What Happens at Closing?
So you’ve found the home of your dreams. You’ve been preapproved for a mortgage by a lender and you’ve submitted your offer, with earnest money deposit, to the seller. The seller has accepted your offer, you’ve had a home inspection performed and now you’re ready to close - - what should you expect at the closing? Read below to find out more about closings – one of the final steps in the home buying process!
What is a closing?
The “closing” is the final step of the legal portion of the home buying process; it is where the legal transfer of the home from the seller to the buyer takes place. It happens after both parties (both the seller and the buyer) have met all the conditions of the sale of the home, which typically include steps such as the mortgage lender finalizing the mortgage offer, and the home inspection taking place. For all intents and purposes, when you leave the closing, you will be the new owner of a home!
Who all attends a home closing? How long does a closing usually take?
In attendance at the closing will be anyone who needs to sign the mortgage and title, so you and likely your spouse if you are married, or any other party who will be on your mortgage. The sellers will also generally be there as well as a title attorney or other legal representative from the title company and the closing or escrow agent, if applicable. Sometimes sellers will send their attorney to appear on their behalf, which isn’t something to necessarily be concerned about. You can also have your own attorney attend the closing, but one is not required to appear on your behalf at the closing.
Closings are generally fairly quick meetings – your closing will take as long as it takes to read through and sign all required documentation.
What should I expect to happen at the closing?
At the closing, you will be required to review and sign all of the documents required to complete the sale of the property and to transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer. You will also be expected to release funds or write any checks needed to finalize the mortgage and home buying process. Your mortgage lender and/or the title company will be in touch with you prior to your closing to ensure that you have the time you need to obtain any cash you will need at closing.
The closing is likely the last opportunity you will have to change any of the terms of the sale – after you sign all the paperwork, you will likely be locked into those terms until you either sell the home or refinance the loan. If you have any questions at your closing, you should feel comfortable speaking up and asking those questions. If any terms on paper do not match the terms you have agreed upon, make sure to tell the closing agent or escrow attorney this. The closing is an exciting time because it means you are finalizing your new home purchase, but make sure that you take the time to read and review each document before you sign it, as you will be legally bound by what you sign.