By Lydia Blair
The closing process varies and fluctuates from property to property, from state to state, from person to person. Just like homes are different, so are closings on those homes.
However, real estate closings in Texas follow a consistent outline of steps from start to finish. They don’t always follow a straight path. Some steps are rigid requirements while others are more flexible guidelines. Some of the steps take place simultaneously while other steps cannot be taken until a previous task is completed. Some steps are short and others are long and complicated.
From the time you complete your sales contract until the title transfers between owners, here are the basic steps of a Texas Real Estate Closing:
- Contract – The signed, completed and executed contract is delivered to the title company by the agents.
- Earnest money – The amount specified in the contract is deposited with the title company specified on the contract. See our tip on Earnest Money
- Inspections – Buyer does their due diligence and conducts inspections of the property before the option period ends.
- Information exchange – Title company, buyer, seller, and mortgage company exchange information needed for the sale.
- Title search – Title company researches property records and more. See our tip about title searches
- Mortgage company – Buyer secures their lender and has their loan approved.
- HOA resale certificate – If there is a homeowners association, the resale certificate and rules and restriction documents are ordered and delivered to all parties.
- Appraisal – A professional appraisal of the property is performed if required or desired.
- Survey – An existing survey is supplied by the seller and approved by the title company or a new survey is done.
- Title documents – The title commitment, tax certificate, property restrictions, etc. are delivered to the buyer and their lender for review.
- Contingencies removed – Contingencies to the contract in addition to issues on the title are addressed and removed.
- Get clear to close – The go-ahead to close the sale, given by both lender and title company.
- Schedule closing – Time set up to sign closing documents.
- Final walk through – buyer takes a final look at the property to confirm condition and acceptance.
- Signing – Buyers and sellers sign documents to consummate the closing.
- Fund – after all documents are signed, reviewed and approved, lender sends funds to the title company who then disburses funds to all parties.
- Get keys and possession – after funds are processed, buyer gets keys to property.
- Deed recorded, records filed – Title company files the deed(s) in court records and records the transaction.
- Title insurance policy issued – Title company issues a title insurance policy to buyer/lender.
The nice neat drawing provided at the top of this story represents the process from the beginning to the end of the sale. However, this graphic shows a more realistic view of how it all happens.