What Happens at Closing?

The closing is when the buyer and seller sign the papers officially sealing the deal, and ownership of the property is transferred. It’s also your last opportunity as the buyer to make any final changes to the transaction.

The process may involve you, the seller, real estate agents, your attorney, the lender’s attorney, title or escrow firm representatives, clerks, secretaries, and other staff. You can have an attorney represent you if you can’t attend the closing meeting, i.e., if you’re out-of-state. Closing can take anywhere from 1-hour to several depending on contingency clauses in the purchase offer, or any escrow accounts needing to be set up.

Prior to closing, you should have a final inspection, or “walk-through” to ensure requested repairs were performed, and items agreed to remain with the house are there such as drapes, lighting fixtures, etc. 

Also, you should review the closing disclosure. The closing disclosure outlines the terms of your loan; final closing costs; and any outstanding charges or fees. Your lender will send you this form at least three days before closing. Once the borrower signs the closing disclosure, there’s a three-day waiting period before they can sign the mortgage loan documents

Most paperwork in closing or settlement is done by attorneys and real estate professionals. You may or may not be involved in some of the closing activities; it depends on who you are working with.

In most states, the settlement is completed by a title or escrow firm in which you forward all materials and information plus the appropriate cashier’s checks so the firm can make the necessary disbursement.

Once you’ve reviewed and signed all closing documents your representative will deliver the check to the seller, and then you will receive the keys to the house and you will officially be a new homeowner.

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