**Disclaimer: All of the information included in this series of posts are a personal account of my experiences and my personal opinions. I am not a real estate agent, mortgage broker, financial adviser, or attorney.
You made it! You’ve reached the last installment of the Bluegrass Bones home-buying series and let me tell you…
The drama that unfolded with our car troubles was pretty tame compared to our closing day.
After finally confirming the underwriters had all of our correct tax information and convincing them that we hadn’t been shopping for cars all willy nilly, we finally made it to our closing day. But the insanity did not end there, my friends. Don’t be fooled, closing day can hold an entire Pandora’s box of surprises! Once you finally have your closing date set, keep a few things in mind to prepare for the big day…
Stay in contact with your realtor and mortgage originator to find out your closing date.
Remember to stay in close contact with your realtor throughout the entire process. If you haven’t heard anything from them in a few days, don’t be afraid to check in. We were texting back and forth with our realtor almost every day, so if a couple of days went by in silence, we would check in to make sure everything was still on track. A good realtor will know this and also maintain good contact with their clients.
Find out which title agency you’re closing with.
The buyer’s and seller’s respective realtors will usually take care of this and let you know the information regarding where and when you need to show up on your day of closing. In our case, our realtor made contact with the seller’s chosen title agency and set up the appointment.
Here’s where the fun really began for us–the title agency communicated with our realtor through their Hilliard office and set up the appointment. Logically, since our realtor was speaking with this office, everyone thought we would be closing at the Hilliard office. This would have been convenient because the new house is located there, as was the sellers’ new house…
Well, we all show up at the Hilliard office, our realtor driving all the way from the county northeast of Columbus. And then–SURPRISE!–the title agency’s office is deserted. After a few confused phone calls, we find out that the title agency was communicating out of the Hilliard office, but scheduled the closing for the Easton office. The Easton office is located a couple of miles from our old house, ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE CITY. We had even driven by it when we picked up dog food from Costco on the way home from work (which we left early for this appointment). So after a few choice words and shouting over the phone with the title agency, we all just got in our cars and drove back across the city. In 5 o’clock traffic.
The title agency did say they would wait for us and stay open so we could close that night. This was fortunate because, if not, they would have a group of buyers and sellers throwing bricks through their fancy Easton glass doors because everyone had moving companies on the hook for the next day.
Get a certified check for your down payment and closing costs.
You will receive a plethora of documents from both your lender and realtor. These will include information about how much your down payment will be as well as the amount of the closing costs. You will be asked to bring a certified check for the amount of your down payment plus your closing costs. A certified check is different from a personal check in that the bank verifies that funds exist to cover the amount the check is made out for, thus guaranteeing that the check won’t bounce. Make sure to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to go to your bank and get a certified check for this amount. If not, you can run into problems with the title agency because they may not accept a personal check because it cannot be vouched for by the bank.
Bring proper payment for any miscellaneous expenses.
You might not have any of these, but we purchased deck furniture from the sellers, so we brought a personal check for that. You don’t need a certified check for this unless specified by the seller.
You will sign all the papers on the earth.
By the time you sign the last piece of paper, your hand will be cramping and your signature will look like an illegible scribble. Some title agencies get nit-picky and want you to sign in perfect cursive every time so that everyone can read it. Others just want you to scratch something on the paper with your semi-lifeless hand because everyone’s had a long day and they want to just be done with your crazy asses.
After you sign all the papers on the earth and close the deal, head immediately to the nearest place that serves alcohol.
Seriously, bring all the proper forms of payment and make everything as easy on yourself as possible. Make lists. Make lots of lists. And check them over and over again. It’s hard enough sitting around a big table, being shuffled 9,000 papers, and being asked to sign at least 50 times (with someone constantly reminding you to “make sure to write your middle initial”). I’m not gonna lie, there was some fist-pounding on the table and there were almost some words spoken that could not be taken back, BUT–we powered through like champs and officially closed on our house!
After that, we fled to our favorite place, which also happened to be right down the road–BSpot. It never fails, when we’re about to move, we’ve finally established our go-to beer and burger place (at least it didn’t take long to find one on this side of town). We collapsed into a booth and immediately ordered our favorite craft brews (and still within happy hour, no less).
So there it is, friends, the saga of our home-buying experience. I’m not going to say it’ll be any easier next time (which hopefully won’t be for awhile), but I can say that we will go into it knowing what to expect and what to look for in the kind of experience we want. We will know what kind of realtor we want (seriously, we might just try to con ours into working with us again, even if it’s out of state…) and what to look for in a potential new home. There’s so much to remember, but everything will work out as long as you plan as much as you can, communicate with everyone involved, and be honest about what you want in a home.
Have you already purchased a home? What were some of your more memorable experiences about the process? What would you do the same or differently next time?