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Completing the home buying purchase process

Wondering what the final stages of the home buying purchase process entail? Here’s a complete, step-by-step look at what’s involved in closing a real estate deal after your offer has been accepted.

1. Obtain mortgage approval
If you’ve pre-arranged the mortgage, a copy of the accepted offer (and MLS® listing, if applicable) goes to the lender and the lawyer (or notary). The lender will send an appraiser to assess the property to see that it’s worth what you’ve agreed to pay and can be financed to that amount. You’ll meet with the lender to obtain complete terms and conditions of your mortgage.

2. Call in your lawyer
The lawyer or notary conducts a title search (to check for liens and ensure the legal ownership lies with the vendors) and may recommend that you purchase title insurance. A new survey will be arranged if an acceptable land survey is not on file. The lawyer will also check property taxes and prepare a statement of adjustments, outlining utilities and other home costs that were prepaid by the seller.

3. Get a home inspection
If an inspection was one of the conditions of your offer, call the inspector as soon as the offer is accepted. The inspection must be completed within the time frame specified in your condition. If significant issues are discovered, you may withdraw the offer, request that the seller make the repairs or renegotiate the price. If you are buying a new house, bring an inspector when you conduct your pre-completion deficiency inspection. Talk to your lawyer or notary about amending your contract, before you sign it, to allow for this.

4. Insure the property
Contact your insurance representative immediately to arrange fire insurance for the property. As soon as you receive the policy, send a copy to your lawyer.

5. Finish the paperwork
Your lawyer or notary will advise you of any documents you are required to provide. An appointment will be set up a few days before closing to complete the paperwork and provide the remainder of the down payment, as well as adjustments and other closing costs. At the closing meeting, your lender will review your credit requirements, provide you with cost-of-borrowing details in writing, and get your signature on all loan and collateral documentation. Where two people are borrowing (a married couple, for example), both borrowers must sign the mortgage documentation. You’ll also need to bring in your home insurance documents, to prove that you have fire insurance.

6. Pick up your keys
The lawyer or notary registers the home in your name. The mortgage money is advanced to the seller on your behalf, and later that day you receive the deed and the keys to your new home.

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