What to Expect When Closing During a Pandemic: Home Selling Series Pt. 8

September 18, 2020

The place you have prized over the years is now someone else’s dream home. You accepted a buyer’s offer, and you’re ready to hand over the keys. 
All you have left to do is close the deal. On average, according to the National Association of Realtors, it takes 50 days from getting a ratified contract to signing over the house at settlement. Here’s what to expect during that period, including a look at how our title partners at Long & Foster Settlement Services are handling closings now that Covid-19 has affected our world.

Closing During a Pandemic with Long & Foster’s Settlement Partners

Long & Foster’s title partners are leveraging technology to ensure the safest possible closing environment. From reviewing available settlement documents over the phone or via video conferencing before signing to permitting only signers at closing or conducting a remote online closing, depending on the market, they’re taking steps to provide exceptional service while protecting your health when buying, selling or refinancing your home.  
General Advice on Settlement

The settlement company is usually chosen by the buyer, but if you have a preferred provider, such as Long & Foster Settlement Services, you can make that part of the negotiation process. 
Leave all warranties on appliances and systems in the home, along with factory-issued brochures and operating manuals, if you have them. The attorney or escrow/title company will have searched the title and obtained lender instructions. All prior unresolved walk-through deficiencies should have been addressed by now. 
The attorney or licensed title agent will explain the deed and settlement sheets, line by line, and obtain your signature, as the sellers’ signatures. With all funds in hand, having been transferred or handed over by the buyer, the attorney or title company will disburse proceeds.  

A note about cyber-security: Always take extra steps to verify changes anyone requests prior to the transfer of funds. Fraudsters, typically targeting home buyers, will often seek to divert funds to their own offshore accounts during the real estate settlement process. 

As the seller, you should plan to receive the funds within four days, although in some places, they can be disbursed the same day as closing. 

Additionally, sellers will pay the appropriate closing costs, usually including commissions earned by your agent. Typically, you should plan on these costs adding up to as much as 10% of the sales price of the home. 
Here is a list of closing costs you might expect, as the seller, according to the Long & Foster Home Seller’s Guide
Attorney’s fees 
Lender inspection fee  
Broker’s commission 
State deed transfer tax or recordation fee 
Condo or homeowners’ association packet fees 
Water escrow to cover final water bill 
Termite inspection 
Mortgage interest up to the date the mortgage is paid off

All of this should be spelled out on the settlement documents and explained to your satisfaction by the settlement team. 
Selling a home can be a complex process, but if you have enlisted the help of the right professionals, it should go smoothly. Check out longandfoster.com to learn more about how to find an agent and achieve a successful home sale.

For more information on avoiding fraud during a closing, read more here.

This is the last in a series of articles about selling your home. Read additional posts in the series here.