Robert D. Paulbeck, Attorney at Law
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What happens when you actually close on your house?

If you're buying a house, you probably feel like closing day isn't ever going to actually happen -- but when it finally does, it can be almost underwhelming.

Here are some fast facts you need to know about closing day:

1. You may or may not meet at someone's office. Title companies are accustomed to meeting clients wherever necessary to get the job done, so it isn't unusual for them to have notaries on the job who do nothing all day but go from place to place, reading through the technical language of each page and translating it into plain English before they collect your signature.

2. Either way, expect to spend one to two hours signing your initials and name to documents. If you get sleepy while someone's reading to you, take coffee -- you're in for a long meeting.

3. Don't zone out. While most contracts are on the up-and-up, you don't want to find out the hard way that there's something that you don't understand. For example, it isn't uncommon for a large percentage of mortgages to be sold shortly after they're signed. That's fine -- but you want to make certain that your escrow account will stay intact. Otherwise, you'll be responsible for paying taxes and insurance separately.

4. Depending on the state and the local customs, the seller may or may not be there. If he or she is, that gets everything done at once. A notary will be there as will the neutral party tasked with going through each paper with you. That may be a closing agent, title officer or attorney.

5. Bring a few important documents with you:

  • You need a photo ID and some other form of identification, like and insurance card.
  • If you owe a down payment or closing costs, you'll need a cashier's check or a certified check from your bank. A regular check won't do and they company will not accept cash for liability reasons. If you want, you can have the exact amounts wired to the title company prior to closing day.
  • Proof of your insurance. This is usually handled before closing and has to be included in order to set up your escrow account.

If you have any concerns about closing, by all means bring your own attorney -- it never hurts to have someone there who is specifically looking out for your interests.

Source: Zillow, "Closing Day: What a Buyer Needs to Do and Bring," accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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