Many borrowers view closing as the final formality in the home buying process. Because of this, many buyers come into closing unprepared; not only can this delay taking possession of the home, but it can also impact the approval of the loan. To prevent these delays, there are a number of things that must be done before mortgage closing.
1. Square away all contingencies
Most home contracts include a number of contingencies. Common contingencies include:
- Appraisal: An appraisal is done by a third party hired by the lender to ensure the value of the home is equal to the amount of the loan.
- Financing: The financing contingency allows buyers to back out of a contract without penalty in case a home mortgage is not secured.
- Home inspection: A professional home inspection can identify potential hazards in a home as a way to protect buyers. Most inspections cost between $300 and $500; the contract often stipulates whether this amount is paid by the sellers or the buyers.
2. Clear the title
The mortgage lender will require a title search as part of the closing process; title insurance is also purchased to protect the buyers legal claim to the house. Clearing the title ensures that ex-spouses or relatives of the sellers cannot make a claim to the house or invalidate the sale. Buyers are entitled to choose the title company.
3. Get final mortgage approval
Being pre-approved for a loan does not mean obtaining a mortgage is guaranteed. Buyers must go through the underwriting process, during which an agent will review the home appraisal, the financial information provided by the buyers, and other information. Because the underwriting process does not occur until shortly before closing, it’s important to avoid making major financial changes during this time. This includes changing jobs, making a large purchase such as a new car, or opening or closing a bank account.
4. Review the closing disclosure
The closing disclosure is also known as a HUD-1 settlement statement. This document outlines the terms of the loan and exact mortgage payments as well as closing costs. Closing costs typically range from 2-7% of the price of the home and are due at the time of closing.
5. Bring the necessary documents
There are a number of documents that buyers need to bring to closing. These include:
- Government-issued photo ID. Newlyweds who have just changed their name must have an ID that matches the name on the mortgage and title.
- Home inspection reports
- Copy of the contract with the seller
- Proof of homeowners insurance
- Having these documents can ensure the closing process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.