How to Avoid Real Estate Closing Nightmares
An unexpected problem on the day of your real estate closing can turn the experience from a dream into a nightmare. With a little research and advanced preparation you can ensure a smooth closing process before you are handed the keys to your new abode. Here are some frequent closing-day mishaps, and advice on how to prevent these fiascos from ruining your home buying experience:
Trouble during the final walk-through
About 24 hours before closing, you will have an opportunity to walk through the home and make sure everything is in order. Occasionally you'll get an unexpected surprise, such as a missing appliance or a hole previously hidden by a large painting. You can head off some of these problems by ensuring that any items to be left behind are specified clearly in the purchase agreement. Hiring a home inspector before finalizing the offer may also allow you to spot hidden damage to the house.
Closing costs are more than expected
Before closing, you will receive a settlement statement that outlines the final costs associated with your mortgage. It's important to read this over carefully and compare these costs to those listed in the Good Faith Estimate or (GFE) that you initially received from your lender. Usually, the closing costs should not be significantly different from those initially quoted, but sometimes there are valid reasons why they may be a little higher. You need to pay these costs with guaranteed funds, so plan to go to the bank before the closing meeting and get a cashier's check (or certified check). Also, don't forget to bring your personal checkbook and driver's license. You'll likely need both during the closing, so make sure you're prepared.
The seller still has belongings at the home
As hard as it may be to believe, some buyers arrive at their new home only to find that the previous owners have not yet moved out. You may want to add a clause in your purchase agreement that explicitly states the seller is responsible for any expenses you incur if the home is not vacated.
It's important to be both financially and mentally prepared for your closing. By carefully thinking through all the steps involved, you can likely avoid any potential problems and have a smooth closing.