What happens at closing ?
At the closing, ownership of the newly purchased home is officially transferred
from the seller to you. It may involve you, the seller, the real estate agent,
your attorney, the lender's attorney, representatives from the title or escrow
firm, and a variety of clerks, secretaries, and other staff. It is possible
to have an attorney act on your behalf if you cannot attend the meeting (for
example, if the house is in another state). Closing can take as little time
as an hour to sign all the forms and transfer ownership or it can take several
hours, depending on the contingency clauses in the purchase offer (and any escrow
accounts that may need to be set up).
Much of the paperwork involved in closing (or settlement) is done by attorneys
and real estate professionals. You may be involved in some of the closing activities
and not in others, depending on local customs and on the professionals with
whom you are working.
Before you close on the house, you should have a final inspection, or walk-through,
to make sure any repairs you requested have been made and that items which were
to remain with the house (drapes, light fixtures) are still there.
In most states, settlement is done by a title or escrow firm to which you forward
all the materials and information along with the appropriate cashiers' checks,
and the firm will make the necessary disbursements. The real estate agent or
another representative of the title company will deliver the check to the seller
and the house keys to you.