The final step in the journey to homeownership is called the closing. The closing is a meeting where paperwork is signed to finalize the terms of the contract. Understanding what to expect and being prepared for closing helps make the closing go more smoothly.
Preparing for Closing
Prior to closing, buyers will handle key tasks:
- Confirm with the lender everything is complete and the loan is clear to close
- Sign the lender’s closing disclosure (CD) at least 3 days prior to closing to avoid delays
- Arrange for utilities to start on the day of closing or later if the seller has possession
- Confirm the lender has the buyer’s homeowner’s insurance policy information
- Do an address change at USPS.com if the home purchased is a primary residence
- Wire funds to the closing attorney after confirming the numbers on the CD are correct, carefully following the lender and attorney’s wiring instructions plus calling the attorney’s office to re-verify routing & account numbers, to avoid being a victim of wire fraud.
- Do a final walk-through of the home with the buyer’s agent
Reviewing Closing Numbers
The Closing Disclosure (CD) itemizes the credits and debits agreed to in the contract, so the buyer knows how much money they will need at closing. A visual breakdown of a Closing Disclosure can help understand this somewhat confusing document. The buyer uses the CD to know how much money to wire to the closing attorney for the down payment and any other buyer paid closing costs. The buyer gets a credit for any earnest money paid towards the money they need at closing.
Doing a Final Walk-Through
Prior to closing, buyers should have an appointment with their agent to do a final walk-through of the home to verify it is in the same condition as when the buyer went under contract, normal wear and tear excepted. This appointment is usually done the day before or morning of the closing. A walk-through allows buyers the chance to confirm any negotiated repairs have been completed, all personal property has been removed, and the home has been left clean and free of trash and debris. The walk through also ensures nothing is missing from the house that the seller was supposed to leave, per the contract or seller’s property disclosure. Any issues found at the walk-through should be addressed prior to closing.
What to Expect on Closing Day
Closings usually occur at a closing attorney’s office. In GA, if the buyer is getting a loan, the attorney represents the lender. Before the closing, the buyer’s lender provides the closing attorney with loan documents and closing instructions.
The closing attorney confirms the buyer’s funds and the lender’s loan proceeds have been received to the attorney’s bank account prior to disbursing funds. Sometimes this process creates a slight delay at closing, while waiting for funds to be received.
After signing papers, the lender’s closing department may require they review the documents to give their final approval before the closing can be completed.
Once all approvals have been completed, funds received, and papers signed, the seller provides the keys and any other information they want to share with the buyer about the home.
Time to Celebrate!
Buyers are often excited to own a new home, and relieved to have the closing done. Buyers often enjoy taking celebratory photos at the closing attorney’s office to share with friends and family on social media!