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!
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.)
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
- 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
- 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