The Home Buying Process: The Closing
The final step of the home-buying process is the closing, also called settlement or move-in day.
The Final Walk-Through
Before closing your agent will schedule a final walk-through with you at the property. Preferably this will happen the day of the closing. This inspection is to make sure the home is still standing in good condition and everything looks like it did (or better than) when you made your offer. You and your agent will make sure there is no damage and the repairs, if any, have been completed. If there are any issues they will be taken care of or agreed on before closing.
Closing takes place when all the required documents are signed. This may or may not be move-in day, because you can’t move in until the new deed is recorded at the courthouse. Your real estate agent or closing attorney will let you know when it’s okay to move in.
This is your day. The property’s ownership will be transferred to you, the buyer. You will sit down with your closing attorney and real estate agent at the attorney’s office. The seller will sign his or her documents separately, most often at a different time and sometimes with a different attorney; this is how it’s done in North Carolina. Different states have different ways of handling closings.
The closing attorney will go over all the documents that have been prepared for your closing. You will be reading and signing a lot of paperwork so be prepared to sit for a little bit. Some of it you will have seen before, like the offer to purchase and contract, but some of it will be new to you. If you have questions about any of it, speak up. The attorney has the answers and will be happy to answer any questions or issues you may have. If they are going too fast for you, ask them to slow down. They want you to leave happy and satisfied with your new home purchase. Remember, everyone you hired is working for you.
Important Closing Documents
This list is not exhaustive, but it covers many of the most important closing documents you will see.
- The Offer to Purchase and Contract
- The Hud-1 Statement: All credits and debits are listed on the Hud-1. In North Carolina you will have already seen this document prior to closing; different states have different ways of doing things.
- The Appraisal
- The Termite Report
- Mortgage Paperwork
- Title Search/Title Insurance
- Home Owners Insurance
- Home Warranty
You will receive a copy of all your documents before you leave closing. Remember, if you have questions, just ask.
What to Do on Move-In Day
Once you have the keys to your new home you can begin moving in. Hopefully you already have your furniture and household goods packed up and on a truck waiting. You will need to have utilities switched over or turned on in your name and change your locks. This can be scheduled ahead of time to be done on the day of closing. Your agent will have the information you need to contact utility companies if you need it. You may also want to set up appointments for your telephone, cable and security system. If you have any issues do not hesitate to call your real estate agent. It’s your home now so start unpacking and get settled in.
These five steps to the home buying process are from my experience of being a realtor for many, many, many years. My job is to bring buyers and sellers together and educating them along the way. Making every real estate transaction a successful and happy one. I really hope you enjoyed reading my article and have learned something new.
Are you buying your first home?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 Michelle McLaughlin