Homebuyers are generally excited about all that makes their new place special, whether it be the master bedroom with a view, a state-of-the-art kitchen or ample yard space.
Before moving in, you have to close, a coordinated document-signing process full of details that The Closing Shop LLC, oversees with TLC.
Bonnie Stainback owns the Gloucester-based company, which handles real estate settlements before handing over the keys to the new owners. That includes title insurance, which isn’t at the forefront of most people’s minds, though it’s certainly important. While buyers aren’t required to have it, lenders are, so it’s required for anyone financing a real estate purchase.
The Closing Shop offers title services and title insurance underwritten by Old Republic and First American Title Insurance Company.
“A home is generally the largest purchase most people make,” Stainback said. “An owner’s title protects you if there’s any title defects on the property, things a title examiner wouldn’t necessarily pick up, like a missing heir in the chain of title or a forgery on a deed. If those people were to come back, then the title insurance would cover you.”
Stainback started in real estate in 1988, initially a property manager and real estate agent. The people aspect of the business appealed to her, though she was unsure she wanted to start her own company.
“At first I planned to work for someone else, but I was encouraged to start my own business,” she said.
Stainback opened The Closing Shop in2012 in the building that housed Southern Trade Realty in Gloucester before moving to her current space, historically known as Thurston Home, in 2015. The home, originally located on Main Street, was moved in 1954 to Martin Street to make room for the new post office. Over the years, the building has housed the Commonwealth Attorney, Dawson and Phillips Surveying, and Bunting & Company before Stainback opened The Closing Shop there 14 years ago.
The charming space includes a magnificent staircase, lovely woodwork and cabinetry in Stainback’s office built into the walls with glass doors.
“I believe my office was once a kitchen or a dining room,” she said. “It’s a beautiful building.”
The pandemic has been a struggle, changing the way The Closing Shop does business. The conference room is relatively small, so it’s become standard to complete closings in the parking lot given the need for social distancing.
“We make it work,” Stainback said. “I don’t like closing outside, but It’s the safest way right now. I love people, so I enjoy getting to know them and sitting down to chat. We have tables and chairs outside, but some people prefer to sign in their cars.”
Real estate closings are fast-paced and stressful. No two days are alike. Stainback finds joy in all of it.
“I love first-time homebuyers because I remember buying my first home. I like working with them,” she said. “They have a lot of questions. You want to make sure they understand everything.”
The Richland, Washington, native who grew up in Williamsburg bought her first home in Gloucester while in her 20s. Today Stainback and her husband, RD, live on 24 acres in King and Queen. She met him when she sold him a house.
Stainback feels at home after so many years of doing business in Gloucester Village.
“I love it,” she said. “The people are friendly. You can buy anything you want and never really leave Gloucester. You can walk to eat and shop.”
The Closing Shop regularly donates to the Mathews Care Clinic and supports the Dog Days of Summer promotion that benefits the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society.
“We are happy to do whatever we can for the local community,” Stainback said.
The Closing Shop LLC located at 7307 Martin St., is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.