Home Buying Process - Timeline and Paperwork

The closing meeting is where ownership of the home is officially transferred from the seller to you. Most of the people involved with the purchase of your home will attend your loan closing. The closing is a formal meeting typically attended by the buyer and the seller, both real estate sales professionals, a representative of the lender, and the closing agent.

First, the closing agent reviews the settlement sheet with you and the seller and answers any questions. Both you and the seller sign the settlement sheet.

Then, the closing agent asks you to sign the other loan documents. Evidence of required insurance and inspections is also presented (if it wasn't previously given to the lender).

After that, if everyone agrees that the papers are in order, the buyer submits payment to cover the closing. If the lender will be paying your annual property taxes and homeowners' insurance for you, a new escrow account (or reserve) is established at this point.

Finally (here’s the best part) you receive the keys to your new home!

After the meeting, the closing agent officially records the mortgage and deed at your local government clerk's office or registry of deeds. This legal transfer of the property may take a few days after closing. The closing agent usually will not disburse the funds to everyone who is owed money from the sale (including the seller, real estate professionals, and the lender) until the transaction has been recorded. It is at the point of deed recordation that you become the official owner of the home.

Homeowner's Insurance

Protecting your new home with insurance is a must. How well you do that depends on the details of your policy. And while you are not legally required to have homeowners' insurance, mortgage lenders stipulate that you do.

A standard policy will suffice in most instances. It protects against several natural disasters and catastrophic events. However, it will not guard against earthquakes, floods, war, and nuclear accidents. The policy can be expanded to include these disasters as well as coverage for such things as workers' compensation. In fact, the lender may require that you purchase flood or earthquake insurance if the house is in a flood zone or a region susceptible to earthquakes. You also can increase coverage beyond the depreciated value of personal property such as televisions and furniture by purchasing a replacement-cost endorsement.

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