What Buyers Should Expect at Closing

Once the house-hunting, negotiating, and inspections are over, you’re counting down the minutes until you can move in to your new home. Closing, the final meeting where all the papers are signed and property title is formally transferred, is an exciting end to a long process. Here’s what you can expect on the big day.

On closing day, you’ll meet with the seller, an escrow agent, and any attorneys and brokers you’ve involved in the process to handle all the closing costs associated with buying your home. In most states, the seller pays the buyer’s mortgage fees, including the loan origination fee, the appraisal fee, and underwriting fees. Depending upon the contract you’ve negotiated, you or the seller will also pay closing fees for the title search, recording fees, and fees for your respective attorneys.

The seller will bring the current title for your house, last year’s policy tax bill, any inspection papers and property disclosures (including an energy disclosure and lead paint disclosure), and the bill of sale. You should bring your down payment, your tax deposit, insurance money for the escrow agent, and any other monies you’ve agreed to pay, along with some form of photo ID.

Once the fees have been paid, you’ll be required to sign a mortgage note. Both you and the seller will sign an affidavit swearing that the property is free of liens, judgments, assessments and other encumbrances.

Next, the closing attorney or escrow agent will prepare a settlement statement. It documents money received (funds paid by you and the seller, including the lending institution’s check for the new mortgage amount, the buyer’s check for the down payment; and the buyer’s binder or earnest money deposit), money paid out (the distribution of the money received, fees paid to real estate agents, and closing costs), and the remaining cash (which is the money the seller gets to keep).

At this point, you may want to take a final walk-through of the vacated house to make sure there are no new damages and any expected repairs have been completed. Then, start packing your boxes – because it’s time to move into your new home!