Your 10-point Real Estate Closing Checklist

Closing day is one of the biggest—and most stressful—days in any client's life. Though we all want the best real estate closing possible, realtors have a lot on their plates! Sometimes little details slip through...

Closing day is one of the biggest—and most stressful—days in any client's life. Though we all want the best real estate closing possible, realtors have a lot on their plates! Sometimes little details slip through the cracks, and they find themselves scrambling at the last minute. But True Title is here for you! Follow these tips to ensure everything goes according to plan.

Verify that the parties executing the sale contract are the correct parties.

First, and most obviously, make sure the party purporting to own the property is actually the "record title holder." (That's where your title insurance company comes in!) If the seller is a business, trust, or other "non-person," make sure the person signing the contract is the authorized representative of that entity.

Ensure all property is identified and referenced in the sale contract.

Especially in commercial transactions, the seller may own more than one contiguous parcel. The risk is in not including all of the parcels in the actual deal. Make sure to notify the title company and surveyor of any adjacent parking lots and ingress/egress easements. It will expedite the title research process and set you up for success on closing day.

Attach a "due diligence/contingency" chart to the sale contract.

Make sure that all parties, including third-party vendors like the title company, inspectors, and attorneys, all clearly note the various contingency and due diligence deadlines. Failing to respect contingency deadlines is a common obstacle to an effective real estate closing. Don't let it trip you up!

Make sure the buyer is following through.

Knowingly or unknowingly, some borrowers don't do what their lenders have asked, hampering the lender's ability to get the transaction underwritten and approved for closing. Periodically, contact the buyer's representatives (e.g., buyer's agent, buyer's counsel) to confirm the buyer is providing all relevant information to the lender and that the loan approval process is on course.

Keep in contact with the title insurance company.

Real estate agents for both parties (and any attorneys or paralegals involved) should be in regular communication with the title insurance agency handling the transaction. Check in regularly, and make sure everyone else involved does the same. Also, to keep pre-closing processing on schedule, make sure the seller provides the title company with all the information they've requested.

Review the title commitment and boundary survey as soon as possible.

When title issues arise that threaten to derail or postpone the closing, it's tempting to procrastinate, hoping the problem will just go away. It won't. Tackle the issue head-on. Seek assistance from anyone and everyone who can help get the matter resolved: title company, attorneys, paralegals, surveyors, etc. You'll be glad you did.

Educate your client on the closing process.

Don't leave your client wondering what to do next. Make sure they understand what the closing entails and what they need to do. One way to minimize misunderstandings is to provide your client with a closing process checklist so they're aware of the part they play in keeping the transaction on course.

Review all closing documents.

As the closing date approaches, request copies of all intended closing documents and statements. Be sure every party involved reviews and approves each item before the actual closing date. Have the buyer confirm they know the exact amount of cash needed to close the transaction. Find out and communicate whether the title company requires the buyer's funds to be in the form of a cashier's check or money order.

Get all parties on the same page.

Coordinate the closing date and time, along with any other closing logistics, with the title company representative and anyone else who needs to be present. Get confirmation from everyone involved well in advance of the closing.

Send a Closing Instruction Letter.

A "closing instruction letter" serves as the final checklist in the process. Send one to the title company on behalf of your client. A closing instruction letter will help you tie up any loose ends and inform the title company of your client's expectations.

Having trouble on a current closing? There are a lot of details to get right. True Title understands and is here to help you every step along the way. Give us a call for a free consultation. We want you—and your client—to walk away from the closing table smiling!

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