Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect home, but how do you prepare to actually close on your house? Follow our guide to help ensure your move becomes a reality.

Choose the Right Closing Date

Choosing a closing date requires more consideration than you may think. Try not to complicate your move more than you need to.

Give yourself enough time. After finding the house, you may want to move as soon as possible. However, if the closing is too early, you could predate your or your buyer’s loan approval. Make sure you’re allowing enough time for the loan commitment before moving forward. If you’re selling and buying, you’ll either need to coordinate both closings so you’re not stuck in limbo between homes or have a plan for temporary housing and storage.

Avoid the end of the month. According to Bankrate, the end of the month is the busiest time for home closures. By avoiding the rush, you may be able to more easily resolve any unexpected issues with the loan or title.

Negotiate the Date

Once you’ve worked with your lender to determine a closing date, you’ll also have to consider the needs of the other party. They’re also in the midst of a move, but may not be at the same step as you. If so, the closing date can be a bargaining tool. For example, if you agree to a later date than you’d prefer, ask for a credit to cover for storage of your household goods. If it’s an earlier date, you may want to ask for some of the closing costs to be covered to compensate for your rush. Your real estate agent will act as a mediator in these negotiations.

Preparing for Your Closing Day

The date has been set, and the boxes are packed. What should you expect for the actual closing day?

The week before: Make sure all your paperwork is ready. Confirm with your loan officer or attorney exactly what you’ll need to bring, including an acceptable form of payment for all closing costs. Also, try to get an estimate for how long closing will take in order to schedule your day. Typically, closing can take anywhere from one to three hours. You don’t want your movers to beat you to the house.

The day of: You’ll need to do the most essential steps the day of closing. This includes signing legal documents, such as the mortgage agreement and transfer of property ownership. Unless you wired the funds ahead of time, you’ll also need to pay for closing costs.

In general, the people present at closing may include buyers and sellers, your respective real estate agents, loan officer, and officials such as an attorney, title officer and closing agent. This varies state by state. Learn about who does what in the closing process.

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