Closing on your home, especially your first home can be a very exciting experience, because it's also the final and most important part of the home buying process.
"The closing is the activity at which the property actually changes hands from seller to buyer. The buyer is doing most of their work with the bank. They're signing a lot of documentation for the mortgage. Then, basically, the seller hands to the buyer keys and the buyer hands to the seller a check and possession has changed," said Don Nichter, an associate broker.
Before you get to the closing table, though, you'll have what's called a final walk through, which is vital to your purchase.
"It serves a number of purposes. The first is to make sure everything that was included in the contract is still at the house. We bought the refrigerator and stove, for instance and it should still be there. The second is that when weather or acts of God change the house. The last thing, generally, is to make sure the sellers did what they said were going to do. The house is empty, it's clean, there's no debris," said Nichter.
If something is not the way you had agreed to in the final steps, there are options.
"A closing can be delayed or canceled, usually if there are minor issues of definable cost. There's a certain amount of clean-out that has to be done, or something to be repaired. The attorneys may agree to keep the closing on schedule and agree to either a cash adjustment of a few hundred dollars or to put monies in escrow," said Nichter.
Once you sign the contracts and hand over the check, the house is yours. There is no buyer's remorse. However, that doesn't mean if you find something wrong with the home while living in it, that you're out of luck.
"If it becomes fairly clear that the seller clearly knew there was a defect, didn't disclose it as was their responsibility, then purchaser has recourse. Usually those are things resolved without going to court. Sometimes they require going to court," said Nichter.