6 Things a Homebuyer Can Expect

Once you have negotiated all the terms of your purchase, draw of a contract with an escrow agreement. This agreement should set forth the timeline for completing all aspects of due diligence, including inspections, appraisals, and bank loan applications. It should also include the name and contact information for any real estate agents involved.  

Draw up An Escrow and Purchase Agreement 

Select a Closing Agent

If you're working with a real estate agent, with your permission, he or she may place an order with a closing agent as soon as your sales contract is accepted. The closing agent can be a title company, an escrow company or a settlement company.

Most home buyers rely on their real estate agent to select a closing agent – someone they work with regularly and know to be professional, reliable and efficient. However, you can choose your own closing agent if you wish. The closing agent will oversee the closing process and make sure everything happens in the right order and on time, without unnecessary delays or glitches.

Conduct a Title Search

When your closing agent orders title insurance, the title company conducts a search of the public records. The search will identify any issues with the title such as liens against the property, utility easements, encroaching fences, and so on. If a problem is discovered, most often the title professional will take care of it without you even knowing about it. After the title search is complete and certain requirements are satisfied, the title company can provide a title insurance policy.

Buy Title Insurance

There are two kinds of title insurance coverage: a Lender's policy, which covers the lender for the amount of the mortgage loan; and an Owner's policy, which covers the home buyer for the amount of the purchase price. If you're obtaining a loan, the bank or lender will typically require that you purchase a Loan policy. However, it only protects the lender. 

It is always recommended that you obtain an Owner's policy to protect your investment. The party that pays for the Owner's policy varies from state to state and can be a negotiable item in the sales contract, so ask your settlement agent for guidance before closing.

Closing Disclosures

Your lender or your closing agent at your lender's instruction must provide a Closing Disclosure to you at least three days prior to consummation of the loan, which in some states may be the same time as closing. The Closing Disclosure provides all the costs associated with the transaction including key information like the interest rate, monthly payments, and costs to close the loan.

If you or your lender make certain significant changes between the time the Closing Disclosure form is given to you and the actual closing itself, you will receive a new form triggering a new three-business-day waiting period. This applies if the creditor:

  • Makes changes to the APR above 1/8 of a percent for most loans (and 1/4 of a percent for loans with irregular payments or periods)

  • Changes the loan product

  • Adds a prepayment penalty to the loan

If the changes are less significant, they can be disclosed on a revised Closing Disclosure form provided to you at or before closing, without delaying the closing.

The Finish Line:  Prepare for Closing

As closing day approaches, the closing agent orders any updated information that may be required. Once the closing agent confirms with the lender and the seller, he or she will set a final date, time, and location of the closing. 

On closing day, all of the behind-the-scenes work is complete. While you've been busy packing, ordering utilities, and coordinating the movers, your closing agent has been managing the closing process so that you can rest assured, knowing all the paperwork is in order.