Planning for Closing Day

At this point emotions and stress levels can be running high. But with careful planning and knowing what to expect, you can relax knowing that you're prepared. Here are some helpful steps to take the stress out of closing day (and before).

Traditionally, the walk through is used to make one last inspection to the home prior to closing. If repairs were part of the contract you made when buying your home, hopefully they were completed prior to the day of closing. If not, the traditional day of closing walk-through will also have to be your opportunity to verify repairs. Depending on the extent of the repairs, some buyers will also want to have their inspector confirm acceptability of repairs too. Make sure to schedule this well in advance.

Don't move in the dark, have prearranged plans to connect for local utilities. In the Gainesville/Alachua County area these include Gainesville Regional Utilities for electricity, water, and gas in most areas. Click here for a list of utility service providers in the Alachua County area. When I moved one summer in Gainesville, I made the mistake of letting my roommate make the arrangements for our utilities. Unfortunately the call was never made and I had to sit out a long three day weekend in August heat without air conditioning, lights, or hot water. Take my advice and don't let this happen to you.

By now you should have an idea of how much money you will need to bring to the closing table. This information can be available a few days before closing or, in some cases, the day of closing. It comes in the form of an HUD-1. This form is a Federal form that outlines who will be paying for what. It is based on the purchase and sale agreement and any addenda or changes made in the course of the contract. Review this information with your agent prior to getting to the closing table. Any changes have to be approved by your lender and may slow down or delay a closing if done too late.

Most title companies or attorneys will require a cashiers check from your bank made out to the title company (escrow agent) or attorney that is handling the closing. Alternative methods of funding a transaction can also include wiring money directly to the escrow agent or cash. Check with your bank and lender have prearranged with the them the correct wiring instructions. For emergencies, bring your check book just in case there is a last minute change. Don't make the mistake of getting to the bank only to find the lobby closed. Banks will not give you a cashiers check at the drive up window.

All parties to the purchase and sale will need to have current state drivers licenses or identification. If you are recently married, make sure that you have a drivers license in the name in which you will be holding title. All names must match between contract and identification. Alternatively, you can also use a valid passport.

Last, know where you are going. Chances are you have been talking with the title company or attorney's office over the phone for the last few weeks and may not have actually set foot in their office. Get directions prior to the big day. Your head will be full or moving plans, the excitement of stepping through the door for the first time as the new owner, paint colors and a million other things. You don't want to be trying to remember which direction "Place" runs on the day of closing. FYI: east and west.