The closing is the day everything is signed by both seller and buyer, and is sent to the county Recorder's Office. Often times a seller will sign the documents prior to the closing day itself. Buyers most often sign their documents the day of closing.
Getting ready for the closing
The first thing to look for is the closing disclosure. It details the terms of your loan, all the closing costs, and any charges or fees that need to be paid.
You should get this at least three days before closing. The lender needs to send it to you with enough time to review the documents and object if you need to. After signing the disclosure documents, there is a three-day waiting period before you can sign the final mortgage documents. This cooling-off period gives the buyer time to be sure that this is what they want and that they can really afford it.
You can also read all the closing documents ahead of time. Some people choose to and those are available in advance so that you know exactly what you're signing the day of. Most of the time, there's a clause that allows you to do a walk-through inspection one day before closing.
If there are concerns, you can stop the process and allow time for the seller to make repairs.
This is also the time to arrange to have the utilities switched over so that there's no interruption of service.
Closing day: What will happen
First, you will sign legal documents. There are the documents between you and the lender and those between you and the seller transferring ownership. Never sign any documents with blank lines or places that someone says they will fill in later.
Next, you'll pay closing costs and fees. You will need to make sure that you have the money and that it's in an acceptable form. This might mean checks, debit cards, or whatever else the lender requires. You will also need identification papers, like a driver's license or a passport.
The escrow officer runs the show, guiding the process. They will also make sure that all the documents are signed, and that everyone has a copy of everything they need.
It can seem scary, but in reality, these professionals do this every day. They will guide the process and your agent will make sure that you have everything you need. After you sign all the paperwork, the escrow officer will send the documentation to the Recorder's Office. As a buyer, you cannot get your keys to the property legally until the Recorder’s Office records it. As a seller, it is still your property until that moment.