CONGRATULATIONS! It’s closing time!
We will know the location of the closing attorney’s office when we schedule the closing, earlier in the transaction process. Generally, we will make every effort to close at a location close to the property being purchased. If your schedule requires that we close in a location away from the property (for example, closer to your work), we will need to know that when we schedule the closing. A closing confirmation email reminding you of the date, time, and location of the closing will be sent out to you prior to closing.
About a week before closing (or at the latest, once you receive your Clear to Close and your Closing Disclosure from your lender), we recommend calling to confirm your movers one last time. Make sure they have the proper-sized crew and truck, which should be noted on your written quote from them, to efficiently complete the move and make sure that they have you on their calendar for the correct and promised day. If you are moving out of a condo or apartment and are not on the first floor, be sure to let them know, especially if your building doesn’t have an elevator; if you need to reserve the elevator to move out, make sure you have done so. Most closings take no longer than 2 hours but can take longer. While moving on the same day of closing is not recommended, if you are moving on the day of closing please be sure to give yourself enough time to complete the closing before you need to meet your movers.
A few important reminders for closing:
- Bring your photo ID with you, ideally a driver’s license or passport (if you need to utilize a different form of identification, you will need to clear that with your lender and likely the closing attorney prior to closing)
- Bring your checkbook (just in case — Murphy’s Law tells us that if you bring it, you won’t need it!)
- Bring copies of your earnest money receipts and wire transfer receipt for the downpayment/closing costs
Closing takes an average of 90 minutes; however, it can be as short as 1 hour or as long, in very rare cases, as 3+ hours, if there are problems or if we are awaiting your lender’s final funding approval. On average, expect to be finished in no more than 90 minutes.
The closing attorney runs the closing. For most closings in Georgia, all parties attend closing together: the buyer(s), the seller(s), the seller’s REALTOR®, and the buyer’s REALTOR®. Oftentimes, the buyer’s lender will attend, as well, if they are local and if their schedule allows (at the very least, your lender should be available and accessible via phone and/or email during closing, in case there are issues).
Sometimes, the sellers may have pre-signed the documents and may not attend; perhaps they live out of state and did a “mail-away” closing or perhaps they are supervising their movers or have already gotten on their way on their move to their next location and have signed the day before or at a different time or closing location.
While it is our intention that every closing go smoothly, don’t be surprised if small hiccups happen on the day of closing. If it is late in the day, the closing may start late, since some of the closings earlier in the day may have run late, meaning the closing attorney’s schedule has been thrown off; the closing attorney may be waiting for the seller’s documents to arrive via FedEx if they did a “mail-away” or signed at another location and their documents need to be couriered over; one of the parties may arrive late due to the traffic in Atlanta on any given day. As often as possible, we will try to find out ahead of time if we might be starting late, but please be patient on the day of closing, as it should be happy and relatively stress-free day for you!
A note about spouses who are not on the mortgage loan:
Even if your spouse is not on the loan, you may want to add your spouse to the title and deed for the home. Let us know and talk to your lender ahead of time to make sure that this is allowable and to make sure the closing attorney has all required documentation to make this happen. We can help you to coordinate this, and while it’s likely we’ve already discussed it early in the process, please let us know!
A few important notes for closing:
You will get a lot of information explained to you at the closing table; it will feel as though you are drinking from a firehose. Pay attention as closely as possible and maybe even plan to take a few notes, but also know that we will be reminding you after closing of all of the important information that you need to know, going forward. You will get a series of emails from us in the months after closing with important reminders. For example, during closing the closing attorney will explain to you how and when the taxes get paid and how to get the exemptions (homestead exemption, senior citizen exemption, etc.) — you are entitled to as these exemptions usually save you several hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. We will be sending you emails to remind you to file for those exemptions in January of the year after you close and to remind you of the April 1 deadline to file.
At the very end of the closing, the closing attorney will give you an overage check, which is essentially a refund of the additional money you transferred over when you sent your downpayment and closing cost fees (or will ask you for your voided check if you prefer to receive the funds via a wire). Remember, we always recommend that you transfer $1500 – $2000 extra just in case there was an error in the numbers. If you opt to receive a check, please deposit that check as soon as possible (no more than 1 to 2 days) after closing. You’ll also receive a copy of your signed Closing Disclosure and Closing Statement. Put these documents in a safe place! You’ll need them next year when you prepare your taxes (we will also have an electronic copy which we will keep in our files — you can always ask us to send it to you, anytime).
You will also receive a hard copy of your Owner’s Title Insurance — keep this document forever. Here is a great article explaining what owner’s title insurance is and why it is important.
Last, but not least, you’ll get your keys and can now officially move in! CONGRATULATIONS to you, new homeowner!