Settling on your house


    Maryland is a title theory state, a concept from English common law and our colonial heritage, that means that settlement is when you take ownership of your house. Briefly, you bring money (from the lender as well as your down payment and closing costs) to give to the seller, who in turn gives you the deed to the property and, of course, the keys and the garage door opener. All of the outstanding bills owned by the seller on the property are paid off, and you start your mortgage loan, property taxes, and homeowner's association fees. You may move in immediately (unless you and the seller have agreed otherwise, in writing.)  All buyers must come to settlement; the sellers or their power-of-attorney designees must also attend. During the settlement, which is conducted by a title officer or attorney, the buyers will sign their loan documents, and buyers and sellers will sign the deed to the property.


     Buyers -- you will need to bring the funds for settlement in a certified check made out to yourself, photo identification, your hazard insurance policy for the new house, and evidence of settlement on your previous house if that was a requirement for you to get the loan.


     Sellers -- you also need to bring photo identification, the keys to the house and any alarm codes, and receipts marked 'paid' for any repairs you agreed to do as part of the contract or home inspection responses. If one party on the deed has died, you will need to bring an original death certificate.