What To Expect At Closing

Knowing the process can take the mystery and fear out of owning real estate

pay attention to the good faith estimate a broker brings them, noting the points, closing costs, and how much money they’re really borrowing,” says Mike Hannigan, executive vice president of the Precedent Companies, a real estate firm in Indianapolis.

Take time to understand before signing. You should never sign anything that you don’t understand, so don’t feel pressured if problems arise at the closing. “I asked a lot of questions of my mortgage person,” says Thomas. “I read everything. If there was a term I wasn’t familiar with, I asked for an explanation.”

As Thomas says, “Take your time, really read the documents. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to speak up because you are going to be responsible for whatever you sign. There’s no turning back once those papers are signed.”

Here is what you can do before your closing to make sure that the process goes smoothly:
Schedule the closing during business hours.
If you schedule the closing after business hours, and your bank or any agency has to make adjustments to your paperwork, the office might be closed.

Use a lawyer before the closing.
The critical time to have your lawyer involved with your purchase is well before the closing. Your attorney should review the purchase agreement, resolve any complications with the title, and make certain any other issues you deem important are covered to your satisfaction. “Bringing an attorney to settlement is probably a waste unless you are expecting a problem,” says Mattison. “By the time you get to settlement, you have signed a sales contract as a buyer, the seller has signed, and you both have created an agreement that spells out the terms. At that point, [the terms] shouldn’t change and don’t need to change anywhere between the time that document is signed and the time settlement occurs.”

Resolve issues with the property before signing the agreement.
The most common obstacle to a successful closing is when the buyer goes through the final walk-through and the property is not in the condition that they agreed to. For example, if a stove doesn’t work, that issue needs to be ironed out or negotiated at settlement between the two parties to produce an acceptable resolution. Instead of asking the seller to fix problems, experts say, you might negotiate a cheaper price before closing, and fix minor problems yourself.

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