The Closing Process: A Guide For Home Buyers In Arlington

The hardest part is over: You’ve found the perfect home in Arlington, negotiated a deal you can live with, and secured a mortgage– and now, you’re in the home stretch of the home-buying process. Just one more critical hurdle lies on your way; the home closing.

closing with Ryan Stuart

Also known as “escrow” or “settlement”, this is a day when all involved parties meet to make the transaction official. To make sure that you’re fully prepared here’s a step by step guide showing you what to expect from the closing process.

Step 1: How to prepare for a closing

  • Review your closing disclosure form–One of the best ways to prepare for closing is to thoroughly review your HUD-1 settlement statement. This settlement statement outlines your exact mortgage payments, a loan’s term (i.e interest rate and term), and additional fees you’re expected to pay, called closing costs (which total anywhere from 2% to 7% of your home’s price). Compare your HUD-1 to the good-faith estimate that your lender gave you at the outset and make sure they’re the same. If there are any discrepancies, ask your lender to explain.
  • Do a final walk-through– A buyer’s contract usually allows a final walk-through 24 hours before closing. The first thing to do is to ensure that the previous owner has vacated (unless you’ve made a rent-back arrangement allowing them to stick around for a while). You also have to make sure that the house is in good condition as agreed upon in the contract. If you’d done a home inspection that revealed problems which the seller agreed to fix, ensure that those repairs were made. If you find some new problems during the walk-through, bring it up with the sellers immediately. There’s no need to panic, the worst that can happen is to delay the closing until you resolve it.

Step 2: What to bring to closing

  • Your paperwork– These include proof of homeowners’ insurance, a copy of your contract with the seller, your home inspection reports, anything the bank requires to approve your loan, and a government-issued photo ID. If you’re newlyweds and just changed your name, note that your ID needs to match the name that will appear on the property’s title and mortgage.
  • Down payment– Your disclosure form will tell you exactly how much you’ll need to have for a down payment and closing cost. But since a personal check isn’t allowed, be sure to ask before closing whether you should wire transfer those funds or bring a cashier’s check. You can also bring your checkbook to pay any small expenses that may crop up.

Step 3: What to expect at closing

  • A bunch of people– There will be the home seller, the sellers real estate agent and your own, buyer and sellers attorneys, a representative from a title company, and occasionally, a representative from the bank or lender where you got your loan.
  • Title clearance– Before you can own or “take title” to a home, most lenders require a title search of public property records to ensure there are no liens or issues with transferring the property into your name (which is rare, but if something does crop up, its good to know in advance).
  • A few curveballs– Be prepared for some things to go awry at the closing. Someone might get stuck in traffic, a document may be missing, a name misspelled, etc. But don’t stress, just do what’s in your power to make the day go off without a hitch.
  • Signing your name a lot– Be prepared to sign a pile of legal papers and a mild hand cramp if you’re not used to writing in cursive.

If all goes well (as it usually does), you’ll go home with a stack of documents (which you should save) and the keys to your new home in Arlington (finally!).

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Charity W.

View posts by Charity W.
Charity W. is a professional and skilled writer with a diploma in Mass Communication. When she is not glued to her computer screen, Charity spends her time reading, traveling, and watching movies. She is an expert on Arlington Virginia and keeps current with local events and occurrences.