Jim Kazakoff, ABR, CRS, CNE

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3 Stages to the Closing Process

We’ve Closed. Where’s My Money?

Jim gets you to the closing table

Closing is the one word used to describe the process of passing title or transferring of the deed. It should be a happy occasion for everyone and is often referred to as celebration day. Closing takes place at “the closing table”. The closing table can be at various locations and might include your home, a title company, an attorney’s office, or a Registry of Deeds.

Stage 1: Pre-Closing Events

The first thing that you should take care of even prior to the sale of your home and which must be done prior to closing if you neglect to do this prior to putting your home on the market to sell, is the installation of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms per code. This code does change from time to time, and you want to be certain yours are up to code!

Prior to your scheduled closing date, Jim will be busy gathering or ordering documents on your behalf. Condo-type sales entail additional paperwork which Jim will help obtain. These include:

  • a Condominium 6D Certificate (a notarized document verifying that all condominium fees and any and all special assessments in the condominium association are up to date for the month of the closing),
  • the Condominium Association’s Master Insurance Policy Certificate naming your buyer or his mortgage/lien holder, and
  • the Fire Department Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Certificate.

If selling a single-family or townhouse, Jim will advise which of the following you will need and how to obtain them:

  • the Water and Sewer Final Water Reading.
  • an oil/propane tank reading (if applicable).
  • a Title 5 certificate to present at the Registry of Deeds.

The week just prior to the closing is when your buyer’s lender’s underwriter actually

  • prepares all the documents,
  • verifies the accuracy of the closing or settlement statement,
  • reviews the deed,
  • and lines up funds for the closing.

If you have a cash deal, your legal counsel will prepare the closing documents. If not, bear in mind that the buyer’s mortgage company is ultimately in the driver’s seat and not you, Jim, or your attorney! Either way, you can count on Jim to be in touch regularly throughout the entire transaction in an effort to monitor the process and generally to assure things proceed smoothly and ultimately without incident.

Contact your attorney about a week before closing to schedule the actual closing date, time, and location to avoid any conflicts with your schedule. If you cannot attend the closing, have your attorney prepare a “Power of Attorney” (POA) as well as a wire transfer to deposit the sale proceeds directly into your account – which will save you time and aggravation. Banks will often put a lengthy hold on checks AND the bigger the check the longer the hold!

About three (3) days prior to the closing, you will receive a copy of the Closing Statement. The statement will document the transaction in detail and inform you of the total amount due at or from the closing – obviously necessary so you can order a wire transfer or bring a cashier’s check, if necessary. Should you have any questions about the Closing Statement’s itemization of fees, call your attorney or Jim.

Once you and your attorney have ironed everything out and we have a firm time, date, and location scheduled for closing, you can expect the buyer and the buyer’s agent to want to schedule a timely walk through of the home prior to closing.

Stage 2: Closing Events

If you plan on being at the closing, the closing usually takes place at the buyer’s lender’s attorney’s office. Plan on spending about an hour in an attorney’s office unless you request to have your papers separated out and ready for your signatures. In such a case, you could possibly be in and out in 15 minutes. In any case, please, do NOT expect to walk away with a check for the proceeds from your sale.

Most attorneys handle closings electronically at their office. In this event, funds usually take a couple of hours before they are released to you because the closing documents must be first sent to and reviewed by the buyer’s lender and secondly, the new deed has to be recorded with the county Registry of Deeds.

Stage 3: Funding

Happily, funds can be released immediately if closing takes place at the Registry of Deeds because the transfer of the deed can be recorded as soon as everything is signed. Actual timing for a mortgage-backed closing and funding depends upon:

  • the amount of paperwork,
  • the time it takes for a buyer to read and sign everything, and
  • if the lender is or is not in attendance at closing.

Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license or state-issued photo identification/passport.

After closing comes moving… but, you will want to orchestrate that long before closing. Check out Jim’s moving tips.

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