Once you’ve finished the selling process and a buyer is ready to buy your piece of Houston Real Estate, the very last step is the closing. The closing is the meeting where you finalize the paperwork and hand over the keys to the new buyers, making the home officially theirs. Experienced realtor Bill Edge wants you to know what to expect from this process, so you can be fully prepared.
Who Will Be at the Closing?
All people who have an interest in the piece of Houston real estate that is being sold will be at the closing. This typically means the buyers, sellers, realtors for both parties and the loan officers at the bank. If either party is using a real estate attorney, that individual will attend too. If any people hold title to the property other than these, they will be there. Finally, the employee of the title company where the closing is held will be present.
As the home’s seller, you must be at the closing. If you cannot attend, you can use a Power of Attorney form to appoint someone else to handle the process for you. Make sure this form is properly created in line with Texas law, or your closing could be delayed, which might put the sale of the property at risk.
Do I have to be at the Closing?
In Texas the closing takes place at the offices of a Title company or a fee attorney. A fee attorney is an attorney who is licensed to act as an escrow officer and close in the name of a title insurance company. The closing is scheduled in advance at a date which works for the buyer and seller or the contract closing date. The seller or buyer may be living out of state and unable to attend the closing due to financial hardship or schedule.
If the buyer or seller cannot attend the closing, the title company can mail-out the documents in advance of the closing. A Power of attorney or POA will need to be notarized and signed by the party requesting the mail out. The title company will mail out (email) the documents for the seller to sign. The Title company may arrange for a Traveling Notary to take the documents to a place of the sellers choice to sign; or the title company may arrange for the seller to go to a title company office in their city and sign the documents. This is called a courtesy closing.
Mail outs are particularity good when there are many heirs to a property and it is impractical for all to attend the closing.
What Should You Bring to the Closing?
At the closing, having all of the necessary paperwork will prevent problems and delays. Here is what you need to bring:
- The sales contract: The title company needs a copy of the latest version of the sales contract. If any amendments have been added by you or the buyer, these need to be included.
- Mortgage payoff information: In order to change the title from your name to the name of the buyer, the title company needs to know that you have paid off the mortgage. The money you receive from the buyer will be used to do this. However, you will need to provide your lender’s name, customer service phone number and the loan number.
- Your new address: If there are any problems after the closing, the title company needs to know where to find you. Also, this address is used to file the tax information regarding the sale of the home with the Federal and state governments.
- Homeowners’ or condo association information: If the home is under a homeowners’ or condo association, you will need to bring that contact information to the closing as well. This information will be used to determine if all of the fees have been paid prior to changing the title on the property.
- Photo ID: You will need to show a valid photo ID at the closing.
- Social Security numbers: You will need the Social Security numbers of any people who have a claim to the property.
- Certified funds for closing costs: For most Houston real estate transactions, the sales price covers all of the costs for the seller. However, with a short sale this may not be the case. Should the sale price not be sufficient to cover the closing costs, you will need to bring a cashier’s check or have funds wired from your bank to cover these if the amount is over $1,000, in most instances. As your realtor, I will tell you what these closing costs will be prior to the closing date.
When you work with experienced realtor Bill Edge, I will do all I can to make the closing process as smooth as possible. If you have questions, please ask them before the closing. That way we can avoid complications or delays on the sale of your home.
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