What is a closing?
The closing refers to the process by which you negotiate the details regarding the purchase or sale of a property with the other party. The actual closing meeting is the final step of this process, a meeting at which you sign all the required documentation to complete the sale.
What are the steps in the closing process?
- Negotiating the Purchase and Sale (P&S): The Purchase and Sale document is the legal document which defines the specifics regarding the property that you are buying or selling. If you are selling, we will draft this document for you. If you are buying, the seller’s attorney will draft the document and we will review it with you with your interests at heart.
Now is the time to be detail-oriented! One of the biggest mistakes that clients make is assuming that certain things will be included in the property. Each and every detail you expect to be included in the purchase, such as appliances, fixtures, curtains, or structures on the property, needs to be listed in this document.
You should read this document carefully and bring us any concerns you have. We will help you understand it and clear up any discrepancies with the other party. Expect that both buyer and seller will have changes and that there will be several drafts of this document before it is finalized.
Included in the P&S:
Purchase & Sale approval date: The P&S specifies a date by which this document must be completed and agreed to by both parties.
Loan application and approval date: The P&S specifies a date by which the buyer must request a loan from a lender (bank, mortgage company, etc.) if not paying cash for the property, and the date by which the mortgage must be obtained.
Home inspection date: The P&S will specify a date by which the buyer must complete an independent home inspection, if they choose to do so. We strongly encourage you to get a home and pest inspection prior to purchase to identify any potential defects in the property.
- Title Search and Title Insurance. If you are the buyer, DeVito Law Offices will run a title check for you. This means we search property records to ensure that the seller really owns the property and has the right to sell it. The title check will identify any problems on the title within the past 50 years. Although we conduct a thorough and detailed search, sometimes there are factors outside our control that present themselves after you buy the property. Obtaining Title Insurance protects you from this and allows you to go forward with your scheduled closing. Read Why You Need Title Insurance.
- Declaration of Homestead: If you are the buyer, we at DeVito Law Offices will draft a Declaration of Homestead document for you and file it with the Registry of Deeds. This document allows you to declare a property as your primary residence and protects you against most claims by creditors, up to $500,000.
- Homeowners Insurance: If you are the buyer, now is the time to set up a homeowners insurance policy on your new property. This is required if you are receiving a loan. You will need proof of your homeowners policy at the closing.
- Secure your loan: If you are the buyer and are not buying in cash, work with a bank or mortgage company to secure a loan by the date specified in the P&S.
- Walk-through: The morning or day before your scheduled closing, the buyer should have a walk-through of the property they are buying to ensure it is in the expected condition before the property changes ownership.
- The closing meeting. The P&S will specify a date for the closing meeting. Once all the previous steps are completed, and the buyer has obtained a mortgage (if necessary), the closing meeting will occur on the specified date. The meeting typically takes place either at a bank, attorney’s office, or courthouse.
Who attends the closing meeting? All buyers and sellers named in the deed (or their Power of Attorney) must be present at the closing to sign the necessary paperwork. Also present are the attorneys for both the buyer and the seller and the real estate agents involved in the transaction.
What can you expect at the closing? The closing day is a big day for buyers and sellers and we understand it can be a little nerve-wracking. The meeting typically takes at least two hours. During that time, you will be asked to sign up to 24 documents, including the HUD statement, tax forms, and Deed of Trust. While this can feel overwhelming, we will explain each document to you and you can be assured that we have reviewed them. At the end of the meeting, the buyer can expect to obtain the key to their new property.
What should you bring to the closing:
If you are the buyer:
- Photo ID
- Paperwork that proves you have obtained a mortgage
- Paperwork that proves you have homeowners insurance on the new property
- Purchase and Sale document
- Closing fees: you will need a certified or cashier’s check for the amount of the down payment plus the closing cost. This amount will be provided to you in advance of the meeting.
If you are the seller
- Photo ID
- All keys and security codes to the property
- Certificate from fire department stating that smoke detectors are in working order
- A certified check, if required, for closing fees
- The deed to your home, if your mortgage is paid off