Buyers and sellers alike are always hearing “We are getting closer to closing!” but what exactly does that mean?

Sitting down to sign the final documents is the final act that either sells your home or enables you to finally get the keys to your new property.  Once the money has hit the accounts of the Escrow Company and the paperwork is signed, these closing documents are submitted to the courthouse,  and the deal is done!

Who Will Be There?

Anyone who is on the title of the property needs to sign paperwork.  If you are married, both spouses need to sign.  A power of attorney can be granted in certain circumstances such as if sellers are moving out of town.  Keep in mind in these situations, the POA needs to be arranged well before closing to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Your closing will be presided over by either a title attorney or someone assigned by the title company that is authorized to go through the documents with you.  Often, this person is also a notary, as some of these papers need to be notarized to be deemed lawful.

Sometimes, both buyers and sellers meet at the same time across the table, with the seller signing first, and the buyers next, and sometimes they sign separately at different times or on different days.  It is also not unusual to have two people on the same side of a transaction sign separately, like in the case of a divorce.  Title companies and attorneys are very sensitive to these situations, so if you need special arrangements, all you need to do is ask.

Lastly, you may also have your agent or your lender come to signing to answer any final questions you may have.  If you are the buyer, this is usually when your agent hands you your keys to your new home.

What am I Signing?

When you sit down to sign your paperwork, there is usually an eye-boggling pile of papers that you will go over and sign.  If you require reading glasses please remember to bring them with you!  Also remember to bring some form of legal identification, like a driver’s license or passport, as that will also be required before signing.

If you are getting financing to purchase your home, there will be a lot of paperwork promising to pay back the loan at the terms you have already agreed to.  Lending requirements, state buyers must receive the final closing document three days before closing, so you should already have seen and gone over this with your loan officer.  This requirement prevents unpleasant surprises at the closing table and has made closings much less stressful for everyone involved.

The other big pile of paperwork deals with the legalities of transferring title. These are pretty cut and dried.  Also before settlement, make sure you have had a discussion about how you will be taking title for your property.  Especially if there are multiple unmarried people on the title, this needs to be carefully considered before signing day and discussed thoroughly with the title attorney or professional.

Just to be safe

Buyers, make sure you bring your certified check for any down payment funds but also remember to bring a personal check with you in case there is a small last minute payment adjustment at the table.  Sellers should also have the account information with them to have funds wired from the settlement company to you – it’s the safest and easiest way to transfer money.

As a final thought, NEVER give your account information to anyone over the phone.  If someone calls to get account information and says they are from a settlement company, hang up and call your title company immediately to confirm it’s really them.  There have been several scams recently across the U.S., so it’s important to never give this information out without confirming with whom you are speaking.

Lastly, take a deep breath, and be proud of your accomplishment!