Palmer Harned, Realtor®
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What to Expect at Settlement

This is Part 13 in a series of posts about how to tackle the home buying process.


Settlement, also known as closing, is the final major step in the home buying process. Below are answers to the most common questions regarding settlement:

Where is it held? It is typically held at the title company’s office (also called the settlement company).

What should I bring? A photo ID (drivers license or passport) and a checkbook. If you have not already wired funds to the title company, you will also need to bring a certified check in the amount of the estimated closing costs.

How long does it take? It typically takes an hour total – 15 minutes for the seller side and 45 min to an hour for the buyer side.

Who will be there? In Virginia, it is standard for both the buyers and sellers, along with their agents, to be present at settlement, but a split settlement can be arranged if both parties cannot attend at the same time. Sometimes your lender may attend, and the title company’s settlement attorney or representative will always be present and will lead the proceedings.

Can I sign for my spouse who will be out of town on the day of closing? Unless you have a Power of Attorney that has been prepared or approved by the title company, everyone who’s name will be on the loan and/or the deed must be present at closing. Check with your agent or title company about obtaining a Power of Attorney.

What am I signing? The amount of documents you have to sign may seem overwhelming. Below is a quick overview of what you will see:

  • Lender docs – These are all of the documents that make up your loan, most importantly the Deed of Trust, which is the bank’s security that you will repay your loan in exchange for equitable title of the property
  • ID affidavit – States you are who you say you are
  • Title insurance – Lender coverage is required, buyer coverage is strongly recommended. A one-time charge that permanently protects you from any title claims on the property. Ask your agent or title company to provide you with specific examples of why it is so important!
  • Property survey – Acknowledgement of receipt
  • HUD-1 statement – Acknowledgement of receipt and acceptance
  • Truth in Lending statement – Acknowledgement of receipt and acceptance
  • Termite report – Acknowledgement of receipt and acceptance
  • HOA rider – If property is in a homeowners association
  • Limited Power of Attorney – Grants the title company the ability to make any necessary clerical changes after documents have been signed
  • The seller will sign the property deed, granting the property to the new owner

Will I get the keys to the home at settlement? Yes! Unless you have a agreed to a rentback, the sellers should bring all keys, garage door openers, etc. to settlement.

Stay tuned for next week’s post which will discuss what you need to know about the HUD-1 statement.


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