Review documents before closing
Closing can be stressful. You may be getting ready to move. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of paperwork to go over and sign. Make things easier on yourself by reviewing the documents in advance.
What to do now
Find out how you will receive your Closing Disclosure
By law, you must receive a copy of your Closing Disclosure three business days prior to closing.
- Contact your lender or closing agent (title company, escrow officer, or attorney) at least a week before closing to find out how you will receive your Closing Disclosure.
- The Closing Disclosure may come from your lender or your closing agent. Find out who will send it to you.
- Find out if your Closing Disclosure will come via email, postal mail, or if you will have to download it from a website.
Find your most recent Loan Estimate from your paperwork file
You’ll want to compare it to your Closing Disclosure.
Use our interactive sample Closing Disclosure form
Our interactive sample Closing Disclosure form helps you double-check the details on your form and get definitions for terms used on the form.
Request a copy of your other closing documents in advance
In addition to the Closing Disclosure, there are other important documents to review. Ask the lender or closing agent to send these documents to you in advance, at the same time as the Closing Disclosure. Key documents include:
- Promissory Note
- Mortgage (also known as the Security Instrument or Deed of Trust)
Get our guide to closing forms
This guide helps you review many of the other forms you receive at closing.
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
What to know
You have three business days to review your Closing Disclosure
Use your three days wisely. Now is the time to review your documents, ask questions, and ensure you understand what you are signing up for.
It's not uncommon for some of the individual closing costs to have changed by small amounts compared to your Loan Estimate
- By law, some fees cannot increase at all unless you have asked your lender for a change in your loan or your financial information has changed.
- Other fees are limited to a 10 percent increase, and another group of fees are not limited in how much they can change. Learn more about which fees can change.
You may want to hire a real estate attorney to review the documents
- For example, if you’re buying with another person, you’ll want to make sure that the deed is structured to give you the type of ownership you want.
- Talking to your advisors is a place to start if you want to find an attorney.
- If you are an active duty servicemember, you can go to your installation’s legal office to get your contracts reviewed for free.
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How to avoid pitfalls
If any of the basic loan terms are not what you are expecting, ask questions and be wary
- Double-check the loan amount, loan type, loan term, interest rate, monthly payment amount, whether there is a prepayment penalty, whether you are paying points or receiving credits, and other key details.
- Compare the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on the Closing Disclosure to the APR listed on your Loan Estimate. This is an easy way to see if your costs have increased.
- Ask lots of questions. Do not sign any documents at closing until you have double-checked that the documents you are being asked to sign are correct.
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.