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Preparing for Closing

 What You'll Learn

  • Closing involves the formal transfer of ownership from the seller to you
  • You should request a formal walkthrough of the home 24 hours before closing
  • You should bring identification, proof of your homeowner’s insurance, a copy of the purchase contract, and your checkbook to closing

Throughout your home search, you’ve been working closely with your real estate agent, lender, and other members of your team, and should be well-prepared for closing.

Essentially, closing day involves the formal, legal transfer of ownership from the seller to you.

Closing regulations vary from one jurisdiction to another, but two aspects of the process are usually the same no matter where you buy a home:

  • Your contract should allow you to schedule a walk-through of the property 24 hours before closing. At this walk-through, you need to make sure the seller has completely vacated the property (unless you’ve arranged to rent back the property after closing) and the home is in the condition described in the contract. Look to make sure required repairs have been made and items that are contractually supposed to convey to you are in place. If the walk-through reveals any problems, you can delay the closing or ask for money from the seller to address the issues.
  • Three days before your scheduled closing, you'll receive your Closing Disclosure form from your lender. You'll want to review this form carefully and ensure that the loan terms and costs align closely with those provided in your Loan Estimate. Be sure to talk to your lender about any discrepancies between the two documents. Learn more about the documents you'll sign at closing.

What to Bring

Throughout the home search, you’ve likely accumulated a lot of paperwork. Bring these documents with you to closing in case an issue arises and you need to produce one of them — particularly your proof of homeowner’s insurance and your copy of the purchase contract.

Bring your identification and discuss with your lender how you’ll make the down payment and closing costs that aren’t rolled into your loan. You may be able to transfer these funds electronically based on an estimate before closing, but you could also be required to provide a cashier’s check or certified funds.

You should bring your checkbook, too, for the difference between the estimated balance owed and the final amount.

  Key Takeaways

  1. You have the right to receive your Closing Disclosure, outlining all of your costs and the terms of your loan, 3 business days prior to closing

  2. You’ll sign a lot of documents at closing – be sure to ask questions and understand what you’re signing

  3. During the final walkthrough, be sure all required repairs have been made and the home is completely vacated

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