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Finalizing Your Home Purchase: Closing Time- Step 8


In the final stages of selling your home, closing day marks a significant step in the process. As you prepare to transfer ownership, the emotions you experienced when initially listing your property may resurface, heightened by the imminent farewell to your home. Closing day holds a mix of sentiments – from anticipation and joy to sadness and uncertainty. The act of closing the door for the last time symbolizes the end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter.


While relief may accompany the completion of the process, navigating through the actual closing may involve minor delays or unforeseen challenges. Let's guide you through the closing process, ensuring you're prepared for what lies ahead.


What is Open Escrow:

Entering the phase known as "open escrow" occurs when the buyer places their earnest money deposit into escrow until the home sale is ready to proceed to closing. Throughout this period, various actions unfold. The buyer finalizes their loan paperwork, sending it to the escrow company, a process continuing until the sale's conclusion.


As the seller, your responsibilities during open escrow include addressing any negotiated repairs or modifications specified in the sale contract. Additionally, coordinating the transfer of utilities and making preparations for your move are crucial. However, it's essential not to cancel your home insurance at this stage; maintaining coverage is advisable until the sale is successfully completed.


The Final Walk-Through

Before the closing, the buyer typically conducts a final walk-through, not an official inspection but an opportunity for the buyer to verify the completion of all agreed-upon work outlined in the purchase contract. Unless a delayed possession arrangement has been negotiated, this walk-through marks one of your final visits to the property.


Ensure that all storage spaces, closets, and bedrooms are empty. Schedule a few days between your move-out date and the final walk-through, ideally vacating the property two or three days before the buyer's inspection. This timeframe allows for a thorough check of all areas, including closets, attic, garage, and basement, and addresses any issues that may arise during furniture removal, which can potentially cause damage. Inspect floors, door frames, and walls after furniture removal, addressing any scuffs or dents before the walk-through.


To prepare for the walk-through, give your home a comprehensive final cleaning. If feasible, consider professional cleaning services, covering tasks like vacuuming air vents, scrubbing the oven's interior, and shampooing carpets. Ensure no trash is left in the bins, and, if needed, arrange for special waste disposal with a neighbor or your waste disposal company.


While not obligatory, consider assembling all appliance manuals and warranty cards in one location for the new owner. You might even create a "How-To" manual with information about trash collection days, local eateries, and cell phone dead zones as a thoughtful gesture.


The Closing Documents

If you're selling a home for the first time, you might be taken aback by the extensive paperwork involved. The closing attorney or escrow officer will present various documents that require signatures and notarization, potentially immersing you in complex legal language. While the specifics may vary based on the transaction and local regulations, here are some common documents you may encounter during the closing:


  1. Certificate of Title: A legal declaration asserting your right to sell the property.

  2. Deed: This document facilitates the transfer of title, known by various names such as warranty deed or grant deed. Regardless of terminology, signing the deed signifies the transfer of ownership.

  3. HUD-1 Settlement Statement: An account of all monetary transactions related to the home sale, filled out by both you and the buyer. Thoroughly review this document.

  4. Bill of Sale: An itemized list of everything transferred in ownership, including items like furniture.

  5. Statement of Closing Costs: Describes the closing costs, affirming your awareness and agreement to them.

  6. Statement of Identity/Information: Declares your identity, with a valid photo ID required.

  7. Loan Payoff: States that any remaining loan amount will be settled at the closing.

  8. Mechanic’s Lien: While not always included, this document asserts that no subcontractor can have a lien on the house due to unpaid bills. It also confirms that anyone involved in prior repairs or renovations has been fully paid.

  9. Final Closing Instructions: Instructions from the lender received by the closing agent, which may be signed at the contract's opening or conclusion.


What to Bring to the Closing

Most of the necessary paperwork for the closing will be provided by the closing attorney, leaving you with the task of signing, initialing, and notarizing. To ensure a smooth closing process, come prepared with the following items:


  1. The deed to the home (if fully paid off without any liens).

  2. A government-issued photo ID, such as your driver's license or passport.

  3. A certified check for the escrow company.

  4. The keys to the home.

While your paperwork load may not be as extensive as the buyer's, each document holds significance. Thoroughly review all details, verify the accuracy of monetary transactions, and confirm that the possession date aligns with your plans. Additionally, double-check the buyer's loan to ensure it is fully funded.


Transferring House Keys

Meeting the buyer in person is not always necessary, as the final walk-through is typically conducted with agents. On the closing day, bring the keys to the escrow officer or closing attorney's office. Hand over the keys once all required paperwork is signed. Since the buyer's closing might occur at a different time, the keys will be delivered to them after the deed is officially registered by the county.


Congratulations on completing the home sale journey! From cleaning and staging to negotiations and paperwork, your efforts have led to this moment. Hopefully, you reflect on the process and find it all worthwhile. Best of luck in your new home!





AMANDA ALLEN, REALTOR

GRI-SFC-MRP

(903) 603-0648

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