Once you’ve signed a contract for your home to be built, you may be ready to sit back and relax. But as you get closer to your new home’s completion date, you’ll need to get organized and stay in communication with your builder, your lender, and your title company. Your financing will need to be finalized and you’ll need to be prepared with a pre-closing inspection checklist. A master pre-closing checklist can help you keep track of everything you need to do.
Your lender will provide you with information about documents needed and deadlines to keep your loan on track. Your pre-closing checklist should be in place as soon as you apply for a loan. Once that happens, you’ll need to go through a few steps to ensure everything goes smoothly during the closing process.
- Review your loan estimate. Be sure you understand your loan terms, estimated interest rate, monthly payment, and closing costs.
- Discuss when to lock in your interest rate. Your lender can advise you about when to lock in your rate depending on the timeline for your home’s construction.
- Make sure your credit profile stays the same. During the months while your home is being built, you may be tempted to buy more furniture, open a credit card account at a home improvement store or finance a new car to go with your new neighborhood. Don’t do any of those things. Your lender will need to recheck your credit just before closing, so be sure you pay your bills on time and don’t open new accounts or make other big financial changes until after the closing.
- Get your cash in place. It may take time to move funds from one account to another, so make sure you make arrangements well before you need the money for your closing. Keep a paper trail of your money to make it easy for your lender to track.
- Buy your homeowner’s insurance. You’ll need proof of your homeowner’s insurance policy at the closing, so make sure you allow plenty of time for that paperwork to be prepared.
- Schedule your moving truck. Movers sometimes get busy, especially at the end of the month, so line yours up early for the best rates.
Pre-closing inspection checklist
Multiple inspections take place from the time you sign your contract and your home is complete. Your builder will tell you which inspections you can attend. You can always attend the final home inspection and should expect to spend an hour or more walking through the property to develop a punch list of items that your builder can address if necessary. There are a number of things you should check during your walk-through. Be sure everything has been installed so they’re well-sealed and can be opened and locked.
- Paint and moldings. Make sure the paint is smooth and nothing has been skipped.
- Floors and walls. Make sure your choices are in place and properly installed. Look at the walls and outlets to be sure they look smooth and the outlets are where you expect them to be.
- Test your appliances to make sure they work.
- Fixtures and finishes. Inspect your faucets, cabinets, counters and door knobs to make sure they are what you requested and are properly installed.
- Systems. Check your heating, air conditioning, water heater, and electricity to be sure everything is in working order.
Final closing checklist
After the final round of inspection on your new home, your builder will request a certificate of occupancy and schedule your closing. At that point, you have a few more details to attend to:
- Review your closing documents. Your lender will provide you with your Closing Disclosure three business days before the closing. Review these papers for accuracy to make sure they match your expectations.
- Get certified funds ready for your closing. Once you know the final amount you’ll need in cash, you can request a certified check or a wire transfer of funds. Personal checks are not accepted for the bulk of the funds, but do bring your checkbook in case there is a minor change in the amount owed.
- Make sure you have your photo ID, certified check and any other requested documents. You’ll need these items at the closing.
- Celebrate. You should have your house keys and your “owner’s manual” from your builder in hand!
To learn more about the new home buying process and what you need to make you move as smooth as possible, check out New Home Guide.