of rent but is responsible for all utilities used. A specific date of occupancy is also negotiable in the Offer to Purchase.
  7. CLOSING PRACTICE - Closing generally takes place with all parties to the transaction being present "roundtable style." The listing and selling Realtors are also present to assist their customer and client. A purchaser or seller who is unable to attend a closing may be permitted by the lender to issue a specific power of attorney to a representative (lawyer, Realtor, spouse, etc.) to act on his/her behalf at the closing.
  8. LEGAL COUNSEL - Title examination, recording of the deed, etc., are completed by the attorney for the lending institution. The fee for these services is included in the purchaser's closing costs. Most closings in this area are handled with the sole assistance of the legal counsel for the lender. Purchasers may seek private counsel at any time during the transaction. Fees applicable to such services are paid by the purchaser.
  9. FUNDS REQUIRED FOR CLOSING - Down payments and closing costs are usually provided in the form of a cashier or certified check made payable to the purchaser. This check is endorsed at the closing and made payable to the lending institution.
  10. TITLE INSURANCE - Title insurance is generally required by lending institutions to cover their interest in the property. Purchasers interested in obtaining title insurance to cover their interest may do so at the time of closing. While the lending institution will examine the title to the property, they offer no warranty.
  11. INSURANCE - Purchasers will be required to bring either a binder or a paid policy (first year premium pre-paid) for fire and hazard insurance to the closing.
  12. PROPERTY TAXES - In Hamilton County, taxes are paid six (6) months in arrears. At the closing, the sellers will credit to the buyers on a prorated basis the unpaid taxes for the period they owned the house.
  13. WHOLEHOUSE INSPECTIONS - An evaluation of the current condition of the home based on visual evidence. A wholehouse contingency should be included as an integral part of the offer to purchase.
  14. AGENCY - As related to real estate, the agent involved can participate in one of three types of agency.
    • Buyer's Agency - Acts solely on behalf of the buyer.
    • Seller's Agency - Acts solely on behalf of the seller.
    • Dual Agency - Deals honestly and fairly with both parties with the knowledge and written consent of both.