Real Estate Closing Checklist: 9 Point System from the Experts

For everyone involved in a real estate transaction, closing day is a big occasion. 

This is when all of the paperwork clears, the funds for the purchase are transferred and the property changes hands.

However, there are many steps that must be taken before the new homeowner gets their key. 

Failure to diligently abide by the requirements can delay real estate closing and you could 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 be completed is both endless and complicated. 

Following these processes closely will help to ensure no important detail is overlooked and that everything goes as planned. 

You may also want to prepare a version for your client to help them better understand each step in the closing process. 

This will help them ensure that they know what will be required of them to settle the real estate transaction.

1-2 Weeks Prior to Closing Checklist:

1. Review Contingencies

Property sale agreements are often contingent upon conditions.

These may include contingencies such as a new home or property inspection. This is when a professional thoroughly assesses the properties to reveal any issues or problems. 

You might also need to review an appraisal contingency. This is when an appraiser is hired by a third party to evaluate the market value of the property. 

If the appraisal value is less than the sales price, the contingency allows buyers to back out of the deal without forfeiting their deposit. 

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 buyer and seller have agreed to undertake any repairs to the property prior to the sale, now is the time to confirm they have been completed. 

Some of the most common items that need repairing before a home buyer moves into their new property include:

  • Ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • The home’s structure and foundation 
  • Electrical wiring
  • Plumbing 
  • Windows, doors and walls 

As verification, the real estate agent should request a receipt for the work printed on the contractor’s letterhead.

3. Confirm Utility Setup

Power and water may not be top of mind for a buyer before closing. 

However, there is a good chance that they will need their utilities up and running after closing, depending on whether they are moving in immediately or renovating. 

It’s also important to ensure that buyers have scheduled any servicing or arranged to transfer their accounts before closing. 

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. 

This includes bankruptcies or outstanding judgments and liens that can legally interfere with the transfer.

A title company or real estate lawyer 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 real estate sale becomes final, it’s important that the buyer takes steps to verify that everything is in the condition that was agreed to in the sales agreement. 

A final walk-through gives buyers the opportunity to: 

  • Check that any appliances that were included in the sale still work 
  • Verify that any agreed-upon repairs have been completed satisfactorily
  • Ensure that no unexpected damage has occurred leading up to the real estate sale

If any substantial repairs have been conducted, the buyer may also want to conduct a second home inspection at this time to ensure that everything was completed properly.

6. Confirm Financing

To prevent any unfortunate surprises, it is important to confirm with the buyer that all financing details are sorted out before closing. This includes: 

  • Ensuring that any financing conditions on the part of the mortgage lender have been waived
  • Checking that the interest rate has been set 
  • Confirming that the client knows what the payment amounts and schedule is

If funds are coming from other sources, be sure to make sure that the money is available and that the buyer has specific instructions for fulfilling the transfer. 

After the funds are sent, you need to confirm they have been received by the closing real estate lawyer. 

At this point in the closing checklist, it’s important to make sure 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 delays, obtain a copy of the settlement statement from the closing attorney or lender. 

This will help you ensure that all of the details are correct and in order a few days before closing. 

It’s also important to ensure the accuracy of the 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 your contact information 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 the client can easily get in touch with you for their future real estate needs.

In the closing packet, you can also give the buyer a moving checklist and include phone numbers for any services they may need. 

For example, this could be the contact details for landscapers, painters or electricity and gas suppliers. 

Not only will this allow you to provide excellent customer service for referrals, but it will help the buyer settle into their new home. 

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. 

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 a photo ID. 

If relevant, the buyer will also need to bring a cashier’s check. 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 you are buying or selling a property, you can make the closing process as painless as possible by following this nine-point checklist

As you approach closing, you can use this resource to track each action. 

A workflow management solution can be particularly helpful for ensuring optimal efficiency and accountability, 

This is 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 real estate deals. 

This includes residential, commercial, farmland, condominium, and more—each of these require specific types of forms and documents.

Paperless Pipeline also allows you to set up auto-reminders for yourself and your clients, as well as securely upload documents to a transaction. 

This helps you ensure that nothing gets missed and that all documents are in one easy-to-access location prior to closing day.

Looking for Help Managing Your Brokerage’s Transactions? 

Our software has been used by the country’s top brokerages and real estate teams to close  more than 2 million transactions. 

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You can test the system for free, without a commitment or credit card.

To make it even easier, Paperless Pipeline includes a free account setup to ensure that all of your checklists—including those important closing checklists—are set up 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 can 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!