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A Home Closing Checklist

Once you have accepted a buyer’s offer on your home, it can feel as if you’re over a finish line. In a sense, of course, that is true, but the complicated steps of the closing process still lie ahead. Being informed and prepared will help it go smoothly. There are some major steps and important details to remember.

Buyer’s Inspection

The buyer will schedule a home inspection. Inspectors check structural and safety issues but ignore cosmetic hiccups; dated wallpaper is not on their radar. What an inspector looks for and at does include: leaning/sagging/gaps anywhere in the house, age and condition of the roof, leaks of any type and resulting mold, faulty wiring or electrical not meeting code, asbestos, condition of chimneys, any types of cracks, drainage issues, and working smoke detectors.=

The inspection can lead to renegotiation of the contract and/or house price. A poor inspection might even make your buyer back out. Sellers and their realtors should address serious problems, such as foundation cracks or mold, before listing. Smart sellers will have the house quite clean and in generally good repair before the inspection, to make the best impression.

Some sellers choose to have an inspection done before listing. It can guide your repair plan, minimize later surprises, and give sellers a “second opinion” if contract renegotiation occurs. But anything a seller’s inspector finds must be disclosed to the buyer, and there is no guarantee the two inspections will agree. Consult your realtor on this option.

Tasks Before Closing

Once the closing is scheduled, there are a few house tasks for the seller. Do a last thorough cleaning. Create goodwill by also doing surface repairs, such as erasing scuff marks, spackling holes, and touching up paint.

For the new owners, leave: extra keys with labels, appliance manuals/warranties/maintenance records, your contact list of vendors who have serviced the house, and any other helpful documents.

Shut off any valves that will protect the home from flooding or other damage. But it is not wise to shut off utilities or cancel insurance until after the closing.

You will receive a detailed Settlement Agreement just before the closing date. Read it carefully, noting anything incorrect or any questions you may have.

At the Closing

Arrive at the closing with a photo ID, pen, the deed if applicable, the main keys and/or codes for entrance, and documentation of repairs you agreed to undertake for the buyer.

Depending on the profit, if any, you will receive that day, have a cashier’s check to pay what you may owe, including the mortgage balance, your realtor’s commission, property taxes/utility bills/HOA fees, and title or escrow fees. Ask your realtor to clarify what you will need to pay that day.

Good information and organization will keep things moving forward.

Mid-State Title & Escrow, Real Estate Attorneys and Title Insurance Blog

7 Reasons Why Every Home-Buyer Needs Owner’s Title Insurance #2

Reduces Your Risk

If you’re buying a home, there are many hidden issues that may pop up after purchasing it. Getting an owner’s title insurance policy protects you from legal title discrepancies. Don’t think it will happen to you? Think again. Here are just some of the many situations that you’ll be protected from if you have owner’s title insurance.

Unforeseeable title claims, such as:

  • Forgery: making a false document
    • For example, the seller misrepresents the identity of the person selling the property.
  • Fraud: deception to achieve unfair gain
    • For example, someone steals your identity and either sells your house without your knowledge or consent, or takes out a second mortgage on the property and walks away with the money.
  • Clerical error: inconsistent paperwork and historical records
    • For example, an unforeseeable discrepancy in the property or fence line causes confusion in ownership rights.

Unexpected title claims, such as:

  • Outstanding mortgages and judgments, or liens against the property because the seller didn’t pay required taxes
  • Pending legal action against the property that could affect your ownership

An unknown heir of a previous owner who is claiming ownership of the property

Mid-State Title & Escrow, Real Estate Attorneys and Title Insurance Blog

7 Reasons Why Every Home-Buyer Needs Owner’s Title Insurance #1

Buying a home is an exciting and emotional time for many people. To help you buy your home with more confidence, make sure you get owner’s title insurance. Here’s why it’s so important for you.

Protects Your Largest Investment

A home is probably the single largest investment you’ll make in your life. You insure everything else that’s valuable to you—your life, car, personal property, health, pets, jewelry, etc.—so why not your largest investment? For a one-time fee, owner’s title insurance protects your property rights for as long as you or your heirs* own the home.