What to Expect During Closing
Central Virginia Home Closing Process
For buyers, having their offer on a home accepted is a happy time—a major milestone achieved. For sellers, it’s something else ... a relief.
Both buyers and sellers come into the process with their own expectations. Though a lot of attention focuses on the buyer, sellers have important timelines and goals they are trying to reach. It’s frustrating for parties on either side when the process takes longer than planned.
Now, it’s done—you’ve gotten a great offer, you’ve accepted ... there’s just one more thing.
Closing, also called completion or settlement, is the last step. Closing formally takes place a few weeks after the buyer’s offer is accepted; the seller transfers ownership on the closing date. Though it’s rare, the buyer can still back out until the closing process is complete.
So, what happens between now and then?
- Get Repairs Done
If a buyer’s offer is contingent on repairs, it’s crucial to make sure they’re complete before time runs out. If this is a concern and time is tight, sellers can choose to lower the asking price to reflect expected costs—but it’s usually less expensive to do the work. It’s easy to put these things off until the last minute, so don’t be tempted. Ideally, get done a week or so early.
- Do the Final Walkthrough
About 24 hours before the closing date, the buyer and their agent will do a last sweep of the home. It is considered polite for the seller to be away from the property for this process—it only takes about half an hour in most cases. Although some buyers may get finicky, most are just checking to be sure all agreed-upon repairs are done and nothing new has cropped up.
If there is a problem, closing can be delayed—but most buyers aren’t willing to go quite that far. Since documents are already drawn up, it’s not always possible to change the final price to sweeten the pot. Things like furniture, appliances, and gift cards may enter the transaction at the last moment.
- Perform the Closing
Once you’ve gotten to this point, closing is as simple as signing a few—okay, several documents. Both the buyer and the seller need to be present for the final signatures. It can be a bit dull and may take a few hours to complete. The buyer has the chance to negotiate further, but this is very rare.
It’s easy to feel your eyes glazing over when the time comes to read, and then re-read all those real estate documents. The most important document to keep track of is the settlement statement. It is the official record of the money you’re making on the sale plus all tax implications.
If anything here doesn’t look right, be sure to point out discrepancies to your attorney and real estate agent. Once everything is signed, there’s no going back, so it’s best to be sure.
Most closings take place without any last-minute drama, especially if the final walkthrough of the home showed nothing unusual. Still, it is possible for negotiations to take place all the way up to the signing. Small changes can take place without much fuss, but if the buyer wants to amend the terms, it will mean putting the closing date off. The final decision rests with you.
Thinking about selling your home? Contact Napier ERA—our real estate agents make it easy!