Buying a home? Here’s what to expect at the closing.

By Sabrina Karl

For most homebuyers, the process of house hunting, arranging financing, finding the right home, and making it through an offer and inspection is a months-long process. So it’s fitting to call the day it all finally concludes “the closing”.


In short, the closing is when ownership and money are legally transferred, providing the seller with funds for the sale and the buyer with a deed in their name and keys in their hand.


Depending on the state and the parties involved, the location and number of people around the table can vary. Sometimes both seller and buyer participate at the same time, while other times the two parties’ closings are handled separately.


In either case, others attending the closing might include the real estate agent(s) and representatives of the title insurance company, the lender, the escrow company, and any representing attorneys.


Generally this happens in person at the offices of the title company, the lender, or an attorney. But some companies have begun allowing electronic signatures, executed either ahead of time or on the day of closing.


The most prevalent activity at closing is reviewing and signing documents, with you penning your John Hancock at least a dozen times, and likely twice that. These signatures execute three categories of transactions: transferring the real estate into your name, finalizing your home loan, and executing title insurance.

As homebuyer you’ll also need to bring a check (usually certified or cashier’s) to cover any down payment, closing costs, or other agreed upon contributions to close the deal, unless arrangements were made to pre-wire these funds.


Ask your agent or lender in advance for a checklist of what to bring and what to expect, as it’s the smartest way to help you navigate this big day with as little stress as possible.