Congrats!! It’s been a long road, many laughs, maybe some frustration, but in the end, it’s all worth it.
In Illinois, real estate transactions finalize at what’s called a ‘table closing’. This means that everything (money, deed, required paperwork, signatures, etc.) is literally brought to an agreed location (title company) and possession of the property is transferred from seller to buyer. Don’t worry, your lawyer, your real estate agent, and your loan officer (not always, but the good loan officers go to the closings) will be there to make sure everything goes smoothly. More than likely, the seller will not be there, but their attorney will be. So what is required of you, the buyer? Let’s talk about the concept of the title company first.
A title company performs a couple of different functions. Number one, they run a title search of your home and insure that there are no liens against the property. Let’s say you buy property where the previous owner upgraded the home (granite countertops, flooring, patio, etc.). If the contractor that performed this work never received full payment for the work that was done, they can put a mechanic’s lien on that property. If there is such a lien, it’s the title company’s responsibility to find it and the issue will be resolved by the seller prior to closing. If for some reason the title company does not find the lien prior to the closing and the countertop installer knocks on your door, you would call the title company where you closed and file a claim. This is not free; you of course pay a portion of this ‘title insurance’ at closing.
The second main function that the title company performs is the utilization of their physical location for the closing and to act as a financial ‘middle man’. The majority of the time spent at the closing will be your attorney describing the mortgage documents to you and you signing those documents. This should take about 45 minutes. After that is done, the title company will receive money from your lender and the money you brought in and disburse those funds to all involved in the transaction (seller, seller’s bank, attorneys, State of Illinois, county, city, etc.). This takes about fifteen minutes. Most closings are done in an about 90 minutes, but some take a lot longer so I always recommend to people to take the day off. After the checks are cut, you are handed the keys and the home is yours!! So remember, the day you close, unless negotiated differently, is the day you take possession. We’ve seen a few tears of joy at closings along our journey. It’s a proud moment, it might be your proudest to that point in your life.