The home buying process can be a long and arduous journey.  Of course with the leadership, counsel, and partnership of a REALTOR®, navigating this path can be much easier.  After the searching, shopping and negotiating are through, there is one final step before that perfect home is yours; the closing. 

The closing, also known as the settlement, or escrow is the final event where all of the involved parties meet to make this transaction official.  While your role at the closing is essentially two-fold: sign legal documents and pay closing costs; preparing for your closing should begin the day before.  Collecting and reviewing all necessary paperwork is a very important step.  Loan estimate, contract, proof of title, insurance, flood certification, mortgage insurance, appraisal, inspection reports, closing disclosure, etc. should all be reviewed and brought to the closing table.  You may also have the opportunity for a walk-through of the property 24 hours before closing.  This is a great chance to review your soon-to-be new home and ensure that it is in the condition specified in the contract.

On the day of your closing you will be signing documents and paying any closing costs.  The legal documents serve two purposes.  The first is the agreement between you and your lender regarding the terms and conditions of the mortgage.  The second is the agreement between you and the seller transferring ownership of the property to you.  It is important to carefully review these documents and be sure not to sign any forms that include blank lines or spaces. 

There are many fees and costs associated with acquiring a mortgage and transferring ownership of a property.  The responsibility for these fees falls to the buyer.  These fees can either be rolled into the cost of your loan, or paid out of pocket.  When paying you can wire the funds to the appropriate party, or bring a cashier’s check.  Since this amount is predetermined these certified funds are required, however also bring your personal checkbook to cover any unforeseen costs.

You should also be prepared to meet a lot of people at your closing.  It is not uncommon to have several people serving different roles in the process.  Closing agents from the title company, attorneys, the seller, real estate agents from both parties, your lender, and more may all be present, as they all have a defined interest in this transaction.

While the thought of this process can seem daunting, understanding how it works and more importantly, what to expect, can ease some of that tension.  Working with a REALTOR® can help to ensure you’re home buying experience is a successful one, and that you’re also prepared for a smooth closing.