Closing on a house is the final step before the house legally becomes the buyer’s.
The process involves the buyer signing off on the deal and transferring the last of the funds to the seller. At the end of close, the deed will be recorded, and the home will then become the buyer’s.
When Does Escrow Close?
In California, an escrow is officially closed the day the Grand Deed is recorded in the official records at the County Recorder’s office. Property ownership transfers from the seller to the buyer when the deed is date-stamped by the County Clerk.
Seller’s Responsibilities During Closing
Sellers have obligations to fulfill under the sales contract of selling their home. Typically, sellers are required to the following:
- Remove all possessions from the property such as furniture and appliances that are not specified to stay under the contract.
- Make any repairs agreed to make, such as fixing the roof, the windows, or floors.
- Clean the home right before the closing date.
Sellers Can Do but Not Obligated to Do
Sellers can also consider doing the following, though not obligated to do so:
- Notify subscription services, creditors, and acquaintances of seller’s new address and set up mail forwarding.
- Collect any manuals and warranties had for items in the home, such as the HVAC system and any appliances that will be left behind. These should be left on the kitchen counter for the buyer to see, along with any spare keys and garage door openers.
- Shut off water valves to prevent any leaks between the time the buyer takes possession and the time they actually move in.
Buyer’s Responsibilities During Closing
- Make an earnest money deposit into an escrow account, where funds allocated for closing costs will be held by a third party until the closing date. An escrow account is the initial fund that a buyer is asked to put down once a seller accepts the buyer’s offer. It shows not only that the buyer is serious about buying, but that they are also willing to put their money where their mouth is.
- Provide any documentation and information requested by the lender in the loan underwriting process.
- Obtain homeowners insurance. Many mortgage lenders require evidence of coverage to approve the loan.
- Conduct a title search of the property to determine the seller is the true owner and no liens or legal liability exist on the property.
- Sign all closing documents, including the final mortgage documents.
- Pay remaining closing costs after the down payment’s credit to the escrow agent.
- Arrange for utilities to be transferred into their name effective on the closing date.
- Perform a final walk-through inspection to make sure all required repairs have been made and that the property is clean and damage-free.