When Do I Get The Keys To My New Home

Dated: 09/26/2018

Views: 1361

Image titleWhen Do I Get The Keys To My New Home?


This is a commonly asked question among homebuyers and it's often something you wouldn't think to ask until the closing date of your home approaches and you begin planning your moving day. It's important to first note that there's a big difference between the day of closing and the day of signing. Most homebuyers tend to believe that the day of signing is the same as the day of closing and this is typically not the case. In most states, you won't receive the keys to your new home until the purchase and sale transaction of the property has officially closed. This is the point at which the home becomes your own and you are now free to do with it as you please. You're probably asking, "So when will I get the keys to my new home?". Well, let's break it down step by step, so you have a complete understanding of the process and you can better identify the date at which you will have a legal right to access your new abode. 


What's The Difference Between The Signing Day And The Closing Day?


The process can vary from state to state, but typically, as the closing date of your purchase draws near, you'll be contacted by the escrow agent to arrange for a day and time to come to their office to sign the closing documents. Remember that the escrow agent is the person who is handling the closing of your transaction and there are a lot of moving parts to a successful closing. If you're purchasing your new home with a mortgage, as most homebuyers do, your escrow agent should receive the loan documents a few days prior to the predetermined closing date on your purchase and sale agreement. Once the escrow agent has received these documents and prepared them for both parties (you and the seller) to sign, they'll contact you to schedule the signing date. You'll come in for your signing appointment and the escrow agent will have you sign what feels like a million pieces of paper. They'll then meet with the seller to do the same, if they haven't already done so, and upon completion of both signing appointments, the escrow agent will await the funding of your loan from your lending institution. A good lender will have the funds transferred to the escrow agent immediately, ensuring there are no hold ups with your closing. Once the escrow agent has received the funds for your purchase, they'll prepare the documents for recording.  You won't actually close on the purchase of your new home until the sale has recorded and the title of the property has transferred from the seller's name to yours. 


Why Does The Purchase Of My New Home Have To Be Recorded?


As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, your purchase must first record, typically with the county in which your new home resides, in order for your name to be added to the title and for the seller's name to be removed. Your local county keeps a record of every property owner in the area, mainly for tax purposes, but also to prove ownership. Your purchase must be recorded in order to finalize the sale and to officially make the home yours. Your escrow agent usually sends a courier down to the local courthouse on the day of closing to record your sale and once they've received confirmation of the recording in the form of recording numbers, your sale is complete and the home is now yours. It's important to note, however, that just because your sale has recorded, you do not necessarily have a right to the keys to your new home yet. In states like Washington, the seller technically has the right to retain the keys and access to the home until 9 p.m. on the day of closing, or on the day of recording. This is mainly just to ensure that the seller has ample time to move out of the home prior to handing it over to the new owner. In many cases, the seller is purchasing another home and they aren't able to fund on their next purchase until they've received the proceeds from the sale of their previous home. The good news is that more often than not, the seller has already moved out of the home by the time the transaction has recorded and most sellers are happy to hand over the keys to the home as soon as they are informed of a successful recording. 


In summary, you will typically receive the keys to your new home on the day of closing, which is the day the transaction or sale has recorded with the local county. As always, it's best to contact your Realtor to find out when you'll have access to the home and coordinate the handoff of the keys. 

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