Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
Relocation Specialist
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Telephone: (610) 642-3744 Pure Gold Award Real Estate Web Page e-certified Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors Real Estate
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E-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com
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Subject: What Does Your Realtor Mean When Referring To A "Closing"?

A closing is the meeting where title and money are exchanged between the seller and the buyer, and the sale of a home is finalized.

At the closing all the progressive steps in buying a home -- from the acceptance of the offer, title search, home inspection, buyer's loan application to approval, etc. -- come together in a final transaction. The documents are ready to sign, the buyer is ready to hand over the purchase price, and the seller is ready to transfer title (and the keys!)

Usually held at the offices of a title company, the closing takes less than an hour, and sometimes less than 30 minutes. The meeting is always attended by the buyer, usually the seller (although his or her signature can often be obtained in advance), the brokers and/or attorneys, and, of course, the title company representative, who acts as the intermediary for the seller and buyer in the transaction.

What goes on during the closing? First, the buyer reviews all the loan documents, which describe the loan amount, payments, and itemization of closing costs, including impounds for tax and insurance, etc. If everything is as it should be, the buyer signs the loan papers.

Next, the buyer reviews and signs the title documents, making sure the deed is recorded as desired (joint tenancy, tenants in common, community property, etc.). By the time the closing is held, the title company has already conducted a title search and verifies that the title is held by the seller, and that no liens are held against the property. If there are any obstacles or other conditions that could potentially undermine the sale of the property, the title company will tell the seller about them (in writing) at the closing. Assuming, however, that the funds are in order, the deed is correct, and the title is clear, the final step is the disbursement of funds to the seller for the purchase price of the home, and the presentation of the keys to the buyer. The buyer may also receive a refund for overpayment of closing costs, which were paid out of his or her deposit check.

What should a buyer be prepared to bring to the closing? That's easy: everything. The buyer should bring all documentation relating to the transaction, including a canceled check for the deposit paid with the offer, just in case the title company or lender asks for it unexpectedly. The title company should already have the loan funds in its possession, but the buyer needs to bring a cashier's or certified check for the purchase amount minus the loan amount (that is, the down payment).

Ideally, the closing will go through "without a hitch." Some delays -- such as in receiving loan funds from the lender or an error in the loan documents -- are unpredictable and, therefore, uncontrollable. Other delays, however, can be avoided if they are anticipated and, if possible, resolved ahead of time.

"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

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