Closing On The Sale of Your Home

The buyer and their real estate agent will do a final walk through before closing. They’ll check the condition of the house and property to make sure that it matches what’s stated in the agreement. This includes any repairs that the seller was responsible for. From a buyer’s perspective, being thorough is key. Once the papers are signed, the deal becomes final.

The contract of sale outlines in detail what’s expected from the buyer and seller.

Seller

Closing On House SaleThe primary responsibility of the seller is maintaining the home. This could include:

  • scheduling a home inspection
  • purchasing a home owner’s warranty
  • making repairs
  • mowing the grass
  • arranging a termite inspection

When closing, everything in the home must be functioning as stated, especially the utilities. This allows the buyer to properly evaluate the condition of the home.

Most states require the seller to fill out a disclosure form, which outlines the overall condition of the home. This is very important for the buyer and seller. It notifies the buyer of issues the house has, and protects the seller against future damage.

This includes anything that isn’t functioning as it should, structural defects, as well as any problems in the neighborhood. If you didn’t get a permit when making home renovations, that would have to be disclosed as well.

If full disclosure is not provided by the seller, the buyer could be awarded compensation for the damage. This matter can be discussed in length with your real estate agent, who will know the laws that apply to you.

The best approach is to simply eliminate any problems that your house currently has so it becomes a non-issue.

Buyer

The buyer has to purchase homeowners insurance before closing. Other tasks may include:

  • negotiating repairs
  • applying for a mortgage
  • hiring an attorney to review sales contract
  • arranging a home inspection
  • purchasing title insurance

The buyer needs to bring a copy of the sales contract to the closing and photos/notes that were taken earlier. Before signing, make the following checks:

  • turn on all lights and ceiling fans
  • look for any signs of damage (especially water damage)
  • run water faucets in every sink and bath tub
  • turn on all appliances
  • open every door and window
  • flush toilets
  • did the seller leave anything behind?
  • plug a nightlight into every outlet
  • check plumbing, heating and air conditioning

Do your due diligence. If you don’t thoroughly evaluate the home, you may end up paying for it in the long run. Hold the seller responsible if they don’t hold up their end. Focus mainly on the costly issues. The small stuff shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

If you find problems, the original closing date might be in jeopardy. To stay on schedule, one option is to release the funds from an Escrow account once the seller has followed through with their responsibilities.

Closing on time may be very important for both parties. In most cases, the buyer will likely have a move in date scheduled with a moving company. If the sale doesn’t close on time, the buyer may have to take all their stuff to a storage facility. This would be very inconvenient and costly.

It also may have an impact on the buyer’s ability to lock in an interest rate. If the deadline passes, the mortgage application process may have to start over again. Another buyer could come in and close the deal.

On the other hand, the seller might be relying on funds from the sale to buy another home.

The Closing

Either Escrow is used to make the transfer, or both parties meet in person. If the buyer is taking out a mortgage, they’ll be two closings: one for the house and one for the mortgage. It will likely take place at the title company office.

Read and understand every document before signing. Your real estate agent or attorney will answer any questions you have. The buyer makes a down payment and pays the real estate agent’s commission. The seller pays off their mortgage and closing costs.

What to bring:

Buyer

  • paperwork
  • driver’s license/photo ID
  • proof of 1 year prepaid homeowner’s insurance
  • cashier’s check S

Seller

  • house keys
  • homeowner’s association or condo by-laws
  • anything else instructed to bring

Checklist

  • check and sign real estate contracts
  • pay off outstanding bills and debts
  • update will or living trust (if applicable)
  • schedule house closing date
  • schedule final walk-through on new house
  • wire transfer closing funds for new house
  • correct items on home inspection list
  • give keys and security code (if applicable) to real estate agent
  • leave garage door openers behind
  • bring closing papers from sale of current home to new home closing
  • obtain final HUD-1 settlement statement
  • acquire new title policy and property deed

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