CONTRACT TO CLOSE
You are on your way to owning your new home! There will many decisions to make but we have setup everything you need. Below you will find steps that you can expect to go through during the contract to close process.
#1 – You will write a check for the earnest money deposit on your new home. This deposit conveys to the seller that you are serious about purchasing their home. The earnest money will be applied to your downpayment at closing. The check will be deposited into one of the real estate brokers’ escrow accounts that was agreed upon in the contract between you and the seller. The closing attorney will act as an independent, neutral third party that will collect all required funds and documentation while coordinating much of the activity that goes on during this contract to close period. Don’t be caught off guard! Make sure that there are sufficient funds in your account to cover this check.
#2 – The contract to close period is typically 30-45 days. In some instances there are longer or shorter close times. During the contract to close period, it is essential that all items specified in the contract be completed satisfactorily and within the stated timelines. Every contract is different, but the three most common contingencies in a contract are:
A. Inspection contingency: It is not required for you to get inspections. Although it is highly recommended! Spending a few hundred dollars is well worth the peace of mind. Inspectors will be able to identify items that may be dangerous or costly. You should have inspections scheduled immediately after the contract is signed! After inspections are completed, you can decide to back out of the contract based on items of major concern, you can request the seller to make repairs, or negotiate with the seller to lower the sales price. If you decide to purchase “as is” you will not be able to negotiate repairs. However, you may still order inspections and back out of the purchase if you aren’t comfortable with making the repairs yourself. Buyers will typically order a general and a termite inspection. If issues are raised in the home inspection that require further evaluation, you may want to bring in an electrician, HVAC professional, foundation specialist, or environmental expert to further evaluate the situation. The bottom line is that you should hire professionals to make sure the home is a wise investment.
B. Financing contingency: You were probably pre-approved before your offer was accepted. Even if you were not, you will typically have a few days after the offer is accepted to apply for your loan. The financing contingency outlines in the contract what type of loan you will get, how much you are putting down, and what rate you were quoted. If you are unable to secure funding within the contract timeframe you can ask the seller for an extension. However, they do not have to allow you more time. To make the process smoother and negotiations of an offer easier, get pre-approved. Also, take time to gather the documentation that the lender will need to process your loan before you make the offer. If you do not know what they’ll need, just ask them and they will be happy to let you know.
C. Appraisal contingency: If you are obtaining financing, the lender will require an appraisal of the property you are under contract to purchase. This protects their financial interest as well as yours. The appraisal will determine the market value of the property. As required by the lender, the home must appraise for the purchase price of the home. If the appraisal comes in lower than your offer, the lender will not provide financing unless the seller lowers the purchase price to the appraised amount or you pay the difference in cash. If the home does not appraise, the seller will not reduce the price, and you do not want to pay the difference, you have the opportunity to cancel the purchase.
#3 – You will need to acquire homeowner’s insurance. If you are obtaining financing, this is required. If you are paying cash, you are not required to have homeowner’s insurance but it is recommended that you do carry it to protect your investment. Call to shop rates. Many times you can get a reduced rate if you combine your auto. An insurance professional will be able to help you determine the best coverage options for you.
#4-You will have to pay for a title search and the lender’s title insurance. These items are typical and included in your closing costs. The title search is done to determine if there are any liens or claims to the property. If there are title defects found, the seller will be required to have them removed before the lender will approve financing for the property. Title insurance is purchased to protect against items that were not originally found in the title search that may come up later. However, it is important to understand that you are purchasing lender’s title insurance. This protects them, not you. In order to protect yourself, you will need to purchase title insurance for yourself.
#5-Don’t forget you are entitled to a final walkthrough before closing. You do this to ensure that the property is in the same condition that it was when you wrote the offer and got an accepted contract.
#6-Before closing you will receive the HUD-1. Take time to review this document before closing. It outlines the costs involved in financing the property. Pay close attention to make sure there are no unnecessary or unexpected fees. Sometimes there are just mistakes.
#7-It is time to close! You will be signing a lot of documents. Take time to understand what you are signing. The closing attorney will be happy to explain any items that you are unsure about. Once the closing is complete and you have your keys, the closing attorney will prepare the new deed and send it to the county recorder.
We will be here for you the entire way, overseeing the process and making sure everything goes smoothly.