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Real Estate 101: Closing the Deal with Your Realtor

Nov 27, 2007
Now that you are sure you have found your dream home and are ready to finalize the deal, you are ready to initiate the closing process. Many first time homebuyers are shocked to discover just how extensive and time consuming the closing process is, but rest assured that the documentation and the time you spend in closing will be well worth it when you are walk away with the keys to your brand new home.

Starting the Closing Process

The first step you will have to take in the closing process is making what is referred to as an "earnest money deposit." After you, the seller, and the Realtor have agreed on a price on the home, making this deposit secures your offer and effectively locks it into place.

Depending upon the state in which you live, you or your Realtor will also acquire the services of other professionals for assistance with the closing process. The professional may be a closing attorney, a title company, or a closing agent. Regardless of the title or specific profession, this person's job is to handle the closing process. Nonetheless, this does not mean that your Realtor is now out of the question. Rather, you can still ask your Realtor questions and use that person as a resource throughout the entire closing process.

Taking Care of Legal Issues

After you have made your earnest money deposit, the person in charge of the closing procedure will then make sure a number of legal issues are tended to. For example, this person will obtain a preliminary title report that will confirm that the person selling the home is the legal owner of the property. The report will also tell if there are any unsettled claims or liens against the property that need to be addressed before finalizing the sale.

Checking Out the House One Last Time - And Keeping it Protected

Although you have already looked at the house and have fallen in love with it, you will also need to work with your Realtor in order to make sure all of the proper inspections, disclosures, and contingencies have been addressed. The seller is obligated to disclose material facts about the property, including any defects the property may have and an lawsuits involving the property. Nonetheless, you are responsible for making arrangements to have the property inspected. With the assistance of your Realtor, you can find reputable companies to handle these inspections for you.

Since you will likely be taking out a loan in order to purchase your property, you will also need to obtain homeowner's insurance before the deal is closed. This is because lenders require this to be in place before they will finalize the loan process. Although you will need to compare insurance policies on your own, your Realtor can assist you with finding companies and with providing you with the information you will need to give to the insurance company in order to obtain coverage.

Taking Care of Finances

Before your loan amount can be finalized, the lender will want to have the property appraised. This appraisal will provide the lender with a determination of the property's value as well as a description of its physical characteristics. It will also provide a comparison of the property you are purchasing against other similar properties in the area. If your loan is then approved, the lender will send a notice to the title company so the proper documents can be signed at the closing.

Once all of the preparations have taken place, the actual closing appointment typically takes anywhere from one to two hours. You will need to bring a cashier's check with you in the amount that is due upon closing and you will have to sign and complete a number of different documents. Once this step is complete, you will be handed the keys and the home will officially be yours.
About the Author
Eric Bramlett is the broker & co-owner of One Source Realty in Austin, Texas. Eric currently manages his Austin Realtor Guide, his San Antonio real estate company's website, & his East Austin real estate Guide.
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