HomeSmart Evergreen Realty
Tricia Ebert & Ernie Sheesley, Realtors®

7 Steps to Home Ownership

by Tricia Ebert, Realtor®, CSA®, ABR®, BPOR®, CDPE®


Last week we discussed the escrow process and getting your home loan. In this, our seventh and final step to Home Ownership, we'll talk about closing escrow and getting the keys to your new home!


(7)    Once you’ve completed all of your inspections, reviewed all the disclosures, obtained your appraisal and loan approval and you’re satisfied about any repairs that need to be made, it’s time to remove your contingencies and go full steam ahead. The next step is getting the loan documents from your lender, which you will need to sign in the presence of a notary. Most escrow offices have a conference room where you will sit and review all of these documents and sign everything. They will arrange for the notary to meet with you. If you cannot get to their office during normal working hours, they can also arrange for a traveling notary to meet you at your house at a time that's convenient for you.


         Personally, I always attend loan document signings with my clients. It’s important to me to be able to help you understand the documents you’re signing. This is also the responsibility of the notary and the escrow officer who is handling your file. I understand that most Realtors do not attend loan doc signings with their clients. Frankly, I think that’s a terrible thing to do. This is the biggest purchase of your life, and your agent has (hopefully) been there with you every step of the way. I believe in total support, and that includes being present for this very important step.


         Once those documents are signed, you need to wire the rest of your funds to escrow to be able to close on time. Your Earnest Money Deposit will be applied to your down payment and closing costs. Whatever is still needed to pay the rest of the down payment and closing costs needs to be in escrow before the bank will fund your loan so that you can close escrow. (Note: Your escrow officer will let you know the exact amount you need to deposit. You don’t have to figure that out yourself. You will get a Settlement Statement or “HUD-1,” which will show you every closing cost that needs to be paid. You will approve this document along with all of your loan documents.)


         When the bank knows your funds have been wired to escrow or the title company, and you’ve given them every piece of paperwork they want (sometimes being requested right up to the day they’re funding your loan), they will hit the button and transfer the money to escrow. In some states, the day the loan is funded is the day escrow closes. In states like California, the deed is recorded the day AFTER the loan funds, and that is when you legally own the house.


         Once the loan has funded and the deed to transfer ownership to you has been recorded, the house is officially YOURS! CONGRATULATIONS! At this point you can meet with your Realtor and get the keys to your new home.



    Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re about to close escrow…


  • If you’ve been renting, you may want to give notice to your landlord AFTER your loan is officially approved and you’ve removed all of your contingencies. At this point you’re moving toward closing within a couple of weeks, so it’s fairly safe to give your 30-day notice.


  • Be sure to coordinate the transfer of utilities from the seller’s name to your name once the loan documents are signed and you’re moving full steam ahead. This includes gas, electric, water and sewer, trash collection, phone service (if you use a landline), cable and Internet.


  • Be sure to contact a moving company once you’re reasonably sure what date you’ll be moving out of your old place and into your new home. If you’re moving on the weekend, moving companies get booked up quickly, sometimes a month in advance. So get that scheduled as soon as you can.


  • If you’re planning to paint the inside of the house, replace flooring, or do electrical work, try to get that done BEFORE you move in. It’s much easier to do any kind of rehab or repair work when there is no furniture to move. And if you have workers in your house, there is nothing to worry about being stolen if nothing is there.


  • Use your Realtor as a resource for referrals to find good repair people, painters, electricians, plumbers, movers, etc. They work with these types of people all the time and know who does a good job and who you can trust.


  Now go enjoy living in your new home! :-)

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"When my wife and I separated, we of course needed to sell our house. It was a very tough time for both of us. But despite our stress and grief, Tricia was really great understanding our difficult situation, and was able to work with both of us to satisfy our needs. We had to sell the house as fast as possible and get the most possible from the sale. Tricia was able to accomplish both! She is VERY knowledgeable about the market, and treats each sale (both buying and selling) as if it is her own home. It made our difficult situation less stressful knowing she was taking care of us. We are both very grateful she was there for us. Tricia is the best!"


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Tricia is a great person to work with. She was very familiar with the process, and she was very patient. Tricia did help us find the right townhouse for us. Highly recommended!


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I call Tricia my Angel. She genuinely cares about her clients and goes out of her way to help them. She helped my family do a short sale on our house, and we felt completely taken care of throughout the process. I highly recommend Tricia to all of our friends and family.


~ Fides D., Van Nuys, CA

Tricia is truly a hands-on Realtor whose attention to detail takes the stress out of house hunting. She has helped me buy two properties over the years, and I would recommend her to anyone looking for a real estate agent. Tricia is hard-working, caring, and guides her clients through the buying and selling process step-by-step. A consummate professional!


~ Kari Wahlgren, Burbank, CA

Tricia: Impeccable professionalism, humor and good spirits. Constant cheerleader and positive force of nature. Not only our Realtor but our teacher, our guide, our guardian angel. We feel so fortunate that Debi found you and led us to you. You encouraged us from the get go. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. It goes without saying but, we could not have done it without you! Hugs and Happy Dancing!


~ Sarah & Chad Wiley, North Hollywood, CA

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