9. Close on Your Home

What takes place at the closing?

The actual and legal transfer of ownership is called the closing, or settlement. Possession is usually transferred at closing too, but not always. For various reasons, the seller may request to close the sale yet retain possession, renting the property from the buyer until the seller vacates the property and possession is transferred.

Usually those that will attend the closing include; you (the buyer), your real estate representative, your attorney, the seller, the seller’s attorney, and the closing agent, the title insurance representative, and the escrow agent.

Steps in the Closing Process

There are a number of steps that must take place between the time you and the seller sign the contract and attend the closing meeting. It can take several weeks, in fact, to complete these steps-six to eight weeks is not uncommon.

Setting the Closing Date

Part of the contract negotiations, when the closing takes place is decided by the buyers and sellers, providing ample time for the preparation of the legal documents for both the transfer of title and for the mortgage. You need to provide time for your mortgage to be approved and to sign the lender’s letter of commitment. The closing must take place before the mortgage interest rate lock expires, but remember that you will also need to complete the home inspection and acquire homeowners insurance in addition, perhaps, to other duties.

Reviewing the Documents

Ask for the documents before the actual closing and read them carefully. It might be a good idea to ask your attorney and your buyer’s representative to review them with you.  This will help you understand the documents before you sign them.

Understanding the Closing Costs

Closing costs can include many different expenses and can add up to a sizeable amount of money. Be prepared. Know exactly what your closing costs are and how much you will be expected to pay at the closing meeting.