Closing on Your New Home…What to Expect in West Michigan

The anticipation of actually getting the keys as an owner of a new home is an exhilerating experience.  Finally, the months of looking for homes, finding a REALTOR,  attending Open Houses, locating the right property, inspecting the home, negotiating  the transaction, and qualifying for the mortgage have culminated in your arrival at a Closing Table.

It may surprise you to know that a successful Closing,  in which final documents are signed to transfer and secure your ownership rights for your new home,  begins long before you arrive at the Closing appointment in the escrow office.  In fact, I believe successful Closings start at the initial client appointment.

When clients who are purchasing homes or thinking about selling homes contact me for an appointment, the first order of duty is an appointment to discuss the entire real estate process from start to finish.  This discussion entails more than just the details of what the client desires to purchase.  It includes exploring differing needs and expectations about their dreams and goals as well as a discussion about service expectations.

This investment of time at the beginning of the process has proved invaluable in helping clients understand what they can do to assist in completing the transaction.  It also gives insight into some of the hurdles which are sometimes a part of the real estate transaction…especially valuable to clients who anticipate buying or selling a distressed property.

The Closing process commences after the home has been inspected, appraised and cleared through the Underwriting Department of the Lender.  In some ways, it is similar to running a relay with the baton passing to different departments as the home loan goes through the process.  The final runner is the Closing Department which is drafted with the responsibility of getting your loan acceptance documents successfully across the finish line.

An accounting of the proceeds for the home purchase (HUD 1 Statement)  is one of the most important documents that you will review during as you head into the Closing Escrow Office.  Ideally, you should receive this document a few days prior to the Closing to review it.  You may also want to have your legal counsel check the numbers.  A good REALTOR will also review the documents to ensure that the terms of the purchase agreements have been followed and monies credited or debited appropriately.   You may find this article about how to read a HUD-1 Statement helpful.  Our clients are always accompanied to the Escrow table by an Agent and/or Broker of Audu Real Estate.

You will likely be contacted by your Lender or the Escrow Officer to ensure that you know the amount required for your Certified Check or Money Order and have Proof of Insurance for your new home.  It will also be necessary to verify your identity, so make sure you bring a copy of your Driver’s License or other official form of identification such as a Passport or State ID.

Depending on which side of the transaction you are on (Seller or Buyer) the documents you will be required to sign during the Closing appointment can be lengthy or relatively short.  Some loans also require more documentation during the Closing process than others.  Plan on arriving at the Closing a little early.  This will help in relaxing any frayed or anxious feelings.  Many Closing Offices offer beverage service and/or snacks to clients waiting to commence their Closings.

In the Grand Rapids, MI area, it is not uncommon for Closings to occur between both parties to the transaction in the same room or at least in the same location.  If you are doing a Split Closing with two different Closing companies, it is unlikely you will meet the other party during the signing of your Escrow docuemnts.  However, if the Closing is in the same location, it is often customary for both parties to meet, greet and sometimes exchange keys( if this is called for in the Purchase Agreement) after the documents for the Closing have been signed.

At Audu Real Estate, it is our goal to facilitate stress free Closings for our clients and all parties involved in the real estate transaction.  This requires attention to details, good communication and meticulous follow-up and follow-through.  If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the West Michigan area, please consider giving us a call.  616-791-0511.