The day has come to finally come to go to your closing appointment and sign the closing documents. We’ve listed the details of everything you need to know about what actually occurs on closing day. Click here for a great Closing Day Checklist from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
When will closing take place?
Closing day typically occurs 4-6 weeks after your offer was signed by the seller. You will find your exact closing date on one of the following documents:
- The original contract.
- The counter offer (if the closing date was changed by sellers).
- An amendment that was signed later by seller and buyer to change the closing date to an earlier or later date.
In some contracts, you will see the expression for the closing date listed as “[date] or earlier”. This is to notify the seller that buyer is willing to close early if the lender permits it. Technically, a signed amendment to officially change the date is not required in this situation, but I prefer to have one signed by all parties in my file to avoid any confusion.
Related Reading: Steps to Buy a Home
How long will closing take?
A closing appointment usually takes 60-90 minutes. The quickest closing I’ve had was 21 minutes and the longest was 4 hours. The title company will have cookies and refreshments on hand.
What should I bring to closing?
- Unless you are wiring your down payment, please bring your cashier’s check to closing. Please confirm ahead of time who to make the cashier’s check out to.
- Original copy of your Power of Attorney if you’re using one.
- Photo ID (the title company will need to make a copy of your ID. Making a copy of a military ID is prohibited, so please bring your driver’s license or passport.)
- Receipts for your earnest money and/or wire transfer, if applicable.
- Checkbook in case of last minute changes.
- Closing Disclosure
What if the buyer is out of town?
The options for out of town buyers are discussed in detail in our Schedule the Closing post. If the buyer is out of town, they can only sign the day of the official closing date. The documents have to then to be FedExed back to Colorado. They will usually arrive the following day.
- While you are “closed” on the day you sign and ship your documents, your loan is not funded and disbursed to all parties until the next day. No amounts change.
- You are not allowed to take possession until the day of funding. If you close on a Friday, you will not be allowed into the house until Monday!
I will attend the closing if you have signed out of town but the sellers are in town. In the closing documents you have signed there is a limited power of attorney that allows me to sign documents that were missed (last minute changes or lender requirements that were not submitted previously). It happens and it’s usually not an issue. If there is a larger discrepancy in cash or funding, then I will contact you during closing to discuss the situation with you. I will ask you be available for phone calls during the closing time in case there is such an event.
Can I bring kids to closing?
It’s very common for buyers or sellers to be in a situation that requires them to bring their kids (and sometimes their pets) to the closing appointment. Title companies have adjusted to this and many offer a kids’ room with some toys and a TV. It’s helpful to have this option to allow the buyers to focus on the closing and the explanation of the documents.
Who will be at closing?
Depending on preferences and logistics you will see:
- Buyer’s agent
- Seller’s agent
- Buyer’s lender
What should I expect at closing?
The closer or their assistant will get a copy of your ID (no military ID’s please).
- If you have forgotten your reading glasses, the title company will provide some to you.
- You will be required to use a BLUE pen; title companies will have them ready for you.
- Free WIFI is also available.
Generally, the closer will sit at the head of the table. Please sit next to the closer with everyone in your party on one side so papers can easily be shuffled down.
There are two parts to the closing: the first part is the closing on the loan and the second part is the closing on the actual real estate. The real estate closing is usually pretty quick with fewer documents. Most of the real estate documents are for tax assessment, registration and recordation. The loan closing is a bit more extensive. A government loan like USDA, FHA and VA will usually have the largest amount of paperwork. A conventional loan has less. Expect to sign multiple or similar versions of one document such as:
- This is your primary residence
- Do not commit loan fraud – and what might constitute it
- Your settlement statement (there are 3 versions and as long as they all have the same final numbers you are golden)
- That you are moving into a community with HOA
Closing documents you might see:
- A deed (transfers the property from seller to buyer)
- A bill of sale (transfers personal property from seller to buyer)
- Transfer tax declarations
- A mortgage note (your promise to your lender to repay your loan)
- A mortgage (the agreement that places the property as collateral should you become unable to repay your loan)
- A loan application (you’ll review this for accuracy)
- A loan estimate and closing disclosure
- Tax form 1098 that mortgage companies use to report your paid interest to you so that you may claim it with your taxes
After all of the documents are signed, the closer will ask you for your cashier’s check or will confirm with you that the wire for the down payment indeed has been received. I do occasionally have buyers actually receive a check as a credit back, particularly with VA loans.
The funds will be at the title company at closing (or should be). When all of the documents are signed, the title officer will collect and assemble all the documents that the lender wants to see in order to give the green light to disburse the money to the seller. You might hear the closer say the funding documents need to be sent off, and then they will leave the room and come back with hard copies of all the documents.
Can there be a delay?
Delays can happen. Common reasons for delay include:
- Down payment hasn’t arrived yet.
- The lender has an issue with signatures.
- A document was missed and needs to be signed.
When will I get the keys?
You will get the keys for the house and mailbox along with garage code instructions at the closing table after funding.
I have recently seen sellers provide due diligence documents to the buyer at closing. This is unacceptable, especially because in the situations I witnessed this happen these documents were vital to the land and condition of the home.
How I will advocate for you: if I see that the seller has a folder at the closing appointment, I will ask about it. If there is new documentation, I will stop the closing and have you review the new information. We will only continue when I receive the thumbs up from you. If you are not in town for the closing, I will have the title company scan all documents and email them to you for review. I will only proceed with closing if and when I have a written confirmation from you to move forward.