Closing Agent Helping first-time homebuyers select a closing agent or title and escrow company.

Closing Agent
The closing agent is a neutral party that assists the buyer, the seller and the lender as they complete the home purchase transaction. The closing agent facilitates the transaction by coordinating with the seller who signs documents to sell the home, the buyer who signs documents to buy and finance the home and the lender who provides the buyer financing.

The type of closing agent you will use depends on the standard practices in your state. The closing agent may be an escrow officer, real estate attorney, or another type of closing agent.   Your lender, real estate agent or homebuyer education provider will be able to explain in detail who performs the closing function in your state.

The closing agent is responsible for ensuring the buyer and seller sign the necessary documents, that the accounting for the transaction is correct, and that ownership to the property is properly recorded and transferred.

Selecting Your Closing Agent
Your lender or real estate agent will be able to provide you a referral for a closing agent if needed. Often the closing agent or escrow company is identified in the sale agreement and you may not even be involved in their selection. If you have a preference for a particular closing agent, you should let your real estate agent know of before you submit an offer on your first home. The closing agent or escrow company is typically the holder of the earnest money deposit you make when the seller accepts your offer to purchase a home.

Closing on Your Home
Closing on your first home is one of the most exciting steps in the whole process. This is the point when you sign the required forms and legal documents necessary to purchase the property and obtain a loan.

Signing all the documents can take an hour or more depending on the layers and complexity of your financing, how long you take to review the documents and how many questions you ask during the process. It is good to ask questions and take as long as you need to feel comfortable with what you are signing. Assuming you are working with a reputable lender there should be no surprises at that closing table and you should feel comfortable with what you are signing before you sign any documents.

The amount of paperwork during the closing can seem overwhelming and if you are uncomfortable signing loan documents without first reading them you should speak to your lender, real estate agent and the closing agent about getting the document a few days ahead of time to ensure you have adequate time to review them before you are asked to sign them.

Your closing agent will be able to provide a general overview of the legal documents your are signing, but they are not going to be able to provide you legal advice about them. If you are uncomfortable signing any of the documents or if the terms of the transaction have changed, you should not sign the documents until you have acceptable answers to your questions.

After closing, your lender will review the documents, fund your loan, and approve the recording of the deed to your home in your name. Once the deed is recorded with your local county, you are the official owner of your first home and then you will be able to get the keys from you real estate agent and can begin moving into your first home!