The Essential Home Closing Checklist

Cardinal Financial September 5, 2023 | 5 min read
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So, your mortgage application was approved. Congratulations! But before you get the keys, you’ll need to complete closing. Make the process as easy as possible with our essential home closing checklist and guide. From setting a date to moving in, we’ve got you covered.

The Essential 7-Step Home Closing Checklist

  • Set a date
  • Confirm what you need to bring to closing 
  • Review your closing documents
  • Complete your final walkthrough
  • Get your closing funds ready
  • Attend your closing appointment
  • Make your move

1. Set a date

The first step in your home closing checklist is pretty self-explanatory. Once you’re approved for financing, your lender will reach out to schedule a closing date. Who needs to be at closing? It varies, but you may want to have your real estate agent, your closing agent, your lender, the seller, and any other borrowers on your loan present at closing. Oh, and you. That’s a big one.

2. Confirm what you need to bring to closing

Once you’ve set your closing date, get in touch with your real estate agent or mortgage lender to confirm everything you’ll need to bring to closing. Some common items include:

Typically, your finalized closing documents will be provided for you to sign at closing. More on closing documents next.

3. Review your closing documents

Your lender is legally required to send you your closing documents at least three business days before your closing date. Don’t wait until the last minute to review them, though! Take as much time as you can to comb them thoroughly for any spelling errors, math mistakes, or unexpected fees. If you find errors in your closing documents, make sure to let your lender know as soon as possible so they can correct the mistakes. And if you have any questions about closing or the documents involved, now is the time to ask.

4. Complete your final walkthrough

About 24 hours before your closing date, you and your real estate agent will have the opportunity to walk through the home and make sure everything is aligned with what you’ve agreed to purchase. This could include a lot of easy-to-forget details, so we recommend bringing a final walkthrough checklist along to ensure you don’t miss anything that matters to you.

  • Check locks on windows, doors, and gates
  • Make sure windows, doors, and gates open and close properly
  • Confirm appliances are functional
  • Check for mold (especially in damp areas like under sinks)
  • Test all electrical outlets
  • Test the thermostat and HVAC system
  • Check floors, walls, and ceilings for damage
  • Look for signs of pests, like mice and ants
  • Make sure the irrigation system is functional
  • Make sure all agreed-upon repairs have been completed

5. Get your closing funds ready

Whether you’re paying by cashier’s check or wire transfer, make sure you have your payment ready to go before closing. If you’re transferring funds from a different account, don’t forget to leave enough time for the transaction to process before your closing date.

6. Attend your closing appointment

Today’s the day! Gather up your documents and meet at the closing table. Plan for the appointment to take up to two hours. During the appointment, you’ll sign your closing documents, pay your closing costs, and get your keys. Feels good, doesn’t it?

7. Make your move

The house is yours, and now it’s time to move in. Whether you’re moving across the country or across the street, it’s always best to have a game plan for moving day. Are you hiring movers or calling in a favor with friends? Where will your pets be while your belongings are being moved? When does your mail need to be redirected to your new address? The more questions you have answered before moving day, the less stressful your move will be.

Pro Tip: Nail your move with this handy checklist.

Understanding the closing timeline

With all these steps involved, you’re probably wondering just how long it takes to close on a home. A lot of factors determine the closing timeline, including how complex your loan is, how many loans your lender is processing in addition to yours, and the seller’s move-out schedule. In general though, it takes 30-45 days to close. If you’re anxious to get through it, there are a few strategies you can try to move the process along faster:

  • Get pre-approved before making an offer
  • Agree to buy the house as-is
  • Avoid making any big purchases until after closing

Remember, buying a home is a big commitment. Don’t rush the process and miss out on potential savings and peace of mind along the way. Between your home closing checklist, your final walkthrough checklist, and your moving checklist, you’re more than prepared to close on a home, the right way. Ready to get started?

Getting pre-approved, buying your home as-is, and waiting until after closing to make big purchases are all good ways to get through your home closing checklist faster.

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