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Real Estate Closing Checklist: 9 Point System from the Experts

Closing day: for everyone involved in a real estate transaction – the seller, the buyer, and their respective agents – it all comes down to the day all of the paperwork clears, the funds for the purchase are transferred and the property changes hands.

There are a lot of steps that must take place before the new owner gets their key, and a failure to diligently abide by the requirements can delay closing, or even run the risk that a deal could fall through. In most real estate transactions the list of documents required and tasks that need to take place is both endless and complicated; following them closely will help to ensure no important detail is overlooked and everything goes as planned. 

You may also want to prepare a version for your client so that they understand each step that is involved in the closing process and have everything ready that will be required of them to settle the transaction.

1-2 Weeks Prior to Closing:

1. Review Contingencies
Property sale agreements are often contingent upon conditions. These may include contingencies such as a home or property inspection, in which a professional thoroughly assesses the properties to reveal any issues or problems, financing and/or an appraisal. If the accepted offer included any such contingencies, it is important to ensure they have been satisfied in advance of the closing date.

2. Confirm Repairs
If the seller has agreed to undertake any repairs to the property prior to the sale, now is the time to confirm they have been completed. As verification, you may request a receipt for the work printed on the contractor’s letterhead.

3. Confirm Utility Set Up
Power and water may not be top of mind for a buyer prior to closing, but they will likely need their utilities up and running quickly after closing whether they are moving in immediately or renovating. Ensure they have scheduled service or arranged to transfer their accounts in advance of closing day.

4. Ensure the Title is Clear
Before ownership of a property can be transferred successfully, it is important to ensure that it is free of encumbrances – things such as bankruptcies or outstanding judgments and liens that can legally interfere with the transfer. A title company will examine public and other records dating back decades to ensure that the property is free and clear. Once a title search has been conducted, the buyer may also elect to purchase title insurance to protect themselves against any title issues that become known after closing.

Closing Week:

5. Conduct a Final Walk-Through
Before the sale becomes final, it is important that the buyer take steps to verify that everything is in the condition that was agreed to in the sales agreement. A final walk-through offers the opportunity to check any appliances that were included within the sale, verify that any agreed-upon repairs have been completed satisfactorily, and ensure that no unexpected damage has occurred leading up to the sale. If any substantial repairs have been conducted, the buyer may also want to conduct a second home inspection at this time to ensure everything was completed properly.

6. Confirm Financing
To prevent any unfortunate surprises, it is important to verify with the buyer that all financing details are squared away in advance of closing day. Make sure that any financing conditions on the part of the mortgage lender have been waived, that the interest rate is locked, and that the client has confirmed their payment amounts and schedule. If funds are coming from other sources, confirm that the money is available and clear and that the buyer has specific instructions for fulfilling the transfer. After the funds are sent, you will want to confirm they have been received by the closing attorney. Now is also the time that any fees that must be paid out prior to or upon closing have been paid or arranged.  

7. Review Settlement Statement
To avoid any unexpected last-minute hiccups, obtain a copy of the settlement statement from the closing attorney or lender to ensure that all of the details are correct and in order a few days before closing. Take care to ensure the accuracy of deposits made by the buyer, credits from the seller, and final amounts needed to close.

8. Create a Closing Packet
To provide top-notch service, and ensure your client has contact details for future needs, it’s helpful to create a closing packet that your client can keep as a reference. Gather all of the relevant documents from the transaction, including a copy of the completed sales contract, settlement statement, and any other paperwork they will want to retain, into a folder or envelope to leave with your client after closing. This is a great opportunity to use a branded folder and include your business card so that your client can easily get in touch for their future real estate needs.

9. Confirm Closing Details with the Client
It is helpful to confirm the details of closing with the client one to two days prior to settling the deal. You will want to make sure they know the time and location of the meeting, as well as what they are required to bring with them. Both buyers and sellers will require photo ID. The buyer will also need to bring a cashier’s check, if relevant. The seller should bring any keys, garage openers, or other controls that will be handed over to the new owner.

Closing the Deal With a Transaction Management Solution 

Whether buying or selling, you can make the closing experience as painless as possible by following this nine-point checklist. As you approach closing day, you can use this resource to track each action. For optimal efficiency and accountability, a workflow management solution can be particularly helpful because it will allow you to track every step in the deal process, including those leading up to closing day. 

Using an effective system can give you an edge over managing checklists on paper because you can develop checklist templates for specific types of types of real estate deals—such as residential, commercial, farmland, condominium, and more—each that require specific types of forms and documents. Paperless Pipeline also allows you to set up auto-reminders for yourself and your clients and allows you to securely upload documents to a transaction, to help ensure that nothing gets missed – and that all documents are in one easily-accessed location – leading up to closing day.

Looking for Help Managing Your Brokerage’s Transactions? 

Our software is used by the country’s top brokerages and real estate teams to help them close more than 2 million transactions. Paperless Pipeline replaces your filing cabinets and overly-complicated online systems with simple real estate transaction software that’s easy to use, works alongside the tools that staff are already using, and is accessible anywhere. You can test the system, without a commitment or credit card, for free. To make it even easier, Paperless Pipeline includes free account setup to ensure that all of your checklists—including those important closing checklists—are setup quickly. Plus you get unlimited users and production-based pricing, all without long-term annual contracts.

Try Paperless Pipeline with a 100% free trial today and see how simple managing checklists should be. 

Or, request a live demo to see how Paperless Pipeline can improve the workflow at your office, and let us help you create checklists and workflows that help you close more deals!

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