First-Time Homebuyer: Remember This Key Checklist
Published | Written by Darin & Yvonne Burton
You've gotten an offer accepted on your first home. The appraisal and inspection came back fine. Now, all that's left to do is eagerly await your closing date. This is the day when you will sign all the paperwork that makes your first home purchase official! So, what should you expect as you prepare for this big day? While closing procedures can vary a bit from one real estate transaction to the next, there are some basic things you can expect on closing day.
What You Need to Bring
If you've been working with a real estate agent during your homebuying process, they should provide you with a detailed list of everything you'll need to have prepared for your closing date. Some common documents and items may include:
- down payment and other fees (often as a cashier's check)
- proof of insurance on the new property
- government-issued identification (such as a driver's license or state ID)
- closing paperwork
What to Expect
Most of your closing appointment will consist of you and the seller signing paperwork to legally transfer ownership of the property to you. The number of documents that you will be required to sign can overwhelm; it's helpful to understand a few of the crucial documents you'll be signing and their purpose. Some of the key documents you will review and sign on your closing date include:
- a mortgage deed, which places a lien on your home as collateral for your mortgage.
- a closing disclosure, which provides a list of charges and fees based on your contract.
- a promissory note, which legally binds you to pay off your loan according to the terms.
At closing, you will also provide any payment that is due according to your disclosure; this may include the down payment on the property, any closing costs and legal fees as well. Unless otherwise agreed upon, you will receive the keys to your property and assume ownership as soon as closing is completed.
How Long Does it Take?
As long as everybody comes prepared, your closing appointment should be done within an hour. However, some more complex situations may take longer. Your agent should be able to give you a better feel for how long you can expect to be at the closing table. From there, it's time to celebrate your newfound homeownership!
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