Most real estate closings are handled by an escrow agent (possibly employed by your title insurance company), a real estate agent, or a real estate attorney. If you have a real estate agent, your agent will look after all the details of closing, even if he or she is not handling it, so really all you have to do to be prepared is have a little knowledge as to what goes on prior to and during closing.
Though there is usually a lot of paperwork to be signed (mostly mortgages and insurance policies), at its base, closing is simply the completion of the transaction – it is the actual exchange of the purchase price for the property. As simple as that sounds, it takes a lot of work to get to closing. What follows is an explanation of what must be done broken down by buyer’s duties and seller’s duties.
Seller’s duties: * Obtaining a title search and title insurance for the buyer. Sellers typically pay for the search and the premium, though this is negotiable.
Making any repairs to the property that were negotiated during escrow.
Arranging for the buyer to have a final walk through.
Buyer’s duties: * Obtaining title insurance for the lender. It is imperative that you obtain the insurance as soon as possible in order to avoid any last minute delays in the closing by your mortgage lender. You also must acquire homeowner’s insurance as soon as possible as your lender will require that you provide evidence of homeowners insurance prior to closing.
If you are purchasing a condominium or a co-op unit, you will need to submit your application to the association, attend the association interview, and obtain the final approval letter. You will need to bring your original approval letter to the closing.
Schedule all property inspections and review the reports.
Make all escrow deposits in a timely manner.
Once the buyer’s agent or attorney has received final loan figures from the mortgage lender, he or she will prepare a draft closing statement that must be approved by the lender. Once approved, the lender will be able to provide the agent or attorney with the amount the buyer will need to bring to the closing. Sellers don’t usually attend closing, only buyers and agents do. Buyers are expected to bring the following items with them to closing:
A cashier’s check made payable to the third party that is conducting the closing – this could be the agent of the real estate company (make it payable to the real estate company, not the broker), the real estate agent, or an escrow agent (make the check payable to the escrow company). Personal checks and cash are not usually accepted. Sometimes, wire transfer is acceptable;
Valid driver’s license or passport for all persons executing documents;
If you are purchasing a condo, the original condo association approval letter; and
Your insurance binders with all the original documents (you can obtain this from your insurance agent).
Typically, the buyer receives the keys to the property during closing, so check with your agent to make sure that will be happening.