Now that you have an executed contract, it’s important to schedule the closing on your calendar and arrange to take the day off from work. Here are a few things to know about your closing date as specified on your executed contract:

First, the closing date could change. While we hope closing occurs on your closing date and it’s not likely that the date will change, there are some factors which could cause it to be pushed back, such as a tight time frame for closing (anything 30 days or less) causing the mortgage company to need more time or issues that the closing attorney may find during the title search. However, for planning purposes right now, count on your closing date being the final date.

Closing will take place with the closing attorney that is stipulated in the contract. Many attorneys have multiple locations, so unless a specific location is noted in the contract, we can likely choose the location that is either most convenient to the house or to you. On average closing takes about 90 minutes, but depending on the lender, it could take a little longer to get the final funding approval (which in some cases comes after some of the documents have been signed at the closing table). For this reason it’s important that you arrange to take the whole day off from work. And while the contract will not have a time specified with the closing date, we can usually request a closing time and get it scheduled with the closing attorney as soon as we have a binding contract. Flexibility is best, but if you have a specific time you’d like to schedule, let us know and we’ll do our best to get it scheduled (as a reminder, closings happen on weekdays only — Monday through Friday, generally from 10 AM until 4 PM on the hour as starting times).

In almost all cases, it is best if you attend the closing in person; however, if you can’t be there that day, notify us, as well as your mortgage lender, immediately. Your lender will need to approve your absence from closing (and it’s likely that they will suggest that we try to change the date to a date that you can be present). If your lender approves your absence, we will need the closing attorney to prepare a Power of Attorney (POA) for a family member to be able to attend closing and sign in your place (keep in mind, the lender may also need to approve the person who is signing for you). This needs to be done at least two weeks in advance of closing, as your mortgage officer needs to review and approve the POA, you need to have it signed and notarized, and get the original signed paper copy back to the attorney at least one day before closing. In addition, you may need to write a letter explaining why you can’t attend the closing. We always encourage clients to attend closing as it’s important you understand the closing documents, when your first mortgage payment is due, how you make your first mortgage payment, etc. All of that will be explained at the closing.

No later than the day before closing, you will need to set up a wire transfer to send your downpayment and and any other fees due for the closing to the closing attorney. The wire instructions for this transfer will come from either my team (as an email that we forward from the closing attorney), your lender or the closing attorney. Do not follow anyone else’s instructions unless it comes from one of those two sources. There are many scams out there targeted at buyers where scammers will email you fake wire transfer instructions in an attempt to steal your money. This is not a myth or a false alarm — real people have lost very large sums of money due to wire fraud associated with real estate transactions. Remember the Wire Fraud Disclosure we had you sign with your initial offer and attached to the contract? Please click here to review the Wiring Fraud Disclosure again.

It is imperative that you only follow instructions sent from our email address (@buysellliveatlanta.com), the closing attorney, or your lender. It is also smart to call the closing attorney’s office to verbally confirm the account information in the wiring instructions with them over the phone before sending your funds, just as an extra safeguard.

We advise that you wire transfer a few thousand dollars more than needed for closing just to be safe, in case any last minute changes occur to the fees or a mistake was made by the lender or closing attorney in the final calculations. At the end of closing, if you have sent a little too much, you will receive a refund check or wire for the overage amount.

If you are planning to move into your new home on the day of closing, schedule the movers for at least 1 – 2 hours after closing ends, if possible. Legally, you can’t move into the house until the end of closing once the bank funds the loan and transfers the funds to the seller. It is exciting to be able to move in the same day; however, a closing that takes place at the end of the day and then experiences delays, may mean that you don’t receive the keys until the following business day. Please keep this in mind when scheduling your movers and, when possible, schedule your move to begin the next day.

At the very end of closing, you will receive the keys to your new home!

If you have any questions about closing, please let us know by calling 404-994-2181 or emailing Maura(at)BuySellLiveAtlanta(dot)com.

Step 19 to Buying a Home: The Appraisal Process