First-Time Home Buyer's Guide
Chapter 7
What to Expect on Closing Day

What to Expect on Closing Day: A Checklist For Home Buyers

Closing on your first house is a time to celebrate — after all, it’s an important milestone in your life! And it’s the last step in buying your new home. The actual closing and paperwork can be tedious and sometimes a little overwhelming, but we’re here to help. Here’s what you should expect on closing day.

How Long Does Closing on a House Take?

Closing on a home usually takes place four to eight weeks after the offer on the home is accepted. This allows time for home inspections, home appraisals, funding and title searches.

What Happens at Closing?

On closing day, the ownership of the property is transferred to you, the buyer. This day consists of transferring funds from escrow, providing mortgage and title fees, and updating the deed of the house to your name. Basically, come closing day, you and the seller sign all the necessary papers to officially seal the deal.

What to Bring to a House Closing

Be proactive and gather the following items that you’ll bring with to the closing:

Closing paperwork

Bring all necessary paperwork with you to closing to make sure nothing is missing, different or overlooked. Some important documents include a photo ID, your home insurance certificate and cashier’s or certified check.

Cashier’s or certified check

You’ll pay your closing costs with a certified check or a wire transfer from escrow.

Proof of homeowners insurance

Lenders require an insurance policy before closing. Reach out to your agent to get your new homeowners insurance in place.

Photo ID

You’ll need to bring a government-issued identification for the title company.

Home Buyer's Checklist Before Closing

Before closing day, review the following checklist to ensure you’ve got everything in order to make the closing day process as smooth as possible.

  1. Once you know who your closing agent is and where they’re located, it’s a good idea to contact their offices to see if they have any special instructions for you. They’ll typically have a list of items you’ll need to bring.
  2. Legally, you should receive your closing documents three business days before closing. Make sure you read them prior to closing day so you understand what you’re signing and check that there are no errors. Take notes if you have questions or concerns — you may want to address them before the closing.
  3. Double check all of the basics — spelling, numbers, names, etc. — just to make sure there are no small errors that could turn into bigger issues down the road.
  4. Your most recent loan estimate should be close to your closing disclosure. Some fees may change a little, but there shouldn’t be any big surprises at this stage.
  5. Review your final walk-through checklist to make sure the seller has taken care of their responsibilities.
  6. Expect to write that check for closing costs. Plan in advance if you’re transferring funds from another account so they’re cleared.
  7. Write a nice note or give a small gift to the sellers. With a small act of kindness, you can make a fresh start in your new home on a positive note.

Printable Closing Day Checklist >

Now that you’ve signed the papers and paid the seller — congratulations! We know it was a lot of work getting to this point, but with the keys to your new home in hand, it’s time to celebrate!

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