Closing on a sale is the final step before you move in. However, there a few more things that need to be done before everything is completed.
When you’re buying a house, you probably don’t want anything to go wrong. The process is stressful enough even without some unexpected surprises. Before you move in, you should make a checklist of all the things you need finished. We hope this list can help you keep everything in check so you can ensure you have a smooth closing process.
Square Away All Your Contingencies
With most purchase agreements, there are contingencies, which are mandatory requests that home buyers (and sellers, as well) need to do before they complete their real estate transaction. There are several contingencies that buyers have to complete before they close in on the sale. These contingencies include:
Home inspection contingency, or the right to hire a professional inspection to check out the property you’re interested in. If there is anything wrong, a buyer can request repairs from the seller. While this inspection costs several hundred bucks, you shouldn’t waive it. Who knows what hidden issues inspection can find! If there are any problems regarding the property, you should know about them before you move in.
Financing contingency gives you rights to back out of the deal in case you don’t get approved for a mortgage. Keep in mind that there is a specified time frame during which backing out is possible.
Appraisal contingency means that your mortgage lender hires a professional appraiser who will evaluate the market value of your home. If the sale price is higher than the appraised price, you have the option to back out of the deal. You won’t even have to forfeit your money deposit!
Other contingencies include the home sale contingency and kick-out clause.
Get Mortgage Approval
This one is probably self-explanatory, but before you can make a payment on your house, you need to have your mortgage approved. Before this happens, you’ll need to have an underwriter go over your finances. Think of underwriters as of detectives that need to ensure your financial statements are true. He’ll want to look at your credit score, home appraisal, as well as financial portfolio. While the underwriting is ongoing, you shouldn’t do anything big with your finances, such as moving money around, and you don’t want to do anything that might damage your credit report.
Clear the Title
Before you move in, you’d want to ensure the title of the property is cleared. What does that mean? When you purchase a property, you ‘take title’ of it, or rather, you become its legal owner. To ensure there aren’t any issues with your title, you’ll need to find a good title company that will help you clean the title – or let the seller know that there are some issues with the title. When the title is cleared, you’ll be able to continue with your purchase.
Complete Your Closing Disclosure
Another thing that you need to complete before you move in is to review and complete your HUD-1 settlement statement, also known as closing disclosure. This document outlines the terms of your loan, the amount of mortgage payments, any additional fees, and similar. This is necessary for comparing it to the loan estimate. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, you should contact your lender.
Don’t Skip the Final Walkthrough
Despite the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, you should be able to do one final walk-through before you move in. Even if this step seems unnecessary, you really shouldn’t skip it. This walk-through is important to ensure has the seller moved out and if the condition is in a great condition. Despite the inspection, sometimes some previously unnoticeable issues might occur. Maybe there was a rain that caused the flooding or leakage. If there is a chance you notice anything wrong before a contract is signed, you should take it.
There is always an option that you and seller have made a rent-back agreement. If this is the case, then they don’t have to vacate the property, but you still want to ensure everything else is pristine. Whatever goes wrong after the signing is your liability.
Ensure You Have All the Necessary Documents
Of course, you can’t complete the purchase if you don’t have all the required documents. These include:
- Your personal documents / ID
- A copy of a sale contract
- Home inspections reports
- Mortgage approval report
- Homeowner insurance proof
It would be the best to have a lawyer accompany you to the signing, as this is the best way to ensure everything is done properly and there aren’t any catches that you didn’t see on time.