Ah, closing escrow, nothing else feels quite like it! If you’ve made it this far, congratulations are in order. After preparing your home, pricing and listing it effectively, you’ve gone through the endless showings and gathered offers. You’ve gone through initial negotiations and selected the best offer, followed by more negotiations and the opening of escrow.
Then you successfully navigated the inspection and appraisal process, provided the necessary documentation to the title company and weathered the waiting period. Finally, the time has come to transfer ownership, and most importantly, to get paid!
Escrow closes when ownership of the property transfers from seller to buyer. As the home buyer, it involves fully funding the purchase—typically as a check from the lender for the remaining home balance. As the seller, it involves signing documentation that acknowledges the new owner, and handing over the keys to the home.
There are several obligations of the seller right before escrow closes. These include:
- Removing all personal belongings from the property, unless agreed in the contact to leave them for the buyer
- Completing any repairs that you agreed to following the home inspection
- Deep cleaning the home immediately before the closing date, providing it in a “move-in ready” condition
Performing all of this will help ensure that there are no last minute, avoidable delays to the closing.
What to Bring to the Signing
As the home seller, you won’t have to bring much to the closing appointment, unless instructed by your escrow agent. The agent may request that you bring certain documentation if it wasn’t previously provided.
Hopefully, you’ve already provided all requested documents in a timely manner to avoid any potential delays in closing. Unless you had work done right before closing and need to provide completion documents, there won’t be much else to worry about. Regardless, if the escrow agent requests any documentation, bring it with you even if you previously provided it.
You’ll also want to bring:
- A government-issued photo identification
- Keys to all entry doors, including the garage and exterior gates
- Any relevant punch codes or openers for entries that don’t use keys
- Codes for any smart devices such as locks, thermostats, doorbells, and appliances
- Cashier’s checks for any repair or closing cost credits
California doesn’t require home buyers and sellers to meet at the closing table. Thus, it may be possible to sign your portion of the paperwork and provide the keys in advance, allowing you to skip the closing all together.
Closings can range from less than one hour to several hours. If you don’t want to risk spending the whole day at the title company, it’s probably best to ask your real estate agent about handling your obligations in advance. This way, they can represent you during the physical closing appointment.
Home Seller Closing Documents
The final closing of escrow involves signing a lot of paperwork (primarily on the buyer’s side), but each document serves an important purpose.
- Closing Statement: this document summarizes all fees owed by both parties for the sale to complete
- Closing Disclosure: this document will likely be provided to you if you’ve agreed to pay any of the lender fees on behalf of the buyer
- The Affidavit of Title: this document outlines any legal issues with the property and stipulates that the seller is the owner of the property and thus retains the right to sell it to the buyer
- Property Deed: this document signifies the transfer of ownership from seller to buyer
- Bill of Sale: this document summarizes all items being provided along with the home from the seller, such as furniture or appliances
Once the paperwork is signed and money is in hand, it’s time to break open the champagne. Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for completing the long and arduous journey of selling your home successfully!