Step 24 to Buying a Home: Attend Closing
It’s Closing Time!
Closing location is determined by the title company chosen by the seller. Generally, the parties make every effort to close at a location close to the property being purchased. For Chicago properties, closings they usually take place in the Loop. If your schedule requires that we close in a location away from the property please let us know as soon as possible. A closing confirmation email showing the date, time and location will be sent out prior to closing. Closing will not be set until the Buyer’s lender issues a clear to close (CTC) loan approval.
Once closing is scheduled, we recommend calling to confirm your movers one last time. Make sure they have the proper sized crew and truck to efficiently complete the move. If you are moving out of a condo and are not on the first floor, let them know, especially if your building doesn’t have an elevator. Most closings take approximately 2 hours but can take longer. While moving on the same day of closing is not recommended, if you are moving on the day of closing please be sure to give yourself enough time to complete the closing before you need to meet your movers.
A few important reminders for closing:
- Bring your photo ID with you (ideally a driver’s license or passport)
- Bring your checkbook (just in case)
- Bring copies of your earnest money receipts and wire transfer receipt for the deposit and closing costs
Closing takes approximately 2 hours, however, it can be as short as 1.5 hours or up to 4.5 hours if there are problems. On average, expect to be finished in 2 – 2.5 hours. At closing, in addition to you, there will usually be the following people present:
- The seller’s attorney. He or she will look over the documents, sign where needed and be available should any problems arise.
- The title officer. The title officer makes sure everything is signed properly, sends all of the signed documents to the underwriter for one last review and issues any refund checks at the end of closing.
- The buyer’s attorney. Your attorney will sit right next to you and will go over all of the paperwork with you, explain when your first mortgage payment is due and tell you where to send it, etc. Basically the buyer’s attorney runs the show.
The sellers are usually not present at closing as they have pre-signed all of the documents. Before you go to closing, call the Title company to verify the address. If you’re driving, also ask if the Title company validates parking in a particular parking garage to save yourself some money. Don’t be surprised if closing starts late. One of the attorneys is always late, especially if it’s late in the day; their previous closings sometimes run long.
A note about spouses who are not on the mortgage loan:
Even if your spouse is not on the loan, most of the time your spouse must sign the mortgage to waive homestead rights (providing certain protections from creditors). Talk to your lender if you are divorced or getting divorced. You may need to bring additional documentation, such as a divorce decree. Even if your spouse is not on the deed, for a home, your spouse usually must sign the deed to release homestead rights (providing certain protections from creditors).
During closing make sure you understand how and when the taxes get paid and how to get the exemptions (homeowner and senior citizen) you are entitled to as these exemptions usually save you several hundred dollars per year. Your attorney should review this information with you in detail at the closing, but if not, be sure to ask.
At the very end of the closing, the Title officer will give you an overage check which is essentially a refund of the additional money you transferred over when you sent your down payment and closing cost fees. Remember, we always have you transfer $1500 – $2000 extra just in case there was an error in the numbers. At the very end of closing you’ll get a check back for the extra amount. Please deposit that check within 1 – 2 days. You’ll also receive a copy of the Closing Disclosure. Hold on to this! You’ll need it next year when you prepare your taxes. Click here for an explanation of what the Closing Disclosure is as well as tips for understanding it
Last, but not least, you’ll get your keys and can now officially move in!
Congratulations new homeowner!