“The ache for home lives in all of us,” said Maya Angelou, “the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Finding such a sanctuary that meets all your needs at the right price and in the right location is profoundly pleasing. Even more so when your bid has been accepted and the prospect of home ownership is no longer a distant dream. Before the keys can be handed over, there is one final stage to go through, the closing process.
Ahead of becoming the legal owner of the property, it is essential to collate all documentation relevant to the purchase. You are recommended to do this the day before the closing date, so that no essential paperwork is overlooked. This bundle will include the loan estimate, proof of homeowners and mortgage insurance, inspection reports, flood risk appraisal, contract, inspection reports, proof of title search and the all-important 5-page Closing Disclosure. It is vital to compare the loan estimate with the Closing Disclosure to check for any discrepancies. In fact, read through everything, you would not want an inadvertent typo to hold up the whole process.
2. Walk-through inspection
Once the seller has vacated the property, you are entitled to inspect it, 24 hours before the closing date. This is to ensure that the condition is as determined in the contract and there are no unwelcome surprises. You may not have seen the property stripped bare before this point, and it is an opportunity to delay the closing if there is something amiss. An alternative would be to ask the seller to deposit funds in escrow to fund any necessary repairs.
3. Assemble at Closing Day
Representatives vary from country to country but a typical party will comprise of yourselves, (the buyer or mortgagor,) the seller, your attorney and/or agent, the seller’s attorney, a closing agent (if not the seller’s attorney), the title company representative, the seller’s real estate agent and the lender (the mortgagee). It will be the closing agent who conducts the proceedings and he or she must oversee all signing of paperwork and all payment of fees. Professional expertise is not only helpful in this scenario, it is imperative to be able to rely on the good advice and reassurance that comes with having a qualified practitioner in the room with your best interests at heart.
4. Sign on the dotted line and seal the deal
The two sets of legal documents requiring signature are the agreement between yourself and the lender, and the agreement between yourself and the seller, transferring ownership. Take your time, read through carefully once again, and only sign when you feel confident and assured that all is in order. Some borrowers roll the associated costs of the closing fees into the principal loan, if this is not the case, you may have to pay these costs at this juncture.
5. Take possession and move in
Once the ink has dried, there is nothing else for it but to take hold of the house-keys and walk through your own front door for the first time as the homeowner. Your only obligation now is to celebrate your good fortune and to look forward to settling in and making the house a home.
Engel & Völkers will always be able to help whenever you are looking to buy or sell a property. Our license partners are experts in every region, familiar with market conditions and local regulations. You can always turn to us for guidance through every step of the buying process.