Closing

Closing date for any home purchase or sale can be a very stressful time for seller, buyer, real estate agent or mortgage agent. On this date, everything involved in the sale is settled and the money and title is officially transferred from the seller to the buyer. Because of this, including all the stress, you should be prepared for what is to come.

What To Expect

In short, you should expect to sign a lot of papers. On this date, you will sign legal papers that recognize a new owner of a piece of property. Included in this will be many provisions for the property itself, such as the necessary clause to not make weapons of mass destruction on the property. For more benign agreements you can expect to sign, there are clauses that recognize you forfeiting your right to go back on the agreement and the forfeit of any claim to changes in the conditions of the house.

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How to Protect Yourself as a Buyer

As a buyer, generally, what you see is what you get at closing. In the agreement to purchase you may have included a lot of changes that the seller needed to make before closing. These often include cosmetic and other changes that the agreement is dependent upon: “I will only buy when the carpet is replaced.”, “I will purchase given the roof is repaired.”, “I will purchase dependent on my ability to secure funding.”. When you finally sign on closing, you forfeit your rights to go back on many of these clauses: make sure that you are comfortable with the property as-is at closing! The small protective agreements you can get are included in home warranties (which are mostly scams) and home insurance, which will protect against natural disasters such as hurricanes and hail damage (roof repair is a common insurance claim).

How to Protect Yourself as a Seller

Usually, the condition of the house in the agreement is the protection on the seller. Title insurance provides protection to the buyer (and a sign of ability for the seller) that there is no lien or claim against the house by a third party (for example, a second mortgage that is delinquent, or a home repair secured against the value of the house). With this, it is generally the buyer’s responsibility to perform the due diligence on the home’s condition. Writing the contract “as-is” will put the burden on the buyer to determine whether the condition of the house is in sufficient condition for purchase and is a good agreement to have in place.

Other Clauses

Another major agreement that comes at closing is an HOA agreement. Depending on your geography, HOAs can be considered mandatory, excessive, or simply random. In these HOA agreements, be prepared to sign away your rights to display a tiny ticker on your front window or even display any lawn ornaments. On the flipside, HOAs help protect against unruly neighbors placing obnoxious, tacky decorations on their property. Many people disagree on the value of an HOA – RewardBus is generally skeptical.

Conclusion

The difficulty in closing arises with the fact that you are often presented with 60+ pages of legal agreements to sign. They expect you to sign away your life to agreements that you may not have the time to read or prepare. Generally, they are standard and are covered in your purchase agreement so are not anything to worry about, but pay careful attention to HOA agreements and title insurance.