Avoid Closing Day Surprises
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, closing should be celebrated as the success of your efforts. Afterward, participants can focus on settling into their new home or finalizing their purchase of a replacement.
Occasionally, the closing may not go as planned, but it’s often due to a preventable error. Rather than risk a surprise closing disaster, keep the focus on your immediate responsibilities and follow-up to ensure everyone involved is doing the same.
Not surprisingly, one of the areas most likely to present a problem is the property changing hands. Often, the time between a purchase offer and closing includes a professional inspection, necessary repairs, and the current homeowners’ departure.
Any repairs that were agreed to should be documented and confirmed before closing. Buyers should plan to do a final walkthrough of the home the day before or the day of closing. At that time, the property should be empty of any items that weren’t part of the sale and clean for the new owners.
The future residents may not be moving in immediately, so be sure any garbage has been disposed of properly, the refrigerator is empty, and its ice maker turned off. Also, remember not to neglect yard or pool maintenance in the weeks leading up to closing.
Not all problems found during the walkthrough will derail the closing, but they will certainly add unnecessary stress to the situation. Proactive communication between the buyers and sellers can minimize the chances of any clashes. Sellers should be clear about which items will convey to the owners and which ones they plan to keep and specify those details in the sales contract. Cooperation can also be helpful when it comes to transferring utilities. Determine if leaving current service in place a day or two beyond closing is appropriate.
Both parties should also be in communication with the title company handling the closing. The documentation needs will be different for each, ranging from proof of insurance to loan payoff amounts, but both will need to provide information, either directly or through their Realtor. Don’t assume that no news is good news. Ask for confirmation that everything is in order so that you can address issues sooner rather than later.
In almost every case, the purchase of a home involves the transfer of substantial amounts of money. Buyers may need to provide a down payment and closing costs in addition to their lender’s funds. Sellers might also be paying some of the closing costs or may only need to have an account ready for the sale proceeds.
Clarify acceptable methods of payment with the title company. Large amounts will likely require an electronic transfer or cashier’s check, rather than merely a personal one. Just as importantly, speak with your bank about the timing of these types of transactions, as they may not be able to process them in only a few hours. A lack of funds will undoubtedly end a closing before it gets started, so planning ahead is crucial.
The knowledgeable originators at Open Mortgage will be sure you know what to expect throughout the home buying experience. Visit OpenMortgage.com for countless resources designed to help buyers, sellers and owners.