What can go wrong at a closing?
April 13, 2008 7:02 PM   Subscribe

So we close on our house tomorrow...

...we've got our cashiers check for the closing costs, the underwriters have signed off on us, we've paid for our 1 year of insurance...

So what can go wrong? Or at this point is it pretty much a done deal?
posted by ian1977 to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Everything *can* go wrong, but probably won't. Nothing is real until the papers are signed.

But it sounds like you have your ducks in a row, so it should go fine. Good luck and congratulations!
posted by gjc at 7:06 PM on April 13, 2008

Try to do a walkthrough (or send your agent to do so) before a closing. Many horror stories include sellers taking items they agreed to sell, not completing repairs they promised to do or leaving the place in poor condition.

Make sure all their possessions are OUT before you sign the papers, unless you have made detailed arrangements for them to stay for a specific time, with appropriate compensation.

Make sure the appraisal and title search, if necessary, have been completed.

Arrange for a locksmith to change all the locks for you tomorrow afternoon.

Take a deep breath and try to enjoy the moment.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:13 PM on April 13, 2008

When you have the locksmith over, consider double cylinder deadbolt locks for any doors adjacent to windows.
posted by SPrintF at 7:34 PM on April 13, 2008

A walk-through is definitely recommended.

Banks can be really prickly on form over substance. These days most things can be handled by fax, although sometimes you need a courier to get an actual signature there (happened to me, but I forget which document caused the problem - $120 or so). The good news is that if something goes radically wrong, you just get to go back the next day or so in most cases. Relax and enjoy your new home.
posted by caddis at 7:36 PM on April 13, 2008

Worst case the selling party (assuming private individual) drops dead before signing. Acceptance of your offer is nullified and all the money you spent (appraisal, inspection, some lawyer fees, etc.) is wasted as the house sits in probate.
posted by Mitheral at 8:12 PM on April 13, 2008

You should be fine, but the most common snag is with financing arriving as scheduled. The lender is supposed to wire the money in advance, and the title company should have informed you if there was an issue before the day of, but you never know on that part.

Good luck, read all the papers, ask questions (even if they seem stupid) - people at closings make it seem like its always exactly the same, just the formality, etc. But they're getting paid to help you through the process, don't be afraid to bring up and concerns you might have.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:18 PM on April 13, 2008

I was really surprised about how smoothly everything went, and how nonchalant everyone was about it.
posted by hazyspring at 8:27 PM on April 13, 2008

Another thing about the walk though -be "mean" about it, unless these are people you are related to, or close friends with. I wasn't. I should have been. It's a sordid tale of many, many flea bites, and bitter feelings now.
posted by kellyblah at 8:29 PM on April 13, 2008

Bring a small appliance like a blowdryer to the walkthru, assuming the electricity is on. Check all your plugs. Wish I had.
posted by konolia at 8:38 PM on April 13, 2008

I've done real estate closings for many many many years, and the only thing I've seen happen at closing that mucks things up is a bad walkthrough or the buyer questioning fees that the bank has charged.

Get prepared to sign your name about eleventy billion times.
posted by Lucinda at 4:27 AM on April 14, 2008

We don't have walk-throughs here in the UK but damn, I wish we did. I'd second kellyblah's advice to be very thorough (although in our case they took most of the fittings & fixtures and half the garden on moving day so a walk-through the day before wouldn't have been much use).
posted by ceri richard at 5:13 AM on April 14, 2008

When we bought our first house, we decided to just drive by on the way to the settlement. We saw a garage still filled with the owner's stuff and two old cars still parked in the driveway. At the settlement, we brought this up and we ended gving the woman another week to clear out as long as she put some money in escrow that we would collect if she didn't. Well, she didn't. We tossed the rest of her stuff, then called the township who promptly tagged and towed away the cars. Then we collected the escrow money and bought new appliances. When we bought another house, I was almost praying for something to be left behind in a similar manner.
posted by lpsguy at 6:22 AM on April 14, 2008

My understanding is that a pre-closing walkthrough is morally limited to things that have deteriorated since the inspection or pre-offer walkthroughs, and things that were supposed to have been done.

Which is to say that if you bail after the pre-closing walkthrough because you only just then noticed that the floors in your 100 year old house had been out of level for at least 40 years, you might expect a lawsuit.

Get prepared to sign your name about eleventy billion times.

In blue. And to initial every page in War and Peace.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:26 AM on April 14, 2008

Yeah, checking outlets is not something you do before closing. That's what you do before making an offer.
posted by gjc at 7:44 AM on April 14, 2008

It's pretty much a done deal. The big dangerous moment is the lender financing the loan, particularly in the current financial climate. Once that money has been wired to the title company you're on the home stretch.
posted by Nelson at 7:50 AM on April 14, 2008

Bring your photo ID with you to the closing.
posted by yohko at 11:33 AM on April 14, 2008

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