Here’s how the closing process has changed since the pandemic.

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How has COVID changed the closing process? Kristi Phillips of Waco Title joins us today to answer that question.

Overall, closings are still moving along as before, but the main difference is that title companies now offer curbside closings. Basically, you can drive up to the title company’s office and stay in your vehicle while a representative brings out the documents you need to sign. They wear masks and gloves and take you through the signing step by step. The sections you need to sign are highlighted for your convenience. Another big change is that Realtors and lenders are rarely present at closings right now to limit exposure. It’s just the buyer and the closing agent or the seller and the closing agent.

If you’re a seller, there are several things you need to do to prepare for a closing. First, you need to provide your information to the title company so they can get your payoff ordered and make sure the house is ready for the buyer. This way, when the buyer’s lender clears them to close, everyone’s ready to finish the transaction as quickly as possible.

If you’re a buyer, there are certain things you must do if you want the closing to proceed in a timely manner. The first of which is providing your loan officer all the documentation they ask for (bank statements, pay stubs, etc.).

Realtors and lenders are rarely present at closings right now to limit exposure.

The second is making sure the appraisal happens on time. Sometimes appraisals come back just days before the scheduled closing. In this case, whether a redisclosure needs to be issued depends on the lender and the appraisal itself. If the appraisal comes in high and the lender has already released the closing disclosure, it’s only a matter of finalizing that closing disclosure so everything’s ready to be signed.

If any lender required repairs come in at the last minute, however, things can get delayed. Not only do those repairs have to be completed, but the appraiser has to do a reassessment of the property for the final inspection.

According to Kristi, in terms of closing timelines, there is no preferential treatment for home sellers over those who are refinancing. The title company tries to follow what’s in the contract, and the lenders control the contract guidelines because they’re the ones providing the money to the title company. Waco Title has multiple closers, so they can schedule closings any time of day no matter what your goals are.

Are title companies more accurately hitting their closing dates for purchases or refinances? For refinances, lenders are extending closing dates 45 or 60 days to make sure they have time for the appraisal. Most home purchases, on the other hand, are closing on the contract date. There’s always a chance the closing date will have to be adjusted, so if the lender causes a delay, we agents will do our best to expedite things, but it’s also important to work with them since they’re the ones supplying the funds.

If you’d like to know more about how the closing process has changed since the pandemic or have any real estate questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.