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Before that new house officially becomes yours, there’s a long list of things you’ll need to accomplish during the closing process.

Number 1 is opening escrow, which is an account held by a neutral third party on behalf of the buyer and seller. All money and documents pertaining to the sale are held in the escrow account until everything has been settled.

2, conduct a title search to confirm the property’s legal ownership, and uncover any liens or claims on the property. You’ll also need to obtain title insurance.

3, find an attorney to review the paperwork for potential problems.

4, negotiate closing costs. Eliminate or reduce junk fees, such as administrative or email fees.

5, complete the home inspection to make sure no serious problems exist. If they do, ask the seller to fix them.

6, complete the pest inspection, which requires a specialist to find wood-destroying insects.

7, renegotiate the offer to account for upcoming repairs if inspections reveal any problems.

8, lock in your interest rate.

9, remove contingencies from your offer. They can be things like the home inspection revealing no major problems, or the seller completing agreed-upon repairs. Often, they must be removed in writing by a certain date.

10, fund escrow with additional money to cover the balance of your down payment and closing costs.

11, conduct a final walkthrough to be sure no damage has occurred or items have been removed.

And 12, sign the papers. Read them first with an eye for errors, and ensure the interest rate is correct and there’s no prepayment penalty.

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