Home Sellers Handbook

Closing on Your Home

The closing is the day you and your buyer (as well as real estate agents and the closers and/or attorneys involved in the home sale) get together to make sure all the terms of the purchase agreement have been met. For the buyer, closing means signing stacks and stacks of papers. For the seller, it means signing and delivering a deed to your property and signing a few other papers, such as the Settlement Statement or Closing Disclosure required
by federal and state law, which lists all the closing costs. For both parties, it also involves a lot of money!

When Should You Schedule the Closing?

When you sign the purchase agreement with the buyer, you’ll agree on a closing date. Make sure the date is a minimum of six weeks from the time you make the purchase agreement to allow both parties time to follow up on their end of the purchase agreement. That way you and the buyer will have plenty of time to get all the paperwork in order. Most closings are scheduled at the end of the month to avoid having the buyer pay additional interest on the loan. Don’t close on the last day of the month, instead allow yourself a few extra days in case there is a problem. Although the closing date is negotiable, it is often dictated by the type of loan the buyer obtains.

Do You Need a Closing Agent?

In some communities, sellers aren’t represented at closing by a closing agent, although usually they are. This is a simple matter of traditional industry practice in different areas. You may need to hire either a closing agent or a real estate attorney to prepare your deed and a few other closing documents. If so, shop around for one with a good reputation and a reasonable price. Ask friends who they used, or ask a real estate agent or a real estate attorney to recommend a closing agent. Keep in mind that you have no obligation to use the closing agent recommended.

Some listing agreements will have you designate, at the time of listing, a closing agent. You can, however, indicate that you will decide on a closing agent at a later time.

If you don’t have title problems to clear up, you may be able to rely on the buyer’s closer to oversee the entire closing process.

What Will You Pay to Close?

“Wait a minute. You mean I have to pay closing fees when I’m selling my home?” Yes, it’s true. While buyers cover most of the closing costs, you owe some too.

Check your Settlement Statement or Closing Disclosure for a list of all fees you owe. Check the math, too. Mistakes can cost you money. Request that the closer furnish this list of costs to you before the closing. The following is a list of closing costs that sellers in Minnesota typically pay:

What Can Go Wrong?

Unfortunately, a few things can delay the closing. These include:

What Can You Do?

Besides crossing your fingers, here are some suggestions:

After Gloria Slivers made her bid on the Kline home, Jim and Cindy continued to court potential buyers. One day a man named Michael Moss stopped by without an appointment. The Klines let him tour the home anyway. They’re glad they did because he bid on the house the next day! He offered $185,000—$2,000 more than Gloria. The Klines exercised the right they reserved under the purchase agreement and asked Gloria to remove the contingency that she sell her home. Since she hadn’t sold it and was unwilling to lift the contingency, the Klines were able to accept Michael’s offer!

Congratulations! If you’ve been following this guide step-by-step, you now have sold your home. Take a break to celebrate. Then clear up a few nagging details.