What Sellers Should Expect at Closing

Selling your own home requires an intense amount of time and energy, and by the end of the process, you’re ready for it to be done. The good news is you’re almost there! All that is left is closing, when you’ll sign all the papers and formally transfer the property title. Here’s how to prepare and what to expect. 

Your house isn’t actually sold until the papers are signed, and your buyer could back out at the last minute. To prevent this from happening, complete any necessary repairs before the buyer schedules a final inspection, and offer the buyer the warranties and manuals for the appliances or systems in your home.

To make sure you don’t have any unexpected financial issues, let your lender know you’ll be paying off your mortgage and ask for a statement of the remaining balance. Then, get a copy of the settlement statement from the closing attorney prior to closing, and review it for accuracy before closing. 

At closing, you’ll meet with the buyer, an escrow agent, and any attorneys or brokers you’ve used. This is where you’ll settle the closing costs. In most states, the seller pays the buyer’s loan origination fee, the appraisal fee, and underwriting fees, and depending upon your contract, you may also pay the title search fees, recording fees, and attorneys’ fees. If you sold your home directly to a buyer, there won’t be brokerage fees, but if the buyer worked with a real estate agent, you’ll pay half of the broker’s commission.

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

Once the fees have been paid, you’ll sign a mortgage note. Both you and the buyer will also 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, listing money received (funds paid by you and the buyer, including the lending institution’s check for the new mortgage amount, the buyer’s down payment, and the buyer’s earnest money deposit), money paid out (fees paid to real estate agents and closing costs), and the remaining cash (the money you get to keep).

Before the deal is completed, the buyer may request a final walk through to make sure there are no new damages and any expected repairs have been completed. When that’s finished, sit back and relax because you’ve finally sold your home!