So the end of the long process of selling your California house is finally in sight. You’re through with the showings, you’ve accepted a buyer’s offer, and negotiations have been completed. But the final, irreversible step remains – closing. If you’re a little anxious about that, here’s what to expect at the closing table.
What is Closing?
First, you should be aware of what closing actually is before selling your California house. Simply put, it is the buyer’s and seller’s signed fulfillment of all the terms agreed on in the sales contract. Closing is also called “settlement” because buyer and seller, their agents, and their lenders are all settling up among themselves. All closing tasks are viewed as being simultaneously finalized at the closing table, so, usually, there is a disinterested third party, called a “settlement agent” or “escrowee,” present to make sure everything is done properly.
Where Does It Happen and Who Is Present?
Closing, as the final step of selling your California house, generally takes place at the escrowee’s office, which is typically the title insurance company insuring the buyer’s title to the property. In some states, though, it’s more common for closing to take place at the lender’s office or at the office of an escrow company. On rarer occasions, it can happen at an attorney’s office.
In some cases. the escrowee will be responsible for handling all of the closing procedures, including seeing that all documents are in order and disbursing funds. Other closings, however, are called “witness-only.” In these instances, a notary or attorney appears at the buyer’s and seller’s agree-on closing location to provide document oversight and disbursement services to the buyer’s lender. Witness-only closings are not, however, legal in every state. In a few states, closing occurs over a period of several days, and still, others require a”table closing” where everything is handled at once on a predetermined date.
If the agreement for selling your California house included terms about performing certain repairs, do make sure those repairs have been done before the closing date. Real estate experts advise getting the repairs completed well before the closing to avoid any chance of jeopardizing the closing. The sale agreement is, after all, contingent on those repairs/improvements/replacements being done.
What To Expect at The Closing Table
Most of the time, most closings go smoothly without any kind of hitch or problem. Typically, you just carefully review and sign the pertinent documents, wait for the buyer to sign the documents (which can take an hour to an hour and a half) – and then get your money.
Experts recommend that you pay especially close attention to the settlement statement. This important document states how much you’re making on the sale, as well as the tax implications. And you need to make sure the figures in the settlement statement line up with what you were told they would be and what you were expecting.
But things can (and occasionally do) go wrong at the closing table. It does happen that the buyer, right at the closing table, wants to negotiate further. And if the final document hasn’t been signed yet, the buyer can do this. If you can accommodate the buyer without having to change the sale terms, closing can still take place at that time. But if the buyer wants and you agree to major changes, then closing will have to be postponed.
Selling your home can be a lengthy, frustrating process, and even at the closing table things can go wrong. But forewarned is forearmed, as they say. Maybe, though, you want a quicker, easier solution for selling your California house. We may have just what you need.