So, you’ve signed a contract, completed the inspections, sent what seems like a million forms and documents to your lender and are finally closing on your new home! This is such an exciting time whether you’ve been house hunting for a month or a year. You have boxes packed, furniture ordered, and are ready to move in.
There’s just one last box to check off your list. Closing Day is the meeting in which the seller is asked to provide a clear title to the property and the buyer provides the funds needed to close the sale.
In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, it’s important to know what to expect and how to prepare for your closing.
Who is there?
While it can vary in different parts of the country, typically the closing meeting is attended by the seller of the home and their real estate agent, a title company representative, an attorney, the buyer, a representative from the lender, and a closing agent. In most cases, you’ve likely been in contact with most of the people in the room at some point during the process.
While it seems like a long list of attendees, the closing agent leads the meeting and is responsible for making sure that all necessary documents are signed and payments are distributed appropriately.
The closing agent is also there to answer any questions that you may have as you go through the process. They are experts in these types of meetings and a valuable resource – especially to first time homebuyers.
The final steps of the home purchase process actually begin a day or two before your scheduled closing. The buyer has the opportunity to perform a final walk-through of the home 24 hours before closing. At this point, it’s important to ensure that the home is in the condition listed in the agreement – that there are no final repairs or damages necessary to note.
Prior to closing, it’s also important to print and prepare all documents needed at the meeting. While the closing agent will have copies ready, we always recommend bringing your own copies to ensure that everything is as agreed. This also provides a great opportunity to review your documents before closing.
One of the most important documents to review is the Settlement Statement. You’ll receive this document a few days before closing and it will include the sales commission, loan origination fee, loan discount points, appraisal fees, credit report fee, assumption fee, any prepaid interest, mortgage insurance premium, first year’s homeowner’s insurance premium, and the mortgage insurance escrow account. Whew! Basically, this document outlines all of the financial aspects of the agreement.
Finally, pre-closing, you’ll want to prepare and bring a cashier’s check to deliver payment for closing costs and your down payment.
On the day of your final closing, the meeting typically occurs at an attorney’s office – depending on your area of the company. Alternatively, you may meet at your closing agent’s office, mortgage company, or even at the home.
If you’ve prepared ahead of time, your closing meeting will likely move smoothly but it’s still recommended to block off a few hours of time. Most often, closing takes an hour or two, but you don’t want to rush through the process. Depending on the complexity, some closing meetings can take several hours.
When you get to the closing table, be prepared to review and sign between 50-100 pages of paperwork. The closing agent will walk you through signing the settlement statement, mortgage note, deed of trust, title forms, tax forms, affidavits, and a variety of disclosures.
It’s important to take your time as you’re signing and ask questions when the arise!
Often, once the closing meeting concludes, you’ll receive a key to your new home and be able to begin the moving process! Occasionally, if you’ve agreed to a delayed transition, it could be 30 days or longer before you take possession of your new home.
The deed is mailed to the buyer from the recorder’s office once they’ve made note of the change.
While the process can be intimidating, the more prepared you are, the smoother it will go.