The Final Steps

The closing process, which in different parts of the country is also known as "settlement" or escrow," is increasingly computerized and automated.    

At closing, transfer taxes must be paid and other claims must also be settled (including closing costs, legal fees and adjustments) and all of the necessary paperwork needed to complete the transaction is signed.   The result is that title to the property is transferred from seller to you, the buyer. The buyer receives the keys and the seller receives payment for the home. ​ 

From the amount credited to the seller, the closing agent subtracts money to pay off the existing mortgage and other transaction costs. Deeds, loan papers, and other documents are prepared, signed and filed with local property record offices. 

You've done it. You've looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing, the deed has been recorded and you are now a proud home owner! Is there any more to the home buying process?  

Whether you're a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, there are several more steps you'll want to take. Those papers you received at settlement are extremely valuable, so hold on to them. In the short-term they can help establish tax deductions for the year in which the property was purchased. In the future, such papers will be important for tax purposes when the property is sold, and in some cases, for calculating estate taxes. 


Final Walk Thru

Before closing, buyers typically have a final opportunity to walk through the property to assure that its condition has not materially changed since the sale agreement was signed and the seller has completed all agreed upon repairs.  



Also at closing, determine the status of the utilities required by the home, items such as water, sewage, gas, electric and oil service. You want utility bills to be paid in full by owners as of closing and you also want services transferred to your name for billing. Usually such transfers can be done without turning off utilities. REALTORS® can provide contact numbers and related information. 


Moving In

It is generally understood that sellers will leave homes "broom clean" when moving out. This expression does not mean "vacuumed" or "spotless." Broom clean makes sense because it means the house should be ready to be cleaned and painted.