House settlements are stressful. Knowing what to expect before, during and after your house settlement will make it less stressful. Count on signing many papers. We tell you what the important ones are. House settlements are stressful because there are many people and large sums of money are being exchanged. This is the information age, but in real estate paper reigns supreme. This article spells out your role and can make it less stressful. Prior to House Settlement The week before settlement is a busy one for both sellers and buyers. Unless other arrangements have been made and are a part of the real estate sales contract, we're going to assume you (the buyer) will move into your new home. We recommend that you read this article and also download this summary of the details of Mortgage Settlement Costs. Here's a list of things that you have to take care of well before settlement takes place:
- Make plans to move your furnishings. At a minimum, use the Getting Ready to Move Checklist to stay focused or scan our list of moving articles.
- You will have to purchase and pay for an entire year of Home Owners Insurance or what is called hazard insurance. Start by calling the insurance company that you have car or home insurance with. By all means shop around and get several quotes. Don't forget to get a paid receipt and bring it and the insurance policy to settlement,
- You will have to telephone the settlement agent or attorney and obtain the exact amount (usually in certified funds) to bring to settlement,
- On the morning or the night before settlement, you have to have a final walk through of the house and property. The walk through is not a home inspection that you had before. You have to make sure that the home you are buying and signed a contract on is essentially in the same condition,
- Your Realtor will usually have a list of items to check off and you can also stipulate things that are not satisfactory. Here's another list of what a buyer expect. Here's a list:
- The Seller transfers the title to the Buyers,
- The buyers sign a promissory note (mortgage) to finance all or part of the purchase. Make sure you double check the interest rate, whether it is fixed rate or adjustable and how many years (the term) the mortgage is for. Also remember to sign up for an automatic mortgage payment service or one that will allow you to pay down the mortgage faster. They are called Accelerated Equity Programs,
- The buyers bring a certified check for the balance of the purchase,
- The settlement company or real estate attorney uses a sheet to show both the buyer and the seller what the costs of the transaction are to each of them, and
- The settlement sheet also identifies who gets paid and how much, and
- The seller turns over the keys to the property to the buyers.