You’ve reached the finish line. House shopping is over, you’ve gone through the loan approval process, had the home inspected, and now you’re just waiting for the day you receive keys to your new home. What happens on that day, though? The day that payment and keys change hands is called the settlement, or closing day. Most refer to it as your closing signing, but it is when you settle all pending payments, and all documents about the transfer of the title deed are signed. Expect these steps when Closing on a House.
Double Check Your Documents
Before you go to your closing appointment, review the documents that you have, which should be your loan estimate and your closing disclosure. The loan estimate should have been provided to you within three days after your loan application, and your closing disclosure should have been submitted to you no later than three days before your closing appointment. These documents should look very similar, if not identical. Check all pertinent information and make sure it is accurate. You should double check, if not triple check, your interest rate information and your address. If you see any discrepancies on anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask why.
About 24 hours before the closing signing you will have the opportunity to do a final walk-through. Make sure you are very thorough and detailed when completing your final walk-through. If you had a home inspection in the beginning, and you definitely should have, confirm that any repairs you requested of the seller are completed and up to your standards. There are specific parts and functions of the home that are a high priority to check:
- Make sure all of your outlets are working.
- Check that the light fixtures and ceiling fans are operational.
- Inspect the ceiling and walls to make sure there are no cracks in them.
- Ensure that both the water heater and HVAC system are running properly.
- Check that the plumbing in the home is fully functional. (This is a huge one because you want to make sure you can remove waste properly.)
- If the home purchase includes appliances, check to make sure they are all plugged in and operational.
- Check for any new damage that might have occurred, like holes in the walls, missing roof shingles, and spacing in the floorboards.
Who Will Attend
At the place of signing, there will be a few different people there, so be prepared for a crowded room. The signing usually takes place at the closing agent’s office. The closing agent is typically the title officer, but it could be an escrow company officer. It just must be a neutral third-party that is extensively knowledgeable about the closing process. Those attending this meeting will most likely be you, your real estate agent, the seller, their real estate agent, and an attorney for both parties if requested.
There will be a few other people in attendance who are more neutral, including the closing agent, the lender, and if you have one, the title company representative. It is necessary for all of these people to be present, because not only are you transferring the deed to the house, but signing documents for your home loan as well. Many other papers will get approved, so make sure you are not skimming through any documents. Every single word needs to be read to ensure you are not getting yourself into a bind by signing something to which you wouldn’t knowingly sign.
Vital Items to Bring
When you go to your closing signing, some items are necessary for you to bring. You must have your photo ID. If you don’t, you aren’t going to be able to sign any paperwork because they won’t be able to verify that you are you. You also need to bring a cashier’s check or a certified check because personal checks aren’t usually accepted. Your funds need to have verification, and this is the easiest way to make sure of that unless you choose to do a wire transfer. You are going to need proof of your homeowner’s insurance to verify that you purchased it, and the final purchase or sales contract, just in case.
The Final Signing
On the closing day, the amount of documents you are signing is extensive. You are signing the title to your house obviously, but there are other documents on the agenda as well, such as your promissory note, initial escrow disclosure, your mortgage documents, and your deed of trust. The promissory note is just an agreement that you will repay your mortgage loan. It includes everything about your investment like monthly payments, interest rates, and the amount owed on loan. Your escrow disclosure is a document that explains how your lender will disburse funds into your escrow account. It will give a breakdown of dates and the amount to be paid on each escrow item, like your property taxes, HOA fees, and homeowner’s insurance.
Closing signings are not quick in and out meetings. It will take at least a few hours, so be ready for it to take a significant length of time. Make sure that you read every single paper, from the large, bold print down to the tiny, fine print. Everything needs to be understood. Don’t skim through any documents, because this is a substantial investment and you want every word to be correct and legal in every form, as a precautionary measure to protect yourself.
Buying a home is a beautiful adventure. You have already taken the hard steps in the home buying process, and the closing signing isn’t something you should have to worry yourself about much. The professionals you hire to help you have your best interests at heart and will make sure everything runs smoothly. Be prepared for the closing process to take significant time. You might experience hand cramps, but you’ll receive your keys and title to your home.
Be sure to contact us for assistance with your Fort Myers, Florida home buying experience.