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Dos and Don’ts for Closing on Your Home: 7 Secrets to Success

4 Minute Read

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, closing day is the grand finale of a long and often stressful process. You’ve made it through so many hoops already—from appraisal and financing to home inspection and title search. Now, you just have to get through this last step in one piece.

Here’s how to do it and keep a smile on your face.

Buyers: Sweat the Small Stuff

A home is a big purchase, so pay attention to the details and raise red flags before you sign on the dotted line. A closing delay—or even no closing at all—beats regret with zeroes on the end any day of the week.

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Don’t rush the final walk-through.
A day or so before closing, you’ll have one last chance to ensure the home’s condition hasn’t taken a turn for the worse. For instance, did the seller fix everything they agreed to? Are appliances missing? Is anything damaged? There’s no turning back once the keys are yours. Take your time and bring any unwelcome surprises to your real estate agent’s attention immediately.

Do perform a final cost check.
No one wants surprises at the closing table. You should receive your HUD-1 statement, which outlines your final loan costs, at least a day before closing. Review each cost carefully ahead of time and compare it to your original good faith estimate. If anything has changed, ask your lender why. Double-check your monthly mortgage amount to be sure you can really afford it—it shouldn’t exceed 25% of your monthly take-home pay.

Don’t sign anything you don’t understand.
On closing day, you’ll sign your way through 50–100 pages of paperwork. After weeks of waiting, you may be tempted to breeze through all the confusing legal jargon just to get ’er done. But this is no time for a race to the finish. Read each page thoroughly and don’t be afraid to ask questions if something doesn’t add up.

Sellers: Tie Up Loose Strings

You don’t want to mess up a good thing at the eleventh hour. That’s why it’s important to dot every i and cross every t to ensure your deal goes off without a hitch.

Do uphold your end of the bargain.
If you agree to fix something as part of the contract, by all means, do it! Aside from being a legal obligation, it’s just the right thing to do. Take the Golden Rule one step further by handing your home over in sparkling-clean condition. It’s a great way to thank the new homeowners for loving it enough to take a chance on it!

Don’t put the cart before the horse.
Remember, the deal isn’t done until everyone has signed on the dotted line. Don’t cancel your home insurance or hand over the keys until ownership has officially transferred—no matter how harmless it may seem. If the contract falls through, the last place you want to be is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Do keep your buyer in the loop.
Coordinating the sale of one home with the purchase of another makes your head spin. And somewhere in the mix of things, you actually have to pack up and move out. Just don’t forget to take your buyer into consideration as you make plans. After all, they have stuff to move too! Can’t get out by closing? See if your buyer will lease your home back to you for an extra week or two so you don’t have to move twice.

Always Partner With a Pro

Whatever side of the sale you’re on, come equipped with a real estate agent you can trust to champion your cause. An experienced agent will explain every step of the process and handle any last-minute surprises so you can close with confidence. If you’d like to find a real estate agent who has the heart of a teacher and will bring your best interests to the table, we can recommend one in your area.

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