After you’ve signed a contract to purchase a home, or for a proprietary lease on a co-op, the next step is to attend the closing meeting. This generally happens two to three months following the contract signing, but can occur earlier or later, depending on the situation. This meeting is where the actual purchase is made – where money changes hands in exchange for the deed (or lease) to the property. It sounds simple, but there are a few things you need to know before you head into the meeting.
How Long Will it Take?
First of all, though it sounds like a fairly straightforward experience, holding the closing meeting isn’t necessarily something that can be done in a rush. Closings generally take about two to three hours, with very few meetings taking less than one hour. Some meetings may go on even longer. If you’d like to cut down on the closing meeting time, take the time to ensure that you are well-prepared and know what to expect.
Where Will it Be?
When the date is set for the meeting, you can expect to attend the closing at an official and agreed-upon location. In other words, it’s not going to be a casual meetup at your local coffeehouse. Usually, these meetings take place at an attorney’s office, your lender’s office, the escrow company’s location, or even your broker’s office. Don’t be intimidated by the professional settings, however; attending the closing in these locations is meant to ensure that everything is done legally and above-board. The agents involved in the sale of the property will decide the date, time, and place of the meeting and coordinate with you to guarantee that everything goes smoothly.
What Will Take Place?
So what exactly happens at a closing? As mentioned before, this is where the actual purchase is made – when money is exchanged for the deed to the property. This involves transferring the title from the seller to the buyer and completing any financial requirements: the seller receives the agreed-upon amount, the buyers sign the mortgage (if required), and both buyer and seller pay applicable fees to the real estate agent, purchase insurance, and pay any necessary taxes on the purchase.
What Will You Need?
To make sure this goes smoothly, you’ll need to make certain that you bring everything you’ll need to the meeting. Ask your attorney and mortgage loan officer what exactly it is you’ll need to bring. In general, you can expect to bring a driver’s license or passport, simply for identity verification purchases. Secondly, the buyer will need to bring in a cashier’s check for the exact amount of the overall closing costs and for the down payment of the property (we’ll get to that in a moment). It is wise to bring your checkbook along with you, in case of any last-minute changes or extra fees. Hopefully there won’t be too many financial surprises, but make sure you come prepared. The seller will need to bring any items related to the house that the new owner will need once they receive full ownership. This will include keys to the home and any related necessities. The seller should also be prepared with a cashier’s check to cover his or her portion of the closing costs, generally made out to the title company. If any of these items are missing, this could lengthen the meeting and cause more than a little frustration for all parties involved.
What Will it Cost?
The cost of closing is usually the biggest concern for most homebuyers. At a national average of over $2000, it’s no wonder that closing costs can turn into a headache for buyers and sellers both. If you’re purchasing a condo, house, or co-op, you can expect to write a check for your attorney’s fees as well as the mortgage bank attorney’s fees, which will vary from person to person; a move-in deposit of up to $1000 (but usually closer to $500); interest on the loan, and of course, the down-payment. Make sure you discuss the costs with your attorney and others involved, because there could be other fees such as a mortgage tax, title insurance, and more.
To ensure that the closing meeting proceeds smoothly, discuss every detail with your agent well before the closing is set to take place. The fewer surprises, the faster you’ll be able to get into your new property.