Buying a Home 101 series – Week 11
This step-by-step series will take you through the entire home-buying process — from finding a buyer’s agent to settlement day, and all the details in between. Every first-time buyer will find this information-packed series easy to follow and understand. Make sure to tune in for the next couple of weeks as we wrap up this series!
You don’t want any surprises when you close on a home. As a buyer, ensuring a smooth transition to becoming a homeowner should be set in motion well before you sit down with the sellers that day.
Here’s a handy breakdown with your pre-closing to-do’s. That way you’re all prepared for when your settlement day arrives.
Check Off Pre-Closing Tasks
You’re moving into a new home so you want to make sure it’s all ready for you and your family. Now is a good time to get certain appointments booked and accounts set up.
- Connect your utilities— You don’t want to move in without any power turned on! Get in touch with the electric to set up your new electric account. You can sometimes arrange a transfer prior to the sellers closing their account, and you will avoid a re-connect fee.
Depending on whether you have gas or if water is included in your condo fees, you may need to contact those services too. In our area, water will require a deed with your name on it, so that has to be done on the closing day and not ahead of time. Ask the seller to leave the water turned on until you have a chance to get it transferred to your name.
Set up all of your other accounts to start on the day of your settlement. You want to make sure electricity and water are working on the morning of your closing day, so that you can test everything during your final walkthrough.
You can get cable and internet service at a later date (if you can survive for a bit!). However, you can schedule your appointments now for a convenient date.
- Contact your insurance company—Make sure you have your homeowners/hazard insurance starting on the date of settlement as well. Also, be sure to send a copy of the policy to your lender. You pay for the first full year at settlement, so no need to pay anything prior.
- Consider a Home Warranty—If you want to protect yourself in case anything goes wrong, you do have the option of buying a home warranty. The idea is that if something breaks, you would call the home warranty company to repair or replace it.
Get Prepared for Closing Day
When the big day arrives, you want to make sure you have everything you need, including any necessary funds. Don’t be rushing around at the last minute, so read over the list below.
- What to bring to settlement— Bring your driver’s license and a certified check made out to the closing attorney for the rest of your funds that you still owe. If your check isn’t enough, you can bring a personal check and write it up to $1,000. It’s always good to bring a personal checkbook for any last minute items.
If you are moving funds around, please be aware that banks typically put at least a 3 day hold on large transfers. Also, you can choose to wire funds to the closing attorney the day before the closing. You do not want the closing to be held up because of a slow wire from your bank. Also, be mindful of bank holidays.
Be aware: Due to unfortunate wire fraud recently, only access wire instructions by email IF the closing attorney has also confirmed them with you by phone. Too many buyers have lost their downpayment, so do not wire any funds without verbal confirmation of the account number and wire instructions from the closing attorney.
- Obtain and review a copy of the Closing Disclosure form (it replaced the HUD-1 Settlement Statement). This form lists all final terms of the loan you’ve selected, final closing costs, and the details of who pays and who receives money at closing. Your lender should send you a Closing Disclosure at least three business days before closing. Once you receive it, let me know and we will review it together to you understand everything.
- Final walk-through— Mark your calendar for the time to meet at your new home for the walk-through. This is usually scheduled just prior to the actual closing. This is your opportunity to inspect the home and its condition. It also enables you to confirm that any items that you and the seller have agreed to remain or convey are there.
This is an exciting time since you’re almost in your new home! You don’t want anything to be delayed or forgotten right now so double-check that all tasks have been completed. Put a big red check mark next to each item when done!
I hope you now have the confidence and knowledge to buy a home!
Just remember, throughout this part of the process you are not alone—I’ll be in touch every step of the way making sure everything goes smoothly and you know what to do when. Plus, the attorney will review all of your settlement documents with you before you sign, so that you aren’t nervous on settlement day! I’ve got you!
Next week is the final article in the series! It came too fast, so I’m also sending you a bonus article about how to maintain your home after you move in. Stay tuned for next week’s article — How to Make Your Settlement a Success.
Hi, I'm Kim Crouch, and I help people who want to live in Wilmington near Wrightsville Beach, and aren't quite ready to move yet, figure out how to buy their NC coastal home now.
1001 Millitary Cutoff Rd Suite 101
Wilmington, NC 28403
schedule your free consultation