Buying a home is a complex and often lengthy process. From submitting the offer, to delivering the earnest money, to scheduling the inspection: it’s all taking you one step closer to closing. The closing process itself marks the final hurdle before the seller hands over the keys. You can even choose a Hybrid eClosing process, where you’ll sign most of the documents electronically before your in-person appointment on closing day. To help make the process easier, we’ve put together 7 simple steps you can take on the way to a hassle-free closing.
- Review, Review, Repeat. The Closing Disclosure—a document that provides the final details about your mortgage loan—must be provided by your lender at least 3 business days before your loan is executed. Reading the fine print might seem tedious, but you’ll need to review everything carefully to check for errors. If you see something that isn’t right, contact your lender or your attorney as soon as possible.
Compare the Closing Disclosure to the Loan Estimate (LE) you received when you applied for your home loan. Double check your mortgage rate information, loan terms—even proper spelling of your name! Taking the time to read beforehand can prevent fixable errors before closing day. A closer look at the documents will also remind you how much your closing costs are so you can prepare those funds.
- Handle Home Repairs. At closings, it’s not uncommon for repair disputes to surface. If you’ve had an inspection done already and the seller has agreed to make some improvements, discuss a set timeline in advance. You’ll want to ensure that these are complete well before closing day (at least a week) so there’s a buffer in case work is delayed. Also, try and get a final walkthrough scheduled the day before closing to ensure that everything is as it was agreed to, both inside the home and around the property.
- Conduct a Title Search. Have your title company or settlement agent conduct a preliminary title report. This will tell you if the home or property is subject to any liens, like a contractor’s lien for renovations or even a delinquent mortgage. Even purchases like major appliances or fuel/waste storage tanks can sometimes be unpaid liens.
- Seal the Mortgage Deal. Double check that you’ve provided everything to your lender on their mortgage checklist: pay stubs, tax returns, etc. If you have any potential credit or employment gaps or issues, disclose them to your lender and ask them how best to proceed. You don’t want those to prevent the money from being transferred to the seller on closing day.
Don’t forget about those closing costs, either! Your mortgage company will require proof of your down payment and closing cost funds before you seal the deal. Make sure those are readily available in an account so they can be transmitted electronically or sent via cashier’s check for closing.
If you’re wiring the funds instead of a cashier’s check, make sure you understand your bank’s procedures for external transfers in advance. You might have to initiate the transfer a few business days ahead of time to ensure the funds actually arrive on closing day.
- Decide on Your Plan for Closing. You can opt for a traditional in-person closing, a Hybrid eClosing or a Remote Online Notary (also known as RON) eClosing. With Hybrid, you'll electronically sign most of your documents and meet with your settlement agent for final notarization. With RON, you'll electronically sign all documents and use a digital notary to close from anywhere—no in-person meeting necessary. Your loan processor can provide more details about your closing options.
- Ask Questions. Your loan processor and settlement agent are there to help—it’s perfectly okay to ask them anything and everything! It may help calm any last-minute jitters you have about finalizing the process. In the excitement of the process, documents could easily be misplaced or signatures forgotten. Being proactive lets them know you’re on the ball and helps prevent any human errors from delaying closing.
- Set Aside Enough Time for Closing. In-person closings can take 30 minutes to a few hours, so plan some buffer time. If you choose a Hybrid eClosing, appointments often take less than 30 minutes since you’ll already have electronically signed the documents that didn’t need notarization. A Remote Online Notary (RON) closing typically takes about 15 minutes, and all documents are signed remotely from any location you choose.
If you choose an in-person closing, try to schedule your closing for earlier in the day and set aside enough time to allow for any unexpected delays. If you’re able to take the day off from work or even a half-day, the extra time will give you some wiggle room. Plus, you’ll likely be excited to check out your new home after closing!
Master the Art of Closing
The home-buying process is a marathon, but closing is the home stretch! Thinking ahead, asking questions and staying organized will help you avoid any pitfalls on the big day, so you can get moving and settled in no time!
- If you want to perform a Hybrid eClosing or a Remote Online Notary (RON) closing, rather than a traditional in-person signing of all documents, make sure you let the loan processor know at least 3 days before closing that you wish to do so. Remember—you’ll need a good internet connection and internet-connected device to electronically sign and submit.
- In the lead-up to the closing process, keep documentation of everything. This includes seller agreements to repair, loan and financing paperwork, and employment verification info.
- Do a complete run-through of all documents required for closing and make sure you have copies on-hand, just in case. Remember to reach out to your lender a day or two before closing to close any information gaps.
- Make sure to budget plenty of time in the days before and the day of closing. The more flexibility you have in time, the less stress and pressure you’ll feel if there are bumps in the closing process.
This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.