First time home buyer checklist before closing

So the end is finally in sight, you’ve ridden the emotional rollercoaster that is choosing your perfect home and have jumped through all the endless, exhausting hoops. 

You’re about to close on your first home and nerves are understandably jangling. 

Here at Residential Building WA we want those nerves to be the fun, exciting kind that precede a life-changing event and not the ones borne of wondering if you’ve paid all the bills, ticked all the right boxes and thought of absolutely everything. 

If you have taken advantage of one of our incredible house and land packages in WA then fear not, Residential Building WA have got your back and will guide you through every step of the process and offer support whenever you need it. For those of you purchasing an existing house elsewhere, we have put together a checklist of essentials for your easy reference when things threaten to overwhelm you. Keep this home-closing checklist handy to record what you’ve already done and see what you still need to do in order to close the deal. Take a deep breath, refer to the list and try to enjoy the madness. 

Gain final mortgage approval

First and foremost, your home loan must go through an underwriting process once you’ve made a down payment before you can go to sign all the paperwork at the closing meeting. Underwriters are engaged to ensure that all is above board with your application and that you have represented yourself and your finances honestly and accurately. This will include a credit check so you should avoid any action that may have an effect on that during the underwriting process. No sudden car loans or celebratory party costs on the credit card, please!

Get all the contingencies in place

The next action on your house closing checklist should be to deal with all the required contingencies and ensure they are fully completed and documented. Almost all purchase agreements will contain contingencies, and these essentially represent things that buyers must do before the real estate transaction can be deemed official and fully signed off. 

The most common contingencies that form a crucial part of the process of closing on your new home are:

  •  Home inspection: 

This contingency allows the buyers to have the home professionally and impartially inspected to look for issues of any kind that may not have been disclosed. If problems are detected then the buyer can request that they be fixed before proceeding, or have the option to withdraw their interest in the property without forfeit of any deposit paid. It is not unheard of for major issues to be uncovered during this process and it is an essential step in protecting the buyer from finding themselves with an unwanted, costly encumbrance once the dust settles.

  •  Independent appraisal: 

Here, an independent outside party that is generally hired by your financial provider will thoroughly evaluate the property and give their own opinion as to its fair market value. If their appraisal of its value is less than the sale price then the buyer again has the option to back out of the deal without forfeiting any initial deposit paid. 

  •  Financing: 

This contingency protects the buyer in the unfortunate event that their mortgage approval is rescinded. It allows them a specific period of time to re-finance the purchase by other means.

Review the list of contingencies carefully and file away all the required paperwork safely before moving on to the next steps.

Verify the title is clear

Before you are able to take the title of your new property and become the official owner, your financial provider will require that a title search be completed and that title insurance is in place to protect you from unexpected legal claims to the house. It is unusual, but not out of the question, for a relative or former spouse to claim that the house belongs to them in full or in part. Clearing the title means that this is no longer an issue and it is safe to proceed. 

Complete a final walk-through

Inspect the property one last time with a keen eye to ensure it is still in the condition you observed the last time you saw it, and as it is specified to be in the contract. Make sure that any agreed-upon repairs or changes have been completed and that the property is vacant or will imminently be so. This walkthrough is generally scheduled to be within 24 hours of the closing process so this really is your last chance to view the property and raise any queries before putting your money where your mouth is.

Gather your documents

You won’t have made it this far without amassing a certain amount of paperwork and now is the time to gather it all together. Some of these documents might be digital in the modern world but you should certainly be in possession of:

  • A copy of the contract of sale between you and the seller.
  • All the required home inspection reports. 
  • Proof of homeowners insurance.
  • Any paperwork required by your financial provider in order to approve your loan.
  • A government-issued photo ID.
  • Means of payment for additional fees and closing costs.

Sign your name on the dotted line

There will be an awful lot of paperwork to review and sign at the closing meeting, so take your time, listen carefully and read everything you are given to sign. Whether you’re on the verge of purchasing one of our house and land packages in WA or an existing property elsewhere, you just have to hang tight. The end is nigh, keep breathing and before you know it you’ll be picking out a new keyring and opening that well-earned bottle of bubbly. Enjoy. 

Now that you’ve got your home, have a read of How to decorate your home on a budget.

30 Dec, 2021