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Buying Information

The Closing Process

The closing or settlement is the time when the documents necessary to transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer are signed. The seller selects a closing attorney or settlement agent to represent their interests and prepare the deed. Some sellers prefer to engage an attorney to review the sales contract before all parties sign.

Fees for preparing the deed or reviewing proposed contracts vary, but are generally less for the seller than for the buyer because less documentation is involved. Your Napier ERA agent can provide a list of attorneys or settlement agents whose services reflect our high standards. Most firms will welcome a call and will gladly answer your questions about their services and fees.

Many activities take place in the weeks and days before closing to prepare for the settlement. The date of closing is usually estimated in the sales contract, with built-in flexibility to allow for the preparation of documents necessary to finalize the sale. Depending on the terms of your sales contract, inspections or repairs may need to be completed and documented. Carefully review your contract to determine when, and by whom, the inspections and repairs should be completed. If your buyer is obtaining government sponsored financing, the property must comply with stringent inspection standards before financing will be granted. Customarily, the seller obtains a termite report no sooner than thirty(30) days prior to closing. Make certain to keep your records and receipts. The buyers, their attorney or settlement agent, or the lender may require you to produce specific documentation, and some expenses could have implications for your income tax returns. Your Napier ERA agent will guide you through the process, informing you about usual or customary requirements and will even coordinate the appointments and insure that documentation is delivered on time to the appropriate parties.

Your sales contract will allow for the buyers to have a pre-settlement walk-through of the home to verify that the condition, fixtures and amenities are unchanged and undamaged from the day the contract was executed. The buyers may inspect any repairs made pursuant to the terms of the contract. If your buyer is obtaining government sponsored financing, additional inspections may be required before financing will be granted. The walk-through usually takes place shortly before or on the day of closing. If major problems are detected, settlement may be delayed until they can be resolved. Options include postponing settlement until the problems can be corrected, or entering into an agreement for the future resolution of the problems, usually by placing funds in an escrow account to cover major repairs or the replacement of fixtures. Be aware that if the buyers are obtaining a mortgage, the lender may not allow an escrow of funds.

The seller(s) sign the deed in advance of closing usually at the office of their attorney or settlement agent. From there, it is sent to the office of the buyer's attorney or settlement agent. In Richmond, it is customary for the closing to take place at the office of the buyer's attorney and typically, the seller is not expected to attend. The seller's attorney or settlement agent will coordinate directly with the buyer's closing attorney to accomplish the transfer of legal documents, funds and keys. Your Napier ERA agent will facilitate the smooth communication between all parties.

Several days before closing, contact your attorney or settlement agent, or your Napier ERA agent, to request an estimated settlement statement or "HUD-1." The charges and credits anticipated for the seller's side and the buyer's side of the transaction will be listed, so review the statement carefully. Immediately notify your attorney, settlement agent or real estate agent of any errors. From the HUD-1, you may determine approximately the amount of your proceeds, if any, from the sale. Make arrangements in advance for how the proceeds should be delivered to you. It is possible, for a small fee, to have funds directly deposited by electronic transfer to your bank account as soon as they become available.

Establish a master file as a repository for the important papers related to your home ownership and sale. You will certainly need to reference these documents in the future. For instance, if a job transfer necessitated your sale, your employer may need your records to reimburse your expenses. When filing your taxes each year, items such as property tax payments may be deductible.

Your Napier ERA agent or branch manager will gladly help you to find the best services and savings opportunities. Our agents are well trained to protect your interests in the transaction. Please feel free to call 800-966-7669 or fill out our contact form.