Couple On Couch Preparing For Mortgage Closing

What To Bring To Closing: A Buyer's Checklist

Dan Rafter4-minute read

July 15, 2021

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You’ve found your dream home and made an offer that the seller has accepted. You’ve gone through the home inspection process and resolved any issues that the inspector has found. You’re now ready to close on the mortgage loan you need to finance the purchase of your new home.

You might be stressed by the approach of your closing day. This is when you’ll sign the key documents that transfer ownership of your new home to you. You’ll also pay for your closing costs, lending fees and any taxes that are due. With all this happening, it’s normal to be nervous as your mortgage closing draws near.

But you can eliminate much of this stress by knowing exactly what you need to bring to the closing table to ensure that the final steps of your home purchase bring no unpleasant surprises.

Here is a quick checklist of what you should bring with you to closing day.

1. Photo ID

The title company running your mortgage loan closing will verify your identity. It will do this by checking and making copies of a photo ID that you bring to closing day. You can use a signed U.S. driver’s license, U.S. ID card or U.S. or foreign passport to serve as your photo ID.

Make sure, though, that everyone whose name is on the mortgage loan – including your spouse or partner – also provides an approved signed photo ID. The title company is required to verify the identity of every person listed on the mortgage.

2. Cashier's Check

You will have to pay for closing costs, your home's down payment, prepaid interest, property taxes and insurance during your closing. This is known as your cash to close, the total amount of money you’ll need to bring to close your mortgage loan.

You can't, though, simply write a personal check to cover these expenses. Instead, you'll need to provide a cashier's check made out in the amount you need to pay to cover the cost of closing your loan. Your lender or title insurer will provide this figure before closing day so that you have enough time to secure a cashier's check.

You can get a cashier's check from your bank. The main difference between a cashier's check and a personal check is that the bank is certifying that you have the funds available to pay the amount written on the check. Cashier’s checks also contain security features such as watermarks to make them more difficult to counterfeit.

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3. The Closing Disclosure

The Closing Disclosure is a key form when taking out a loan. It lists the final terms and costs of your mortgage loan. Your lender is required to provide it to you at least 3 business days before your loan closing.

This form lists your loan's amount, interest rate and monthly payment, including a breakdown of how much of your payment is made up of principal, interest, private mortgage insurance, property taxes and homeowners insurance.

The form also lists your closing costs, spelling out the amount you'll need to pay on closing day.

Having this document with you on closing day is important. If you're signing your mortgage papers and any costs are different from what's listed on your Closing Disclosure, make sure to question your lender and title company. Never sign any document if you are uncomfortable with the fees or closing costs listed on it.

4. Proof Of Insurance

Before your lender approves you for a mortgage loan, it will require that you take out a homeowners insurance policy. This policy protects you in case your home is damaged or destroyed. Your insurance company will provide you with a payout to help cover the damages or rebuild.

You can use your policy's declarations page as proof of your insurance. This page lists your name and address, a description of the home you are insuring and your policy's premium. But check with your lender and title company to make sure you are bringing the proper form of proof to the closing table.

5. Professional Representation

You don’t want to go it alone on closing day. It’s important to have professionals representing your interests. After all, you’ll be signing plenty of papers and making what might be the biggest purchase of your life. You want a representative there to answer your questions, check over the documents you are signing and look out for your interests.

That’s why it is important to have your real estate agent or your real estate lawyer present at closing. In many states, you’re required to have your own lawyer present at the closing. Usually, you’ll pay a flat fee for this representation.

If your real estate agent or lawyer can’t attend the closing, they’ll typically send one of their associates to represent you. Make sure this is the case: You never want to go to closing without a real estate professional or attorney representing you.

The Bottom Line: Have Everything Ready To Go In Advance

It’s natural to be nervous as closing day approaches. But you can eliminate much of the stress by gathering your paperwork, getting your cashier’s check and communicating with your agent and real estate lawyer before the big day. The more prepared you are, the easier closing day will be on your nerves.

The same advice holds true if you’re taking part in a remote closing, in which you use your computer and online meeting software to connect with your agent and title insurance company, signing your documents from your own home or office. Remote closings are more common today, thanks largely to the impact of COVID-19. Prepare for these closings in the same way you would for an in-person closing.

Need a refresher on how closing day works? Visit this story on the closing process for a deeper look at what the day might hold for you.

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Dan Rafter

Dan Rafter has been writing about personal finance for more than 15 years. He's written for publications ranging from the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post to Wise Bread, RocketMortgage.com and RocketHQ.com.