Here are the final steps that you will typically go through when we close.
Setting Up a Final Walkthrough on Your New Home
Most contracts are inked with a key provision: The home must be in more or less the same condition as when the offer to purchase went through. Many times, the buyer hasn't seen the home in five weeks or more, so determining the same condition, especially with all the furniture moved out, is really more of a hunt for things that are really wrong. Typically, it makes sense to do the walkthrough as close to close as possible, and often that means the same day. This is for your protection, as well as to minimize the chance that the seller is still on the property. The more of the seller's stuff is there, the more difficult it is to inspect the property, as many sellers are cleaning up right up until the close.
Things we look for:
Ready to Move? The last couple of days
are quite fluid, but consider this a quick checklist.
- Holes in Walls: Anything that was attached to the property in a "permanent" manner was actually sold when the offer was signed, unless, of course, it was specifically excluded. Alas, not every seller is aware of the law, so we do see, from time to time, things ripped out of walls and the walls not repaired. Although it's usually too late to get it fixed before close, we often negotiate compensation for such an item.
- Damage as a result of moving furniture
- Checking to make sure the heat and A/C still work (as appropriate)
- We'll check to make sure you have power and hot water
- A quick inspection to make sure no trees or branches have affected the yard or home if they have come down in a storm. Branches that have come down need to be removed.
- Double check that all seller's personal items have been removed, there's been communication around trash, etc.
- Read heating oil or other gauges where appropriate.
- Any items that needed to be repaired or replaced as part of the purchase we will also examine, where possible.
- Checking that the house keys and garage remotes are in a drawer somewhere on the property.
We'll take photos of things that are not satisfactory as we head to closing. Depending on the issues that are uncovered, we'll discuss appropriate options at that time.
What else is Going on as we Get Close to Closing
Now that we're at the end, much of the transaction is in the hands of the bank's attorney. He'll be:
- Working with the bank and the seller to get the HUD settlement statement correct. The HUD Statement is a ledger of all the expenses that each party is incurring, and an accounting of all the purchase funds in one nice neat statement.
- Making sure all the loan docs are in order
- Checking that their are no municipal or other liens on the property (this includes water and sewer bills)
- Collecting oil or gas bills that need to be paid or transferred at closing. If the seller has oil in the tank, you'll need to "buy" it from him at close.
- Setting a time for closing. This is usually done in pencil about 5 days before close, and confirmed about 48 hours before close.
- Calling you with the final amount to bring to closing. Remember, you'll need a certified cashiers check for any big balances. It's a good idea to bring a personal check in case the HUD has a minor mistake and needs to be corrected at the last minute.
It all happens pretty last minute, because sellers can't pay those final bills until the end, and banks don't like to issue any closing docs until they've finished triple checking things. In today's loan environment, banks are still working out issues on the HUD the day before, so don't be surprised if there's a last minute scramble.
The Final Steps: Loan Docs and Keys
Once the documents are ready, you'll spend about an hour reviewing, signing and initialing the largest contract you'll probably every be a part of. Can you say "wrist cramp"? Hopefully there's not a lot of fireworks at this point. Remember to bring your license or other form of ID, as you'll need to demonstrate you are who you say you are. Once it's all done, the loan docs will be sent to the registry (unless you are at the registry, at which point in time they will be filed.) After it's all recorded, the keys are yours and you can get to the real work: Moving in!
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