5 Steps for a Stress-Free Home Closing

You have finally found your dream home. You have found it at the right price, in the right place, and have everything lined up. All that’s left is to close.

Closing on a home can be stressful, especially if you are unprepared and unsure of what to expect. We are here to help relieve some of the anxiety surrounding the closing of your home with a simple 5-step checklist.

Step 1: Set a date

Like any other big event in your life, it is important to set a convenience and realistic deadline for the closing of your home. Check your calendar and make sure the closing date works for your schedule. If you are trying to save money, schedule your closing date at the end of the month, when you will pay the least amount of interest at the closing table.

Step 2: Know what you owe

Make sure that you know how much money you need to bring to the closing and what payments are accepted ahead of time. Keep in mind that the title company typically does not accept personal checks. Also, be aware of the lesser-known closing costs that are involved (appraisal, application fee, processing fee, transfer tax, intangible tax, etc.).

Step 3: Line up your insurance

When you receive a mortgage, you have to buy a title insurance policy. This protects the lender in case the seller really doesn’t own the home or someone else has a claim on it. To protect yourself, you can buy an owner’s title policy to insure against losses from fraudulent claims. You will also need to purchase homeowners insurance and, if you live in the Lowcountry, food and hurricane insurance — especially if you live close to the water.

Step 4: Do a walk-through

Before you sign on the dotted line, you absolutely must schedule a final walk-through. Make sure any repairs you requested have been made, check to see if the seller left everything they promised to leave, and make sure everything is working properly (i.e. water, HVAC, disposal, etc.). Keep an eye out for any major changes that have occurred since you last viewed the property.

Step 5: Tie up all loose ends

If you identified any issues during your walk-through, you have two options. First, you can negotiate a discount to your sales price. If you make this request at closing, there may be a delay, as the title company has to redo the paperwork. The other option is to have the title company hold a portion of the seller’s proceeds in escrow until the issues are resolved. The funds will be released to either you or the seller based on the outcome. Make sure all issues are resolved before you move in.

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