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Closing (also called "settlement") is the last step in completing the home sale – you sign closing documents, your lender pays the seller, and ownership of the property transfers to you. You may sign your paperwork in the office of the party handling closing, or it may be possible for them to send a notary public to your house/workplace.
You may attend with the seller or alone. Be sure to confirm ahead of time what you need to bring – items typically required include photo identification, proof of insurance on the home (if you are buying a condominium, you may need to provide proof of both your condo insurance policy and the condo association’s insurance policy for the structure), and a cashier’s check for the amount you are paying for the down payment and closing costs. The process typically takes an hour or two, and you are going to sign a lot of paperwork. Make sure that you understand everything before signing it.
After you sign everything, the closing company will give the relevant paperwork to your lender and local land records office. The mortgage funds may be disbursed to the seller and the transfer of property recorded the same day you sign your paperwork, or it could occur a day or two later.
The seller may be willing to hand over the keys at closing regardless or only after he or she gets paid. Your real estate agent should discuss when the handoff will occur with the seller’s agent beforehand.