Closing day — the final act in the exhilarating journey of buying or selling a home. It’s a pivotal moment where weeks, or even months, of preparation, anticipation, and transactions merge. The day consists of a gathering of key real estate participants. The ownership of a property officially changes hands, and all parties involved sign documents to complete the process.

But who exactly attends a real estate closing? This post explores who attends closing, what happens on the day. It addresses some common concerns, including packing before closing and the role of sellers in covering closing costs in Iowa.

 

Who Is Involved in the Closing Process?

Several key individuals and entities are involved in the closing process:

1. Buyer: The individual or entity purchasing the property.

2. Seller: The individual or entity selling the property.

3. Real Estate Agent: Represents the buyer or seller and helps facilitate the transaction.

4. Lender: The financial institution providing the mortgage loan to the buyer.

5. Closing Agent: Conducts the closing meeting, facilitates the signing of documents, and disburses funds.


Who Are Less Likely to Be at the Closing?

While several people are involved and responsible for getting you to the finish line, not all of them are likely to be present. They include: 

          • Mortgage lenders sometimes like to be a part of closing day, but they aren’t required.  We love it when they are there so that they can help us celebrate and answer any last minute loan questions.
          • Home inspectors play a critical role in assessing the property’s condition and providing their findings and reports to the buyer before closing day.
          • Although appraisers evaluate the property’s value to determine if it aligns with the sale price and meets the lender’s criteria, their role is fulfilled prior to closing.
          • Insurance agents help buyers secure homeowners insurance, but their involvement is completed before the closing date.
          • Property surveyors determine the boundaries and characteristics of the property but do not attend the closing.
          • Any entities with financial interests in the property, such as creditors or debtors with liens on the property, are usually not present at closing unless there are issues or negotiations related to their interests.

What Happens on the Day of Closing?

Having a look at what closing day looks like, the following actions take place during the process:

          • Document Review: The buyer and seller review and sign various documents related to the transaction. These documents may include the sales contract, deed, mortgage note, and Closing Disclosure.
          • Payment: The buyer provides the necessary funds for the down payment, closing costs, and any other fees or expenses.
          • Title Transfer: The seller transfers the property’s title to the buyer through a deed, who receives the keys to their new home.
          • Disbursement: The closing agent disburses funds to pay off existing mortgages, liens, and closing costs.
          • Recording: After the closing, the deed and mortgage are typically recorded with the local government to transfer ownership and officially protect the individual’s interests.

 

Should You Start Packing Before Closing?

While you can certainly start packing and preparing for your move before closing, it’s important to keep these three considerations in mind:

          • No Guarantee: Although the vast majority of real estate transactions proceed to closing without issues, there can be unexpected delays or issues that arise. It’s advisable not to make irreversible moving arrangements until closing is confirmed.
          • Final Walk-Through: Before closing, the buyer typically conducts a final walk-through of the property to ensure it’s in the agreed-upon condition. It’s best to complete this step before packing everything.
          • Timing: Packing too early may result in inconvenience if you need to access items that have already been packed. Consider packing non-essential items first and leaving essentials until closer to the moving date.

In the days leading up to closing, make sure you take care of these essential tasks as well.

 

Who Handles Real Estate Closings in Iowa?

In Iowa, closing companies or attorneys typically handle real estate closings. These professionals oversee various aspects of the closing process, such as:

          • Conducting title searches to ensure the property’s title is clear.
          • Preparing and reviewing closing documents.
          • Facilitating the signing of documents by all parties.
          • Escrow funds until all conditions are met.
          • Recording the deed and mortgage with the appropriate government agencies.
          • Issuing insurance policies protects the buyer and lender from potential title issues.

 

Closing day is a significant milestone in the home buying or selling process, and understanding who attends closing and the roles they play is essential. It’s a collaborative effort involving the buyer, seller, real estate agents, lenders, title companies, and potentially title attorneys. 

While packing before closing is an option, it’s wise to proceed cautiously and consider contingencies. Additionally, in Iowa, the allocation of closing costs is typically negotiated between the parties, with both buyers and sellers sharing some of the expenses.