St George Utah First Time Home BuyersSt George Utah First Time Buyers – Home buying 101 part 4

Tips for buying a home, St George Utah home buying 101 in This final installment, we’ll discuss the real estate closing and settlement process, what to expect during closing in Utah, as well as the difference between “closing” and “recording” in Utah. This will explain when the buyer will receive their keys and the most exciting moment: when do I get my keys and when can I move in!  If you haven’t read my first, second, or third installment of this first time buyers 2013 guide to buying a home in St George Utah, you can check it out here: First Time Buyers Part One, First Time Buyers Part 2, First Time Buyers Part 3.

So you’ve completed the home inspection(s), appraisal is good, the lender has everything they need…suddenly the phone goes quiet and you begin to panic. With all of the intense hustle and bustle that has occurred over the past couple of weeks (or maybe months if you’ve been actively searching for a home) you almost feel uneasy when everything is silent. No worries! All of the involved parties are now working behind the scenes to finalize the paperwork; this is basically a “holding pattern” time as involved parties await closing. 

Approximately one week prior to your scheduled closing date is a good time to contact the utility companies and begin to set up transfer of service. A good rule of thumb is to have the account go active into your name as soon as the owner removes their name. If the company is requesting an actual date, then you can make it for your closing date or perhaps the day after. You should already have a good idea of when you’ll be moving in and/or when the sellers will have moved out. A couple of days prior to closing, you may begin to receive calls again form your agent, lender and/or title agency. We will now begin to schedule a time for you to come into the office to sign all of the paperwork, which will be the day noted as “closing date” on your contract (however the day you actually sign may end up being a day or two prior if there are scheduling conflicts). You must, however, sign NO LATER than the “closing date” on the contract. Typically the day before we actually sit down to sign, you will receive a copy of the HUD statement or closing settlement statement (however in many cases you may not see that until just before closing). This will illustrate all of the fees involved in which you have previously been informed about early on with the lender. Nothing on the HUD statement should be surprising or significantly different than your Good Faith Estimate. The only difference will be that these are ACTUAL numbers and not an Estimate. This will give you the exact amount of which you’ll need to bring into the title company.

What Will Happen When We Go To The Title Company To Sign Paperwork?

Arrive with your ID! The escrow officer (who you’ve probably talked to by phone) will be there to guide you through all of the paperwork and explain the documents you are signing. Your real estate agent will be there, and occasionally the lender will also be there. It’s really a casual event, although it’s not uncommon for the occasion to be extremely overwhelming for first time buyers. You’ll be in an office with the professionals who have been working on your transaction and there will likely be a mountain of documents to sign, often feeling repetitious. Your lender should have already coached you on everything you’ll sign, so it’s very rare when a document is presented to the buyer that is not already understood.

If you haven’t already completed a wire transfer for your funds due at closing, you’ll be given instructions on how to do so, and it is advisable to get that completed immediately after closing. Remember, your totall amount due will show a credit for the earnest money you have given when you wrote the offer. Once you sign the paperwork, you WILL NOT receive your keys. Here in Utah, “closing” is simply the document signing event and the time to get your money on the table. You cannot have your keys or move in until it RECORDS. Once your money is at title (again, it is best to do this the day prior to avoid delays in recording) then the lender will “fund” the loan. If you have signed your loan documents at 5pm on a Friday and Monday is a holiday…YOU WILL NOT MOVE IN UNTIL the following Tuesday or even Wednesday. After the lender has funded the loan and you have your closing fees at title, your documents will be sent to the Recorders Office. It’s likely it will record a short time after that, but it can take 24-48 hours.

Here is a typical scenario I work with my St George Utah real estate buyers (remember, this is all completed when you WRITE THE OFFER, not during the process): we decide on a day the buyers would LIKE to move in. We schedule closing for a couple of days PRIOR TO THAT selected day. We determine the funds needed for closing and wire that amount the day before closing. We typically schedule closing early in the morning, or the night before so the lender will have time to wire the loan proceeds after the documents are signed. Typically all of the money is in place that afternoon and our file is sent to the Recorders Office later that day; often it WILL record that very day but occasionally it could be the next day. It works out however, because we’ll still be a day or two ahead of the day the buyers WANTED to move. It’s better to have the house officially yours a day or two before you’re ready to move as opposed to having a moving truck parked in front of a home that you cannot move into for another couple of days. Once we record, your agent will deliver your keys along with any other items (such as the garage door remote, if available). Once the home records…you are officially a homeowner!

Your agent should be extremely clear during the entire process so that there is no confusion. Please be sure to ask questions along the way so that you understand every element of what is occurring. It’s important for you to establish a trusting and open relationship with your agent. If you feel like you can’t trust your agent, then you should not be working with that agent. If you have any questions after your transaction, your agent should be more than willing to answer and questions you may have. If you are considering buying a home in St George Utah, please be sure to view all available inventory on my website: Or, contact me: Paula Smith and I will be more than happy to assist you in your home search. If you’ve read this entire four part series, I appreciate you taking the time and I do hope you’ve found the information useful.

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