Real Estate Closing: Documents Defined

Buying or selling a residential property involves a number of documents to protect the parties involved and complete the transaction.

Below is a list of just some of the essential documents in the real estate closing process:

Closing Disclosure

An itemized breakdown of your mortgage loan that includes the total loan amount, final interest rate, down payment, closing costs, cancellation terms, and more.


Proof of ownership that describes the property. The deed transfers the property from the seller to the buyer. This document is recorded with the county as public record.

Lender Questionnaire

Many states have distinct disclosure laws that obligate sellers to inform prospective purchasers about the home or unit they are buying within a condominium, homeowner’s association (HOA), or townhome association.

These disclosures can include a variety of information and paperwork that outline the association’s leasing restrictions, rules, regulations, and other owner obligations.

Paid Assessment Letter (PAL)

Also known as an estoppel letter, or certificate of assessments. The letter can be required in the sale or refinance of a home or unit within an association. It includes the amount of the assessment, frequency of the assessment (ex. monthly, annual), unpaid assessments, association fees, violation fines, and more.

Potential hazardous conditions disclosures

Some states require various disclosures at a real estate closing, particularly regarding the seller’s knowledge of potentially hazardous conditions. In Illinois, some of these disclosures include:

  • Residential Real Property Disclosure Report
  • Disclosure of Information on Radon Hazards for Residential Real Property Sales or Purchases
  • Disclosure of Information and Acknowledgement for Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead Based Paint Hazards

Promissory Note

This document includes the the principal loan amount, the interest rate, repayment dates, repayment terms, and more.


This is a map that indicates the boundaries and dimensions of the property. The survey also includes easements, encroachments, existing improvements, and more.

22.1 Disclosure

In Illinois, Section 22.1(a) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act describes the information that the owner must obtain from the board for inspection by a prospective purchaser, upon demand, in the event of any resale of a condominium unit by a unit owner other than the developer.

In reference to the specific section, resale disclosures in Illinois are commonly referred to as 22.1 disclosures. They include financial statements, insurance coverage, litigation status, and other information about the community association.

Title Commitment

Subject to a few exceptions, this is ostensibly a commitment from the title company to insure the real estate transaction. Examples of common exceptions include mortgages, liens, surveys, and HOA paid assessment letters.


Buying or selling your home is likely the most expensive transaction you’ll have in your life. It’s important to work with an experienced real estate attorney that will protect your interests.

Are you buying or selling a residential or commercial property? Click here to contact Circle Closings.

Our attorneys can walk you through the real estate closing process, pay attention to the details, and protect your interests during this important transaction.