Preparing to Close
You're almost there - but there are still important tasks you have to complete before the closing.
There's a lot to do in the weeks leading up to the closing so good organization is a must. Proper scheduling can reduce your stress and prevent any mistakes or delays.
Create a schedule of the items you need to complete before closing. Set up a file with all of your purchase and closing related documentation so you have it readily available.
A comprehensive home inspection is a must for any responsible homebuyer. A proper inspection should help uncover any defects in the home - before you move in and get hit with unexpected repair costs. Depending upon your location and the age of the home you may need additional inspections as well - radon, termite, septic, etc. Your attorney (if you are using one) and realtor can help guide you through this process, so draw on their experience.
Schedule the Appraisal
Your lender will probably hire the appraiser, but you need to make sure it gets done on time. A satisfactory appraisal is essential to obtaining your mortgage commitment and moving toward closing.
Make sure that any contingencies specified in the contract are satisfied. If the seller is required to make repairs prior to closing, schedule a walk-through to insure that they are properly completed - and don't hesitate to have your home inspector review the work if you are uncomfortable making the determination yourself.
Finalize Your Mortgage
Your lender should issue a mortgage commitment shortly after the property is appraised (assuming the appraised value is adequate). Contact your mortgage representative to make sure things are proceeding as expected. Don't wait until the last minute - if there is a problem you want to find out as soon as possible.
Order a Survey
You'll need a survey of the property. Contact the last surveyor who worked on the site and make arrangements at least 2-3 weeks before the closing date. If you are using an attorney, he or she may arrange to get the survey, so check and make sure before you order one as well.
Order Title Insurance
It is essential to make sure that the title insurance is ready for closing day. The title company will need to do a search on the property to uncover any potential problems with the transfer. Make sure to leave enough time before closing, not only for the search, but to deal with any problems that surface. If any title problems arise, don't panic - usually these issues can be resolved fairly quickly. If you are using an attorney, he or she will probably arrange for the title work to be done.
Prepare Your Purchase Funds
You'll need to have certified funds available to cover the purchase price and closing costs, so now is the time to cash out investments or make other arrangements to free up the cash. Your attorney can help you determine the total amount you'll need to bring to the closing.
Purchase Homeowner's Insurance
You'll need a binder from your insurance company to verify that you have properly insured the home - otherwise you may not be able to close on your mortgage.
Get Ready for Moving Day
You probably want to move in right after the closing (you'll have to if you're selling your old home the same day), so now is the time to start preparing. You need to hire a mover (unless you plan to handle the move yourself) and start packing your possessions. It's also time to make arrangements for utility shutoffs and installations - our utility checklist can help you organize these tasks.
Schedule the Walk-Through
The final walk-through should be conducted the day of or before the closing. The walkthrough allows you to confirm that the house is ready and that any required repairs have been completed. If you're buying a new home the walk-through also gives you a chance to identify any items that have not been satisfactorily completed.
There is a lot of work to do in the weeks leading up to the closing. It's important to get yourself organized and not to become overly stressed.
If your contract was properly written you'll have enough time to finish everything - and if you fall slightly behind, it's likely the closing can be delayed a few days until you are ready to go.
Make a list of everything you need to get done. Don't hesitate to ask your agent to help you get ready - he or she is not only there to help, but is also a veteran of this process. Your agent can run important errands, arrange for inspectors to have access to the house, and even help you replace a professional who isn't working out. Don't overlook this resource if you feel you are falling behind.
Keep a list of all items that need to be completed before the closing. Note the dates of appointments and check off items that are completed.
A little organization - and maybe a bit of help from your agent is all you need to get to the closing table without driving yourself crazy.