Buying a Home 101 series – Week 12
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.
This series ends with today’s article but stay tuned next week for a bonus article on maintaining your new home!
You are almost a homeowner! And before you can celebrate, you have to gear up for a successful settlement day. That means no surprises, no delays, and no leaving without the keys to your new home.
There is a lot to do on the days leading up to your closing and settlement. You’ll be better prepared if you know what to expect. Some of these tasks were covered in last week’s article, Almost There…Pre-Closing Details for Buyers.
Today’s article will touch on some of those tasks again but will also cover more of what happens during the settlement. That way you stay calm and know what to expect!
Here’s a handy breakdown of what you need to do at each stage of the process:
Pre-Closing Tasks to Complete:
Get homeowner’s insurance. Make sure that it starts the day of the closing; no later, even if you are moving in later.
Don’t hurt your credit (loan!). Do not do anything that could change your financial circumstances, such as opening a new credit card account, getting a new auto loan, charging too much on your current credit cards. Even buying furniture before your settlement is a bad idea. This could delay or even cancel your mortgage. So hold off on any shopping sprees for your new home!
Connect your utilities. Make sure you make it effective for the day of settlement, even if you are moving in after settlement. The seller will turn them off in their name the day of settlement since they will no longer be the owner. To avoid any reconnection fees, make sure the utilities start in your name the day of your settlement.
Give yourself enough time to move funds around. Please be aware that banks typically put at least a 3 day hold on large transfers. If you’d prefer to wire your funds directly to the title company instead of bringing a certified check, get the instructions from your closing attorney.
Settlement Day To-Dos and Logistics:
Your Final Walk-Through
You will be allowed to do a final walk-through of your home prior to closing. Schedule it earlier in the day so you can complete it before you head over to the actual closing. It should take about 30 minutes.
This is your opportunity to see if any damage has been done to the property and if any agreed upon repair work has been completed. Carefully go through the home one more time to see if anything is amiss since you have the opportunity to bring it up at your settlement (not afterward!).
You are not doing another inspection, just making sure that any repairs that were agreed upon have been done and ensuring the home is still in the same condition as when you wrote the contract.
What to Bring to Closing
- Bring your driver’s license or some form of photo ID.
- The closing attorney and lender will calculate the amount of money you need to bring to the closing. You’ll need to bring a certified check or wire in advance for this amount. Also, make sure you also bring your checkbook just in case any minor last minute corrections need to be made.
- Bring all important documents that you have gathered during the home-buying process, proof of homeowner’s insurance, contract, etc. They should have them, but just in case.
- Obtain 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.
What to Expect at the Closing
You should plan to attend the closing at the specified time at the closing attorney’s offices. The sellers generally have less paperwork and sign in advance of your closing time. Many closings can take more than an hour, so plan accordingly if you have to take time off from work.
This is the day where the sellers will legally transfer the property to you. The closing attorney acts as a third party overseeing the terms in the contract to ensure they are being carried out and the transfer of ownership occurs.
This attorney also handles the closing process for that day. This is to ensure that all parties involved (you, the seller, your agent, their agent) can properly oversee the transaction.
The closing attorney will handle the documents, money, and any other items from all parties and make sure that everybody gets paid where necessary.
Stay calm! You will be signing a lot of documents that day so make sure you understand and know what you are signing. Ask questions and confirm amounts if necessary.
Congratulations … You bought your home!
The last step is for the closing attorney to record the mortgage with the county in which your new home is located. This can take a couple hours after your closing time. It is done electronically (in our area), and should be completed the same day barring any unforeseen issues (e.g., internet outage). Once the deed has recorded, the closing attorney will call your agent and your agent will call you! At this point, your agent will be legally allowed to hand you the keys to your new home!
You’re all set to move into your new home now that you’ve made it through your settlement. It’s time to celebrate and start unpacking.
Now that you’re a homeowner, you have to take care of your new home. Next week’s bonus article, Maintaining and Loving Your New Home, is perfect for you. I hope you have enjoyed our Buying a Home 101 series and that it will help you become an informed and confident buyer.
If you’ve enjoyed this series, I’d love the opportunity to help you become a homeowner.
Our first step together would be a 30 minute meeting where we’d discuss the steps in the home buying process, talk about your criteria and see if you may qualify for any first time home buyer loans that could save you money.
Even if you don’t think you are ready to buy for years, I’d love to meet you and help you put together a plan we can implement whenever you are ready. My goal is to help you when you are ready, not pressure you to do something that isn’t right.
So, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s set up a time to talk more about your specific situation, and put together a list of things you can do between now and when you are ready to become a homeowner. That way you’ll have all your ducks in a row when the time comes.
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
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