Buying a home can be an exciting time. And then, after all the research, the open houses, the scraping together of the down payment, it’s finally just around the corner: home closing day! But the deal isn’t officially “done” until those papers are signed. To avoid any last-minute blow-ups, ensure you’ve done these 6 tasks to help make your home closing a breeze.

1. Square away your finances

Even if you’ve been “pre-approved” for a mortgage, your lender will pull your credit one last time before allowing you to sign your loan papers at the home closing. That means that you want to make sure there are no surprises. Now’s not the time to finance a big purchase, like furniture for your new home or a truck for your new driveway. Your lender wants to make sure you won’t be a high-risk borrower and therefore won’t want you to have opened new credit cards or done anything else that could mar your credit score.

You’ll also want to make sure your down payment is ready to go. Each lender has different rules, but ensure the funds have been sitting in your account for the length of time they suggest.

2. Bring the checks you need

Even though the down payment is going to be the biggest check you’re writing (quite possibly ever!), there are many other costs associated with the closing, from the loan origination fee and credit report to title charges. Ask your real estate agent to ballpark these amounts so you’re prepared and note how each provider will be expected to pay so you don’t come up shorthanded with the checks.

3. Review the documents in advance

The sheer amount of paperwork is going to be overwhelming, so it’s smart to sit down and review all the documents in advance. Fortunately, the Know Before You Owe rule was passed in October 2015, which means that your lender is required to send you your Closing Disclosure 3 business days before closing so you’ll have ample time to understand how much your mortgage will cost. That’ll allow you to review it so you can ask questions beforehand, instead of finding yourself confused at the closing table when everyone’s ready for your payment.

4. Get home insurance

Getting home insurance is required and most lenders will ask to see proof of home insurance at the closing. And we won’t sugarcoat it — homeowners insurance can be complicated. There’s a lot that can affect your coverage, so taking the time to find the right insurance is key. Not sure where to start? Explore different coverages, discounts, and technology that can help take the headache out of homeowners insurance.

5. Conduct a final walk-through

Even though you might have been in the home dozens of times as you planned your baby’s nursery or pictured entertaining in your new kitchen, do one walk-through right before home closing day to check that there hasn’t been any damage, or that anything like light fixtures or other items you thought were staying with the house are missing.

6. Rest your fingers

Yep, you’ll be signing more papers than you can imagine. But just remember that on the other side of that stack of papers, your dream home awaits! Congratulations!

Insurance 101 | Homeowners 101


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.