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Closing on your new home

Close the deal

The closing is a key final step in the purchasing and financing of a home. During this time, you sign legally binding documents in which you agree to pay back a loan and grant the lender the right to take back the house if you do not make the payments you agreed to.

What to do now

If you haven’t already, get our closing checklist

This step-by-step guide has tips for what to do and what to look out for before, at, and after closing.

Before you sign any papers, do a final walk-through of the home

Make sure everything that you and the seller agreed would be repaired has been repaired and anything the seller agreed to leave in the house is in place. If it isn’t, contact the seller immediately to discuss.

Take your time reviewing documents

There are many documents involved in a real estate closing. Many are required by the lender, and some are required by state and federal law. Regardless of who requires a document, you have the right to take your time and review them all. Make sure the information on the closing documents is exactly what you're expecting.

  • If things look different than what you were told or than what your earlier documents said, ask questions.
  • Don’t sign anything until you’re fully satisfied that the documents match your expectations.
  • If you have a problem or are confused about the terms and conditions of the sale, ask your real estate agent or settlement agent (title company, escrow officer, or attorney).
  • If you have a problem or are confused about your loan, you’ll need to talk to your lender.
  • If the answers you get don’t add up, don’t be afraid to stop the closing. This is the most important moment in the transaction.

What to know

Sometimes things change a little bit in the last few days before closing

For example, if the seller hasn’t fixed something they agreed to fix, there may be a change. The seller might give you money to put towards your closing costs (known as seller credits) instead of trying to make the repair before closing.

If something important changes about your loan, you receive a new Closing Disclosure

In limited circumstances , the law requires that you receive a full three business days to review the new Closing Disclosure before closing.

You are not committed until you have signed the closing documents

You can always walk away at closing if you are not comfortable with the transaction. You might lose any deposit that you gave the seller, and there could be other consequences from breaking your purchase contract. You might also lose application or appraisal fees you gave the lender. Know what your contract says and what your choices are before you walk into the closing.

How to avoid pitfalls

  • If there are significant differences between the documents you reviewed in advance and the documents you see at the closing table, don’t sign anything until you are comfortable with the transaction.
  • Don't ever sign blank documents or documents that say something different from the transaction you've agreed to.

Visit our sources page to learn more about the facts and numbers we reference.

The process and forms described on this page reflect mortgage regulations that apply to most mortgages.