You're almost there. The preparations have been completed - now it's time to finalize the purchase.
Check with your attorney or escrow agent a day or two before the closing date to confirm that everything is on schedule. Remind the attorney or agent to complete the closing statements and other documentation in advance - this may seem obvious, but closings often become protracted affairs because the professionals are unprepared.
Bring Certified Funds
You will need to bring a certified check to cover the down payment (less funds already on deposit) and closing costs. Check with your attorney or review the documents to get an estimate of the total amount required. It's also a good idea to bring your checkbook as well - small last minute costs (filing fees or photocopying charges) can often be paid with a personal check.
Have Your Paperwork Available
Bring all of your documentation to the closing in case you need something at the last minute. Your closing file should include the contract, inspection reports, and copies of all correspondence relating to the purchase.
Understand the Closing Documents
Review the closing statement (HUD-1) and other documents beforehand so you understand the purpose of each. Check out our guide to closing documents for a complete description of the paperwork involved.
Close Your Mortgage
You will probably execute your note and mortgage just before the closing of title. The lender should have provided a check to be released subject to the execution of the documents, the confirmation of clear title, and the satisfaction of any other conditions.
Deal With Any Problems
Closings frequently proceed without a hitch, but problems are not uncommon. Don't panic if the closing hits a snag - most issues can be resolved by simple means, such as escrowing funds to cover a contingency or unfinished repair. Even if the closing has to be postponed, don't overreact - chances are the matter can be resolved in a few days.
Execute the Documents
At this point the parties should execute the closing statements and the seller should sign over the deed. The deed must be filed with the local recording agency - your attorney or escrow agent should handle this but it's a good idea to confirm that this was done. Congratulations, you've just bought a home!
Collect the Keys and Other Items from the Seller
In addition to the keys, the seller should bring (or leave in the house) any relevant paperwork - service records, warranties, instructions, etc. If these are not provided, request that they be forwarded as soon as possible.
When to Pull the Plug on a Closing
Nobody wants to see a home closing called off at the last minute, but it may be your best course of action in some situations.
If you are not using a real estate attorney and problems arise you can always call a halt to the closing until you can get some legal advice.
Postponing a closing is an inconvenience - but, in the end, a couple-day delay isn't a big deal.