Create a Closing Timeline To-Do List
You’re entering the home stretch. Soon, you will be moving into your new home, perhaps starting a new life in a new neighborhood. Before you get there, there are critical steps you need to take. Once you’ve accepted the buyer’s offer or negotiated a deal acceptable to both sides and have a signed contract in hand, you can expect to spend about 6-8 weeks working to get to the closing table. Not all of the burden will fall on you, but you’ll need to dedicate time to completing the tasks on your closing to-do list.
In the first few weeks after the purchase contract is signed, you’ll work to hire the team of professionals you’ll need to close your transaction and make sure your mortgage, insurance and property documents are at your fingertips.
During the same time period you can expect to be contacted by the inspector hired by the buyer and the appraiser sent by the buyer’s lender to set up time when they can visit the property. You’ll need to be there when they visit so it will likely be in the evening or on a weekend unless you are home during the day. Neither visit should take more than an hour or two and you would be wise to accompany both inspector and appraiser as they go about their jobs.
You’ll also need to take care of the other end of your transaction: finalizing the steps needed to complete your move into your new home whether you are buying or renting (or have another arrangement, such as living with relatives).
To be certain your closing process will unfold smoothly, plot your upcoming steps on a to-do list that you can also use to check off completed items.
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
Hire a real estate attorney immediately after reaching agreement with the buyer
1-2 WEEKS AFTER SIGNING THE CONTRACT:
Arrange for escrow through a title company or separate escrow agency (depending on what the custom is in your state) and deposit the buyer’s earnest check into the escrow account
Download a HUD-1 closing document from the American Land Title Association or Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and work with your attorney to begin filling in seller elements of the form in anticipation of closing
2-3 WEEKS AFTER SIGNING CONTRACT:
Find the personal financial information you’ll need (mortgage documents, property survey, insurance documents, etc.) within the first few weeks after agreeing to an offer
Cooperate with the buyer’s home inspector and appraiser
Find state-specific disclosure forms and other legal documents you need for closing
3-4 WEEKS AFTER:
Fix items that you agree to repair as soon as possible after the inspection
Make final arrangements with a title company for a title insurance policy that you will need to purchase on behalf of the buyer
Set a closing date in cooperation with the attorneys and your title company
4 WEEKS BEFORE CLOSING DAY:
Contact your mortgage company to make final payoff arrangements
Hire a moving company
This is an exciting time in your life. Take care of the details that need to be handled to get to the closing table, and when the closing date arrives, you’ll be ready.