Many times when wrapping up the signing portion of the closings, clients respond with “that’s it?!” thinking that they would be stuck at closing for hours upon end. While there was a time this was certainly the case, it hasn’t been this way in YEARS for a majority of the closings. Every now and then you may run into a bad walk through inspection right before closing that leads to issues and delays, but generally closings are 1 hour or less. So it led me to ask the question… do customers really know what to expect at the closing table? And to my surprise, most do NOT!
So let’s visualize together… it’s closing day, you are super excited to finally be a homeowner either for the first time or once again. You are dreading the daunting task of moving and unpacking, but smitten about your new digs to call home. How do I get the keys is obviously the first question? Well, it’s simple, you just come to a boring real estate office, sitting hours on end, signing your life away, and providing a blood sample at the end. Then, you get the keys! Not really, but it seems like a blood sample could be in order after all the hard work to get the loan has taken place. 😉
Actually, what happens at the closing table is the SIMPLEST part of your buying (or selling) experience. At our office, you are greeted with a warm smile, fresh cupcakes, and ice cold refreshments. Once all parties arrive, your closing agent will come into the conference room with a welcoming hello, and ask how excited is everyone. While the paper work stack can be thick, and your arm may hurt some after signing, it’s typically a quick and painless process. We review each of the documents presented, explain in layman terms what they are, and where you need to sign. While we provide a summary of each document to quickly disclose the main points, there is always room for questions and evaluation further by the clients.
We want everyone to feel comfortable with what they are signing, but relaxed and ready to close the transaction. The great thing about closings today is 95% of the documents the buyer has already seen through e-signing with their lender. The only “new” documents in the closing package to review are the: Note, Mortgage, First Payment Letter, Initial Escrow Disclosure, Amortization Schedule, and Title Co. docs (very minimal for most transaction). Everything else has been disclosed by the lender to get the loan approved, and the final docs only match the numbers previously disclosed in one form or another. We also encourage anyone who is nervous about signing, to let us know. We are happy to scan all of the documents before closing for review. It is much easier to address questions before closing than at the closing table.
While the thought of all these legal documents sound intimidating, they really shouldn’t be for any customers. Regulations have made closings way more streamlined for customers in that there aren’t any surprises or fine print to be on the lookout for. All those tricks have pretty much been eliminated in today’s closing world. And for the better, that is! The signing portion only takes about 20 minutes, give or take. Once everyone is signed, the closing agent will prepare a closing folder that includes copies of all the loan docs, and title docs associated with the transaction. This folder is a great place to store anything from the transaction (inspection reports, appraisals, etc.). The copy process only takes about 10 minutes, then the closing is complete. Most customers can plan to be in closing 30-45 minutes at minimum, but typically no longer than 1 hour. And voila! Keys can then be exchanged to the new proud owners.
After closing, the closing agent will file the deed and mortgage with the county courthouse, and type the title policy for the buyer and lender. The original deed and owner title policy are mailed out to the buyer, and the original mortgage and lender title policy are mailed to the lender. This typically takes about 4 weeks after closing. It is highly recommended that when these additional documents are received post-closing, they are also added to the closing folder for safekeeping. But never fear, your closing agent will always have copies of everything should you lose any documents! And the deed is public record, so it can be pulled online (free) or at the courthouse (a few bucks) any time!
And that’s it! All that anticipation for an easy 30 minutes of signing and finalizing. Closing day should be more about the excitement of moving and less about the dread of paper work! We encourage you to find a closing agent who is knowledgeable, and can make the closing experience smooth while still being able to understand what is being signed and why! Happy closing day, folks!
Author: Jessica E. Bennett, Licensed Title Agent
DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author, and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.