The day has finally come: the day you get the keys to your new home.
In some parts of the country, this day is called closing. In others, it is settlement. Either way it is the day ownership is transferred from the previous owner to you, the buyer. This day is normally at least 30 days to several weeks since the offer was accepted.
Several things happen during this process. If the buyer is paying a down payment, he brings a check to the title company covering that, as well as one covering closing costs. If any of the selling price is being covered by a mortgage, then mortgage paperwork will need to be signed and finalized. The seller brings the deed, keys, and any other needed items to the title company to be transferred to the buyer. The seller’s mortgage is paid off with the proceeds, and the real estate agents also receive their percentage payment at this time. If there is any money left after the mortgage pay-off and realtor fees, this money is given to the seller. The title company then registers the transfer of deed. All these parties are not required to be at the title company at the same time.
In states where ownership transfer is handled by a settlement company, the same process takes place. However, all the parties — buyer, seller and agents — appear at the settlement company’s office at the same time so that all steps are done at once.