A closing checklist is a guide to help keep track of closing documentation.
What is a closing checklist?
A closing checklist is a list of fees to pay, documents to bring, and disclosures to sign before the property title can be transferred to you. This guide helps you stay on track and ensure that your closing goes smoothly.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has three separate checklists to help prepare homebuyers for closing day.
The pre-closing checklist helps you know what to expect and what to bring on the closing day. Additionally, there is a checklist to help navigate the actual closing and reminders of what you should pay attention to. Finally, there is a post-closing checklist to set you up for success as a new homeowner.
1. Who, What, Where, and When
The first thing you should note is who is conducting your closing and their title. Next, find out when is your closing date and where it will be held.
2. What do you need to bring?
Ask the person who is conducting your closing what you need to bring. You will likely need valid identification, homeowner’s insurance, proof of title insurance, and closing funds. A good thing to ask is the method that you will pay for the closing costs, such as cashier’s check or via an electronic wire transfer.
Remember, never sign a deal that you are not comfortable with or have questions about. If you decide to walk away, you may need to ask if you will owe the seller any money.
3. Important closing documents
By law, you must receive your Closing Disclosure three days before your closing date. This disclosure confirms the amounts estimated on your Loan Estimate. Before closing, you want to compare your Closing Disclosure to your most recent Loan Estimate. If the fees have changed drastically, you will need to contact the lender immediately.
4. Arrange payment for closing costs
Make the appropriate arrangements for payment due at closing.
Closing Day Checklist
1. What do you need to bring?
You will need your cashier’s check or proof of wire transfer for the closing costs. Additionally, you may want to bring your checkbook, in case there are any last minute changes that you need to pay the difference.
If desired, you can bring an advisor or a lawyer with you. In addition, you will need your valid identification, such as your driver’s license, as well as your Closing Disclosure. At this time, you will want to compare your Closing Disclosure to the final documents.
2. Ask Questions
Now is the time to ask questions. For example, you may want to know if your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance are already included in your monthly payment. Additionally, you will need to ask where to send your monthly payments. If you have homeowners association (HOA) dues, find out how you should you pay them. Finally, if you have any questions after closing, get the name and phone number of who to contact.
After all the paperwork is squared away, there are a few final steps.
1. Compile your closing packet
It is crucial that you save the entire set of documents just as you received it during closing. You should have your Closing DIsclosure, your promissory note, your mortgage, and your deed that transfers property ownership (if you purchased a home), and your right to cancel (if you refinanced a house).
2. Change your address
You are moving to a new home. Therefore, you will need to change your address on all your documents and records, including your bank account, driver’s license, and mailing address.
3. Adjust your budget
As a new homeowner, you likely have additional bills that you did not have as a renter. Be sure to revise your monthly budget to include possible HOA fees, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance.
Don’t forget to set aside funds for home maintenance and unexpected home repairs and renovations.
4. Familiarize yourself with your homeowner’s insurance
Make sure you know what your homeowner’s insurance covers and the process for filing a claim. You want to protect your investment. Therefore, if necessary, contact your insurance company with any questions about your policy.