Personal Checks, Real Estate Closings, And The Trust Divide

We will close on the sale of our Birmingham house next Friday. Preparing for the closing, I was reminded of a small – but significant – difference between Birmingham and Philly (and I’m guessing many large cities.) In Birmingham, by tradition, a buyer’s down payment on the house can be provided via a personal check. When I mentioned that to our agent in Philly, she was aghast. What happens if it bounces??? In Birmingham, people just figure they know where to find you.

All the usual caveats – I’m not promising that people of all demographic or economic groups receive this treatment. But this does seem to be S.O.P. for real estate closings here. Another bennie for those who live in the Colonial Williamsburg of the Eisenhower Era.

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3 Responses

  1. Miriam Cherry says:

    Congrats on selling your house! Mine is still on the market…

  2. dammitboris says:

    here in orlando, where i practice, the deposit can be made by personal check, but only if the closing is more than 10 days away, to ensure clearance.

  3. Fred Tung says:

    I had a similar experience moving from California to Georgia. In California, buyer and seller sign the loan and transfer documents a few days before closing. The bank spends a day or two checking all the documents. Then on the closing date, the bank funds the escrow, and the grant deed and mortgage are recorded. Only then does the buyer get the keys to the place–that is, when the house is actually bought and paid for. In Georgia, the “closing date” is the day everyone shows up in a lawyer’s office to sign papers, and the buyers get to walk out with the keys! As the buyer, I couldn’t help feeling like I’d gotten away with something.