There are a ton of emotions happening once you finally get your home under contract, both positive and negative. This process in real estate is the signing process which is the final stage of selling or buying your home. Here are the steps that typically take place upon “closing”.
A title search is started and title insurance needs to be obtained
Your closing agent at a title company will do a title search on your property. This is a review of public records to make sure you legally own the home and a check to make sure there are no judgments or claims on your house (liens, unpaid taxes, etc.). A clean title is required for the majority of real estate transactions to be completed. There are rare exceptions where houses are purchased at tax sales and land banks before houses go into foreclosure.
A home inspection
Unless you are taking a cash offer from an investor, a home inspection is almost always mandatory before your home can be sold. This will insure your home does not have any issues that either party are unaware of. According to homeinspector.org an inspection will cover he condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing system; electrical system; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; and the foundation, basement and structural components. If there are issues that you are not willing to fix, this must be disclosed as a contingency with purchase. If there are any contingencies it will likely drive the price of the offer down.
Once again, unless you are taking a cash offer, an appraisal should be done on your home to ensure it is listed at the proper value. The difference between an inspection and an appraisal is that the inspection deals with the current condition of the property. Whereas the appraisal deals with the value of the home. It is also done to ensure the mortgage company lends the amount closely appropriate to the home’s worth.
This is typically done within 24 hours of signing the contract. The buyer and agent do one final walk through of the home to ensure all issues are fixed and the home is “move-in ready” up to their standards.
This is the final step in the process. You, as the seller, sign the dead of the property over to the buyer. Once all the paperwork is complete and the funds have been distributed, the buyer is officially the new owner of the property.
Depending on the process you are going through to sell – selling to a cash investor or listing with an agent – the closing process can take some time. Cash investment selling typically closes the fastest with the average closing time of 15 days, whereas closing with a real estate agent can take upwards of 60 days. Whichever option you choose, it is important to make sure you ask questions and understand that it is still a process to complete.