Posted 9 months ago

Remember These Tips to Ensure a Successful Closing

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Whether you’re buying or selling a property, the closing is the most important part of the deal. Without a successful closing, your plans will be delayed at best and cancelled at worst. No matter how many times you’ve been to the closing table, it pays to keep the following tips in mind to ensure a successful closing.

Preview the Paperwork

Even in these times, human error can occur on computer-generated paperwork. Remember that the data for the closing papers was all input by humans. It’s not unusual for errors to go unnoticed until the closing. If possible, obtain copies of the closing documents so you can preview them before the appointed hour. Look for transposed figures as well as “tiny” errors in spelling, address information, terms, etc. If you find errors and get them corrected before the closing, you just may have saved the transaction.

Be Available

Be sure you’re reachable in the two weeks leading up to the closing. Lenders and other loan officials often have last-minute requests and may try to reach you by phone or email. Answer all calls from unrecognized numbers even if you normally screen. It could be someone acting on behalf of a key member of the mortgage team. To be on the safe side, have a look at your spam and junk folders daily, just in case an important email got misdirected. Finally, this isn’t the time to go on vacation; even if it’s a three-day weekend. Many title offices and banks have Saturday hours.

Keep Co-Signers Nearby

If you’re using a co-signer, it’s best if they adhere to the same tips as far as being available. Ask the co-signer to stay in town and in touch, just for the preceding two weeks’ duration.

Bring Financial Records With You

It’s surprisingly helpful to bring a small file box of relevant documents with you to the closing. You don’t have to drag them inside; just keep them in your car so they’re available if you need them. This may seem like overkill, but you’d be surprised at the number of closings I’ve attended where a lender asked for another copy of a document that was already submitted because they misplaced it. This tip is especially helpful if your closing is taking place far from your office, where a request like this could sabotage the closing for that day.

Don’t Make Any Changes to Your Situation

From the moment you apply for your loan don’t make any changes to your situation. Don’t quit your job; don’t even put in your notice. If you have an employee review coming up before the closing, try to put it off until you’ve closed. You don’t want any changes to your employment status to occur at this time – not even a pay raise. Other changes that you should avoid because they could be problematic for your closing include:

- changing your work schedule (full-time to part-time or vice versa)

- listing your residence on a vacation site (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.)

- trading/selling your car

- applying for a credit card or loan

- asking for a credit increase from a creditor

- missing a payment due date

- posting your resume online

- applying for a new job

- updating/changing your contact information at a financial institution

- booking/paying for a vacation, especially abroad

Yes, this list might seem like you can’t do anything but hold still before a closing, but hopefully it serves to remind you of the seemingly innocuous things that could threaten a closing. Also, bear in mind that this list doesn’t even encompass all the things you should avoid in the weeks leading up to the closing.

Bring Your Checkbook

When I say bring your checkbook, I really mean bring access to funds. Even if you’re set to be on the receiving end of a big fat check at the closing, circumstances can arise where you might be required to personally pay a nominal fee, like to the title company or another entity. Just be ready for all eventualities with some liquid funds and a checkbook.

Let Someone Know If You Have Problems

If you’re experiencing some kind of difficulty and you think you won’t be able to deliver on closing day, let your lender know ahead of time. Don’t try to problem solve without guidance. For example, if you’re short on funds for the down payment, don’t borrow the money or take an advance on a credit card unless you find out ahead of time if that’s allowable under the terms of your loan.

Closings are complex affairs with a lot of moving parts. When you keep these tips in mind, your future closings can move along like a well-oiled machine.