The process of finding a home that fits your needs and is perfect for you and your family takes time and preparation. Once you are under contract to buy your perfect house, you’ve made it through getting a loan, inspection, appraisal and all the other details and you’re ready for closing! Here are a few tips to help closing be a successful and smooth transition.
Know The Location and Time of Your Closing
It may seem simple, but make sure you know exactly where you’re going to close on your home and when you need to be there. Often in Colorado, closings are done at a title company or real estate office. Get the address from you real estate agent, plus any specifics like parking or special needs that you may have to make it a successful closing. For instance, the title company can arrange (in advance) translators or sign language specialist to help communicate.
Bring Your Identification
The title company will require a form of ID (usually a driver’s license or passport) for everyone who will be signing documents (i.e. those on title). Make sure you bring you identification and have it ready as this will be one of the first requirements when you arrive.
Organize Your Method of Payment In Advance
“Good funds” are required for closing. This means, you can’t bring a stack of cash to the closing table or a personal check. Talk with your bank about having the money wired to the title company (you’ll need wiring instructions from the title company before you talk with your bank), or get a cashier’s check before arriving for the total amount due. Your agent should provide this amount down to the penny a few days before closing.
Transfer and Begin Services
Utilities: Call your local utility providers to make sure utilities are transferred to your name on the day of closing. Depending on the company, you may be able to do this simple transfer of ownership without any reconnect fees.
Trash: There are multiple trash companies in many communities (like Colorado Springs) so check to see if it’s part of an HOA or if you’ll need to contract directly with a waste management company of your choice. In Colorado Springs, there are also discount and perks you can opt-in for trash recycling.
Property Insurance: Homeowners insurance will be required by the lender if you’re getting a loan to purchase the home, and you’ve probably already dealt with choosing a company. If not, make sure you have adequate property insurance starting the 1st day of ownership.
Mail: Visit your local post office or jump online and have your mail forwarded from your old address to the new address. Over the next six months, be intentional about submitting your address change with the various companies you do business. This is especially important with credit card companies and can typically be updated with a quick phone call or a few minutes online.
Cable: Call your local cable provide to set up new internet, phone, and cable service. Some companies are able to transfer your account from you old address.
New Services? Think through what other services you may need in your new home that you didn’t have before. These may include things like a landscaper, pool cleaner, home security, etc.
Consider Contractors You’ll Need Immediately
It’s always nice to have new carpet and appliances before you move into your new home. Coordinate with contractors to deliver products, install carpet and appliances, and prep the home for your ownership within a few days of the closing.
Get Property Information
If the seller is attending closing with you, often you can ask questions directly to make sure you understand the property you’re about to own:
Is there a code to the garage door?
Which mailbox is yours and did you get keys?
What day is trash picked up?
Keys for a pool?
Gate code for a security gate into the complex or clubhouse?
Beware of Scams
Someone’s always trying to take your hard-earned money and the two most common fraudulent practices are:
(1) wiring the money to an undeserved party
Make sure you are communicating by phone or in person with the title company to verify where the money is being wired.
(2) charging you for a copy of the warranty deed to your new home.
After you close, you may get “offers” in the mail to pay (usually around $80) for a copy of your warranty deed. Don’t fall for it! You’ll get a copy at closing, and the official copy once it’s recorded through the county. If you ever need this document, it’s public record and won’t cost you a penny. Also, your real estate agent can provide this to you at any time, especially if you need it for your taxes at the end of the year.
Get Ready To Sign Paperwork
Especially if you are getting a loan to purchase the home, there will be a stack of paperwork to sign. You’ll sign everything as instructed by the closer and usually consistent with the name you’re taking title to the property. Plan for about an hour to sign paperwork and finish the closing meeting.