Love Buying a Home series – Week 12
My step-by-step series will take you through the entire home-buying process — from finding a buyer’s agent to settlement day, and even to maintaining your home after you’re all moved in. Every buyer will find this information-packed series easy to follow and understand. Make sure to tune in for the next few weeks!
You don’t want ANY surprises when you finally close on your new home. However, ensuring a smooth transition to becoming a homeowner should be at the top of your list well before you sit down with the sellers that day.
Here’s a handy breakdown with your pre-closing to-do’s. That way you’re all prepared when your settlement day arrives.
Check Off Pre-Closing Tasks
You’re moving in to a new home so you want to make sure it’s all ready for you and your family. Now is a good time to get certain appointments booked and accounts set up.
- Connect your utilities—You don’t want to move in without any power turned on! This typically includes the electric company (in Chicago that’s typically ComEd), Natural Gas (Nicor), and water. You can sometimes arrange a transfer prior to the sellers closing their account, and you will avoid a reconnection fee.
- You’ll want to set up all of your accounts to start on the day of your settlement, no later, even if you aren’t moving in that day. The seller will be turning off all the utilities in their name as of the day of settlement, so to avoid any connectivity issues or fees, you need to put all the utilities in your name on the same day.
- You can also arrange for TV and internet service, or this can be done at a later date (if you can survive for a bit!).
- Contact your insurance company—Make sure you have your homeowners/hazard insurance starting on the date of settlement as well. Also be sure to send a copy of the policy to your lender. You pay for the first full year at settlement, so no need to pay anything prior.
- Consider a Home Warranty—If you want to protect yourself in case anything goes wrong with your home, you do have the option of buying a home warranty. The idea is that if something breaks, you would call the home warranty company to repair or replace it.
Get Prepared for Closing Day
When the big day arrives, you want to make sure you have everything you need, including any necessary funds. Don’t be rushing around at the last minute, so read over the list below carefully.
- What to bring to settlement— you’ll need your driver’s license and a certified check made out to the title company for the rest of your funds that you still owe. Your attorney will help guide you on how much to make the check out for. It’s typically a good practice to have it made out for a little extra if possible to avoid having to write a check on the spot – you’ll get any extra back. However, it’s also good to bring a personal checkbook just in case.
- If you are moving funds around, be aware that banks typically put at least a 3 day hold on large transfers. If you’d prefer to wire your funds directly to the title company instead of bringing a certified check, your attorney or I will assist in making sure you have correct, accurate directions. There have been major wire fraud issues recently and you NEVER want to wire funds after receiving wire instructions in an email.
- You will receive a copy of the Closing Disclosure form (it replaced the HUD-1 Settlement Statement). This form lists all final terms of the loan you’ve selected, final closing costs, and the details of who pays and who receives money at closing. Your lender should send you a Closing Disclosure at least three business days before closing.
- Final walk-through—You & I meet at your new home and conduct a final walk of your new home before closing – usually the morning of closing or evening prior. This is your opportunity to inspect the home and its condition right before taking ownership. It also enables us to confirm that any items that you and the seller have agreed to are there.
This is an exciting time since you’re almost in your new home. After these little details are done, you can put a big red check mark next to each item. Then it’s time to head to settlement!
The final article in the series is next week. (You’ll also get a bonus one on maintaining your home for week 14.)
I hope you are starting to feel more knowledgeable about everything that’s involved with buying a home. And, remember, you’ll have me on your side every step of the way so you never have to worry about forgetting something or having to figure it out on your own.
Stay tuned for next week’s article — How to Make Your Settlement Successful.
I'm Mike and I love helping buyers discover what's really important in their forever home, then working to find that in Chicago's
Northwest Suburbs. I also have a soft spot in my heart for teachers and love giving back to them whenever I can. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
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