Buying or Selling a Home? Four Tips for a Smooth Closing

It took a while, but you finally found the perfect home. The contract was signed and you’ve been approved for a mortgage. Now it’s time to close.

Ideally, closing is when the buyer and seller wrap up the final details and go their separate ways, one securing a check while the other pockets the keys to their new home. But if you and the other parties involved in the deal don’t prepare for closing day well in advance, problems could turn the process into a nightmare.

These four tips will help you remember closing day with a smile instead of a grimace.

Tip No. 1: Make sure you know what to expect

To ensure a successful closing, you need to know what to expect and what is required of everyone involved. The week before the big event, spend a few minutes with your loan officer, agent, and other parties representing you. Ask them if they have everything they need, and confirm what you will have to do as well. It’s never safe to assume that everyone knows what they’re doing.

Tip No. 2: Be on guard against human error

Real estate professionals and loan officers can make mistakes like everyone else. For example, mortgage approval letters are sometimes issued without all the necessary documentation having been received beforehand, resulting in a denied loan request. Familiarize yourself with what’s required (be wary of “special exceptions” to the stated rules) and don’t deviate. Ever.

Tip No. 3: Examine all loan documents prior to closing

Tell your lender that you want to review all the loan documents before closing. You are legally entitled to examine the HUD-1 form (the closing settlement statement) at least 24 hours prior to the close date. Compare it to the GFE (good faith estimate) form you were given when applying for financing.

Not everyone reviews the loan documents before closing: they’re too eager to sign and take possession of their new home. That’s when problems can – and do – arise.

Tip No. 4: Don’t forget to bring a check

When you review the loan paperwork in advance, you’ll know exactly how much money needs to change hands at closing. Stop at the bank to get a certificated check before attending the meeting. Some buyers are so nervous and excited that they forget this step, causing delays. Other documents you as the buyer will need to bring are photo ID, the homeowner’s insurance policy, and the HUD-1 statement or GFE form.

If you’re buying or selling a home, it’s important to have an experienced real estate attorney representing your interests. Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more!