Question:  For decades, I kept my original deed in a private lock box in my home.  We are preparing for a move, and packed everything up in storage.  My closing is next week, and I can’t immediately get to my lock box.  Do I need my original deed for the sale?

Answer:  I commend your commitment to original documentation.  However, you do not need your original deed for your closing.

With cars: you hand an original certificate of title from seller to buyer.  Like a baton in a relay race, this original document is important to preserve.  (Though, many auto titles become lost requiring costly duplicates issued by the RMV).

With homes: a new deed is produced at each transaction, referencing the Registry recording information of its predecessor document.

You will need to pay an attorney to draft the deed.  The buyer’s closing attorney will usually offer this service for around $150-$250, or the task will be included in your own lawyer’s tasks.

An average cost for a seller’s attorney ranges from $500-$800, and includes contract negotiation, closing assistance and advocacy.  Further, a good seller’s lawyer can spot heavy closing costs saving you an additional couple hundred dollars.

Attorney James Haroutunian practices real estate law, estate planning and business matters in Billerica at 790 Boston Road.  Contact him with questions at 978-671-0711, or email him at

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