Don’t Overlook These Details When You Close on a Home

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

You’ve pinched your pennies, qualified for a loan, survived the search for a home, and are finally ready to reach the closing table. Time to seal the deal and toast your new home, right? Don’t jump ahead quite yet. Closing on a home involves some details that, when done right, will make sure you can fully enjoy those first days rather than worry about whether or not you missed something. Make sure to check these items off your to-do list:

  • Transfer utilities. It’s a simple thing that can be easy to overlook until the last minute. Check this item off early, ideally a month before you close. Call the utility companies and notify them so you can make proper arrangements to have all utilities in your name as of the closing date.
  • Request a copy of your HUD1 Settlement Statement Form or Closing Disclosure. The HUD1 Settlement Statement Form outlines all fees for the closing and who owes what money to whom. You can request a final copy from your closing agent 24 hours prior to closing. Note that in the near future, the HUD1 Settlement Statement Form will be replaced with a Closing Disclosure, and by law you will receive a copy of it three days before closing. If you receive a Closing Disclosure, compare it to the Loan Estimate you received at the time or your loan application. This will give you time to review the fees and ask questions.
  • Take a final walk-through. If you’ve done your homework, you have already had a full inspection and negotiated about any issues found. But when closing day comes, it’s worthwhile to take one final walk-through to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything, that any items that were agreed to stay with the house are there and in good condition, and that any agreed-upon work was completed to your satisfaction.
  • Have a little financial cushion. Don’t let under-budgeting make your closing day more stressful than it needs to be. The list of fees and expenses a buyer typically pays include the lender’s attorney fees, recording fees, escrowed taxes, homeowners insurance, and points or fees that the lender charges to issue the loan. Make sure you have enough money in the bank to cover the total dollar amount as given by your closing or title agent, plus a little extra so you have some cushion to cover unforeseen costs. If there are unexpected fees or charges that you don’t understand, ask plenty of questions and get the clarifications you need before signing and agreeing to pay.
  • Read, read, read. There will be a lot of paperwork. It’s tempting to assume that since you’ve been discussing everything with your lender and real estate professional throughout the deal that you’re already aware of everything that could be in the paperwork. Regardless, make sure you take your time to read through what you are signing so you understand it fully. Once you sign, you have agreed to everything contained in the fine print for the life of the mortgage, so you don’t want any accidental surprises.

Remember that as you approach the closing table, you have a team of professionals there to help you through the process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your lender or real estate professional before the big day, and when you are at the closing table don’t hesitate to ask questions of the closing or title agent too. Once the deal is done, congrats—you’re officially a homeowner!

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