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Buying a Home: What to Expect at the Closing

Oral Contracts in the Commonwealth of VirginiaThe process of buying a house is a very exciting (and a bit stressful) time, but it’s always a little easier if you are prepared and know what to expect. The final step happens at the closing table, when the ownership of one home will transfer from the seller to the buyer, and the new owner receives the keys to their new home.

However, before congratulations are in order, here’s what you need to know to be ready to seal the deal:

  • Closing Date
    The closing date written into the contract you submit is largely the preference of the buyer and seller. The actual closing date is determined by the loan approval process. You will be informed of the closing date by your real estate agent or closing agent. Keep in mind that with the many factors involved, there is always the possibility this date may change – right up until the last minute.
  • What to Bring
    In most cases, you will just need to bring a cashier’s check or money order made out to the law firm (they will provide the amount) and your photo ID.
  • Who’s at the Closing Table
    This can vary from state to state, but people typically present are the home-buyer (you), the buyer’s real estate agent, the seller, the seller’s real estate agent, and the closing attorney. Sometimes the mortgage loan officer will also attend.
  • What Happens on Closing Day
    The buyer signs (lots of) documents transferring property ownership and papers related to the Deed or Title. After the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys to your new home. The law firm will record the new Deed at the courthouse which is when legal title to the home transfers to the new owner.

Congratulations on your new home! Time to celebrate! But before you do, be sure to file a copy of your closing statement in your tax file for next year. Keep all documents received at closing in a file. Please note, your homeowner’s insurance policy and title insurance documents will come in the mail after the closing. Be sure to file those with your closing papers.


*Note: Real Estate laws frequently change, the information contained in this post is accurate at post time, but subject to change without notification. We recommend you contact a real estate lawyer for the most current legal advice.


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