What to Look for on a Final Walk-Through
As a homebuyer, the home inspector will make their report to you, and you and the seller will agree on the seller making a few improvements and repairs on the property, perhaps lowering the sale price if necessary, as well.
After this has been agreed upon and the seller makes these repairs, the buyer does a final walk-through. This walk-through is to make sure that these agreed-upon repairs have been completed, and the home is in the condition you remember. The final walk-through will most likely be the last chance the buyer has to see the home before taking possession.
Final Walk-Through Checklist:
- The Exterior: Check the yard and the exterior of the building, especially if there have been any storms in the last few days. Check the paint, the gutters, or if there are any pools of water in the yard
- Turn All Light Fixtures On and Off
- Make Sure No Light Fixtures Have Been Removed: Chandeliers, Wall Sconces
- Turn Heat/Cooling Systems On and Off
- Flush All Toilets
- Turn on Water Faucets, Check for Leaks
- Check Oven, Refrigerator, Dishwasher
- Turn on Garbage Disposal, Exhaust Fan
- Check All Windows and Doors
- Check Screens and Storm Windows
- Check Ceilings, Floors, and Walls for Damp Spots or Stains
- Check Garage Door Opener
- Look in Storage Areas for Anything Left Behind
- Check for Any Other Agreed-Upon Repairs
While doing the walk-through, have your purchase contract with you. It will help you remember any small details involved. Some prefer to do the final walk-through alone, but, if they agree to it, there are some advantages to having the seller there to explain the repairs. This is by no means a must, however, and in many home sales, the buyer and seller never meet. This final walk-through should take you about an hour, and the time put into it will be time well spent.
Clear to Close: Everything You Need to Know for Closing Day
On closing day, the months of planning, searching, paperwork, and negotiation all come down to spending two hours in the closing agent’s office signing papers. It can be an overwhelming moment, and so to prepare, we’ll break down who will be there, what you’ll need to bring, and what you’ll be signing on closing day.
Who Will Be at the Closing of The Home?
In most cases, there will be the closing agent, your real estate attorney, and you. Who is the closing agent? The closing agent was agreed upon in your original offer on the property. The closing agent is a knowledgeable third party who can handle the legal documents, often a representative of the escrow company or a title officer. Don’t expect the seller to be there. In some states, the seller and buyer will meet, but it’s rare.
Documents to Bring
- Photo ID: Driver’s License or Passport
- Certified Check: For the closing costs and the down payment. Federal law requires that the closing agent inform you of the amount to make the check out for, if multiple checks are required, and to whom it/they should be written, at least 24 hours before closing day.
- Proof of Insurance: It may have been required for the mortgage or part of the sale, but the closing agent will need to see a copy as well. It makes everything go smoother to have one prepared specifically for them in advance.
- Final Sale Contract: For reference, to double check and make sure everything is agreed upon.
Documents to Sign
On closing day, you’ll be signing two major contracts. One contract for your loan, and one contract for the purchase of your home. The number of documents you’ll have to sign varies from state to state, but expect for there to be between 30-40 of them. Here are some of the most common types.
Closing the Purchase
- Closing Disclosure: This is an itemized accounting of the buyer and the seller’s closing costs. This exhaustive document is actually available three days before the day of closing, and if you have a chance to look it over beforehand, do so. While long, this document should be looked over with care.
- Warranty Title: This legal description of the property transfers the property from the seller to the buyer.
- Proration Papers: This is the agreement by which the property taxes and utility bills are divided between buyer and seller; also, Homeowner’s Association fees, if applicable.
- Statement of Identity: The title company uses this to clear up any confusion between you and someone who shares the same name.
- Declaration of Reports: The buyer signs off that they have seen all inspection reports
- Abstract of Title: This is the document of documents, which lists all the legal papers that affect the title
Closing the Loan
- Promissory Note: This is the promise to pay back the full sum of the loan, according to the terms laid out by the note.
- Truth in Lending Statement: A description of your interest rate, annual percentage rate, amount being financed, and the total cost over the life of the loan. Look this document over carefully.
- Deed of Trust: This document states that you are putting your new home up as security against the debt you owe.
- Monthly Payment Letter: This is a description of your monthly payment, with a breakdown of how much goes to principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.
Closing Questions to Answer
If it hasn’t already been taken care of in the sale contract, you’ll be asked how you want to take the title of the home. The answer will most likely be one of the following, Sole Owner, Joint Tenancy, or Tenants-in-Common. The first is when an individual takes sole possession, the second is when each member of a couple takes survivorship, and the third is when two or more have unequal shares in the property.
When Do I Get My Keys?
Many homebuyers, first-time or otherwise, are surprised when they do not get their keys right after they sign the papers at the closing agent’s office. This is because the moment the papers get signed might not be the official date of closing. Another reason is that you may not get the keys until the city or county records the title. Other times, a delay in closing is caused when there is some benign error in the paperwork. To avoid these problems, try to schedule the signing of the papers early in the morning, and preferably not on a Friday.
In addition, know that “closing” is not the same as “taking possession.” This should be something discussed during the negotiation of the purchase contract. If the seller is having trouble moving, or cannot move out until a certain time, work that out as part of the offer. In these instances, the new owner renting out the home to the old owner becomes part of home’s sale.
Work with your agent to make sure you:
Transfer Your Utilities
The transfer of the utilities is something that homebuyers should consider before obtaining the keys to their new home. To have a seamless transition of utilities between the buyer and the seller, how the utilities will be handled should be decided all the way back when the details of the purchase contract were being made.
To avoid paying the last few months of someone else’s heat, electricity or water bill, make sure the utility transfer is discussed before the closing papers are signed.
Utilities to Transfer
Here’s a list of the most common utilities to consider during the transfer of a home. Some homes, of course, have special or specialized utilities for their unique circumstances, but this list covers a broad base.
- Water and sewer
- Natural gas
- Cable or satellite TV
- Trash collection
- Security/alarm systems
Some utilities, like #4, 5 and 6 can wait until you move in because they are simple enough to switch over. Others, like #1, 2, and 3 you’ll want to talk to the seller about. In most cases, you’ll be responsible for making the changes yourself, but occasionally the seller agrees to put these utilities into the buyer’s name before they move out of the property and, depending on the scenario, may negotiate the purchase price accordingly.
If the home has a security system, and you want to continue with the service, then it’s likely you’ll have to call the security company to come out and replace the system or update it for a new user.
These are important questions to deal with when transferring to a new home, so make sure to talk to the seller about when you can perform the transfer in a seamless manner.
Change of Address & Other Move-in Essentials
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