Couple celebrating purchasing their home

Closing on a Home

Updated April 5, 2017 . AmFam Team

Whether buying or selling, use these tips to make your home closing more efficient and enjoyable. Know what to expect so you can sail through the process.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the home closing is the last step before moving on to the next big phase of your life. Hooray! But it can be a bit overwhelming, too, which is why we’re providing these tips to streamline the whole process so it’s more of a positive, streamlined experience.

Home Closing Tips for Buyers

Buying a new home should be an exciting and fun time, filled with potential. Keep your enthusiasm high by preplanning for the closing process so any unexpected delays or expenses don’t throw you for a loop.

Financing. Buyers who get pre-approved for a loan have a much faster and efficient experience. Being pre-qualified helps, but it’s not as thorough as pre-approval and may even cause hang-ups down the line. When a buyer is pre-approved, the bank is willing to commit to the loan. However, pre-qualified buyers only have a rough idea of what size mortgage they might qualify for. Our mortgage pre-approval versus pre-qualification article explains more.

Inspection. A home buyer should always be prepared to hire a home inspector (at your expense) to thoroughly examine the property before purchase. Having an idea of what problems are acceptable, which ones are deal-breakers and what you’re willing to negotiate helps you leap over these potential stumbling blocks.

Checklist. Create a closing on a house checklist for yourself from the very beginning so you can keep on track with deadlines, paperwork, payments, meetings etc. Preparation is really the key to knowing what to expect, navigating issues and sealing the deal.

Home Closing Tips for Sellers

Selling a home is also a momentous experience as it often signals either another new home or a major life change. While you hope your buyer will fly through the process, there are things you can do to make the home closing process run more smoothly.

Preliminary title report. Sellers who have had prior liens or have an ex-spouse or anyone else who may lay claim to the property will want to review a preliminary title report to make sure the title is theirs without conflict. If there is an issue, clearing it up before your home closing will speed up the process.

Contingencies. All sorts of contingencies may arise, but common ones are financing, the sale of the future buyer’s current home and repairs or issues found during an inspection. Look for buyers who are pre-approved as they are closer to the “ready-to-buy” stage.

Inspection. Whether you’re the home buyer or seller, an inspection will likely bring up some issues. If you’re a home seller and you want to be very diligent, you can have a home inspector come so you know what concerns may arise or you can remedy the problems to make your home more appealing. Be prepared to negotiate on price or make some repairs after the buyer’s inspection.

Rely on experience. If you’re selling a home, odds are you’ve bought one before so you know some of the pitfalls you may encounter. Prepare for them as much as possible and stay on top of the paperwork with a sellers closing checklist.

No matter which side of the home closing process you’re on, it’s always a good idea to contact your agent (Opens in a new tab) to make sure there are no gaps between your current homeowners policy and your new one.

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