After the final walkthrough, which we talked about last week, the final step in the sale or purchase of a home in Minnesota is closing…where the buyer signs all the loan documents if there is a mortgage, pays for the property, and the seller transfers the title to the buyer.
People from both the seller and buyer side of the transaction are usually present at closing and sit around a big table. It usually includes the buyer(s), buyer's agent, buyer's closer, and sometimes the buyer's lender. The seller also usually has a closer and a real estate agent present. Although sellers are also often present, it isn't uncommon for sellers to 'pre-sign'…meaning they sign the documents ahead of time and give someone, such as their Realtor, power of attorney to sign any final changes so they do not have to be present at closing.
This often happens when the seller has already relocated out of the area or the property is an estate, but it can also happen to make scheduling easier if the seller has a busy work schedule or travels a lot. I have even had sellers pre-sign because they were expecting a baby at any moment and didn't know if they would be in the hospital at the scheduled closing time!
Basically what happens at the closing is this:
- The closers ask for photo ID to verify you are who you say you are
- If there is more than one buyer the closer will ask how you want to take title…most often as either joint tenants or tenants in common
- The buyer's closer will ask if you want an owner's policy title insurance
- The buyer signs mortgage and other closing documents
- Buyer and seller both sign the final settlement statement, often referred to as the HUD
- Sometimes the lender requires that all documents be sent to them for review before releasing mortgage funds
- The buyer delivers a cashier's check or wire transfer for the balance owed after any mortgage payment, which is also delivered by certified funds
- The seller signs the deed over to the buyer and hands over the keys after full payment is received
- The seller's closer gives documents to the buyer for homesteading the property, if it will be the primary residence
- The title company sends the new deed to be registered with the county
- The seller receives a check for the proceeds, and the buyer receives a check for any difference between funds owed and funds brought to the table
- Everybody celebrates!