There’s a lot of information available about how to check your credit score and how to improve your credit score in advance of applying for a mortgage, how to apply for a mortgage, what to expect during the home buying process and more; but there isn’t always a lot of information about what happens just after you get pre-approved, find the home of your dreams, make an offer that’s accepted and purchase your new home. This point is a period called the loan “closing”, and it’s an important step in the home buying process, and not just because it’s one of the final steps on your way to your new home!
What to expect at your closing
On closing day, both the buyer and seller will come together to sign all of the required paperwork, to transfer any funds or write any checks needed and ownership of the property will transfer from the seller to you and your family. This is generally your last opportunity to make any changes to the terms of your sale or your mortgage loan – after all the paperwork is signed, you will be the new owner of your home.
Always be sure to read every document you are presented with before signing it. If you sign something, you are legally obligating yourself to agree to the terms listed within the document – “I didn’t know that’s what I was agreeing to” is generally not a valid defense if you find later that you agreed to something you didn’t intend to. Also, be very wary of signing any document that contains blank spaces or blank lines, which could later be filled in with information you are not aware of. If you have any questions at all about any of the forms – speak up! Your mortgage lender and/or title company should have a legal representative or attorney there who can explain to you any term you are unfamiliar with, or answer any questions you have. You are of course also entitled to have your own attorney present as well, at your own cost.
At closing you will be expected to pay the closing costs and perhaps other additional fees (you should definitely know ahead of time what fees you will be responsible to pay). Your lender will likely give you the option ahead of time to either wrap closing costs and any fees into the balance of your new mortgage loan, or to pay those costs and fees out of pocket. If you will not be wrapping closing costs into your new loan, or cannot do so, be prepared to write a check for amounts owed to either the lender or the other party. It’s a good idea to call your lender well ahead of the closing to find out exactly what you will be responsible for at closing, especially if you are going to be paying those costs and fees out of pocket.