Get an overview of what happens when you close or "settle" on your home.
If you’ve shopped and negotiated for a new home the StreetWise way, then your closing should be a breeze. At the closing you sign the documents (the legal contracts) that will make the house you’ve found your home. As experts often note, purchasing a home is the largest personal investment that most Americans make.
Closings are handled differently in different states, or in formal terms, the laws and regulations for the “conveyance of property” vary from state to state. Typically, closings are conducted by a settlement agent, who in some states is required to be an attorney. In some cases, two attorneys, a buyer’s attorney and seller’s attorney, are required.
Who attends the closing? At a minimum, the settlement agent or “closing attorney,” the seller, and the buyer. Usually, the seller’s and buyer’s real estate agents will attend too. And in some cases a representative of the lender may attend. You and the seller may have your personal real estate attorneys (if you have such) attend.
So what can you expect? Here are some of the items you’ll typically be signing off on or receiving:
The loan papers related to your mortgage. Among these are the note, the Closing Disclosure that details your loan, down payment and all the costs/fees you’ll pay at closing, and the cash you will need, and various other items.
Title insurance papers
Agreement about fees for settlement agent and fees for the real estate agents
Lien waiver affidavit and deed signed by the seller
Prorations between the seller and buyer for property taxes and insurance and other annual expenses
The keys to the property from the seller, unless you have made separate arrangements for the seller to temporarily occupy the property beyond the closing, in which case you may execute an “occupancy agreement” with the seller
After the closing, the settlement agent typically will record the deed with the county establishing your title as the new owner.
Your next job — moving in!