10 Things to Do After You Are Under Contract
Once you get under contract to buy a home, you are one step closer, but there's still some work to be done. Even though I help my clients every step of the way, it's still good to be prepared, so here's a list. I've also attached a VERY useful Buyer's Guide.
- Earnest Money AKA Good Faith Deposit: This is money that says you are real and serious about buying the property. Make sure it's delivered to my office, your closing attorney, or me (whatever is most convenient for you) in the time, amount, and format as stated in the sales contract.
- Property Inspection: Choose your inspector(s) and get them scheduled ASAP to determine if any repairs are needed. A licensed home inspector will give you a thorough overall report on the house and let you know if there are any indications that further inspections are needed. The CL100 is a separate pest inspection where the inspector checks for termites, termite damage, and moisture levels. If you don't have an inspector, your agent can help with recommendations. (*Inspections are almost always paid upon delivery rather than at closing. CL100s can almost always be paid at closing.)
3. Lender Docs: The minute you go under contract, your lender needs a copy. I always send a copy to the lender as well as the closing attorney. Make sure you get the all the requested documentation to your lender as soon as it's requested. This is crucial to the timing and success of the closing.
4. Title Work: Your attorney will initiate the title search and exam. This makes sure the house actually becomes YOUR house. They will check to make sure there are no previous tax liens, federal liens, or judgments. Be sure to review the title commitment once you receive it. I highly recommend asking them about title insurance.
5. Appraisal: Under most circumstances the appraisal should be ordered as soon as you have performed your inspections and (if necessary) had sellers address any repairs. Your lender will order this from an appraisal management company. The appraiser will determine the value of the home based on other recent comparable sold homes in the area. They will then upload it and make it available to your lender who will provide it to you. (*Some lenders require the appraisal to be paid upfront.)
6. Insurance: Choose your home owner's insurance provider and provide the relevant information to attorney and your lender. You can shop around for suitable coverage and rates. Don't let anyone run your credit before getting the OK from your lender! If you need recommendations for insurance providers, just ask!
7: Utilities: Call to arrange for utilities to be transferred on closing date. This may require a deposit. Again, don't let anyone run your credit without first checking with your lender.
8: Schedule Closing: Make sure you coordinate with attorney to set up a firm date and time to sign your closing docs. This usually takes between 45 minutes and an hour and most attorneys are open Monday-Friday. Some close early on Friday. Please note that in Horry county buyers and sellers close separately and keys are not given until the deed records. If it's important to get your keys on the same day, let your agent and attorney know.
9: Final Walk through: Before closing, you'll want to do a final walk through to make sure everything is ready for closing.
10: Close the Deal: Bring your photo ID and make sure you've gotten wire instructions from attorney's office. Make sure you get them directly from your attorney and NOT via email for risk of attempted wire fraud. Your lender/attorney will NEVER change wiring instructions via email. Some attorneys will allow you to bring a cashier's check. Be on time and be ready to sign your name a few dozen times!