Summary: Home buyers in Washington State tend to have a lot of questions when it comes to closing. We’ve answered some of these questions in previous blog posts. Today, we’ll talk about what home buyers can expect during the week before their scheduled closing day.
When you buy a home and closing date is approaching, there are few steps you’ll need to take to ensure a seamless move. Here are some important things to do the week before closing on a home in Washington.
1. Conduct a final walk-through of the home.
A few days before closing, home buyers typically have an opportunity to conduct one final walk-through inspection of the house they are buying. This is the buyer’s last chance to look at the property before signing all finalized paperwork to complete the sale.
The final walk-through is almost always conducted during the week prior to the closing. As a home buyer, you’re making sure that the property is still in the same condition it was in when you did your first visit, prior to making an offer. You want to make sure that all of the appliances are still present, and that there isn’t any new (significant) damage.
2. Review your finalized closing costs.
When you apply for a home loan, you will receive an estimate of the various fees and charges associated with the mortgage and the transfer of the property. Collectively, these are referred to as closing costs.
A few days before the closing, you should receive a finalized list of these closing costs. This is the actual amount you will need to bring in the form of a cashier’s check. This is another important step that takes place sometime during the week leading up to the closing date. Be sure to review this document and contact your loan officer if you have questions about it.
3. Quickly follow up on any underwriting requests.
For some home buyers in Washington, the week before closing is relatively calm and quiet. Everything is on track, and there’s nothing left to be resolved. That’s the best-case scenario.
But in some cases, there might be some last-minute underwriting issues that need to be resolved before the underwriter can declare the borrower “clear to close.” For example, he or she might need a letter of explanation regarding a certain bank deposit or withdrawal.
It’s best to handle these requests as quickly as possible, so they do not interfere with closing. Remember, at this stage of the mortgage process everybody basically wants the same thing. They want the loan to close so you can move into your new home. It’s a collaborative effort.
4. Try to avoid any major financial changes before closing.
When you’re approaching your closing date, it might be best to maintain the status quo. This means avoiding any major financial changes that could create obstacles during the underwriting process.
For example, this probably isn’t the time to switch jobs, take out a personal loan, or make a huge purchase that could affect your bottom line. These things could require additional underwriting steps, or they may even put you outside the qualification parameters for your particular mortgage loan.
5. Make sure you have your homeowners insurance policy in place.
Homeowners insurance (a.k.a., hazard insurance) is almost always required when a mortgage loan is used to buy a house in Washington State. Your lender will want to make sure that the home you are buying is habitable and is able to be covered before a loan is finalized.
So, if you haven’t done so already, this is another item to take care of during the week before closing. Not only will the lender require it, but it’s also something that will keep you safe and will provide you with financial coverage should something happen to your home and those in it. Depending on the specifics of your loan program, you may have to bring proof of home insurance to the closing.
6. Book the Movers
You’re going to need some help moving all of your belongings into your new home, especially if you’re moving from another home and are planning to transfer all your furnishings to your new place. Moving companies book up quickly. The last thing you want is to book movers for the day of closing only to have a hard time finding anyone available. You can save yourself this hassle by booking well in advance.
Even if you plan to use the help of friends, you’ll still need to organize who will be able to help you, as well as what vehicle you’ll be using to transport all your things. Planning this at least a week in advance is helpful.
7. Hire Professional Cleaners
While sellers should leave the premises in relatively clean condition, you’ll probably still feel more comfortable having the place thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before you move yourself and your family into the home.
You can always do this yourself, but it’s a big job. After dealing with all the moving and closing of your old home, the last thing you’ll want to have to deal with is cleaning the home top to bottom.
For a couple of hundred dollars, you can have the professionals do it for you so the home is ready for you to move all your belongings in on moving day.
8. Switch the Utilities Over
You want to make sure that the electricity, gas, and water is still operational when you move into your home. Whether you move in the winter or summer, the furnace or air conditioner will need to be working when you move in, and that will require services from the utility companies.
Before you move in, make sure you call the utility companies and have the accounts switched over to your name so there is no halt in service.
9. Order Furniture
If this is your first home, you’ll want to at least have a bed and sofa to lounge on when you first move in. Ideally, you’ll have everything you need when you take possession of the home. As such, you’ll want to order your furniture in advance so it’s ready to be moved in to your new home.
Even if this is not your first home, you may have chosen to outfit it with different pieces, whether it’s because your old furniture doesn’t fit or you simply want something new and modern. Either way, ordering new pieces in advance will help ensure that they’re ready when it comes time to move into your new home.