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Closing Time: How to Pick Up your New Keys with Ease

Closing Time: How to Pick Up your New Keys with Ease

As if searching for a new home is not a daunting enough task, actually going to closing can be an entirely different animal. While we would all like to believe that closing is as easy as shaking hands and exchanging keys, there is a lot that goes into… and a lot that can happen… during closing.

So, what can you do to make sure your closing is nothing but smooth sailing? We’ve got one big tip to keep that “I just bought a new home” smile on your face throughout the closing process: Be prepared!

Of course, those two little words are quite complex, right? Unless you buy a new home every year, you may not know what you need to do when you go to close. So, knowing what to expect before you get there is one great way to make sure that there are no surprises.

How can you prepare to go to closing?

  • Maintain good credit once you sign a contract and know when you plan to close. Your loan officer will check your credit just before your closing date, so don’t make any large purchases (i.e. new car, boat or anything else that might put a dent in your good credit) that could affect your debt-to-income ratio. Remember, you want to keep that oh-so-low rate you locked in!


  • Talk to your loan officer and/or real estate agent more than you talk to your best friend in the days and weeks leading up to closing. Make sure you’re aware of any deadlines for documents they may need from you. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions… lots of questions.


  • Familiarize yourself with your closing statement, a.k.a. HUD-1. Federal law gives you the right to see this document at least 24-hours before you go to close and you can compare your closing statement to the good faith estimate (GFE) you received when you applied for your loan. Making sure it is in your hands before you go to closing will make you more comfortable to sign on that dotted line.


  • Read the fine print, just like your mother always told you to do. Even the smallest typo can throw a wrench in the works when it comes to closing on a new home; but, you want to make sure you find anything that may not be consistent with what you agreed to.


  • Bring a check, cash or whatever other form of payment your loan officer requires, in order for you to get those keys in your hands. Certified checks are sometimes required, so if you have an early closing time, make sure you allow yourself enough time to stop at a bank.


  • Along with that check, make sure you have photo I.D. with you. That goes for buyers and sellers. Buyers should also remember to bring a copy of their homeowners insurance policy. A copy of your GFE and HUD-1 statement wouldn’t hurt, either.


  • Just in case you run into any of these or other unforeseen issues during closing, don’t schedule your closing on the very last day of your contract. Even if everything goes smoothly, closing can be stressful enough… waiting until the last day may only cause undue stress.


  • Finally, don’t be in a hurry. Even a seamless closing can take some time. Take the day off; schedule an early closing; and, leave yourself the rest of the day to celebrate your new home!