Maria DiCarlo's Blog
When you close on a home, you’re sealing the deal with all of the agreements that you have made with the seller and your lender over the course of the home buying process. Since most people don’t pay cash for a home, your loan will also close at the same time as the ownership changes. If you are paying cash, the process may be slightly different. Closings can also be called “settlements” since everything is being signed and sealed at this time, essentially, “settling” the deal.
Have Your Checkbook Ready
The closing is where documents are exchanged, the keys are passed on, and all of the funds required to complete the transaction are paid. Closing costs include the down payment that you’re putting on the home, lawyer’s fees, taxes, commissions, assessments, and more. The seller may be writing a check too, paying off the old loan to their former home. You’ll need to verify the amount that needs to be paid at closing clearly before you reach the closing table. The money must be presented at the time of closing in order for the deed to be handed over.
Get A File Folder And Stretch Your Writing Hand
The settlement on a home requires quite a bit of paperwork. You’ll be handed a stack of papers to sign. Take the time to listen to your lawyer or realtor to understand exactly what you’re signing. There’s more papers to sign than you really can imagine! Finally, you’ll be handed copies of all the papers that you put your signature on. It’s important to keep everything for your records. These documents will include everything from proof of insurance to the deed on the property to your loan terms and documentation.
Where Will The Closing Be?
Depending on where you live, your closing will take place in either the lender’s office or the office of a lawyer who is representing the closing. Typically, it will be the loan company’s attorney who holds the event in this case. In some cases, closings can be what is known as “witness only.” This means that a notary or attorney will be present at the chosen closing location to provide documents. The drawback to this type of transaction is that nothing that you’re signing will be explained to you.
What Happens Following Closing?
When all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed, congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a new property. Unless there has been a prior agreement made with the seller, you’ll be able to take possession of the property right away. Occasionally, there will be some post-closing agreements that involve transactions due to a repair that couldn’t be made or reimbursements for real estate property taxes that were paid on the part of the seller. Ideally, this will all be taken care of at the closing table, but at times other arrangements must be made.
When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot to think about. Your finances probably have the biggest impact in the entire home search process. The amount of a down payment you have and the amount of loan you’re approved for help decide what you can buy.
When you hear about closing costs, what do they entail? How much will you need to cover these costs? Many people get to the closing table for their home purchase and feel unprepared. You’ll need a certain amount of cash on hand when you finally close on a home. Learn more about closing costs, so that you understand everything that you need to know about your home purchase.
Closing costs are spelled out pretty plainly in just about every kind of real estate contract. These costs are the fees associated with the title companies, attorney, banks, lenders and everyone else who is involved in the purchase of a home. The closing table is also the time when you provide your sizable down payment. The closing costs that are being referred to are considered a separate expense independent of the closing costs.
Closing Costs Vary
Closing costs can range from anywhere between 2 and 8 percent of the purchase price of the home. You can’t really “choose” what’s included in the closing, so you’ll need to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to write a check for. Lenders can give you an estimate of about how much closing costs will be.
Certain things like the realtor’s commission fees can be negotiated and can be paid for by the buyer or the seller. The good news is that you can roll your closing fees in with your mortgage in some cases. You may also be able to negotiate with your lender to pay the closing costs for you in exchange for a higher interest rate.
What’s Included In Closing Costs?
Depending upon where and what type of home you’re buying, what the closing costs actually cover varies. Here’s just some of the things that closing costs cover:
- Escrow fees
- Credit reports
- Title search
- Title exam fee
- Survey fee
- Courier fee (Most transactions are done electronically, but in some cases this may be necessary)
- Title insurance
- Owner’s title insurance
- Natural hazards disclosure
- Homeowner’s insurance (Your first year of insurance is often paid at closing)
- Buyer’s attorney fee
- Lender’s attorney fee
- Transfer taxes
- Recording fees
- Processing fees
- Underwriting fee
- Pre-paid interest
- Pest inspections
- Homeowner's association transfer fees
- Special assessments
These fees vary widely by state and the type of property that you’re purchasing. Not every fee is required, but the above is just a list of many of the possible fees that could be included in on the closing of the home you choose.
What Is The Disclosure Statement?
Disclosure statements are used in many of life’s situations. This is the place where the buyer is able to learn about the ins and outs of the property that they are about the buy. Examples of items that would be on a seller’s disclosure are:
- Water in the basement
- Updates made to the home
- Known pests
- Paranormal activity
- Death on the property
- Past fires
- Nearby major construction projects
- Title 5 sewerage issues
Disclosures Serves As Protections
The disclosure statement serves as a protection for both the buyer and the seller. From a buyer’s perspective, through this information, they are able to understand a bit more about the property that they are potentially buying.
On the seller’s side of things, the disclosure statement serves a s legal protection of sorts. The seller is obliged to reveal anything about the property that could potentially affect the value or affect the living conditions.
How Does The Seller Make The Disclosure
Each state and even each city within a state varies in the way a disclosure is conducted. The statement can be composed of dozens of documents that need to be signed by the seller. Other states have disclosure document forms that consist of a series of yes or no questions about the home. Sellers may also be required o present communications between neighbors, owners, and agents. In some states, the disclosure statement is valid for up to 10 years, allowing buyers to collect damages if something wasn’t properly presented on the statement.
How Do Sellers Know What To Disclose?
The basic rule of thumb is that if you know something about your property, you should disclose it. If you try to hide something, it could come back to meet you in the form of a lawsuit, even years later. Many states have legal requirements as to what should be revealed on these documents.
What’s Disclosed To Buyers?
The disclosure doesn’t have to be all bad. This document is also an opportunity for sellers to present any of the improvements that they have made to the home. Make sure that you include all of the upgrades, renovations, and improvements that you have made to the home that you’re selling. This can help to impress buyers as to how well you have taken care of the property.
It’s easy as the buyer to check some of these improvements as you can find out if the work was done with or without permits by checking with the city’s zoning reports. Work that was done without a permit may have not been completed according to code. This could pose some serious health and safety risks to you and your family.
Problems that you’ll want to disclose as a seller include pest problems, property line disputes, disturbances in the neighborhood, liens on the property, and appliance malfunctions.
Remember that the disclosure doesn’t substitute the buyer’s right to a professional inspection of the property. It’s important for buyers to know as much about a property as they can in order to be sure they’re making a good investment.