Here’s When the Closing of a Transaction Actually Takes Place

Dated: 11/19/2018

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Contrary to what some people might think, the signing of a transaction isn’t the same as a closing. The closing takes place a little later on.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s important to understand when the closing of a transaction takes place. There are a lot of misconceptions floating around out there about this topic, so I want to set the record straight.

First, you need to know that there’s a difference between a signing and a closing. Whether you make an offer to purchase a home or accept an offer to purchase your home, you’ll have to negotiate a closing date and a possession date. For our sake, let’s assume our closing date and possession date are the same (which is the case for 95% of all transactions anyway).

The signing of the transaction takes place typically one to three days before the closing, and it usually happens at an escrow office or in the presence of a notary. The escrow company then packages up all the documents that were signed. Some of those documents get sent to the lender, while the deed gets sent to the county courthouse to be recorded based on the purchase and sale agreement’s closing date. You might sign on a Wednesday, but the closing date might not be until, say, Friday, which means the escrow office won’t record the deed until Friday.

  Don’t pack your U-haul van before you head off to the escrow office to sign your closing documents.

  Even if the deed is recorded in the morning or afternoon, the closing doesn’t happen until 9 p.m. of that day—that’s when the new buyer is allowed to take possession of the home. If both parties want to negotiate a different possession time period, that’s perfectly fine. Most of the time, agents and sellers aren’t too worried about giving buyer possession immediately upon receiving notification from the county courthouse, but in some cases they are, so make sure your agent has all the necessary information squared away.

So if you’re a buyer, don’t pack your U-haul van before you head off to the escrow office to sign your closing documents, because you’re not actually getting the keys to the house yet. That happens a short time later. As always, if you have any more questions about this or any other real estate topic, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to help you.

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Gavin Shnieder

Gavin is a native of the Puget Sound, happily married to his wife Ryann for 10 years, and proud father of 3 perfect daughers Rylee, Jordan and Elliot. After serving in the Army as an Infantry Officer....

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