The Real Estate Closing Process

What Is a Real Estate Closing?

A real estate Closing is when all final obligations of a real estate transaction are completed. It is also known as a ‘Signing.’ This is the formal process where the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer.

There are a few moving pieces: The seller signs documents related to the transfer of property. The buyer transfers purchase funds, and so does the lender if there’s a loan. The title company, a third party, coordinates with everyone to ensure that all responsibilities have been fulfilled. Many documents are signed. Finally, the title company will confirm that all items are complete and release the purchase funds to the seller.

Where Does the Real Estate Closing Happen?

Closing customarily takes place at the office of the title company. It is becoming more common, however, for parties to perform their responsibilities remotely. Sellers in particular will often sign their documents in their lawyer’s office, or at home with a notary present. Nowadays, it’s getting more common for buyers to sign their documents remotely as well.

At Adler and Herbach, we make every effort to facilitate a location that is most convenient for all the parties involved. Often, the seller and buyer each sign at a location of their choice.

What Do I Need to Bring to the Closing?

A valid ID. If you’re the buyer, closing funds – typically a wire, or, for amounts up to $50,000, a cashier’s check if you prefer. If you’re the seller, the keys to the property. Any documents your signed prior to the Closing should be brought as well.

How Long Does It Take?

Once all documents have been provided and pre-closing items have been cleared by all parties, we can schedule closing immediately. Closing itself can be done in as little as 40 minutes!

Keep in mind, there are a number of items that need to be taken care of between going under contract and the Closing. This can include attorney review, buyer obtaining a loan, home inspection, preparation of all legal and title documents, and the title company performing a search and examination of title along with other items in preparation for Closing. Any of the above could cause a delay, so be prepared.  Having an experienced attorney and title company involved will increase the likelihood that things proceed smoothly and on time.

Do I Need to Attend the Real Estate Closing?

While you will have responsibilities in connection with your real estate Closing, you don’t necessarily need to attend the Closing in person. The seller often pre-signs all the required documents or may even give their lawyer a power of attorney to sign documents on their behalf. A buyer may also be able to sign documents remotely, though it is more common for a buyer to sign at the office of the title company, especially if there is a loan involved. Ultimately, the decision of whether to attend the Closing or where to sign the documents is up to you and your lawyer.

What Are Closing Costs and Who Pays Them?

Closing costs refer to the fees and other expenses associated with Closing on your home. The buyer and the seller each have costs associated with the transaction.

These are paid out at closing.

For more information about buyer’s and seller’s closing costs, we have provided a detailed breakdown here.

To Do List, Prior to Closing:

If You’re the Seller: 

  • Remove all your personal possessions from the property. Large appliances, such as a washer/dryer, refrigerator, or dishwasher, may or may not be included in the sale, so be sure to check with your lawyer or the real estate contract to determine what you should remove the home.
  • Complete any repairs that were agreed upon in the contract.
  • Leave the home in “broom clean” condition by the Closing date, unless the property is being sold “as is” or some other condition is provided for in the contract.
  • Forward your mail and notify utilities, subscription services and creditors that you are moving.

If You’re the Buyer:

  • Perform a walkthrough of the property as close as possible to the Closing to make sure the condition is the same as what was agreed to in the contract. Any issues that you may find are MUCH easier to resolve before you close.
  • Wire funds to the title company.

The path to a smooth real estate closing can be long and involved. In some situations, it can get complicated. Hiring experienced professionals to assist you with the Closing process is critical to ensuring that your real estate transaction goes smoothly. At Adler & Herbach, we pride ourselves on advocating for our clients and facilitating amicable Closings. Contact us to learn more.