Buying a new house is an exciting, yet often stressful, event. Below are 7 tips to help make your real estate closing go as smoothly as possible:

  1. Bring 2 forms of ID. To verify your identity, the attorney’s office will need to copy two forms of ID for each person. One form of ID must have your name and picture; the second form only needs to have your name. Be ready to provide your driver’s license or identification card as well as a social security card, credit card, or membership card with your name on it. Remember that photocopying a military ID is a violation of federal law for non-government agencies, so please provide a different form of identification. Additionally, the name on your ID must match your name as it appears on the lender documents. The USA Patriot Act requires lenders to collect information to confirm the identity of the borrower and the attorney doing the closing must collect that information. If you will not be obtaining a loan, you still must provide proof of your identity so the documents can be notarized.
  1. Bring certified funds for closing. Certified funds include a cashier’s check, money order, or wire transfer. Before the attorney can record a deed and disburse funds, the Good Funds Settlement Act requires that all funds must be deposited and available in the attorney’s trust account [Read about why your check is not available at closing]. If the amount is under $1000.00, Hutchens Law Firm will accept a cashier’s check or money order for a same day recording and disbursement. If you must bring more than $1000.00, you will need to wire the funds for same day recording and disbursement. If you bring a certified check or money order, the bank will hold the funds for 24 hours, so we will not record and disburse until the next business day. If you bring a personal check for any amount, we will not be able to record and disburse for 10 business days. Please contact us for our wiring instructions prior to your closing.
  1. If using a Power of Attorney, provide a copy PRIOR to closing for review. We understand that circumstances may dictate that one or both buyers may not be able to attend the closing. If you need to use a power of attorney, it must be approved by your lender and the closing attorney. Please let us know if you need a power of attorney— we can prepare one for you. If the Power of Attorney is prepared by someone else, we must review and approve it before closing.
  1. If you are married, both spouses must be present to sign. If you are having the deed put in both your name and your spouse’s name, both spouses must sign documents at closing even if only one spouse is a borrower. If only one spouse is available to sign, you must obtain a Power of Attorney to sign for the other spouse. If you are separated, you may need a Free-Trader Agreement that will have to be recorded. Please let your agent and attorney know your marital status and who will be coming to closing well in advance of the settlement date.
  1. Do not make any substantial changes to your credit between application and closing. This means, do not open any new store accounts, do not apply for any credit cards, and do not finance anything prior to closing. Your lender will likely re-check your credit report before closing and if there are any changes, it could delay closing. To be safe, wait until after your deed has been recorded to open any new credit accounts or have your credit checked.
  1. Closings take an average of 45 minutes to 1 hour. If you will be obtaining a loan to purchase the property, you will have many documents to sign. It is important that you arrive on time for your scheduled appointment and allow for approximately 1 hour to sign all the documents and ask any questions you may have regarding the closing. If you are paying cash to purchase the property, there will of course be fewer documents to sign, so allow for approximately 20-30 minutes to sign and ask questions.
  1. You may not receive keys until the deed has been recorded. Some sellers will not release keys to your new house until after the deed has been recorded by the attorney at the Register of Deeds office. Attorneys have an obligation to record as soon as reasonably possible, but there can be delays for various reasons. It may take several hours for the deed to be recorded, so please keep that in mind when planning your move into your new house. To be safe, do not plan on moving into your new house on the day of closing, plan for the following day.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your closing attorney. At Hutchens Law Firm, we pride ourselves in our high performance real estate transactions and we want you to have a smooth closing!

Published on September 2, 2015