After a long and sometimes arduous ordeal, you’ve finally arrived. It’s closing day and the house you’ve worked so hard to get for you and your family is about to become yours. The only things left to do are sign the documents, get the keys and move in. But then, at the very last minute, the title company asks for one more document—one you know was included in the sheaf of papers you sent a week ago. To save yourself such frustrations at closing time, here’s how to make sure buying the house of your dreams goes smoothly.
Stay in Touch with Your Lender
While it might feel like you’re the only client your lender’s agent has, the truth is mortgage-lending offices are a hotbed of activity in which many reams of paper exchange hands on a daily basis. Your agent is probably handling 10 more cases just like yours. When you need an answer to something right away, pick up the phone; don’t rely on email and text messages. With that said, be patient, as they usually have a number of people they must consult to get you an answer. Make sure they have everything they need to keep your deal in motion and when they tell you they need something, get it to them that day—not a few days later.
Review Documentation in Advance
Go through all of the documents beforehand to ensure everything needed is in place and filled out correctly. Something as simple as a misspelled name or a transposed number in an address will render a document invalid. Correcting these things can sometimes set the process back by several days—depending upon the nature of the issue. Checking and double-checking before closing day will head off the problem. One of the things you’ll need is proof of insurance, so make it a point to compare homeowners insurance and get a policy in place before closing day.
Speaking of Checks
You will absolutely need a check on closing day and most likely a certified one. As part of your pre-closing activities, ask exactly how much you’ll need to be prepared to pay on closing day and bring a certified check with you in that amount. Don’t rely on wire transfers, as these can sometimes cause delays. You will also need valid government ID, so don’t show up without your wallet.
Make Closing Day a Holiday
In most cases, your activity at the closing office will take little more than half an hour. However, if you’re thinking of swinging by the closing office on your way to work, signing everything and going on with your day, you might be in for a surprise. If some last minute anomaly reveals itself, you’re going to need the time and the flexibility to handle it right away to keep your deal on track. Do you want to see your deal fall through at the last minute because you didn’t have time to go chase down a couple more documents? Take the day off.
Deal with Unexpected Walkthrough Issues
That final inspection before you sign can make or break a deal. If something is amiss at walkthrough, get your real estate agent on it right away to resolve the situation before closing day. If you wait until the last minute you’ll have less leverage to set things straight because you’ll be anxious to get things over with. Resist the temptation to do so, however, because it will be more money out of your pocket. Insist things fall according to the contract and if your seller can’t (or won’t) do so, insist they cover the amount of the repairs by paying your closing costs.