All about the “closing” – what should you expect at your closing?

Once you’ve gotten through arguably the hardest parts of the home buying process (finding a home, getting pre and final mortgage approval from a lender, negotiating the sale of the home including final price and any conditions associated with your purchase) you are finally ready to close on your new home. But what does that mean? What can you expect at your closing? Read below to find out all about closings – one of the final steps in the home buying process!

What is a closing?

Your home “closing” is the final step in the legal portion of the home buying process. The closing is where the legal transfer of the home from the seller to you, the buyer, takes place. A closing takes place after both the seller and buyer have met all the conditions of the sale of the home. For example, your closing will take place after a professional inspector has conducted the home inspection and after your mortgage lender has finalized all of your mortgage terms. For all intents and purposes, when you leave the closing you will be the official owner of your new home!

Who needs to attend the closing? How long should I expect the closing to take? 

All of the parties who need to sign the mortgage and title must attend the closing, so if you are purchasing the home with a spouse, partner or other individual you will all need to attend the closing. The sellers will also generally be there (although they may have their attorney or other representative attend in their place) as well as a title attorney or other legal representative from the title company and the closing or escrow agent, if applicable. You may also have an attorney who represents you attend the closing, but one is not required to appear on your behalf at the closing (and you would be responsible for paying any attorney who appears on your behalf).

Closings last as long as it takes you to read through all of the required documentation and sign them – we suggest leaving yourself plenty of time (several hours) on the day of your closing so that you can take as much time as you feel you need to read through all the legal disclosures and documents. 

What should I expect to happen at the closing?

At the closing you will be required to review and sign all of the legal documents needed to transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer. At the closing you will also be expected to release any funds or write any checks needed to finalize the mortgage and home buying process. Your mortgage lender and/or the title company will be in touch with you prior to your closing to ensure that you have the time you need to obtain any cash you will need at the actual closing.

If you have any questions at your closing you should feel comfortable speaking up and asking those questions. If any terms on paper do not match the terms you have previously agreed upon with the sellers, your mortgage lender or any other party, make sure to tell the closing agent or escrow attorney this information. Once you sign the legal documents at the closing, you will have accepted the terms printed on the contracting documents so make sure you ask any questions before signing. The closing is an exciting time because it means you are finalizing your new home purchase, but make sure that you take the time to read and review each document before you sign it, as you will be legally bound by what you sign.