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The Closing Process

How do I select a closing date?
Your REALTOR® will help you negotiate a closing date with the seller and attorney’s office. Remember that you need to allow enough time for a home inspection, survey, title search and other pre-closing proceedings. Most transactions typically allow a month to accomplish the above tasks before the scheduled date of the closing.

When can I take possession of the house?
You will agree in the contract with the seller about the time and date when you may take possession of the house. It’s also important that you check with your lender to find out the procedures for transferring funds to the attorney. Because a sale is not complete until the funds are received by the attorney and distributed to the seller, you may not be able to take possession of the house immediately. Check with your lender for the process.

What should I do before the closing date?
There are many things that need to happen in the time before closing. Your REALTOR® and real estate attorney will let you know specifics, but these are some of the things you should expect.

  • Obtain homeowners insurance. Your real estate attorney will request this information prior to closing. Typically, an original copy of your homeowners insurance declaration will have to be provided at the closing. Click here to read about homeowners insurance.

  • Obtain a property disclosure form from the seller. The seller should provide you with a form called the Tennessee Residential Property Condition Disclosure before you sign the contract. This form outlines the condition of the home, including defects, as known to the seller. It also lists what items will stay with the home when sold. Tennessee requires that the disclosure covers the home’s major systems, installed appliances, and other material aspects of the home.

  • Order a home inspection. Your lender will order an appraisal, which will assess the value of the home to make sure you’re paying fair market value for the house. Buyers should hire a professional inspector to examine the house. The inspector will assess the structure and mechanics of the house, including the foundation, roof, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors, plumbing, electrical systems, heating, air conditioning, insulation, ventilation, septic tanks, wells and sewer lines. An inspection will point out any problems or potential hazards as well as make suggestions about maintenance. Home inspections are not designed to address cosmetic issues. Inspections are not required by lenders or attorneys but highly recommended. You may include in your contract that the sale is contingent on a satisfactory inspection.

  • Order a survey. Lenders typically do not require this, but it’s a good idea to have one drawn. A survey locates possible encroachments that may not be visible to the eye. It determines if the home or other structures on the property are violating a boundary line, easement or building setback line, or located in a flood plain. The survey may reveal a legal obligation of the owner to remove a structure or may reveal issues that affect the value of the property. You may state in your contract that the sale is contingent on a satisfactory survey. To see if the professional surveyor is certified by the state, click here and search under Land Surveyors under licenses.

  • Order a lead paint inspection. Many house paints built before 1978 contained lead paint, which can cause significant health problems to infants, children and women of childbearing age. While use of the paint has stopped, many older homes still contain lead paint. If your home was built before 1978, you should consider having a lead-based paint inspection particularly if the paint appears to be cracking or chalking. To learn more about lead-based paint, go to the following information written by HUD.

  • Review paperwork.There are so many documents you will be given or asked to sign. It is important that before the closing you review every document. Your REALTOR® or attorney can help you understand the paperwork if you have questions.

  • Conduct a final walk-through . Before closing, you should walk through the house one last time to make sure that the agreed-upon repairs were made and that nothing has changed since you made the offer. Make sure that the items you requested to be left with the property are still there.

  • Make sure the finances are ready. You should contact your attorney and find out the exact amount of money you need to bring to the closing. You will need to bring your money in the form of certified funds (i.e. cashier’s check, wired funds, cash.) Make sure the lender is ready as well.


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