In previous blog posts, we have covered the mortgage process in Washington State as well as the broader home buying process that encompasses it. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the real estate closing process for buyers in Washington.
Real Estate Closing Process for Home Buyers in Washington
This process can vary slightly from one borrower to the next.With that being said, there are certain steps that occur for most home buyers in most scenarios. Here’s a look at the common stages of the real estate closing process in Washington State:
1. Title search: Before you even sign documents at the closing, a title company will probably inspect the chain of title for the home you’re buying. Among other things, they want to ensure that there is a clear history of the title being transferred from one owner to the next, and that there are no disputes regarding ownership of the home. Much of this process happens without any input or involvement from the buyer.
2. Documents sent to escrow. Shortly after the title search mentioned above, or maybe around the same time, your mortgage lender will send loan documents to the escrow company who is handling the closing. This typically happens after the underwriting process, when the underwriter determines that the loan and borrower are “clear to close.” But again, the real estate closing process can vary slightly.
3. Seller and buyer signed documents. In some states, particularly on the East Coast, buyers and sellers sit at a table together to sign the closing documents. But in Washington State, the two parties can sign separately. As a home buyer, you will probably visit the escrow company on a scheduled date to sign your closing documents. This typically happens one to three days before the official closing date, but the exact timeline can vary.
4. Loan funding. Once the home buyer has signed all of the closing documents, the escrow company will send them back to the lender for review. If everything is in order and all of the necessary signatures are in place, the lender will then fund the loan. This might happen on the scheduled closing date, or one or two days before. The timing of the real estate closing process in Washington can vary from one transaction to the next, due to the many variables involved.
5. Closing day. Once all of the paperwork has been finalized, it will typically be delivered to the government recorder’s office. The recording of the deed creates an official record of the ownership transfer. This is when you officially become the owner of the home you have purchased.
It bears repeating: The closing process for home buyers in Washington generally follows a sequence of steps, as outlined above. In some cases, however, the process can deviate due to an issue that arises along the way. So it’s important to be flexible during this process, and to stay in touch with your loan officer regarding the status of your closing process.