As we pulled out of our neighborhood with a truck I wasn’t sure I was qualified to drive packed full of all of our belongings, I wondered if we would ever come back to see our home in the future. Would I care if the future owners ripped out all of our landscaping and replaced it with their own? Would we ever be back in Birmingham for a significant period of time?
Then it hit me: of course we would — we still had to sell and close on the house. Closing meant lots of papers, lots of signatures, and polite handshakes. We would need to come back into town to close once the house was sold… or would we?
Can You Close on Your Home Without Being There?
When we finally sold our home (hallelujah!) our agent put us in touch with the firm that would be handling our closing. They asked if we were going to be in town, we told them we would rather not. Thankfully they said that was fine. We just needed to take the same steps that we would if we were closing in person. They just needed to be done beforehand.
4 Steps to Close on Your Home
The hardest part of the whole process is getting someone to buy your home. Closing is mostly painless. Here’s what you need to do if you don’t want to drive back to your old city to close.
Get the Documents
If you aren’t going to sit in a conference room with the buyer, the agents, and the closing lawyers then you need to get the documents ahead of time. You can sign almost everything up front, but you’ll need to wait until the HUD/settlement statement is absolutely locked in before sending everything back. Last minute changes by the bank or the buyer could cost your money if you don’t wait.
Find a Notary
Before you get over eager and start signing the documents left and right, hold up. You have to sign everything in front of a notary public for the documents to be valid. You can find a notary public at most shipping stores (UPS Store, FedEx/Kinkos) — but hold up again. They usually charge you to notarize documents. You might get a flat fee or a per page charge. We had 14 pages that needed a notary stamp on them. If you were charged $5 per stamp that’s $70!
Banks and credit unions also have notaries. Our local credit union has 3 notaries at the branch closest to us, and they did our documents for free.
Return the Documents
From there all you need to do is securely get the documents back to the closing company. Make copies for your records and then use an overnight service that requires signature delivery while providing delivery confirmation.
Stress Until Everything is Final
Remember you will be filling out the documents before the actual closing. Once the package arrives at the closing office all you get to do is wait until the closing date arrives. You never know what might pop up with underwriting, so it can be stressful while you wait for the signatures to hit the paper.
When you’re done you get to scream “I’m no longer a homeowner!” like I did this past Friday! Phew!